Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A trailer was stolen from Charles Gracie Truckee, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym, on Friday June 6th, at 9pm. According to the owner of the gym the truck used for the crime probably has California plates. The trailer contained some very expensive grappling mats and tournament equipment, seen below.

The perpetrator himself is a white male, 5’11”, 170 with a shaved head. He also likes to wear shirts that scream douchebag.

The vehicle (to me) looks like an eighth generation Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Sierra. Probably late 70s to mid 80s model year.

Here are some pictures posted by the owner of the gym of the asshole who stole the trailer, the equipment that was inside the trailer, the trailer itself and the perpetrating assholes vehicle:

Anyone with any information should call the Truckee, CA Police Department  530-550-2323.


asshole asshole2 asshole3 assholestruck assholetruck2 stolenequipment stolentrailer

Team Kool Katz

I was doing photography work for the USBJJ Grappling Tournament back in August of 2013 when I first moved to Wisconsin and I met a young man who really stood out to me. His name was Alphy. He came up to me and asked if I did jiu jitsu and when I said yes we talked for a few moments about jiu jitsu and grappling in general. I told him about my association with and eventually we became Facebook friends. I noticed that anytime I was at a tournament doing photography, Alphy was there. His facebook page was loaded with pictures of him on the podium of multiple local tournaments.  When I saw him at the Combat Corner Grappling Championship tournament a few months later, he talked about all of his friends that were at the tournament with him. If there was someone enthusiastic about Jiu Jitsu, it’s Alphy.


Then one day I noticed something on his Facebook page I hadn’t noticed before. Alphy had started a BJJ club out of his garage for people who couldn’t afford to train at a regular academy. They gave their team the name “Team Kool Katz” and got matching shirts to wear to local tournaments.  Alphy didn’t do any of this for fame or recognition, but simply because he has a love for grappling and wanted others to be able to love grappling too.

Their team was in need of some logo love so I messaged Alphy one day and said “hey man, this is for you”, because I think a lot of the times we should just help people simply because we can. He’s doing a great service to people for free, so why shouldn’t people support him for free? BJJ’s very essence is about helping people right?


I wasn’t the only one helping out Alphy and his team though… a Gi brand named Quantum Kimonos offered to sponsor Alphy’s team when a local tournament organizer reached out to them and explained their situation.


Alphy has a wrestling background and has been training for a few years. Despite being a teenager, Alphy has no problems tangling with the Adults and earning his spot on the podium. So not only is he an awesome person, but he’s also an awesome grappler.

Eventually, his skills were recognized by his referee at Combat Corner who just so happened to be Justin Morris from Third Heaven Jiu Jitsu in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Justin is a Black Belt under Marcello Monteiro, a fourth degree Black Belt under the legendary Ricardo De La Riva. Justin invited Alphy up to his school after the tournament and promoted him to Blue Belt, officially bringing Team Kool Katz under Justin Morris’ watchful eye for their grappling development and promotions.


I sat down with Alphy and asked him some questions about his motivation to start the team and where he would like to end up with it.

1. What’s your grappling background? How long, what styles?

I started wrestling in sixth grade for my grade school, Stanton Middle School located in Fox Lake. I continued wrestling for the next six years. Summer of ’08 I started Jiu Jitsu at a local gym which was called RFO (Respect, Focus, and Obedience) owned by Randy Otto. I trained there for about a month under Master Daniel Wanderly who is currently at Roufusport. After a month of training and learning my closed guard techniques I was informed the gym was closing due to the bills not being paid. I have trained bjj in my basement, ever since.

2. Why did you start TKK?? Who are the founders?

Back in ’08 a buddy of mine named Noah Drabek and myself were going all over the Midwest competing in many grappling tournaments. But at every tournament we always signed up as independent. After a while we got tired of being no namers and we knew we didn’t have the money for a gym so we decided to make up our own team, Team Kool Katz, and that is were it all began at a C3 tournament in Gary IN. The other reason I started Team Kool Katz is to help the kids who can’t pay every month for a top notch gym, for the kids that want to learn but don’t have the resources, and to help kids get off the streets and out of trouble. We may not have had a black belt until just recently but we have a solid team that works hard for what we want. No cost. No catch. No problem.

 3. Where is TKK located?

TKK is located in Inglside IL at 35737 Watson ave. My uncle Lenny Miles has been Generous throughout all theses years and supportive to let me have my gym at his house.

4. Describe an average session at TKK for me, who leads? Is it typical class style?

Our classes are your typical BJJ class, we go over technique in the beginning on class and end off with a round robin rolling session. Sometimes we get creative and have a mini tournament to help the nerves of new competitors. Typically I do lead the classes but I like to show that we are all on the same level and no-one is better. But also from time to time I let the assistant coach Ronny Uribe go over technique due to that fact that his submissions are very solid.

5. Where do you find the knowledge that is shared in class?

Throughout my life I have been invited to many different gyms all over and I have always capitalized and gone to each gym and learned multiple types of technique, also YouTube is a great help.

6. How did you go about getting sponsored by Quantum Kimono’s?

The way that we got involved with Quantum Kimonos was all thanks to a close buddy of mine Mark Stevenson who runs with Badger Land Ju Jitsu and also runs a great tournament called King Grappler. Mark actually went out of his way and talked to them for me and later I was contacted by them and we have been working together ever since and for that I am greatly thankful to Mark and Quantum.

7. How did you meet Justin Morris? Can you tell us about your experience at his academy?

I met Justin Morris at a local tournament called Combat Corner, he was actually my ref for my NOGI and GI matches and right before we walked out of the tournament at the end of the day he came up to my team and asked me why I didn’t have a blue belt. After talking for a couple minutes he invited me to come out to Beaver Dam, WI to test for my blue belt. I immediately took the offer and went out there that Wednesday. I got to his gym at 6:45 and didnt leave until about 10:30 and I can assure you that every minute there was not wasted and I was introduced to a whole new side of BJJ.

8. What do you think the major differences are for your team compared to a regular academy?

The major difference between my academy/club and anyone else’s is I truly do care about all of my competitors as if they were blood. I am not in it for the money what so ever and I show that by never charging anyone a dime and even helping many of our guys pay for our tournaments. I just see so much potential in every kid it would be a shame to let it go to waste. We’re also at a disadvantage because many gyms have the money and power to have pull in the BJJ world and then you have my team just making a name for themselves.

9. How does it make you guys at TKK feel seeing so many people try and support what you’re doing?

Truthfully I have never been in it for the attention. I did not realize that people actually took us seriously, for the longest time people laughed at my idea but now I feel like what I am doing is really helping the kids and my gym is very glad people do support us



Can you do more for the BJJ Community?

I don’t ask the question because I wan’t people to feel guilty, but rather because I want people to question whether there’s new ways they could help the community that they hadn’t considered before. You may surprise yourself. No one HAS to help anyone else, but people really appreciate it when you do. People who do BJJ have tons of different skills that can be used to strengthen our community. I think BJJ is inherently about helping people, and even in the smallest ways everyone can help someone else. Just showing up to class is helping someone get a training partner, just keep your eyes peeled for those moments you can give back.

Non-Hemp Sensation by Submission FC

Turns out, the GI and Submission FCs “hemp” rashguards have ZERO Hemp in them according to third party testing done on them:



I really liked the way the Gi felt. It was very soft and I thought it fit well. It’s a very plain Gi (not necessarily a bad thing) but to be honest though, I felt like the construction quality of the Gi was overall very poor. The stitching on the seams and stress points looked very cheap and the Embroidery on the shoulders for the “Submission FC” logo were crooked and didn’t match.

Based on what we’ve seen in this Gi, we can’t recommend it to our fellow Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practioners simply because we feel there are better quality options out there in the same price range, although that isn’t limited to hemp gi’s. I don’t think this is the worst Gi in existence, but it’s definitely not in the price range it should be in. If this was a sub $100 Gi than it wouldn’t be a bad deal to jump on, but it’s not, so it isn’t. If you like the way it looks and want a semi-hemp GiI don’t think it’s going to literally fall apart on you (Please see update #1 below, I stand corrected), but the strings coming undone, stitching quality and embroidery quality definitely leave much to be desired.

From the site:

First Hemp (Lies!) Gi made with style!

  • – Hemp Fabric Gi Top (Lies!)
  • – White with Green Contrast Stitching
  • – Pre-Shrunk
  • – Light 10oz Hemp Blend Pants
  • – New Embroidered Designs
  • – Heavily Reinforced Stress Points
  • – Green Rope Draw String
  • – 5 Draw String Loops

 Price per Unit (piece): $159.95

I could list off a bunch of positive aspects of Hemp, but it wouldn’t apply to this Gi since it’s made of  a Polyester and Cotton blend with zero Hemp.


A. 6.25

B. 31

C. 21.5

D. 24

E. 23

F. 13

G. 9.25

H. 43.25

Length from crotch to ankle: 29.5

The top:

Beyond the before mentioned quality issues, the Gi looks decent enough. I love green on white and the fit was nice and tailored.

The skirt was a tad on the longer side but overall I don’t have any real complaints about the top.

Like I said previously however, the Gi suffers from quality issues. Stitches seem to end randomly and it just looks very cheaply done.

If the Gi was a painting it would be a Monet, from far away it looks great, but up-close it’s a bunch of messiness. (Thank you Clueless for providing me with that invaluable metaphor).

The pants:

Although it looks more professional straight stitching itself doesn’t really relate to the durability of a Gi specifically IF the stitching is thorough and is ended correctly.

With that being said, there’s probably a lot of Gi’s I have that have minor stitching errors that I have never noticed, simply because they are minor and not noticeable.

With the Hemp Sensation they’re everywhere, I noticed right away how crooked all of the stitching on the back of the Gi was and the pants have stitching that is coming right out.

The pants are also some of the baggiest pants I have ever worn (size A3). They were very easy for my opponents to get a firm grip on with a lot of slack.

The belt system was basic, but worked. It did have a fifth belt loop in the front of the pants, which doesn’t bother me at all, you just tie the rope drawstrings around it.


I could never support this company after conning so many of it’s customers like this. They were warned by Datsusara’s owner over a year ago that their products didn’t have hemp, and they still marketed them as such. Disgraceful.

The Gi does not come with a Gi bag, another knock for the price range. But does come with a clever mini gi that you could hang from your car mirror.

Update #1 11/17/2012

The Gi seems to be unraveling quite a bit as these pictures show:

And here’s another example of the constant back stitching that is prominent throughout the gi:

On March 1, 2012 an Indiegogo page was setup for “Gi Drive” whose mission was to “Help us send over 100 BJJ Gis to the people who need them most!”. The fundraiser ended on April 30, 2012 according to Indiegogo. Link:

Gi Drive Indiegogo Main

According to the page, during that time $2,907 was raised of a $4,250 goal with the intention of paying for the Gis that were collected to be sent to Brazil, specifically, Drive In Jiu Jitsu which was highlighted in Christian Graugarts blog here: this is likely to not include a non-disclosed amount that may have been collected in person or through other means.

Many BJJ companies including, Meerkatsu, SubCulture USA, Gawakoto, Scramble, Ronin Brand , and MAS contributed to “Perks” that people could buy and know the money was going to the cause. Several Chicago BJJ instructors also lended their time and resources to the project, Andre “Maneco” Leite, Mark Vives, Jeff Serafin, Misho Ceko, Adem Redzovic and Jay Valko.

The “Gi Drive” was organized by’s Brendan Hufford. Brendan also owns a BJJ brand called Ok! Kimonos which focuses on childrens Gis but also makes adult gis. As stated on Ok! Kimonos webpage under their Gi Exchange Program link: “Supporting Drive-In BJJ Academy in Rio de Janeiro is the reason that I started Gi Drive and Ok Kimonos. Drive-In is located in a semi-favela part of Rio and I am vehemently passionate about the work that is being done there.”

OkKimonos Gi Exchange Program Page

He makes those same claims in an interview he did with Sally Arsenault for the online magazine (in August of 2013) and more recently even GiCritic (March 2014) mentions it.

Breakingmuscle article


A large group of the BJJ community came together to support this great cause.

Almost 2 years have passed since the indiegogo campaign ended and I hadn’t seen a single picture, post or article done on the success of the campaign and the kids wearing any of their “new” gis.  This, based on Brendan Huffords marketing prowess, left me concerned. Brendan surely knows how to market things he is doing, so why not post anything in regards to Drive In Jiu Jitsu.

Because I couldn’t find any contact info for Paulo at Drive In Jiu Jitsu I searched the indiegogo Gi Drive page for anyone else associated with the page who would be able to verify it’s success. I noticed on the “Updates” tab it mentioned Dennis Asche from Connection Rio here:

E-mailed back and forth with Dennis Asche from

Connection Rio about getting the gis out to those who need them”

Gi Drive Indiegogo Updates

So I contacted Dennis Asche who emailed me saying he had no knowledge of what became of the Gi Drive and surely didn’t assist in them arriving in Brazil, so if they did arrive, they came from another avenue. I emailed him back asking if he knew how to contact Paulo at Drive In but have yet to receive a response.

Dennis Asche

I then contacted Christian Graugart on his facebook page asking if he knew how to get a hold of Paulo and he did, which was via a Facebook page which I had been unable to find previously.
On February 21st, 2014, almost two years after the Gi Drive ended,  I sent my first message to Paulo Cezar Drive-In via his facebook page:

Hello Professor, Did you ever receive the Gis that Brendan Hufford collected money and Gis for with this fundraiser? There was a lot of money and Gis collected and I don’t believe he had them sent to you and that he kept the money for himself. I’m sorry I don’t speak Portuguese but I will try and translate: Olá Professor, Alguma vez você receber o Gis que Brendan Hufford arrecadou dinheiro e Gis para com este fundraiser? Havia um monte de dinheiro e Gis coletados e eu não acredito que ele havia lhes enviado a você e que ele ficou com o dinheiro para si mesmo. Me desculpe, eu não falo Português, mas vou tentar traduzir:

Gi Drive”

I received a response within an hour from the page:

Hi Dan my name is Gina Dos Santos and I’m wife of Lucio Sergio friend of Drive in who is currently staying at our house in the Uk, where we have organised legitimate events to raise money for him and the children in Brazil.”

We are very shocked to learn that this person (who I befriended in Facebook) raised money on his behalf and I can assure you that he never received neither the his (gis) or the money he mentioned on the video”

“Yes we are very concerned that this has been done”

I asked if Gina knew if Paulo had ever heard of this Gi Drive before or Ok! Kimonos (who also claims to send Gis to Drive In) and she responded “He says he just found out about this when you sent the message!!”

Obviously, Gina and Paulo are very concerned with their reputation and that someone could use their good cause to make a profit:

“this ruins Paulo’s reputation and good will, and all the hard work we tried to do. He thanks in messages every time he receives a donation or gets invited to seminars, and my husband and my self have done videos after a seminar thanking people for attending and explaining were the money goes. This is terrible”


So, almost two years later there is a large amount of Gis that were donated and a large amount of money donated to a cause that was unaware of the campaign even going on who never received a single Gi, nor a single cent. I know a lot of the donated Gis were adult gis and Brendan claims were sent to a project in California (I am unaware of to where exactly though). Regardless, it’s a disgusting thing to promote your brand as going charity work you DON’T ACTUALLY DO. I’m sure he’s just holding onto the money in his bank account or paypal account for a rainy day to randomly decide to finally send it to them.

That amount of money could easily outfit an entire academy for a very long time with brand new gis if the money alone had been used to order Gis from a factory or a generous company in Brazil who would discount a bulk order.

The fact that he has never supported Drive-in has not stopped Brendan Hufford from allowing people to say he does in online articles about his company. Which at the very least is dishonest and lacks integrity.

If you were a part of the Gi Drive, I’m pretty sure you’d like to know what happened to everything. At the very least, maybe this article will actually help get that money to where it was supposed to go by forcing Brendan to act.



Edit: So after I contacted Paulo initially, he contacted Brendan and confronted him about the Gi Drive scandal. Brendan is now shipping Paulo some Gis (supposedly boxing them up tomorrow). I’ll update when I hear more. I guess Paulo talking to him was a nice motivator. I’m just glad a bunch of kids in Brazil are getting the Gis they need. (Hopefully anyway). When asked what Paulo’s sentiment was he said “Busted…now coming clean”.

Edit: According to a screen shot provided by Brendan, Brendan actually messaged Paulo in August of 2013, 1.5 years after the Gi Drive ended, and told him his intention of bringing Gis to Brazil during a personal trip (Which makes me wonder if he was using the charity funds to get fly him down there…). I am assuming Paulo simply gets a lot of traffic from people wanting to donate and that he forgot about Brendans post. Brendan never mentioned the Gi Drive, just that he collected used Gis and would be giving new ones. Which still leaves a ton of questions and still proves Drive In had no idea their name for the charity. For instance, Brendan admits that he had 100% control of the funds, but Nick Mitria (his original Gi Drive partner) ended up with all of the Gis. So what Gis are being sent to Rio? Did Brendan use the funds to make Ok! Kimonos gis to send to Rio, with the intention of claiming he donated them?

Edit: (3.25.2014)

Originally posted by Robert Kipness on the MMAunderground forum, he received a statement from Nick Mitria (from SubCulture, Brendans original partner for the Gi Drive).

I asked Nick about this whole situation, if he sent the gi’s to CIA Paulista and his involvement in it. He responded back to me with this.

This is the direct email I got from him, word for word. Take it for what you want.

– “First, I want to say that it is not my job to drag anyone’s name through the mud, and I did not plan on getting involved in this discussion unless my name was brought up and my involvement came into question.

My role was to run the facebook page and website, and get bodies to the Gi Drive Open Mat event, as I was tied into the Jiu Jitsu community and Brendan was a relatively unknown person.

It was Brendan’s responsibility to handle all funds and the logistics of where the gis were going.

After discovering the expense of shipping all of the gis collected to Brazil, an alternative option was required. At this point the gis were supposed to go to Cia Paulista for an outreach project for the youth in California. Very few of the gis collected were actually youth gis.

On October 5th, 2012, Brendan sent me $312 via his personal PayPal account to cover UPS shipping fees to send the gis to California. After speaking to one of the head instructors at Cia Paulista, we discovered that adult gis were not needed and they were specifically looking to collect youth gis. (We had collected maybe 6 youth gis?)

I had my falling out with Brendan after a phone conversation I had with him regarding the funds, which he controlled. He suggested to me that we split the money that was raised for the charity and go our separate ways. I told him that was not our money for splitting, but he felt that he was owed a fee for running around and administrative work. I told him it was donated for a cause and it should be used for just that. I then made it very clear I no longer wanted anything to do with him, and that was the last time I spoke to Brendan Hufford over the phone.

None the gis were shipped to California, the $312 dollars was used to pay for storage of the gis, the remainder of the cost was out of pocket. I had to seek out a new project to donate all of the gis to. I found that former instructor and friend Andre Negao had a project out of Brazil 021 to collect and donate gis in Brazil, so all gis collected through the Gi Drive were sent to Andre Negao. You can see in the attached document that 67 gis were received by them. (There are still a dozen or two in storage, for the project’s next trip down.)

If anything is unclear, feel free to ask me any questions, but I have no interest in going on with “he said, she said” garbage.”

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

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.



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.


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.


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.


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!

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.


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”.


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.


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.


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).


(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:


The “Chix”:


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:
Like them on Facebook here:

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.


Muaewear Furinkazan Gi Review Video:


560gsm Single Weave

330gsm Cotton Twill

Pre Shrunk



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.


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!


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.


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!


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)


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

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 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.