Archive for December, 2013

Muaewear Furinkazan

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Aaaaand I lost all my photos.

So this review has taken longer than most, but I really need to stress something: Muaewear is a brand that I feel really transcends just BJJ Kimonos. This thing is so pretty it deserves to be put behind glass and have people $10 a pop just to take a look. It’s gorgeous. The fit, finish, etc is amazing. In my dealings with this kimono there was only one flaw, the seam tape was a bit scratchy. I imagine after more washes it will continue to soften the seam tape up, so not too big of a deal. I’d give the Gi top a middle of the road score in regards to weight. I feel like it’s going to hold up quite well over time and be very durable.

Top

Muaewear Furinkazan Gi Review Video:

Stats:

560gsm Single Weave

330gsm Cotton Twill

Pre Shrunk

Anti-Microbial

Anti-Odor

Size A2 Dimensions: (I am 5’10, 205lbs)

gireviews-size-chart2A. 6.5

B. 30

C. 19

D. 24

E. 20.5

F. 13

G. 8.5

H. 37

Pant length from crotch: 25.5

Chest: 23.5

The Top:

The 560gsm Single Weave top is decorated in multiple areas. The chest is littered with extravagant kanji which means “Wind, Forest, Fire and Mountain”. There’s a little patch on the inside of the jacket the breaksdown the meaning of this kanji in detail. It’s pretty cool.

topkanji

Obviously the star of the show is the beautifully detailed print on the inside of the jacket. Depicting a Samurai sitting down with cherry blossoms falling around him it really is stunning. Muaewear mentioned I may have issues with the ink bleeding a tiny bit initially, but luckily I didn’t have any issues, great success!

seamtape

The cut of this top is great. It’s not as long as the skirt like a lot of Gis which I really liked, I can’t stand a long skirt. The sleeves and arm cut felt very tailored. The single weave is relatively difficult to grip and hold onto while still being comfortable.

lapeltag

The sleeves have a minimal opening at the wrists, good for defense, not as good for ezekiels and such, but none the less, skinny is in!

cuff

Inside the sleeves are lined with ripstop which is supposed to make the Gi harder to grab. Personally I don’t think it matters too much but it does make the material thicker, which I can see causing a bit of difference. It only takes one grain of rice to tip the scale right? (M F’n Mulan reference. BAM)

sleeve

The collar is nice and thick. Not HCK thick, but thicker than most, which is a nice change of pace. I’m tired of these flimsy collars! Take notes people!

sleevelogo

The Trousers:

These pants are great. No saggy ass syndrome going on here. They are much slimmer than a lot of gi companies out there and the fit is great.  I didn’t have any issues with being limited in regards to mobility.

pantlogo

One of the only complaints I have for the pants is the shortness in the knee reinforcement. Although not a deal breaker, I would have liked to have seen them extend a bit farther down the pant leg.

pants

The belt loop system uses 4 belt loops and a stretchy rope drawstring. The drawstring is a bit smaller in circumference. Hopefully that’s because it’s of better quality, because I haven’t had much luck with these types of drawstrings lately. Regardless, they are my preferred type and I’m glad to see them in use here.

drawstrings

I really like their pants because they aren’t baggy and don’t limit my movement when rolling. You really can’t ask for much else. I can’t stand saggy bottom pants or pants with wide open ankles.

I lost virtually all of my graphic designs (ever), pictures, videos etc so I lost the ones I took of the Gi bag and have been unable to find it around the house. But it’s a nice little bag. I don’t really use Gi bags for carrying Gis, rather just for storing them and for storing other stuff.

Why I left GiReviews.net

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

For better or worse, I have always been a straight shooter. I have found that speaking my mind can be a curse but it can also be a gift. In the military i’d get bitched at all the time for speaking out of line and jumping the chain but I didn’t care, if someone needed help or a job needed done, I was going to do what I had to do to make it happen. If scumbag McGee wouldn’t tell our superiors what was up, then I’d leapfrog them and go right to who I knew would handle a situation. When everything is said and done I want to make sure I have at least one thing left, my integrity. No matter how I come across, no matter what I do, I do it with good intentions and do it openly and honestly. I am very opinionated and I’m very black and white in regards to what I believe. I’ll never pretend to like someone I don’t for the sake of anything. I will never play both sides of a coin, that is not how I am. I accept that my delivery isn’t always socially acceptable, but I believe people have a right to know the truth. Always the truth. If companies are doing something shady, it needs to come out. If a Gi brand is run by violent ex-felons, people should know. If a BJJ instructor is fostering a sick sexually exploitative environment, I’m going to scream it from my soap box. That is who I am.

I began working with Brendan from GiReviews.net after I did a guest review for him. He told me had too many Gis to review, some that had been sitting for months and could use help. I was super excited, I love BJJ, I was going 5-6 days a week for 4 hours a day when I first started (I train 4 days a week now) and loved Gis. At the beginning, I just wrote reviews. Brendan sent me a bunch he had been sitting on, then eventually had companies sending them to me directly. I usually wore a Gi for 3 weeks or so before I finished the review. I’d alternate between the Gis I was reviewing during the week. Then I would send everything I had in a word document to Brendan who would add it to the site. It was pretty badass from my perspective. I got a bunch of free Gis, what’s not to like about that?

Over time, I gradually started to become more of a part of GR than I was in the beginning. I became an admin of the facebook page, had admin rights to the site itself and added reviews all by my lonesome. It was around this time that we talked about taking GR to the next level. We wanted to blog about more than just Gis and even go to the big tournaments and make videos, we also started the podcast around this time. This was a big crossroads because it was here that we decided from there on out, everything would be 50/50. Not from our used Gi sales, but from any products we made, collabed with, ads etc.

One of the things that always kind of irked me was that people would always say things like “haha thanks Brendan!” on our facebook page, when generally speaking, it was me posting. People have this image of Brendan as this super friendly, integrity filled human being who can do no wrong and is there just to help people.

I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.

We made those 97% patches so people could express their stance on the Team Lloyd Irvin rape issues. We sold them as 5″ patches for $10 (I think it was $10 anyway) as pre-order. After sending everything to the company we used to make them (Carlos from the Handprint Store) Brendan messaged me saying that we could pocket an extra couple hundred of dollars  if we sent the people 3.5″ patches instead, even though they had already paid for 5″ patches. That was the first time I suspected Brendan of being a complete phony. Deep down I was thinking “who could do that to people and genuinely be a nice guy?”. I loved working with GR. The community interaction was awesome. I loved meeting all of the new people. Maybe that’s why I let this first instance slide and just chalked it up to momentary greed blinding him. I can tell you this though, no one has momentary greed like that. That’s something that’s rooted in you, the ability to screw people over that is. This took place on January 24th, well after we had started the pre-sale and decided on 5″ patches.

Around the same time we were coming out with our Hoth Gi with Strike Fightwear.  It was basically Strike and myself doing all of the work. I shipped all of the US orders out personally from my basement in 2 days. 160 something Gis. Being that we were 50/50 on everything, Brendan received half of GRs share of the profit. You may notice I didn’t actually do a review of the Hoth. Because I don’t think someone can sell their own product unbiased. Even if you use every effort not to, you don’t know what you’re going to do subconsciously. Brendan said that regardless of how much work I did, that the stuff he did couldn’t be attributed dollar amounts, podcasts, etc . So regardless if  was working on projects that earned us money or not and he wasn’t, it should still be 50/50. Ok, fair enough. But then I asked him why he was selling Gi patches and taking 100% of the profit and I got nothing. He said because he invested the money into ordering them. Which contradicts his whole point about us doing working that isn’t earning us money, but is bringing people/viewership to the brand. But let’s be honest, his podcasts were garbage and he only did I think 3 of them. When I started GR, it had around 1,500 fans. Now it has almost 6,000. To ignore the fact that I contributed to that number was extremely disrespectful. To be fair, I made a bunch of shitty memes with no real value that got a ton of people to like the page, but hey, I’m all about the giggles.

Then all of the sudden, literally out of nowhere, Brendan tells me is opening his own kids brand, Ok! Kimonos and things start to make sense. Brendan had zero intention of ever doing anything on a grand scale with GR. His whole intention of GR was to create a seemingly unbiased and community oriented website that he could gather fans and emails from. Within a week of launching Ok! Kimonos Brendan switched our GR instagram over to @OkKimonos (without telling me before doing it, and then telling me I should change my personal instagram to a GR one, it wasn’t something that was ever discussed). Thousands of followers of GR instantly became fans of a childrens brand they had never heard of before. His email lists? Well he got you there too. His posting dropped down to virtually nothing on our facebook page, unless it was of course to pump his brand in your face. I kept posting, but it was just me posting, unless of course you count his Ok! Kimonos advertisements that he was always posting.

He edited old GR articles and reposted them, for example, “The Best Gi for your body type”. Guess which Gi it is? Ok! Kimonos. “Holiday Gift Guide”? Ok! Kimonos. “Top Rated BJJ Gis”? Ok! Kimonos.

Brendan always talked about Gary Vaynerchuk and the Thank You Economy, Crush it and other big marketing names, and although people who aren’t douchebags treat people nice naturally, Brendan was actually using his nice guy persona as a marketing ploy. You may notice his over emphasis when he types anything having to do with thanking the community. What’s sad is that I loved our community, and to Brendan, they were just $ signs. He says he doesn’t wholesale his Ok! Kimonos products so he can “give you the BEST customer service”, that’s bullshit. He does it so he can set the price point.

He sent virtually all of the prominent BJJ bloggers free Ok! Kimonos gear and t-shirts. Not an attempt to be nice, but for marketing and as a shield for his brand. He loves the scratch my back mentality. His network was well thought out. He even admitted to me that he would be stupid not to use GR to promote his brand. Maybe so, but integrity comes first. If his intentions had been clear to everyone, no one would follow GR.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with affiliate links, especially if you provide good information. I do have an issue with sponsors paying you to run adverts and then not telling your partner. Then your partner finding out from a not deleted quickly enough facebook message, because you weren’t responding to your emails.

DoorDie Gi collab. This was a fucking nightmare. Communication was tough. It took forever for this to get started but once Pascal and I got on the phone and knocked down some ideas, we got stuff underway pretty quickly. I had never really heard anything negative about DoorDie other than a copyright dispute they had with someone, which seemed like bullshit, but it was months prior and I didn’t remember it at the time. Regardless, it didn’t seem like a big deal. During the middle of our collab Brendan lost his fucking mind because they didn’t send him a sample Gi. From the get go, we always talked about one sample. They got sent an A2, which is my size, so it got sent to me. The emails between Brendan and DoorDie reached  toddler level of hissy fit on his part. They were rude, unprofessional and it seemed like he was trying to piss them off enough to pull the plug. Accusing them of lying when they said their factory was on holiday…all sorts of stuff. I talked to them on the phone and told them to ignore him and that I had no idea why he was acting like that. We had a lot of people wanting the collab Gi, so I wanted to go through with it, plus as a freelance photog and designer who had just moved I needed the extra cash, plus I didn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t work with them. We had already made a commitment and I planned to see it all the way through. Brendan again contributed zero to the collab and even made it almost not happen.

Our next planned collab was with Tatami Fightwear. I was the sole point of contact for these collabs. Garreth from Tatami had sent a lot of design concepts that I didn’t feel were right, but kept suggesting to him to keep it subtle. He eventually sent an amazing design concept to me one day, and then asked if I wanted to have the kids in my kids class review his kids gi line. I thought this was super awesome on their part and mentioned both things to Brendan. Brendan said no because Tatami stole his brands design aesthetic. It was because they were his competitors. I really wanted to get those kids gis to review so the kids could get some new ones (they needed them) and worked it out through another company that I could review them through there, and accidentaly sent a message I had meant for someone else to Garreth before I had asked him if it had been ok, which was dicked on my part, to be fair. Brendan told me he wanted nothing to do with Tatami and was even not reviewing the Estilo 4.0 he had sent them because he hated them, and now magically is collabing with them again. It’s likely because the design Tatami came up with is awesome (his tone changed when I sent him the design) and he knows it will sell well and he can make money off of it. That was the final straw. Saying the kids I teach who are in need of Gis can’t get them because they are his brands competitors.

He stole from me, he TRIED to steal from our fans, and his super uber nice guy persona is bullshit. He’s a master manipulator, I’ll give him that. It’s the sickest thing in the world to see someone play off peoples inner good to market themselves. Why did I write this? Because I choose to pick a side, always. Because I don’t believe in people not having as much information as they should to make decisions. And I can caveat all of this with these being my perceptions. The truth is the only thing we have that can help us make the correct decisions.

A lot of this is cold hard facts, another fair portion is my perception of things and how they unfolded, take it all for what you will. I quit GR despite it being a hugely fun time of my life. I met tons of couple people while doing it, and I thank them for being great people, fans and BJJers.

quote-Ralph-Waldo-Emerson-trust-your-instinct-to-the-end-though-105284

X-Guard Kamikaze

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

X-Guard Kamikaze XG4

X Gonna give it to ya (Shameless DMX reference)

Introduction

 A very solid Kimono in construction and looks

X-Guard is one of those companies that dove right in to every aspect of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community as soon as they got in on the market. They pay close attention to their customers and because of that, have been moving more and more Gi’s. Folks like Vinny Magalhaes and Rodrigo Teixeira can be seen sporting X-Guard gear. With cool freebies and solid quality, you can’t go wrong with an X-Guard Kimono.

 

From the site:

This premium quality kimono was born on the mat, and was designed by a grappler for a grappler. Some features we demand are 8 point loop system trousers, contrast color stitching, tailored fit and feel, Lite-Pearl weave jacket, competition strength 10 oz canvas trousers, double stitched logos and a thick rope drawstring.

In addition this premium quality kimono is a LIMITED EDITION and will never be mass produced.

Kimono features:

– 8 Point Loop System
– Sick Contrast Color Stitching
– Lite Pearl Weave Jacket
– Competition Strength Canvas Trousers
– Thick Rope Drawstring
– Double Stitched Logos / Patches
– 3 Color Ribbon Lining

What you recieve:

1 x Gi Top

1 x Gi Pant

(Per other customers)

1 x T-shirt

1 x Gi Bag

1 x Patch

Summary:

A very solid pearl weave Kimono in construction and looks.  The XG4 Kamikaze doesn’t bring much, if anything, new to the table, but it is reasonably priced, with nice extra goodies and will take the abuse you throw at it. The Gi has mostly subtle flair that looks clean and contrasts well. I had no issues with bad threading or seams, which were tripled stitched throughout. Of note, the stretchy rope drawstring seemed to have frayed a little bit on one side, but that’s most likely a defect. As a limited edition Gi you won’t be able to get it anymore, but rest assured you will be in good hands if you pick up the XG5 series X-Guard has yet to release.

Unfortunately I washed the Gi before I took initial measurements so a shrinkage comparison would be in vain, however, I can tell you that shrinkage was very very minimal as I couldn’t even tell a difference in the sleeves, pants or skirt length. I even hot washed it with a run in the dryer on medium heat. So it would seem that the Gi stays pretty true to form.

The top:

In the range of Gi’s I own I would classify the X-Guard Kamikaze as a middle-weight. It’s not ultra-light or super-heavy, just a nice all around Gi top. It will be able to handle intense sessions on the mat quite easily. It was a tad larger than I like around the body, but that’s more likely to me being inbetween sizes than anything else.

The red and black contrast nicely but I must say that the white patch on the chest of the black Gi really throws off the sex appeal of the Gi overall to me. Otherwise, in the looks department, the Gi looks great.

The other white patch featuring a kamikaze on the bottom of the skirt has a nice location as to not detract from the overall look of the Gi. The collar was nice and thick, comfortable and sturdy.

During grappling the X-guard jacket did not limit my range of motion in any way and I felt no scratchy interior linings, patches, etc.

The sleeves are slim around the wrist which makes for a nice advantage in grip fighting.

Embroidery is well stitched including the “X” wrapped in a wreath on the sleeves and the Kamikaze Japanese lettering on the back of the Gi looks beautiful.

The skirt sits flush and the overall cut is what I would classify as being “tailored”. The sleeves did seem a little on the shorter side for an A3 compared to the rest of the Gi top. 

Pants: 

 

The pants felt much like any other canvas trousers. There was a bit of excess threading fraying at the belt loops which gave the pants a bit of a “cheap” look too it. A couple of tugs though and I was reassured that the belt loops would suffice in strength. And with 8 belt loops total instead of the usual 6 the drawstring stayed nice and secure without rising above the front of the pants.

The extra knee padding doesn’t extend all the way to the ankle, but it hast decent enough range.

The A3 pants were a bit long on my 5’10 frame and I did find the pants much baggier than I am used to. The A2 pants would have been a much wiser choice on my part. O well, that’s the tough life of a short and wide mutant.


Customer Service:

 

One thing that I hear a lot of great feedback on is X-Guards customer service. Most purchases enjoy free T-shirts, Gi-bags and patches.

I personally love having free stuff shoved in my face, so for those out there looking to make the most out of your investment, X-Guard really does have a great bang for the buck. I’m not 100% on their next XG5 gi’s price range but I expect to see it in the $120-140 range, depending on the seller.

TUFROL Signature Gi

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

The TUFROL Signature Gi.

TUFROL is a new company that has some nice designs and is working on developing their own brand of Gis. Like many companies, TUFROL is out of California.

TUFROL 010

 

gireviews-size-chart2

 

A. 6.75

B. 29

C. 22

D. 26

E. 22

F. 12

G. 9.5

H. 38

Pant length from crotch: 25

Chest width: 21

 

$139.00

 

  • 550 GSM Pearl Weave Jacket
  • 12 oz. canvas pants
  • pre-shrunk jackets and pants
  • gold weave gusset crotch
  • double stitched loops on the pants
  • reinforcement lining tape inside jacket and on sleeve and pants cuffs.
  • few tags and embroidery.
  • reinforced knee pads
  • EVA foam collar – perfect balance, not too hard (uncomfortable), not to soft (better grips for the opponent)
  • fitted kimono, confort and style
  • elastic drawstring on the pants
  • heavy reinforced seams for extra durability
  • contrast stitching

The Top:

The collar felt like it was choking me and was my only real major gripe with the Gi, I was really disappointed because aesthetically the Gi has some nice colors in use. The seam tape colors were different that a lot of other Gis and looked nice and I liked the use of gray as a contrast stitch and side vent color. I also liked how they left one of the sleeves blank and think the Gi overall would have looked a little better with both sleeves being blank.

I wasn’t too keen on their website being embroidered on the upper back of the Gi, to me putting a website on clothing can look pretty cheesy. The trailing stitching also looks subpar.TUFROL 007
The flat back part of the collar should be visible in this picture.  and was oddly formed with indents near the back of the neck. Maybe I have a fat neck, but I’ve never had this issue with any gi in the past of any A2 or A3 size from any company. It wasn’t comfortable to roll in at all.TUFROL 001The pretty seam tape, it was a bit scratchy, but only a tad. It lessened with continuous washing and wasn’t an issue after a handful of washes.

TUFROL 002
The TUFROL Signature Gi does have some nice elements to it, the color options being one of them, their TUFROL patch on the skirt of the jacket being another, it looks really nice and subtle.
TUFROL 003

Another tag on the skirt. Although they say the gi is 550gsm, it feels much lighter.TUFROL 004

I wasn’t the biggest fan of this arm embroidery from a looks standpoint. None of the patches or embroidery bothered me while rolling however.TUFROL 006

The Trousers:

The pants didn’t feel as if they were the greatest quality and had a yellow tint to them which didn’t look very good compared to the tops color. Although light, they felt relatively baggy in the arse. Regardless, I didn’t have any issues while rolling. Like the top, the pants 12oz cotton rating seems a bit too much as these are definitely some of the lighter pants I’ve worn.

TUFROL 017

Embroidery on the side of the leg.
TUFROL 012

The belt loop system worked and featured a six belt loop system with a stretchy rope drawstring.TUFROL 013The seam tape at the bottom of the pants was uncolored standard cotton. It wasn’t scratchy but was different than the colored choice they went with for the sleeves.TUFROL 015

Additional/Rolling:

Rolling wise, I just couldn’t enjoy myself due to the collar. The pants were ok but not my favorite fitting. This could be a great summer Gi due to its lightness if the collar fits you.

On a brighter note, in addition to the Gi, TUFROL throws in some really good looking stickers. I especially like the Carlos Gracie, Helio Gracie, Mitsu Maeda and Jigoro Kano sticker. It’s a really cool design and you can buy a shirt with it on their store.

TUFROL 021TUFROL 023TUFROL 022

In Conclusion:

I did try messaging TUFROL to express a few concerns but did not get a response back. Smaller companies are always improving and I’d love to see them make a couple minor changes to really let their line of Gis stand out.

Tatami Estilo 3.0

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

Tatami Fightwear Estilo 3.0 After Rolling Top & Pants, Pink Elephant slipper not included

The skinny on the Tatami Estilo 3.0 in Navy:

by Dan Halpin

– 500gsm Single Piece Pearl Weave Jacket
– Canvas rubberized collar, opposed to normal twill collar. Canvas BJJ GI collars are much more hard wearing than traditional twill collars and help to keep the shape of the kimono.
– Contrast stitching on all Kimono’s
– New patch and embroidery designs.
– Triple stitched across all stress points
– Estilo E logo embroidered on both arms and left leg
– Inside cuff and lapel trim
– Heavy 14oz Canvas pants opposed to traditional twill. Double reinforced knee padding, triple stitched with over lapped seams.
– 4 Drawstring loops on the trousers to help keep the pants in the correct position on the body.
– All Estilo kimono’s will come with mix and match pants options enabling customers of in between the sizes to have the best fitting kimono.
– Rope drawstring as opposed to the traditional twill, which allows for tighter fastening of the pants, and more comfort when training.

Bottom line: Buy this Gi! (This gi made our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for a reason!)

 

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). These are all things that I have experience with that I am recommending because they are helpful and are companies that I have personally purchased from, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products. If you have any questions about the links on this page, please email me!

Click here for a great price on the Estilo 3.0 here in the U.S.

Click here for the best place to order the Estilo 3.0 in the U.K. and abroad

Dan’s Score for the Tatami Estilo 3.0 in Navy: 9/10

Dan’s Dimensions: 5’10″ 195lbs, stockier upper body with normal legs for his height.
Gi Top Size: A3
Pant Size: A2

Estilo 3.0 by Tatami Fightwear Pre-Roll Top & Pants

Likes:

Pretty much everything about this Gi is likeable. The Gi cut is tailored and fits me like a glove (A3 at 5’10 195lbs, Gi has been washed and dried after every session). The interior is comfortable while the exterior is still difficult to grip.

The Navy colored Estilo 3.0 that I personally own is just beautiful. I don’t see anyone getting as many compliments as I do in regards to what Gi they’re wearing, except maybe a friend of mine who just purchased the Honey Badger Gi(also by Tatami) which is a work of art in the field of color contrasts, but I digress….

There is solid stitching and construction throughout this gi.

The pants. The PANTS. These are easily the most comfortable Gi pants I own.

Dislikes:

There is a seam (pictured below) around the neck area that sometimes bothers me. It appears to have happened from an uneven lining up of material on the back of the neck below the collar. I don’t notice it all the time, it’s like a little annoying fly that sometimes appears.

I’m unsure if this is a defect on my particular Gi or a production issue, but in all honest I’m really nit-picking at this Gi because it is THAT good. It’s annoyance factor is around a 1/10.

Estilo 3.0 Bothersome Seam

Gi Top:

As mentioned, the cut of this Gi has a tailored fit. What this means is that the Gi will have skinnier sleeves as well as a skinnier jacket that will feel almost snug to your upper body.

tatami estilo gi review Top

Don’t confuse that with a lack of mobility however as the Estilo 3.0 meets all of my demands and has never felt restrictive in any way shape or form. Tatami’s choice of colors for the patches really give the gi a clean effect without too much clutter like Tatami’s previous patches, definitely a step in the right direction on their part.

estilo 3.0 Sleeve

Collar:

The collar is around average sized, it feels thin but it’s very sturdy and it doesn’t have a tendency to flap around under my chin, it holds its shape very well.

Tatami Fightwear Estilo 3.0 Collar

Pants:

The looping system seemed strong after giving it a few nice tugs with no signs of tearing. Although for the average buyer not writing an internet review for the masses I wouldn’t recommend intentionally tugging at the drawstring loops on any Gi, you could easily be heading to the seamstress to sew them back on. The 14oz Canvas pants are very soft and comfortable yet strong.

I am more of a stockier guy and at 5’10″ 195lbs I would recommend the A3 top with the A2 pants if you are able to mix and match through your buyer.

The draw string system is very much preferred by me over the standard twill. I find it is much quicker to readjust quickly during sparing than the traditional style if it gets loose at all.

tatami estilo Beltloop System

Looks:

The Navy colored Estilo 3.0 really is stunning. The Gi is clean, crisp and beautiful. Not too flashy with just the right amount of bling. The tailored look of the Gi really adds to the sharp looking aspect of it.

There is a potential to go patch-less with this Gi with the only trouble spots being on the shoulder patches where the stitching is under the seam tape.

Any ole seamstress could handle this no problem and of note the Gi looks virtually identical to the Shoyoroll Yank when patch-less.

There is even a thread on the popular Mixed Martial Arts forum, Sherdog, about this.

tatami estilo versus shoyoroll yank

So if minimalism is your thing this Gi looks just as good patch-less. (Note: The Estilo in the Sherdog thread is a 2.0, not a 3.0, but extremely similar none the less.)

I did experience some fade in the Gi after the first wash (although I actually prefer the faded look). As I am generally lazy but also a germ freak my Gi’s go straight into the washer on Cold/Cold and then into the drier*.

It just makes me feel better about not leaving something wet drying in the open air. Tatami does NOT recommend the drier and I could have lost some color by doing this.

I add Distilled White Vinegar to all of the washes to help with any smell that could infiltrate the cotton as well as to help maintain the color of the Gi. I do not do a pre-soak in white vinegar prior to the first wash as a lot of people recommend, I’ve heard this is superstitious but it definitely helps with the smell. I experienced minimal shrinkage with the Tatami, less than a centimeter in sleeve length.

*As a side note I don’t actually recommend drying your gi in a dryer to anyone because it does wear out your Gi faster unless, like me, you’re lazy and a germaphobe. Or you just like wearing out Gi’s fast so you have reason to buy a new one.

Non-scientific who ha:

I bought my Estilo 3.0 and proudly posted on Facebook about it and within an hour or so a good friend of mine called and told me he had just been sponsored by Tatami and asked if I recommended the Estilo, which of course I did. My friend picked up an Estilo 3.0 in Blue immediately and called me back to tell me how much he loved it once he got to roll in it and how it was the best Gi he has ever owned. His main Gi prior to the Estilo 3.0 was a Shoyoroll Compadre and he said the cut and finish of the Tatami were far superior.

Soul Kimonos Paradiso

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Soul Kimonos Paridiso Review

Overall:

A very well crafted Gi that met all of my expectations. I had no quality issues whatsoever with the Gi. I made some slight modifications by removing  the shoulder tapes as I felt the white tape was too harsh of a contrast with the black and made the Gi looked cluttered, but overall I think the Gi looks very well done. (Note: The seam taping along the outside of the Gi is grey, but may show up white due to the brightness of the pictures)

Measurements:

A: 6.25

B: 28.75

C: 18.5

D: 23.5

E: 20.5

F: 13

G: 9.5

H: 37.5

About the Paradiso:

The Paradiso is very nicely priced at $120 with free shipping from Soul Kimonos. Every purchase of a Paradiso also includes the “Rolling with my homies” T-shirt, a great looking T, making the $120 Paradiso a great great deal.

-550gsm Pearl Weave Top w/Eva Foam Collar

-10 oz Cotton Drill Pants

-Stretchy Rope Drawstring w/unique belt loop system

-Very Long reinforced knees

-Tailored fit

Top:

The Gi is a pearl weave of medium weight and thickness. I felt like the jacket felt for snug to my body (an A2 on a 5’10″ 195lb frame) just how I like it. The embroidery was very well done and I have zero complaints about in, either on the front, arms or on the back.

The sleeves leave very little excess for grabbing, a delightful attribute indeed. The inner sleeve tape felt a tad bit scratchy but after a few washes it seemed to go away after breaking it in. All the sewing on the inner sleeve taping stayed true and did not run off.

I’m not the biggest fan out of outside seam tape on the bottom of the skirt, but I felt like Soul Kimonos really did a good job of not making it look tacky.

The Gi is reinforced at all of the normal locations, the inner armpit and the skirt slits.

Bottom:

One of my favorite attributes is the width of the pant legs itself as well as the length. The pants fit me great and aren’t baggy like a lot of the MC Hammer pants that make it to the market today. They are also very soft and comfortable to wear.

The knee reinforcements are double stitched and have great coverage all of the length of the pant leg. Inside the left leg reinforcement is a nicely embroidered palm logo.

The belt looping system is of an excellent design minus one small flaw. It should be lowered around 1/2 an inch to a full inch below the waistline to stop the drawstring from coming up at the tie location. It causes the pants to cinch oddly in front, but doesn’t cause any discomfort or cause a drop in performance, but worth mentioning.

As I previously stated, I modified the Gi to suit my personal tastes a bit, removing the shoulder tapes is an extremely easy process. You simply start by cutting the black threads on the INSIDE of the jacket that are holding down the shoulder tape. Once enough of the thread has been removed you can literally pull the whole patch off.

Belt Prototype:

We also received a Prototype belt from Soul Kimonos that is made out of Pearl Weave. It’s now my primary belt and I abuse the crap out of it. I wash it after every session (AND YOU SHOULD TOO) and it’s holding up very well. I like the vibrant blue color that the belt came in as well. It’s been a couple months now and all is well. People will probably find these similar to the War belts if you are familiar with those.

Shoyoroll Rio Koi

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Gi Review

Shoyoroll Rio Koi

FROM THE SITE:

One of our artist series release by homegrown NYC based artist John Smalls. The designs and color ways are influenced by the birth place of BJJ (Rio De Janiero, BRAZIL) and design pattern blend of a Japanese inspired Koi with a Water Dragon (2012).  We will also be featuring pattern
art hits in different parts of the kimono.

Rio Koi Specs:

  • Shoyorolls new “Lite Tech Weave” Jacket
  • 10 oz Drill Cotton Pants with Gold Weave Gusset
  • Color ways of White with Green and Yellow Trims

My first Shoyoroll:

I had high expectations. VERY high expectations. I’m sitting here looking at a $1,580.75 price tag for a Shoyoroll Grey Skies on ebay, which someone actually paid. If that’s not a testament to the cult status of Shoyoroll Gi’s to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community I don’t know what is. That’s a mortgage payment for an average American, that’s NUTS. I don’t even think the Gi is one of Shoyorolls better looking…but I digress. I could care less about rarity, hype or the status quo. I just want a good gi.

So, with my high expectations, I took the Gi out of the bag and examined it. It was sexy. Shoyoroll Gi’s sell great for a reason, I like to think that reason is their extremely clean styling. There’s no out of place, mis-match or awkward placed patches that don’t contrast correctly. Although their color use may seem simple, it’s obvious to anyone with design experience that their Gi’s are very well thought out in the aesthetics department.

It isn’t that Shoyoroll Gi’s are bulletproof or make you a better grappler (although science does support the fact that if you wear a Gi you think you look badass in, you perform better), it’s the little things that made this Gi stand out to me. I assumed it would be like every other Gi but with just a little better styling. I, fortunately, was wrong.

The top:

I love the way the top fits. Just wearing it makes me feel skinny. The slim cut is perfect. At 5’10” 195lbs the A2 fit perfectly. The sleeves are tighter than any of my other Gi’s but I had no issues with the gi top restricting any movements whatsoever.

I want my gi to be as close to my body as possible so my opponents have the least amount of materials to grip. The Rio Koi does not disappoint. The Gi top is extremely light and easily the lightest Gi I’ve ever worn. It’s very very soft and relatively easy to grab but for those hot summer days or competitions where you need to watch your weight, this Gi will do superbly.

Styling wise the Gi top is accented with artist John Smalls Japanese Koi and Water Dragon design at the top portion of the inside of the Gi. It looks beautiful and is sublimated on a separate material as the Gi, which I imagine will allow the colors and to last quite a while.

There’s the standard Shoyoroll hits on the sleeve, which I’d like to point out look much improved over the Compadre and Americana embroidery. These newer version are outlined with a thicker embroidery giving the logos a much cleaner and professional look.

The Gi sleeves and skirt are taped with the same Koi design as the large jacket print and it really makes the Gi pop.  The collar is thin, so you’ll actually have to have some choke defense.

The pants:

The Gi pants fit me great. Shoyoroll pants are much slimmer, which as I mentioned earlier is something I love. I absolutely cannot stand Gi pants that are ridiculously baggy. (I’m looking at you virtually every other Gi company EVER). At 5’10, I couldn’t ask for a better length. After a single warm wash and medium dry the pants fit me perfectly. 

The green rope drawstring and belt loops contrast nicely. The knee reinforcements don’t go to the bottom of the ankle, but they go very far down, more than enough to cover my knee regardless of position.

I have two complaints for the Gi pants. The crotch can get tight at extreme leg separation and would have liked to seen Shoyoroll use a stretchy crotch like the Do or Die Hyperfly. The inside of the crotch does look great though which also showcases the Rio Koi design. (You can now go up to people and say “I have a dragon in my pants! Want to see it!).

The second complaint is that the belt loop system has the same ole 4 loop system. It’s 2012 Shoyoroll, have you seen what Origin is doing with their beltloops? Or Inverted Gear? Having a thicker belt loop closer to the sides of the body prevents the rope from ever coming up over the pants.  Get on it! 

 Overall:

So that’s it,  I love the fit of the Gi and it looks stunning. The graphic work and fit really set the Gi apart. I will sit here and tell you when their Guma T-shirts look like poo (massive stinking piles of poo) and I will also give credit where credit is due. So before you criticize a Gi or company because of it’s hype, remember that “the devil is in the details.”

Update 12/23/2012:

After forgetting to remove the jacket from my pile of clothes I was transferring to the dryer the Gi shrunk considerably. More so than any Gi I own. The Lite Tech weave stretches a great deal when wet and I imagine any Gi that stretches is more prone to shrinkage. It fits my tiny wife great though!