Nov 272009

BJJ Basics - One of Matts first two original designsBJJ Basics - One of Matt's first two original designs
One of the things I’ve mentioned several times over the years is how I’m not a big fan of the blood, chain link fences and violent themes on most MMA and BJJ merchandise. It’s not that I don’t like blood or violent themes. Hell, my favorite video game is Fallout 3. I just don’t want to wear it to the mall with my wife and kids.

So, when I heard that Matt was starting up a new kind of Jiu Jitsu shirt company, I was really excited. Scramble Stuff is a place where Matt is selling his own original gear as well as some Japanese Art Junkie shirts that are very cool. Scramble Stuff shirts will be Matt’s own design and his goal is to create new designs that highlight Jiu Jitsu without any reference to ripping someone’s head off or breaking their knee.

In Matt’s own words:

Scramble is here to rescue you from flying skulls, winged skulls, flying winged skulls with top hats on, minotaurs, bulging muscle man, dragons with flying skulls and top hats on them, flying minotaurs with winged skulls and flames, and all the other crap that infests the visual side of the MMA world.

For those of you who don’t know Matt, he’s been around in Jiu Jitsu for a long time, blogging over at Martial Farts and making everyone laugh at his adventures training and living in Japan. I can’t wait to see how things shape up for Matt and how his sense of humor takes shape in his designs.

Now’s a very good time to pick up something unique for the holidays. If I can get my wife to read my blog, maybe she’ll pick up the hint. Or mom? Anyone?

 Posted by at 10:14 am
Oct 252009

A few weeks back, I heard from Douglas at Razorback Jiu Jitsu.  He had some gold weave gis made to order and was going to be selling them for well below what you’d expect to pay for a BJJ gi, currently only $65 (no that’s not a typo).  He asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing one and, of course, I was more than happy to oblige.

I got the gi in the mail and tried it on.  It’s not pre-shrunk and the only adornment are two patches on the sleeves: the US flag on one shoulder and the Brazilian flag on the other.  I received an A4, which is listed as fitting guys between 6′ and 6’4, 200 to 250 lbs.  Of course, at 5’10” and ~185 lbs, I was swimming in it.  But after I washed it twice in hot water, it shrunk up nicely.

The Razorback Gold Weave Gi

My first impressions on opening up the package are pretty good.  The gi is pretty light and looks well made.  The pants are a little thinner than what you’ll find from a high end gi, but are reinforced at all the right spots.  The top is made from a sturdy, gold weave fabric.

Inside Seams of GiInside Seams of Gi

This gi, as you can see, is made from a three piece top.  While all of the seams look sturdy and are reinforced at all of the stress points, this does separate this gi from some of the more expensive models available.  Top tier BJJ kimonos are made from a single piece of fabric for comfort and durability.  Seams in the fabric can be a potential tearing point.  Also, a seam down the back can be uncomfortable if you’re working from the bottom in guard.  On the mat, I didn’t notice the seam at all.

The fit is roomy, cut with a little more space than some BJJ gis I’ve owned.  What I mean is, the sleeves are a little roomier, and the pants don’t have that tailored cut that some of the other brands sport.   On the spectrum of gis I’ve owned, this gi fits much like my Atama #7 and the Padilla and Sons gold weave gis.  Another one that comes to mind is the Gameness single weave gi.

Back of the giBack of the Gi

Some Ratings:

Value:   5 out of 5.

This is a better than student grade gi.  In quality, it’s compares very favorably to an HCK single weave at $80 or the Gameness Single Weave at $78 in quality.  If you’re considering purchasing your first BJJ gi, a solid backup or an inexpensive replacement, I highly recommend this gi.  As of this review, Douglas is selling these gis for $65 each.  That’s a steal for a gold weave BJJ kimono.

Fit: 3.5 out of 5

The fit is baggier than I like.  I prefer to have a more tailored cut to my gis and feel like I’m swimming in this top.  The pants are also pretty baggy.  This is largely a matter of preference, though.  If you’re a bigger dude, or if you prefer something closer in fit to a Judo gi, this will be ideal for you.    I’ll qualify this by saying that I’ve only washed this gi three times and it’s not pre-shrunk, so I expect that it will shrink a bit more.

Provided you purchase a gi that fits you correctly, this one will have no problems meeting IBJJF specs for fit and construction.  Before you buy, I would recommend shooting an email to Douglas to find out from him what size he recommends.  I wash my gis in warm/hot water and machine dry them, so I expect a little more shrinkage than others might.

Durability:  3 out of 5

I’m giving this gi a 3 for durability, but this was a tough one and I honestly kept waffling between 2.5 and 3.

Pros:  All of the stress points are well reinforced and the stitching looks solid.  The gold weave fabric is nice and looks strong.

Cons:  The pants are a little thin and the jacket is constructed from three panels of fabric, resulting in seams along the middle and down the back.

While this gi clearly won’t last as long as a more expensive gi, it’s selling for $65.  Comparing it to others in the same “class” of gi (which are all more expensive), such as the Gameness Single Weave, I’d say this is as well made and the gold weave fabric is sturdier.   I wouldn’t be surprised if the jacket outlasts the pants.

Mar 042008

One of the things I really like about BJJ is the very loose idea of what is acceptable attire. I’m not a very fashionable guy, but for whatever reason, I like buying new gis. I like looking at the different styles that are out there, and checking out what everyone has going on.

The following article is primarily for any of my friends out there who either don’t train in martial arts or who train, perhaps, in some other style and are curious about what differences exist.

What is a gi?

When most people think of a gi, they think of karate, and probably something very much like the outfit pictured to the left. A gi is simply a uniform made for training, most often made from a strong cotton weave varying from 8 oz up to some as thick as 30 oz.

Grappling arts tend to have sturdier gis made from thicker material, even at the student grade. Rolling around, grip fighting and the constant pushing and pulling will destroy an 8 oz gi very quickly. So, while you may find student quality Karate gis as light as 8 oz, the typical student grade Grappling gi, such as the Howard Combat Kimonos Single weave, will be 14 oz or more, with durable, reinforced pants.

Grappling uniforms will be reinforced at all of the stress points and will often include extra padding at areas prone to failure. This includes the collars, along the knees of the pants, in the crotch and places like that. For a detailed look at the different stress points, I would recommend reading this review of the Padilla and Sons Gi over on SmashPass. It’s a good review, but for the purposes of this article, Jason goes into detail about what he looks for in a quality BJJ gi.

What about the weave?

Single vs Double weave refers to the actual fabric. A single weave gi is going to be thinner than a double weave gi, and while it won’t be as long last, it will definitely be more comfortable during the Summer. Double weave gis are more expensive, heavier and hotter to train in. At the same time, they are desirable in competition because the collars are difficult to grip and hold. I know that, for me, it’s rough on the fingers working for lapel chokes or grips when sparring with some of the guys who have double weave gis at my school.

In BJJ, you’ll also see something called Gold Weave, which is as far as I can tell the most common and popular weave among Jiu-Jitiero. The Gold Weave is sturdy and thick, like a doubleweave gi, which makes it harder to grip and hold, as well as being durable. At the same time, it’s lighter than the doubleweave, making it more comfortable to wear.

And then, of course, you have the proprietary weaves. Gameness has the Platinum Weave gi, as well as a super light “Pearl” weave. Lucky Gis, by far the most expensive gi I’ve seen on the market, includes the development of their own weave, too. I listened to the TheFightworksPodcast episode #102, all about the adventures of producing the Lucky Gi and was amazed at the lengths gone to.

What makes a BJJ gi a BJJ gi?

There are some fundamental differences between the BJJ gi and other gis. Judo is a very close cousin to BJJ. Both are sporting derivatives of Kano’s original version of Judo, which was itself derived from traditional jujutsu in Japan.

The Judo Gi tends to be made from thick material available in either a single weave or double weave. Sizing and condition of the Gi will, of course, vary from organization to organization, but the IJF publishes these guidelines (linked from

The fit of the judo gi tends to be baggier all around. The apron of the Judo Gi is often woven in a diamond pattern and hangs longer, as shown. The pants and sleeves are often looser as well.

BJJ gis, in contrast, tend to be more form fitting. The apron part of the gi is often shorter, and the sleeves and pant legs are tighter, although there are guidelines for how tight these can be in competition.

The picture to the right is of the official CBJJ gi checker tool. This tool is what is used to make sure that the gi is not too tight or too short in the sleeves or trouser legs for competition.

In Judo, patches are allowed only on the back of the uniform in competition, and there are rules regarding what these can be and how large, and the only two legal colors in competition are blue or white. I’ve only ever seen Judo Gis available in these two colors and in black, although there may be others.

In competition, the official gi colors for BJJ are white, blue or black, although it’s not uncommon to see any number of different colors in class or in local competitions. Red is a relatively common color, with Army Green, Browns and even some pink sneaking into the women’s classes. I’ve also seen available Gis in Yellow and other colors although never in real life.

Patches are also not uncommon, but believe it or not, there are rules here as well. You can see that there are guidelines outlined by the IBJJF about where and how the patches can be configured on one’s uniform.

The patches can be advertisements from sponsors, but are just as often representations of the gi manufacturer or the school in which the competitor trains or is affiliated with.

There are guys who train at my school who wear simple, white BJJ kimonos, such as the HCK single. Very plain and unadorned, and this appeals to a lot of people. There are others who have some pretty darned exotic ones, from one female who trains in hot pink, to black, white, blue and army green. Each brand marks their gis in different ways, some with embroidery and others with patches. My Gameness Platinum Weave does both. I have a Koral MKM that is all patched up, too. What I like about BJJ is that both personality types fit right in.

 Posted by at 9:47 am