Archive for December, 2013

Manila Kimonos

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

Manila-Kimonos-BJJ-Gi

Manila Kimonos Gi Review

by Daniel ‘I’d rather be Starscream than Megatron’ Halpin

Manila Kimonos Overview

The Manila Kimonos Gi is a Gi that really hits a homerun in regards to its execution. With beautiful embroidery and seam tape the Gi stands out without going overboard.

It’s comfortable AND classy.

 

Be weary however, as the A3 is a little longer in the pants and the skirt than even I (at the bottom of the A3 spectrum and used to oversized Gis) am used to.

I’d say the perfect height after shrinkage is 6’0″ or 6’1″.

Although the chest/shoulder/arm girth did fit my frame of 195lbs very nicely.

Purchase of the Manila Kimono includes: 1 x top. 1 x bottom.

I am unsure if this was a full on production model but no Gi bag came with the Gi.

Fit

gireviews size chart

Washer Warm – Cold, 2nd Rinse

Dryer, 60 minutes normal heat

Pre and Post wash measurements:
22 inch armpit to wrist 21
67 inch wingspan to 66
C – 22 inch armpit to skirt 21 3/4
32 3/4 top to skirt 32 1/2
D – 25 inch bottom of skirt across 24 1/2
E – 23 1/2 waist to 21 1/2
H – 42 long to 39 1/2
30 1/2 crotch to pant bottom 29
F – 12 inch pant width top to 11 1/2
G – 9 1/2 pant width bottom 9

No Shrinkage in the chest.
A – No Shrinkage in the wrist.

Jacket

Manila-Kimonos-Jacket

As I mentioned previously, the Gi is cut for someone with a longer torso. The slits on side of the Gi are very large but, unlike the Ezekiel “Jiu Jitsu” Gi, I can see these slits being larger making sense. As the jacket itself is longer the slits allow for greater mobility and are designed as to not restrict your legs.

Manila-Kimonos-embroidery

I really like the Lotus flower design you can find on both arms and the back of this Gi. Good care was taken in the embroidery of the flower. The writing above the flower however of “Manila” could use some work as the border around the inner text doesn’t always sit nicely on the letters.

Manila-Kimonos-collar-2

I also really enjoyed the seam tape on the otuside of the sleeves and the bottom of the skirt. A nice amount of flare without becoming too overpowering. The orange contrast stitching really does well to make this Gi “pop”.

Manila-Kimonos-seam-tape

I had no issues with a flimsy collar or any scratching from the interior of the Gi. The collar is wrapped in ripstop. After three washes the Gi still maintained its deep black color, however the ripstop coated collar had begun to fade a small bit. It’s not a summer time light Gi by any means, but definitely not that heavy either. I would put it right in the middle of all the Gi’s I own. A nice year round choice.

Manila-Kimonos-Collar

Trousers

Manila-Kimonos-Pants

The pants are made of ripstop and have the same Manila seam tape as the rest of the gi at the bottom of the pant legs. The islands of the Philippines are beautifully embroidered on the left pant leg. Unfortunately due to my stubby legs the A3 pants were too long for me, on the bright side for the people that these DO fit, the crotch area is not saggy, which is something I can’t stand.

Manila-Kimonos-manila

The pants are held up by one loop on each side of the waist using a twill string.

Manila-Kimonos-pants-2

As with most ripstop pants they aren’t very breathable once they get soaked. If rip stops you’re flavor though, that’s nothing new to you. I also would have preferred a large area of coverage for the knee reinforcements.

Wife Approval

“Oh my god! That’s sooo nice!”

My Filipino Friend Omar’s first impression

“Oh my god dude! I want that Gi!”

Conclusion

I must say that after reviewing quite a few Gis now that it seems that all of the Gis I have tested are always of good quality in terms of construction.

This really is good news for BJJ practioners everywhere as it means competitiveness in the market is at an all time high.

I’m seeing new brands pop up virtually every week some great new innovations to add to the industry.

It’s a great time to be buying a Gi.

With construction quality being something less to worry about it seems the main purpose of reviewing Gis is to point out the Gi cut, the materials used and the aesthetics of the Gi.

As those are typically the deciding factor for people when purchasing a Gi outside of construction quality. It says a lot for the industry when start up and major Gi brands alike have similar construction quality.

Getting a Gi that is cut wrong or too oversized/undersized can be a huge hassle and waste a lot of time/money sending a Gi back for another.

Hopefully I can convey to the reader enough information to help them in their Gi selection process. That is always my goal.

Comme Des Grappler Fall

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Comme Des Grappler (CDG) Fall T-shirt release

CDG Tees

I really like streetwear. To me, streetwear was skateboarding companies back in the late 90s and early 2000s doing things different. Companies like eS, Lakai, Baker, Enjoi, Fallen and even big power house names like DC, Etnies and Vans contributed to the streetwear scene. Big, loud, in your face designs that mainly consisted of their own logo, but in a fashionable, clean, way……

 

Because of my like for skateboarding brands and streetwear, I have taken a severe liking to all things CDG. Their designs are super clean and provide a fresh new face for the BJJ scene.

There isn’t much I can say about t-shirts in general that can inspire someone to pick one up, but here’s all you need to know: They look awesome, they feel awesome and the print is of excellent quality.

Moar pictures!

This is probably my second favorite T-shirt by CDG, next to their Arabic T.

CDG Tee 1

CDG Tee 2

cdg tag

DoorDie Gear Bag

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Do or Die’s Hyperfly Pro Gear Bag review!

DoorDie 023

Gear bags are more of a luxury than a necessity, but they are something I love having, and once you’ve had a good one, you just can’t go without. Knowing I have my tape, nail clippers, deodorant,  etc etc in one location is a nicety. I pack up my things neatly and go and I’m not carrying nasty, dripping with sweat, Gis in my hands or laying it on my nice clean car seats on the ride home.

 

DoorDie 017

DoorDie 014

Well designed gear bags are important to me. One of the key features I look for in a BJJ bag is a separate bag or compartment that keeps the funky after class BJJ gear away from the clean inside of the bag.  I’ve seen this done in multiple ways but DoorDie does this in a very clever way that’s new to me and is now my favorite design for a nasty bag.

DoorDie 020

Instead of having a bag within a bag that is removable, they offer a bag that is within the bag that comes through the bottom of the back pack. You put your clean clothes in the top of the bag like normal, but after practice you shove those now funky Gis into the bottom of the bag. The bag is basically reversible. Below is a picture of the space on the bottom of the bag where you shove the funky gear after class.

DoorDie 021

Another important thing to think about is strap support. Some back packs SUCK to carry around if you carry anything heavy in them because they aren’t designed ergonomically correct. No problems here, and that’s important if you want to use the bag for anything else.

DoorDie 019

Now, truth be told, I already have a gear bag, the Datsusara Light Gear Bag, which is a great bag in itself. My only current issue with it is that it’s HUGE. I’ve only been taking a Gi and the before mentioned accessories, and it can be a bit cumbersome. So the DoorDie bag has really filled a void for me. (My first world problems void). The picture below shows the main compartment with the funky bag unfilled resting inside of it. It gets mushed nicely to the bottom when not in use.

DoorDie 022

It’s tough, it’s got awesome little DoorDie hits throughout the bag, including a velcro “shooter” inspired patch on the bag and does everything I need it to. It even has a compartment for your iPod or phone and a hole for headphones to come out of so you can jog or walk around listening to music without having to take your music player out of the bag. A nice feature for sure.

DoorDie 015

Bottom Line:

With tons of cool features, compartments and good ergonomics, the Pro Gear Bag from DoorDie is a winner and a must have for people who can afford the cheddar for a $99 bag. I didn’t even notice the hidden compartment (good name for it I ‘spose) until yesterday. Would be a great spot for a laptop or paperwork. (Ha, paperwork).

 

From their site:

Built with ballistic high impact weather coated nylon to withstand all elements and designed for all gear and travel needs

Backside panel cushion support mesh fabric for ventilation and comfort

Bottom dirty gear compartment separates dry from wet lined with breathable mesh

Hidden back panel laptop compartment isolated from main compartment

Removable velcro patch can be replaced with Mil Spec identification

Multi gear double zip pull compartments to meet all your travel essentials

Valor Victory BJJ Gi in Sexy Grey

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

Valor Victory BJJ GI in sexy Grey

Valor Fightwear is a new BJJ Gi company out of England. One of the harder parts for a new company to get right is the design, and Valor really made a splash with us in regards to the aesthetic of their Gis. They look super clean and well thought out without going overboard.

From their site:

Technical Specs

  • 450 Gram Pearl Weave Jacket
  • Rip Stop Covered Rubberised Lapel
  • Contrast Stitching
  • Tailored Cut for a better fit
  • 8oz Canvass Cotton Trousers
  • 4 Drawstring Loops to keep the drawstring in the correct position and to stop it moving around
  • Super Thick Duo Layer Rope Drawstring
  • FREE Drawstring GI Bag

Let’s start with the top. The top fit superbly. My 5’10″ 205lb frame fit in their A2 quite comfortable.  Their claim of a tailored fit was validated the first time I put the jacket on. Prior to putting the jacket on, I was instantly impressed with their awesome logos and the embroidery used to construct them. The first logo, shown below next to the collar, has the companies name embroidered in very clean typography. The gi was quite light. This is my first grey Gi and honestly wish more people would wear them because they look awesome.

collar

 

The arm embroidery (it’s on both arms) is also squeaky clean. The embroidery itself is of good quality and the design is easy to look at. My favorite Gis are those that make a brand statement but do so in a minimalist fashion. I think Valor Fightwear achieves this and makes it look easy while doing it.

Sleeve

The navy contrast stitching was an excellent choice, you can see how beautifully it goes  with the grey they used just by looking at the “Victory” embroidery near the bottom of the skirt.

victory

A very standard triple stitched seam tape is used for the sleeve taping.

Sleevewrist

 

tag

The pants are VERY light. They are listed as 8 oz cotton but I truly feel as if they are the lightest pair I own. It leads me to wonder about the long term durability of these pants, although the gi IS marketed as being a competition gi. The knee reinforcements a quite long.

kneereinforcements

The poker chip logo on the pants looks great and the embroidery is just as solid as that found on the top. Although I was originally bothered by the thickness and shortness of the stretchy rope drawstring, I stopped tying it in the traditional manner and just made a knot. It stayed put during sparring and came undone easily enough when I was done. So for those giving this Gi a shot go with a small knot vice the old bunny ears and it will work just grand.

beltloops

In an effort to keep the pants lighter they went with a very thin seam tape for the bottom of the pants. Personally I prefer a 10oz cotton pant, but these did hold up in training.

pantsseam

 Final Thought:

Grey is sexy. Super clean with beautiful touches. A brand to follow for sure.

 

From their site:

The Valor Victory GI is a premium lightweight GI made from a 450gram pearl weave that’€™s lightweight, durable and comfortable to train in.

The GI jacket is has a tailored cut so it fits closer to the body giving it a better fit than most standard GIs. It features contrast stitching, stylish Valor patches and embroideries and a Rip Stop covered rubberised lapel.

The Pants are made from 8oz canvass cotton and feature contrast stitching, drawstring loops and Drawstring. The Drawstring is our very own Super Thick Duo Layer Rope Drawstring. Its twice as thick as most other rope drawstrings and features a canvass cotton outer layer and a thick slightly elasticated inner core. These are the best drawstrings on any GI we have seen!

Each GI comes with a free drawstring GI bag.

Sizing information:

Height Weight Size
5’2-5’8 55-70 Kilo A1
5’9-5’11 71-86 Kilo A2
6’0-6’2 87-102 Kilo A3
6’2-6’3 103-120 Kilo A4 

Roll Jiu Jitsu

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 Roll Jiu Jitsu

Roll Jiu Jitsu is a BJJ apparel brand out of Ireland. They contacted us about doing a review and we are super glad we got our hands on their stuff. Since I recently moved to Wisconsin the delivery of sweatshirts in their care package was extremely welcome.

We got Two sweatshirts, a t-shirt, some stickers and a patch, seen below.

Everything

 

My favorite piece of apparel I was sent was their dark-gray crew neck sweat shirt. I have a ton of BJJ inspired hoodies so a sweatshirt was a welcome change. The first thing that pops out at you is the ROLL logo. If you’re familiar with Obey you’d recognize the style of the typography as it clearly gets it’s inspiration from current street wear. It’s nice seeing clean and crisp logos being used in BJJ. I’ve never had a problem with people getting inspiration from companies outside of BJJ and bringing it to our art, because frankly, I don’t Obey anyway. I roll. The sweatshirt is very comfortable and when you think of a sweatshirt in your mind, this is probably what you’re thinking of. I’m very much excited for winter/fall here in ‘Sconi now.

sweatshirt

I’m not as big of a fan of their slap and bump design, as Mickey Mouse hands have never been my thing, but it’s nice seeing them doing something that incorporates a reference to what we actually do before we roll, and it’s different than other BJJ brands. The sweatshirt is the exact same type as their first offering, equally as soft and comfortable.

dabup

Rockin’ the same logo as the first sweatshirt is their T-shirt offering. This isn’t one of those ultra soft t’s that’s cut to the body, it’s as standard of a t-shirt as you’ll get, but it feels quite durable. I’d be reluctant to wear most of my BJJ themed t-shirts to do handy work around the house or wear in nogi, but not this shirt, this shirt is going to be able to take a beating. It’s still comfortable despite it’s durable, but don’t expect ultra-softness. Again, I really love the ROLL logo, so it’s only natural that I love the shirt.

greytee

I’ve been trying to get more out of the companies in regards to who they are and what they are about by doing some mini-question and answer sessions, so here you go, uncensored, unedited, direct from ROLL!

1. What is your personal background in the BJJ community?

I started training over 3 years ago at Next Generation Ireland with Dave Jones under Chris Brennan, it was mainly NoGi so coming from a rugby background muscling people out of it was my go to style as I was young and naive. I visited NY for 4 months but didnt train and when I got back, Next Gen had been taken over by Darragh O’Conaill and affiliated to Riberio and also moved to 90% Gi training which I really got into. I then moved to Long Island NY where I trained at Kioto under Ryan Saboe and GM Mansor for 3 months, then into Manhattan where I trained at Marcelo’s when I could with my longest stint being 2 solid months where I learnt alot. Since moving back to Ireland and back to the same Dublin gym which has now evolved into East Coast Jiu Jitus Academy I have been training hard and decided to start Roll Jiu Jitsu.

2. What made you start your own BJJ apparel company?

I got an office job and it has put a stint in my creativity so I needed an outlet. I have always liked graphic design and putting designs on apparel, so combining this with Jiu Jitsu I thought I would give it a go! I felt that there is definitely good BJJ apparel out there but not a whole lot of the more casual nature that doesnt scream ‘I train so I can beat you up!’

3. Do you get inspiration from any other major companies? I kind of get a “Supreme” vibe from your apparel, is that what you were shooting for?

I get inspiration from everywhere, and yes one of our designs which has turned out to me one of the more popular ones may have been inspired from Obey. People seem to like that gear these days and its a very clean and clear look I think.

4. What are your main goals as a company?

As a company, we would like to grow because with growth, we can start giving back to the sport; through sponsorship of upcoming or disadvantaged athletes and even by organizing events and comps to grow awareness of the art and ultimately get more people involved in the lifestyle. It has definitely had a positive effect on our lifes and one that we want to share with as many people as we can.

5. What do you feel will set you apart from other companies out there today?

Tough question, there are so many great brands both established and up and coming. Apart from our cool and fresh designs (which everyone company has these days) the brand name ‘Roll’ is said thousands of times a day by people training so once the link to our brand has been made, we might stand out from the rest and be in luck!

6. Do plan on extending your line into the Gi market?

Not right away, if we do it will be through collaborations with existing reputable companies. Seems like a new Gi company pops up every week with quality dropping fast. There are some new and innovative designs but we believe this shouldn’t be the selling point of a Gi. It has to stand up to the test of hard Rolling which is hard enough to come by in a manufacturer. 

7. What’s your personal favorite product that you sell? Why?

Personal Favorite is the grey Roll Crew Neck. Firstly the design is slick and 100% related to Jiu Jitsu. The other great thing is it can be worn for daily hanging out, working out, going out and even keeping warm under your Gi. Its 1-for-all really! With no hood, zips or pockets – nothing is going to get in the way during Rolling.

8. How is the BJJ scene in Ireland?

BJJ is growing big time in the Emerald Isle with great things on the Horizon. More and more clubs opening and memberships growing by the day. Ireland is making it’s name on the world stage with some of our top competitors getting recognition they deserve. Darragh O’Conaill getting on the Kumite, Chris Bowe bringing home some medals from Worlds and Coach John Kavanagh Taking Conor McGregor to the UFC.

The future is bright and filled with opportunity for Irish BJJ, So drop over and get involved!

Dokebi Bros

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

Dokebi Bros

One of the more unique Gi offerings I’ve come across in my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey is the Dokebi Bro’s Balance Gi. Unique in the sense that it is the only Gi that I’ve personally come across that is Made in South Korea. It’s a strong gi, it reminds me of a cross between a Judo Gi and a BJJ Gi. It’s a got a very durable 450gsm Single Weave, but it’s also quite soft. They’ve gone for a traditionalist and old school take on the BJJ kimono, I’d say they’ve definitely succeeded in that regard. Dokebi Bros is doing things different, and I LIKE that. It’s hard to stand out in today’s BJJ market, but they do it will. They have the right mindset for sure. They believe in labor that doesn’t involved a sweatshop mentality and cares about their product AND the people involved with it.

jacket

 

I asked Dokebi to share with me a little bit about their company, and I’ll have that posted at the bottom of the review, so you can see why they do what they do. Due to a knee injury, and me having the Gi for quite a while without being able to roll in it, I gave the Gi to my coach Perry to wear so I could hassle him and see what he liked/disliked about the Gi. It was a new way of reviewing the Gi, but it was nice seeing the things other people noticed after I had my initial impressions from just trying it on.

Some notes about the  ”Balance” Gi by Dokebi Bros.

  • Tailored Fit Single Weave 100% cotton
  • 450 G/SM Jacket
  • All patches are embroidered
  • Heavy-duty cotton twill pants (14 oz.)
  • Flat cord drawstring closure system
  • Reinforced knees
  • No EVA Foam Collar

The top, like previously stated is a 450gsm Single Weave. It’s soft and durable. The top has a few logo hits here on the gi: the collar, the right sleeve, and the back of the Gi. All of the embroidery is nicely done and flows well. The cut of the Gi (this being an A2) would be better suited for someone with a larger chest but a healthy waistline. The collar seemed to puff out from the chest quite a bit on myself and Perry.  The Gi didn’t seem to sit flush on either of us at the bottom of the skirt, which was on the longer side. (Which is a traditional BJJ trait).

Collar_chest

Some closer shots of the cool collar embroidery.

collar

The collar itself felt sturdy but light. It’s wrapped in twill cotton, which is what the pants are made of.

goodreinforcement

One aspect I really liked with the Gi was the reinforcement across the back stitching using a strong seam tape. I’ve only seen a few companies do this and wish more would.

inside_sleeve

The seam tape in the sleeves (and on the pant bottoms for that matter) are a sturdy twill cotton. It helps keep the tone of the Gi down so it doesn’t come across as too flash and I like that a lot. Speaking of the sleeves, it was another of my favorite aspects of the Gi. They seemed to be cut perfectly. Tailored, tough to grip and a smaller sized sleeve opening.

madeinkorea

A shot showing the “Made in Korea” tag. You know they have to be proud of that.

Shoulder

Close up of the arm embroidery.

backdesign

The prominent upper back logo. You may have noticed that the Ying and Yang is featured in a lot of their artwork

drawstrings

Sticking with their traditionalist theme on this Gi. They went with the twill drawstrings. Neither myself nor Perry prefer these type, but it goes with the intentions of the Gi. I’m not too sure I feel safe having just two drawstring loops and would have liked to have seen at least two on each side.

littledudes

The pants fit really well on both myself and Perry. Other than wanting a bit more from the drawstring system, he didn’t have any issues with the pants falling down or inhibiting his rolling at all. I LOVE these little dudes on the pants label. These cartoon characters are present quite a bit on their site and marketing media.

pantleglettering

Despite having no idea what these letters mean, they look sweet. The blue has a nice shiny aspect to it and it really looks clean.

If you are looking to support a great company, with good values and want a traditionalist gi with some new-age flair, this could be your dream Gi.

And here’s a picture of Perry, thanks for the assist Perry!

photo (5)

About the company, from the company:

We tried to keep it old school on our basic model. It doesn’t include foam collar, rip-stop, stretch ropestring closures or flexpanels. (Of course all these things are not something we consider bad and they have their right to exist, we just wanted to keep it simple and down to earth with this model.)

We are a team of two (hence the ‘Bros.’). Me, Paul,and my friend and co-owner Jusuf. I am a bluebelt under Renzo Gracie and my partner is also a bluebelt under Orlando Neto Machado from Akxe BJJ Vienna where we both currently train. So far we did all the work by ourselves, from locating our suppliers via designing our merchandise and website through to arranging photoshootings and customer care.

Our brand’s focus is to provide our jiu-jitsu community with unique bjj gear and streetwear items made of the highest quality. The streetwear clothing line will include products with a hint of vintage but will always have the connection to the sport of bjj.

We are trying to avoid sweatshop labor and we struggle to be different from the usual small gi companies that produce their gear via Alibaba in Pakistan by copying big company gis and just putting their own labels on it.

A lot of nice stuff is coming up which I hope you guys will like. For example our ranked rashguards: They are made from a compound of two different mesh-materials and are very breathable. So keep your eyes open!

Underoath BJJ

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Underoath BJJ

(Scroll to the bottom for an Update! 8/28/2014)

Underoath BJJ is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu apparel brand based out of Ontario, Canada. I saw an advert for one of their eye catching shirts and immediately contacted them trying to find out all of the details about them and their company. They clearly had some great designs but I wanted to find out more, so I sent some questions over to the owner Ryan to get the scoop and Underoath sent me two shirts to check out. Questions and Answers after the jump.

First, these awesome shirts. This isn’t your average t-shirt from cafepress that was thrown together with a crappy stock graphic and cheap level fruit of the loom t-shirt, it’s well thought out. My favorite aspect of the shirts is actually the material, it’s super soft but strong. I don’t have a single shirt that feels like it.

Creonte

For those who don’t know, Creonte was a character from a Brazilian soap opera that constantly backstabbed people. Carlson Gracie Sr. started using that name for traitors, or so the story goes. Regardless, this shirts design is super clean. I haven’t seen any negative space font work done like this in our community and it really comes off as professional. I find the “100% Creonte Free” slogan actually kind of lighthearted and in reality just kind of saying “I’m a good dude who sticks with good people”.

sidescript

On the side of the 100% Creonte Shirt a cool little phrase is screen printed on. “Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family”. It’s little additional stuff like this that makes apparel pop. It’s much appreciated.

tag

Another little clever add-on is something I didn’t even notice at first, and that’s what it says on the tag. Specifically “tested on animals….didn’t fit”. Hilarious. Unique. I love it.

kimuraallday

The second shirt I got was the “Kimura all day” shirt. Now, I didn’t ask if this was referencing the move or the man, but I took it for the move. The colors and typography are clean and go well together. The shirt is the same material and quality as the first and just as much of a delight to wear. In fact, I had a hard time getting these pictures because these two t-shirts were getting worn CONSTANTLY. They’d always be in my dirty clothes basket when I wanted to take pictures.

I am very excited to see what these guys offer up in the future as I am really impressed. I know it’s hard to believe but the shirt quality is really something to appreciate, I HIGHLY recommend you pick up one of their clean designs. Just from interacting with them the small amount I have I can honestly say that I get the impression these guys have their hearts and minds in the right places. They believe there’s enough room out there for all the companies in the BJJ market, and that says a lot.

Q & A time!

Q. What is UnderOath’s background?

A. In 2010, I started a small artistic BJJ lifestyle brand called AvantGuard, which was mainly an apparel brand, most notable for really shining a spotlight on the life and contributions of Mitsuyo Maeda, which was then adopted by a dozen or so other brands. It was doing rather well, however due to life in school and starting another career, I left it by the wayside after a year and a half. In mid 2012 I was approached by a friend who asked me to step in on a project that he had started piecing together, called UnderOath (UO). However, my partner would rather remain anonymous, so you could say I am the face of UnderOath. I provide the majority of the creative influence.

Q. Where did you come up with the name? UnderOath can have religious connotations, is your brand religious at all?

A. The name was chosen by my partner, and that may have been the focus, however, me being a very secular person, I was somewhat afraid that would be the perception, however the term more so relates to the relationship between teacher and student. We try to advocate for a culture of positivity and honour within BJJ.

Q. How did you start BJJ?

A. I personally have been doing submission grappling since 1996, starting in the fitness centre at my old high school. A few rough and tumble lads were very intrigued with the UFC and the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, like many people. I have been doing traditional BJJ since 2004, and am a brown belt. (Update: Now a  Black Belt! Congrats Ryan!)

Q. Why did you start a BJJ company?

A. When I first started AvantGuard Brand, it was to, in part, have an artistic outlet, but also because I was sick of the shirts I was seeing from day-to-day, as it was during the height of the Tap-Out/Affliction style skulls/chains/angels/gold leaf crap. Very few companies offered anything reasonable. This mindset continues today, where UO is an artistic outlet, and overall, a fun project.

Q. What are your main goals as a company?

A. Simply put, to continue to grow, and to eventually be in a position where we can support and sponsor up and coming athletes, helping them live their BJJ dream. We are just getting there now.

Q. How’s it being a Canadian company?

A. Much the same as anything else I suppose. The landscape in the Canadian BJJ market is only growing as the sport grows. Right now, besides us, there are three reasonably established brands, each providing their own bits of flare, but we feel there is still plenty of room for us and the style we (try to) bring.

Q. What makes UnderOath BJJ different than other brands?

A. That’s a hard question to answer. It gets harder and harder to differentiate yourself as a brand when you hear about a new brand surfacing almost daily. We don’t want to bash any brand in any way, but we find only 25-30% of the brands out there seem to offer anything to the culture. We find that there are dozens of brands all using the same artist (or two) to design their clothing. As far as differentiating ourselves, I can say the fact that we do our own art…is a start. We have tried artistically, to direct the brand towards being respectful and acknowledging BJJ’s roots, while also showing enthusiasm for innovation and the dynamics of styles that tomorrow brings. Quality and attention to detail is also constantly on our minds.

Q. How much do you love Poutine?

A. It makes one hell of a cheat meal!…You Yankees are truly missing out!

Q. Can you get me some?

A. LOL….I’m sure we’ll work something out.
(Note: If you don’t know what Poutine is, you’re life is less complete, French Fries + Gravy + Cheese Curds, amazing. A Canadian specialty, hence my 100% off topic question).

Update!

(Although I put the two new shirts in a Summer Gear round up post, I wanted to add them here to consolidate Underoath BJJs awesomeness)

One of my favorite BJJ brands is Underoath BJJ, I currently own 5 of their shirts. Two of those shirts I just got the other day and are equally as amazing as the original shirts I reviewed. One of the reasons I love their t-shirts in particular is the extremely durable printing method they use on the T’s. Paired with solid designs and a comfortable t-shirt, you’ve got a recipe for awesomeness. Their designs remind me of my skateboarding days. It’s quality streetwear stuff. Everyday I see someone with a new Fuzzy Angry animal t-shirt or rashguard at the gym but nothing like this. This is the kind of stuff we need more of in the BJJ community.

The PAPA, my favorite out of the new two I picked up:

PAPA

The “Chix”:

thumbsup

Despite having been around for a little while now and coming out with some of the best T’s in the BJJ apparel market Underoath BJJ doesn’t have the notoriety as some other brands. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE.

Buy their amazing stuff here: http://www.underoathbjj.bigcartel.com/
Like them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/UnderOathBJJ