Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Underoath BJJ

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Underoath BJJ

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

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

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

Creonte

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

sidescript

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

tag

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

kimuraallday

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

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

Q & A time!

Q. What is UnderOath’s background?

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

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

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

Q. How did you start BJJ?

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

Q. Why did you start a BJJ company?

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

Q. What are your main goals as a company?

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

Q. How’s it being a Canadian company?

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

Q. What makes UnderOath BJJ different than other brands?

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

Q. How much do you love Poutine?

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

Q. Can you get me some?

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

Update!

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

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

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

PAPA

The “Chix”:

thumbsup

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

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

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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

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.

Gi Soap

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Gi Soap is coming out into a market that is saturated with aggressive marketing.

Some soap companies throw tits in your face as an appeal to sell their soap. You won’t get women with their jugs hanging out on Gi Soaps Facebook page or on their products, but you just might see some results.

The image is a customer of Gi Soap who submitted this image to them showing how he rid himself of ringworm using Gi Soap. (although I’m concerned this guy has a Gi on while having ringworm, which concerns me that he was training with people…)

There doesn’t seem to be a gimmick to Gi Soap. It’s a bar of soap shaped like a cuboid (like a cube, but rectangular on some sides *FACTOID OF THE DAY*), it smells good, it lathers well enough, it’s all natural and the best part is that it kills bacteria and fungus. They definitely promote the all natural aspect of their soap and with all the horrible news coming out about dyes lately I think that’s all for the better.

I had to do a little digging (cough *google* cough) to find out what made Gi Soap Anti-Microbial, Anti-Fungal, Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral, but indeed, all of the claims stack up under scrutiny and it makes sense that the above BJJ players ringworm situation was rectified. I’ve put together a list of the ingredients and what they do at the bottom of the review

Ok Rambler, so how’s the soap?

So the soap comes in unreusable packaging so you won’t be able to take this along with you anywhere unless you already have a soap container. For those of us who just plan on using it at home, no big deal. The packaging and name let’s everyone know who this is marketed to, BJJ players. However, this soap would greatly benefit any wrestlers or other submission artists out there. Hell, if you’ve fallen into sketchy lake water you might want to use this too, I’ve swam in some lakes in Texas that could be classified as nuclear dump sites and I’m pretty sure I should have got a penicillin shot afterward.

The soap smells very subtle, it has a nice mild scent to it and when I smell it nothing screams out at me as being prominent.

(Notice how the cuboid shape allows easy placement in the shower? Intentional design, obviously)

It feels like any other soap except I don’t get that residue you would get from something like Irish Spring. I also like the fact that huge chunks of it don’t fall off during use, it’s maintaining it’s shape well which makes me feel like it will last longer. I’ll update the review as time goes by to reflect how long it lasts training 3 times a week. I do recommend following up your wash with some moisturizer. I don’t think it made my hands dry per se, but I could tell my hands felt extremely devoid of oil/whatever else is on my hands normally, that I felt that I needed a little moisturizer. Kind of how your hands feel after peeling elmers glue from your fingers. (man I love doing that!)

It’s easy to work up a lather but it’s not very bubbly. That’s fine though as I could tell i was still able to spread it all over quite nicely without using much. It left my skin feeling very smooth after the shower and I even noticed it this morning when I woke up.

Overall I’d say Gi Soap is a great choice for anyone looking to take care of their bodies health after grappling. I’ve used Dial Anti-bacterial body wash prior to getting this soap but the extra Anti-Fungal, Anti-Microbial and Anti-Viral aspects of the soap are quite appealing. My only personal recommendation, based off a lot of scientific literature I’ve read, is to ONLY use this after grappling and not after every shower. Your bodies own good bacteria can be killed off leaving you more susceptible to bacterial infections from the harmful type. Your bodies immune system can also get weaker by never having to resist any bacteria, fungus, viruses, etc on it’s own.  The phrase “too much of a good thing” comes to mind. After grappling you have an excess of these harmful things on your body and that’s why it’s necessary to take care of it properly.

As promised small breakdown of the ingredients, which are listed on the back of their Gi Soap packaging:

-Soybean and Hemp Oil: Amino & Fatty Acids as well as vitamins to promote good skin condition and health.

-Coconut Oil: Anti-Viral, Anti-Microbial and Anti-Fungal. Also, it acts as a moisturizer.

-Shea Butter: Acts as a moisturizer as well as an Anti-Inflammatory.

-Mint: Also acts as an Anti-Inflammatory and keeps skin hydrated. (And to think i always thought it was just good with chocolate. Andes Mints anyone?) O yea, it smells delicious too.

-Tea Tree Oil: The spoils of Tea Tree oil have been reaching all new heights in recent years. It’s Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Microbial and Anti-Fungal properties have been getting more and more hype as years go by. Unlike a lot of “all natural” remedies, Tea Tree Oil has been proven to be effective, even more so then many Antibiotics in regards to resisting MSRA or antibiotic resistant infections. Due note though that I’m referring to topical treatment only, don’t go swallowing tea tree oil thinking it will cure that hole in your leg. Now would be a good time to also point out that adding unnatural chemicals to tea tree oil will greatly diminish it’s effectiveness. Or at least that’s what some doctor on some natural oil reference website said. Take that for what you will.

-Manuka oil: The holy grail of essential oils and the bigger and stronger brother of Tea Tree Oil. Gi Soap uses this guy for the same reason people use Tea Tree Oil, except Manuka Oil packs around a 20% bigger punch than Tea Tree oil in regards to bacteria. Only specific varieties are truly that strong and Gi Soap doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It seems that Manuka Oil suppliers and the region where they obtain it from are a well guarded secret as no one wants other companies edging in on their gold.

At $5, I think everyone should have a bar.

BOTTOM LINE? I’M PRETTY SURE TYLER DURDEN WOULD APPROVE.

A message from the CEO of Gi Soap, which can be found in their About section of their site Gisoap.com

“We know we don’t last as long as the other products in the market, it’s because we don’t drench our products with harsh chemicals or fake preservatives that weaken and deteriate your skin.
We also know that we don’t have the best packing, most creative names for our products or cool colors for each item.

That are things we do not offer and will not offer.

What we do offer are quality hand made products. We never use cheap ingredients or drown our products with synthetics. We stick by what we make and by what we will always be: All natural!
Oss.  -Marcel Oliveira”

Update 12/23/2012:

After 4 months of 2-3 days a week of use the soap has seen the end of its life. That’s some decent shelf life folks.

Ezekiel Kimonos

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

ezekiel-kimonos-Overview

Ezekiel Kimono

A Fair Showing for a First Release

by Dan Halpin

The Ezekiel is well constructed Gi that is durable and light weight, although it does have some minor issues. I think most people would be quite pleased with the purchase of this Gi, but do note, the slits on the sides of the skirt are cut a bit long. On the flip side, there is some new innovations as well.

At $129 the Gi is not as well refined as it’s more mainstream competition in regards to those “finishing touches”. For example, the strings of the pants aren’t knotted when you receive the Gi. Also lacking is the standard Gi bag that every company I have received a Gi from to date has provided, and although I don’t buy a Gi for a bag, I also don’t buy a car for cup holders, but who doesn’t want more of those? Am-I-rite?

It does however, come sealed nicely in a ziplock bag to protect it from the elements during shipping. So if you’re a meat and potatoes kind of guy and not really interested in any extra jazz or fluff, you won’t be bothered.

(Side note: I’m an avid Gi bag collector and the Tatami Estilo 3.0 bag is my favorite and despite what Brendan thinks, my addiction is NOTHING similar to a woman who collects purses.) [Dan has requested that his gi bag collection hence be known as his “murses” ~ Brendan]

From their site:

“We make our gis with competitors in mind. Lighter weaves are good for weigh-in purposes, but can cause difficulties when trying to break an opponent’s grip during a match. After many discussions with competitors, we used 550 GSM (fabric weight) pearl weave for the jacket, which is made from one piece of material with no back seam for comfort. The Lapel has EVA foam inserts to prevent gi chokes.

ezekiel-kimonos-Loop System

Pants are made from strong 12 oz drilled cotton with triple stitching all around for maximum durability. We’ve added a rope drawstring and four belt loops for comfort. The gi cut allows for maximum mobility for guard players.

ezekiel-kimonos-Characters

The Chinese characters on the pant and the chest mean “Jiu Jitsu”. On the back of the skirt, we added a long patch with our logo and “Sode Guruma Jime” which means “sleeve wheel choke” in Japanese. If you have any questions concerning sizing, please check our size/dimension chart or e-mail us at info@ezekielkimono.com”

The Good:

This Gi is light, generally comfortable and made well. I have been very fortunate that I have never worn a Gi that I felt had subpar craftsmanship and I am pleased to say that Ezekiel Kimono’s initial offering of a pearl weave does not set a new trend in this regard. I couldn’t find a single loose thread on the entire Gi. Another aspect of the Gi I really enjoyed were the shoulder tapes and rear-skirt tape. The tapes were thinner and less explosive than many other companies shoulder tapes. This provides the Gi with a really clean look overall.

ezekiel-kimonos-Back

Probably my favorite feature of the Gi was its introduction of, soon to be revolutionary, felt seam tapes around the wrist. It’s really an ingenius idea that was definitely well received by me in its execution. It’s quite soft and in turn makes the sleeves that much more comfortable.

ezekiel-kimonos-Felt Sleeve

Although I was taken-a-back by the strings not being knotted with the delivered product, it was a simple enough fix and overall the belt system gets the job done nicely. I had no issues with a saggy waist or the rope riding over the waistline. The pants also have a very sturdy 4 stitch seam around the bottom of the legs adding strength and also making it quite difficult for your opponents to grab. The knee reinforcements are also double-stitched where as I typically see them being only single stitched. Another plus.

ezekiel-kimonos-Pants

The 12oz cotton pants were very comfortable. Due to a shortage of sweat pants in my house I tend to wear my more comfortable gi pants around the house when I’m being lazy (which is 99% of the time) and I’ve lounged around in these pants a few times now. Wearing Gi pants at home is also just a nifty way in giving me more time to scrutinize pants. [Sounds like me ~ Brendan]

The embroidery on the chest was of good quality and the collar was standard fare.

ezekiel-kimonos-Collar

My Ezekiel Kimono customer service experience was amazing. They have a very professional site and great people working behind the scenes at the company.

The Bad:

Man, the slits in the side of the Gi are HUGE. They actually come up above my belt line. This causes the skirt to ride up out of my belt quite a bit. However, it doesn’t prohibit my mobilty and I attribute it more to a nuisance than a true functional problem as all of my Gi tops do the same thing at some point during rolling, just not nearly as often.

ezekiel-kimonos-Slits

As previously mentioned, no Gi bag comes with the purchase of the “Jiu Jitsu” gi and the belt rope comes untied. Two items I view as hindering it’s potential price range.

The knee reinforcements are double-stitched, which is nice, but I would have liked to have seen them extend further up the leg.

Wife Approval:

On a scale of 1 to “Sex and the City” my wife gives the Gi a solid “The Notebook” (probably around a 9) in the looks department. She digs oriental styling so the embroidery made her all giggly.

Some thoughts:

Being the wild and dangerous adventurer I am I was curious as to why Ezekiel Kimonos chose Chinese lettering for “Jiu Jitsu” as jiu jitsu is traditionally a Japanese art. I never really got an answer but I’d definitely like to find out why in the future.

With all of this said, I see a lot of potential in Ezekiel Kimonos. In their initial offering they have already offered up some innovative creations for the masses. I can only imagine how well off they will be with a little time under their belt.

BJJ is about the Community

Posted: December 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

JFKBJJ

#BJJ IS ABOUT THE COMMUNITY | What are you doing to make BJJ better? What are you doing to bring more people into our sport (women and children especially) too help them learn how to protect themselves, to protect each other, and to help each other grow? BJJ is anti-selfish by design. We need each other. By making each other stronger, we make ourselves stronger. We weed out what doesn’t work amazingly quickly, because we apply it every day.

If you go to the mats only thinking about how to make yourself better, you’ll never understand what BJJ is truly about. You also probably won’t be that good. BJJ is about sharing. It’s about teamwork, support and efficiency. It’s about not alienating those who need BJJ the most.

It’s a horrible thing when disasters strike our community, but a silver lining always sticks out to me when something does happen. It allows us to see how good of humans we are in this community. Maybe it’s just 97% of us, but that’s a whole lot of people. Artists, teams/gyms, bloggers and athletes all step up to help those in need. This disaster in the Philippines is a perfect example of what we’ll do to help others. The Meerkatsu,Gawakoto and Scramble collaboration T-shirt sold out in what felt like 30 seconds on BJJhq. 100% of proceeds are going to support charities in the Philippines. Those men are true ambassadors of BJJ.

Pay attention to who is doing what for our community, and how we as individuals and companies represent ourselves inside and outside our community. The words “martial arts” have lost a lot of their meaning over the years, but I think if any community is to be prime example of who still holds onto their integrity and community driven message, it’s us. I, for one, want to keep it that way. And when I say “Ask what you can do for BJJ”, it means, ask what we can do for each other” because we ARE BJJ.