Grappler's Heart -- a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament for martial artists with disabilities is coming to California in April. Read more ->
On the last weekend in April 2015 a revolution began.
That's when Grappler's Heart -- North America's first Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament for martial artists with disabilities -- took place at the Renzo Gracie Academy in Brooklyn, New York and confirmed to the world that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was for everyone.
Of course, BJJ was always for everyone. If you go back far enough, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was actually founded as an adapted sport. Legend has it that Hélio Gracie adapted many of the fundamental techniques in the art as a low impact form of traditional Japanese Jiu-jitsu after recovering from a broken leg and not being able to fully-participate in his brother Carlos's classes. One of the central lessons of BJJ is how stronger opponents can be overpowered by seemingly weaker ones, but if you saw anyone fight that weekend, “weaker” was not the operative word. Every single one of them kicked as much ass and showed as much heart and perseverance as you would see at any able-bodied tournament.
In fact, some competitors came to Grappler's Heart having already fought able-bodied opponents at local tournaments in their hometown, but they wanted a chance to test their skills on equal footing and share ways to adapt the game with the only people who truly know what they're talking about.
“I enjoy competing against able-bodies, but we, as adaptive athletes, bring a totally different mindset and a toughness like no other,” says Brian Freeman, a BJJ blue belt, father, veteran and paraplegic.
“It was an honour to share the mat with other adaptive warriors not only to celebrate the challenges we overcome, but also to test myself and my adaptive skills in a way I normally don't get to, against other adaptive skills I had never seen before.”
Other athletes used the special opportunity of Grappler's Heart as the motivation they needed to reignite their passion for combat sports. Gina Hopkins, an mma fighter with dystonia came all the way from Bristol, England just to compete.
“Grapplers Heart was a monumental part of regaining control of my life,” she says.
“After recently acquiring a back injury and surgical injury which had affected both of my feet, on top of my neuromuscular condition, my self-confidence and self-esteem were dwindling.”
Nothing was going right for her at the gym or when she was powerlifting or training mma. Everything seemed out of sorts, but then she found out about Grappler's Heart online. “It gave me direction,” says Hopkins. “The passion and the atmosphere at Grapplers Heart was overwhelming, being with like-minded individuals, individuals who were passionate about inclusion, who didn’t view disability negatively, who wanted to compete, disability or not, and who have a love of Martial Arts.”
Brian and Gina will both be returning to the second annual Grappler's Heart tournament running April 30 to May 1, 2016 at Total MMA Studios in Tustin, California.
Hitting reset and training your training partners, Adam Stacey shares his story coming up outside of SoCal/Brazil Jiu-Jitsu motherland.
Growing through Martial Arts is beneficial to anyone’s journey in building character on and off the mat. A thirteen year practitioner in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Adam Stacey is a BJJ Black Belt under Nic Gregoriades and head instructor of Custom Jiu-Jitsu in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Competitor, truth-seeker, and instructor Stacey has a unique outlook on life through Brazilian Jiu-jitu reflected through his journey in the grappling arts. Conducting this interview with us at BJJ Legends hearing his story many will be intrigued and ponder of the hidden personal benefits Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has to offer its participants.
Everyone has a story as to what got them interested in this great art known as Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. What got you involved in BJJ?
Adam Stacey: I’ve always been fascinated by the Martial Arts. I grew up on Ninja Turtles, Surf Ninjas, the Karate Kid, etc. I did a little Danzen Ryu Ju Jitsu, a little Judo, and Folkstyle Wrestling growing up. I was introduced to BJJ around the age of 21. I started when I was in the US Navy onboard the USS Chosin. A friend of mine asked me to roll. Being a wrestler I accepted the invite and after being arm barred 100’s of times I realized this art was for me.
At what point in your journey did you come to the conclusion that BJJ was fully apart of your life thus making you fully committed to it?
AS: From day one I’ve enjoyed the art. Jiu-Jitsu became my priority once I attended my first academy: Brazilian Freestyle Jiu-Jitsu under Romolo Barros. I was relatively strong in the Navy because until I encountered Jiu-Jitsu my definition of strength was my total bench press max. However, I rolled with my first instructor, Romolo Barros, he was a normal looking guy, and he submitted me quickly… over and over again. My definition of strength was way off. So, shortly after I started I realized I wanted this in my life forever.
Everyone has their own perception based on their journey of highs and lows. What is you philosophy on BJJ?
AS: Jiu-Jitsu is so much more than Jiu-Jitsu. It's hard to encapsulate in words. Jiu-Jitsu is my community. Jiu-Jitsu is my strength. I had a somewhat crappy early childhood so Jiu-Jitsu, has been a mentor and teacher that has helped me in so many ways. I have a shirt from Tatami Fightwear that says: “No matter what life throws at you there is always Jiu-Jitsu.” That’s pretty much how I see it.
Open minded to the art, part of your growth found you cross training with a lot of other grappling practitioners including your opponents. What inspired to do this and most importantly how can one benefit from this approach?
AS: If I want to be a shark on the mats I need to swim out past my fish bowl. If I only swim in my tank I may be the king of that bowl but my growth will be stunted. I’ll have a Jiu-Jitsu game bound to a small container. I feel it is important for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to swim in other fish bowls, so to speak, so that they can see how other fish bite/swim. Analogy aside, tournaments, other academies, they are all part of the main goal: to grow the BJJ community and be the best ME in Jiu-Jitsu that I can be. I cannot be the best me if I do not train across academy lines. As for training with past opponents… I don’t really look at them as opponents. More as teachers. I am extremely grateful for all those I’ve competed ‘against’. Maybe if I treated them as opponents and not teachers I might have more gold medals. Ha!
Speaking of opponents one of the most challenging parts of someone’s journey is competing which bring out various emotions. What is your overall outlook on competing and through your wins/ losses what motivates you to compete?
AS: My Jiu-Jitsu journey has been different than most. Since I was a high blue belt I have always had a long distance relationship with my instructor due to my location. So it has been difficult for me to refine my game without the constant oversight of an instructor. In place of that oversight I’ve used competitions as my testing ground. I would study techniques, drill, visit other academies, and then take it to the competition. After every competition I would fill my journal with lessons learned (I still do). I’d then fix my errors and apply the lessons learned to my next tournament. If there were errors I couldn’t find the solution to I would seek help via email from my instructor. So, long answer short, GROWTH motivates me to compete. Every competition helps me grow. In turn, I pass my lessons learned on to my students so they avoid the pitfalls that I hit the hard way.
Switching topics becoming a Black belt how does your journey differ as oppose to your previous ranks white through brown?
AS: March 7th will be my one year anniversary as a Black Belt. Man, being a Black Belt is a weird paradox. It has changed everything but then again it feels like my journey has restarted. I like to use the Call of Duty analogy. Once you reach the highest level in the game Call of Duty you have the option to “Prestige”. To prestige basically means you trade in all your accolades and start from scratch. That’s what I feel has happened. I’m starting over but I now have a “Prestige” Belt around my waist. From White Belt to Black belt I pursued the path to the black belt. Now that I am a Black Belt my goal is to be an EFFECTIVE black belt. I still have a lot of work. But I’m growing every day.
Apart of being a black belt you have taken on the role as a leader of your own academy the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Becoming an instructor what are some of the important things you learned from your journey that you pass on to your students?
AS: That’s just it. I instill the journey mindset into our students. Every class, every tournament, every win, every loss, every person (both good, and bad) are elements of the journey. Take them. Learn from them. Become better. If we only learn from the good times or the things we like that might only be 50% or 60%; even a perfect 50% is an “F”. Enjoy the journey and learn from everything!
Finally looking back what do you feel got you to where you are today after a long extension as a participant in BJJ?
AS: So many people have helped me. My wife’s love. All my Jiu-Jitsu teachers great and small roles alike; Nic Gregoriades, Dave Kama, Nick Laudenglaus, Alex Aftandilians, Heitor Abrahao, Romolo Barros, James Tanaka, David Hattori. My training partners; too many to list but my Brother-in-Law Seth Johnston has played a huge role in my journey. My students… all of them through the years (I've been showing people Jiu-Jitsu since I was a blue belt... not because I am such a good instructor but because I quite literally had to train my training partners. I was unaware of any 'REAL' BJJ community when I came to Klamath so we had to create one). …also, and in all honestly, John B. Will’s books on BJJ have been a great standard for the foundation of my Jiu-Jitsu.
Mackenzie Arrington’s cheeky BJJ Cookbook Eat Well, Train Hard wins by submission early in the match. Read the review.
I train. I love to eat. I enjoying cooking and I collect cookbooks (mostly antique). Reviewing Eat Well, Train Hard by Mackenzie Arrington is a good fit for my skill set.
First, I am impressed. The recipes are legit. These are down to earth, protein rich, big meals. There is a section on prep. Notice the Zebra mat cutting board? Nice little Easter egg.
These are hearty meals. This cookbook is not for dieting. These meals pack lots of sustaining energy. While reading through I thought who could eat this much? A 18-35 year-old male who’s training 4x a week, that’s who. It is perfect for our target demographic. If you are more in the market to lean-out you can still use these recipes and cut down on the portion size.
While we are talking about 18-35 year-olds, maybe you aren’t comfortable around anything larger than a steak knife, maybe you haven’t boiled water, or maybe you are just tired of chicken out of your George Foreman grill, either way the cookbook will help you navigate the kitchen, use a proper knife and inspire you to make tasty meals. Best of all these will be wholesome meals without any preservatives or added sodium.
Mackenzie is a legit chef and he is sharing his passion for cooking. He has an associates in culinary arts and a bachelors in hospitality and restaurant managements. He has worked for Momofuku, Eleven Madison Park, he opened The NoMad, and The Dutch in NYC, and has worked as a consultant and personal chef once out of restaurants there. He is the only two-time Maine Lobster Chef of the Year. He has been on Good Morning New York on FOX cooking, on CBS morning shows and was an on-air guest for QVC. He lives in Buffalo NY and is a purple belt training out of Alliance at WNY Mixed Martial Arts under Matt Godden and Mike "dubs" Dauenhauer. His best ranking was 6th, super heavy blue belt. He is a writer for Jiu-Jitsu Mag.
Where Mackenzie needs to drill more is photos of the dishes. I would love to see a pic of the finished product so I can leaf through and look at all the yummy food. Also, and this is more of a wish list item, I’d like to know nutrition information per dish, just how many calories and how much protein.
Support a fellow BJJer following his passion. Buy Mackenzie’s cookbook pdf. At $12.99 it is a bargain. Here’s the link http://bit.ly/1RTf4wk. Go now buy. Your stomach will thank you.
Mackenzie would like to thank his wife-to-be Moe, because without her constant support this book and grapplergourmet.com would not exist. And to thank his sponsors Q5 sports nutrition, Inverted Gear, and Datsusara for their continual support. (->There are discount codes at the end of the book for each of the sponsors.<-)
Come, read about Tanner Rice of Rice Brothers BJJ the youngest American to acheive his blackbelt from Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles at 19.
Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next. - Ben Carson
At 15 years old Tanner Rice had a huge responsibility. He was running the kids program at is family’s gym. Shakespeare recaptured the words of Henry the IV with the quote, “Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!/Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Some are born to be great and others have it thrust upon them. At the age of 19 Tanner Rice became the youngest and first American born black belt promoted by Charles “Cobrinha” Maciel (Alliance). At such a young age, when things are thrust upon him, Rice seems to handle them with aplomb. BJJ Legends talks to Professor Tanner Rice about some of his greatest matchups, the effectiveness of performance enhancement testing, and his thoughts on well-rounded practitioners.
BJJL: You are very young, have accomplished a great deal, and have a prestigious lineage. From the day you started training at 6 until now, what led you down this path?
TR: At a younger age my father (Rod Rice) started training me and my brothers, it was hard to begin with because it wasn't like it is now where we had a lot of training partners. All I had was my older brothers and my dad at the time and having older brothers to train with there is never any mercy when it comes to rolling so I got smashed on a lot. Getting smashed also became discouraging and I didn’t believe that Jiu-Jitsu was for me, but my dad kept telling me to proceed and push through the hard times so I owe it to him for who I am today.
BJJL: Tanquinho Mendes and Megaton Dias, two monumental wins for you at 19. Both seasoned, highly regarded, what were your thoughts pre and post match-ups?
TR: I had just got my black belt when I was about to fight Augusto Mendes and I had just watched him fight 2 months prior at the U.S Open and he won his division and open weight and before that I was always fond of his amazing base on top so when I found out I was fighting Tanquinho Mendes I'm not going to lie, I was freaking out! He had just beaten my past professor Cobrinha and at the time Cobrinha was still murdering me in training, so that added to the nerves a little bit but once I got out there and started fighting the nerves went away and I fought pretty well. Afterwards I was in disbelief that I did as well as I did.
BJJL: Because of your father (Rod Rice) is BJJ the family business?
TR: When I turned 15 my father opened a gym and I began teaching kids and he taught the adults.
BJJL: You spent 1yr in Brazil when you were 16, what was that experience like?
TR: I went to Brazil with a friend Carlos Diego Ferreira and stayed at his house and began training at the school he trained at his whole life Club Pina, the experience was amazing. I had to grow up quickly! I had never been away from my dad more then a week so it was hard but I enjoyed the hard training and the culture.
BJJL: What do you think constitutes a well-rounded practitioner to be and do you exhibit those characteristics?
TR: I envy Leandro Lo’s game the most out of everyone, but I think Rodolfo Vieira and Lucas Lepri have the all around best Jiu-Jitsu in the world. I think to be great in Jiu-jitsu you have to be able to understand the game and make your own game whether it be on top or bottom. I think I have a lot to learn and figure out still and always will.
BJJL: What rank was the most challenging for you?
TR: Black Belt will always be the most challenging rank for anyone that has reached the black belt level and competed.
BJJL: Would you like BJJ to go back to it’s origins no time limit, submission only?
TR: I like both styles of competition submission only and points/submission.
BJJL: How does all the traveling impact you mentally/physically? How do you stay focused when you can’t be with your family during those important life events and vice versa? They can’t follow you around the world?
TR: Traveling to compete takes its toll if you aren't used to it but the more you do it the more you create a sleep/eating regimen for yourself that doesn't make it as bad. I actually like competing on my own without my team or family around I feel like I stay more focused and more relaxed. Sometimes having my team/family around gives me anxiety it's gotten better over the years but sometimes I feel like it still alters my performance.
BJJL: Steroids/performance enhancement abuse and the repercussions are discussed more in traditional sports to include wrestling. What are your thoughts on how it is handled in the BJJ realm or the IBJJF’s policies and procedures on the subject matter?
TR: I think IBJJF testing for steroids is great but I think they should test the athletes at more events instead of just worlds. There are too many ways to cycle on and off without getting caught. Year round testing would be great for the athletes and for Jiu-Jitsu itself to grow as more of a known sport around the world.
BJJL: What’s your training regimen like? How does it differ day to day from when you’re getting ready for a tournament?
TR: I train/ workout for 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night. When a competition is coming up I just bring up the intensity of my training and try to push harder then the day before no matter what.
BJJL: Would you and your brothers consider starting a career in MMA fighter?
TR: MMA has never been my thing nor my brothers so you'll see us on the BJJ scene for years to come.
BJJL: What has been your proudest moment since you started BJJ?
TR: My proudest thing I've taken from Jiu-Jitsu is our kids program. We have a lot of great kids that work their butts off everyday and they win a lot of competitions. You will soon see them start to shake up the juvenile divisions very soon.
BJJL: Any BJJ match you would like that hasn’t happened and why?
TR: I think either Leandro Lo vs Rafael Mendes or Rafael Mendes vs Lucas Lepri would be amazing to watch because of the clash of styles.
BJJL: Any rematches you would like and why?
TR: Anyone I've lost to has been the most challenging fight. I would love a rematch with anyone I've lost to.
BJJL: Kid’s Pans is less than a month away, does your gym have any contenders?
TR: I have 10 kids competing at Pans.
BJJL: What are your plans/goals for 2016 (camps…super fights…seminars)?
TR: My plan for this year is to win as much as I can. I'm really focused on training and competing right now. I'm always down for seminars but I need to focus on my goals mainly.
Professor Tanner Rice made history as an American practitioner at the tender age of 19. A chain of events began many years ago that set him on his current path. Rice still has plenty left to show us but one can’t help but wonder after all that Rice has done (and he hasn’t even reached his prime), who will Rice Brothers BJJ unleash on the scene next?
Your friends will believe in your potential, your enemies will make you live up to it.-Tim Fargo
Take a minute to read about one of the most controversial figures in BJJ, Caio Terra. Just like Frank Sinatra, he has carved an extraordinarily unique path by doing things his way.
Caio Terra's standing denotes him as one of the most prolific rooster weight grapplers in BJJ. Terra, (unlike many of his lightweight counterparts) competes in absolute divisions and has noteworthy victories against black belts twice his size in Gi and No Gi competitions. He is known for his sweeps and back takes (more than most lightweight grapplers) as well as, for his triangle, armbar, and omoplata attacks from the bottom. Terra is one of the best in the game today for a plethora of reasons and his half-guard game is undeniable and studied by the masses. BJJLegends sits with Terra to talk about his success and why being a professor has become the most important thing to him.
“The will to conquer is the first condition of victory”-Ferdinand Foch
As a kid growing up, Caio Terra was led to the sport of BJJ by his mother as a method of self defense that has led to a life long passion. In 2015 the Caio Terra Association had a very prominent year. 8 top male No Gi Grapplers competed for $17,500 in prize money at 5 Super League August 2, 2015. Yuri Simoes of Caio Terra Association was one of the competitors.
Kaniela Kahanui is the talented Cal State East Bay linebacker that also dominates in BJJ, he is one to continue to watch. Terra's gym has a growing list of talent to look for in the coming years in Paulo Gabriel, Ryan Walsh, Rudson Mateus, Benjamin Silva, etc. When it comes to grappling Gi or No Gi, it is a point of preference in and BJJ. “Grappling” describes techniques that use holds and leverage, such as clinches, escapes, pins controlling skills, sweeps, submission holds, reversals, takedowns, throws and turnovers. Terra has proven time and time again that skill not size is the most important thing when it comes to grappling and he is a consistent performer in open divisions in both Gi and No Gi competitions.
“Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.”-William Arthur Ward. Over the last 5 years the evolution of Terra's game is part of a natural order. Terra believes the more you know about Jiu-Jitsu, the more ideas you will have to create with and the more you will continue to adapt. Training and attending classes is how you consistently improve according to Terra, competition helps you feel a different experience and deal with scenarios and emotions you won't get to experience in a gym setting. Technique is key, "without good technique you can only go so far, you will never reach your full potential, and that goes for everything you do in life. However, if you are happy with what you do, there is never a plateau."
Terra is well known for teaching and competing in the BJJ world. He also is also a philanthropist, the Godfather of a social project in Brazil, Leoes de Juda. Founded on April 24, 2009 by Thiago Dias (head of Caio Terra Association Brazil) and Fernando Halfeld, Leoes de Juda is located in Juiz de Fora. Through Jiu Jitsu it is their hope to instill discipline, ethics, respect and a love for their communities. Integrating sport with religion, it is their mission to help the youth deal with daily problems they face such as violence and drugs. To participate in the youth project, the students must be properly enrolled in school and make good grades. More important than how they behave on the mats is how they behave off. http://www.ctbjja.com/leoes-de-juda/
Injuries of any kind are a challenge for a consistent competitor. Delays in training and training setbacks detract from a routine, and when you are the Professor the pressure to be present for your students can be overwhelming. Terra suffers from chronic headaches/migraines, instructing under those circumstances would be impractical. "Training with a headache is never as fun, but my biggest problem is that when I do so I start having vertigo and it's impossible to train or do anything with vertigo. I started having them in the end of 2013 and nowadays I can control it better, unfortunately I have to stop training immediately so my symptoms don't get worse."
The issue of equal pay became a very hot topic in BJJ and more people seem to have an actual opinion on it. Well Terra thinks the issue is less about equal and about getting paid period. The thought that one can live off only training and tournment money in his opinion is not realistic and not a good retirment plan. So the question is now should people be talking about equal pay or a 401K? If you are training and traveling and you really think of how a 9 to 5 works Terra has a point, how much are you worth? You are doing what you love but people that do what they love still get reasonable benefits including healthcare and a retirement plan.
The Caio Terra Associationis successful and Terra has created a very close knit organization where he can remain connected to his people. "Jiu-jitsu was very hard for me, I was too small and things never went my way when I first started. There is nothing good about being a bad loser. So my greatest achievement is that I persisted through hard times and didn't quit BJJ. I want to create a really good gym, not just BJJ wise but with only good people in it, where everyday I'm happy to go to work."
As the new year begins many already have set goals in mind and it is easy to get tunnel vision. Hopefully, people are looking toward a bigger picture and no matter how things pan out in a season, the journey will get you to where you ultimately want to be. Caio Terra is making sure that his ultimate goal is realized, “going into 2015 No Gi Worlds from the outside everything looked the same but for me it was completely different. As we were training I looked at our team and saw in their eyes the same dreams I had when I was younger, to be a champion. 2015 was a defining year in my life, I realized that although I like to compete I like coaching more, because I love our team.”
“One can easily forget his destination when walking in a marvelous path towards his destination! The attraction of the path can be much stronger than the attraction of the target!” –Mehmet Murat Ildan
Read the review: Datsusara Hemp Combat comes with effective rough gi rash for your training partners but unfortunately this wears off after a handfull of washes. Its a specific gi for a specific grappler.
To leave the corporate workers life.
Whether in combat, on vacation, taking a hike or simply dealing with a daily commute, Datsusara has the gear to get you through. Datsusara gear is not for everyone – if “making do” is good enough for you, then we are not your brand. Our gear may not be essential, but you may discover it’s the gear that you’ve always wanted.
If living your life with purpose outside the cubicle is important, Datsusara is for you.
A snippet from the DSgear website.
DATSUSARA Is a Japanese phrase that expresses the desire “to leave the salaried/corporate worker's life".
Datsusara’s mission is the creation of extremely high quality, functional gear made with hemp textiles. Datsusara gear features hemp for a multitude of reasons. In short it is the most versatile and useful natural fiber on the planet. It is naturally anti-microbial, strong, breathable and very environmentally friendly.
Let’s get to the review.
WHAT YOU’RE GETTING
100% Hemp Combat Gi
I will be reviewing the A3 Natural White Gi
I am 92 kgs and 184cm tall, or 202llbs and 6’1
Made of durable 100% Hemp
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style weave and cut
Jacket made of a 17oz (580gsm) long fibre weave
UVA Foam collar.
Reinforced stitching for strength and durability
Pants made of 11oz (376gsm) long fiber twill
Braided cord draw string, easy to get in and out of
Reinforced stitching for strength and durability
Machine washable: Due to the properties of the hemp blend the gi actually gets softer and more comfortable with each wash while retaining its strength, it wears in rather than wearing out
Machine wash cold
Do not iron or dry clean
Have the possibility to shrink a little depending on wash method.
FIRST LOOK IMPRESSIONS:
At first look I was a little turned off. The natural white colour of the Gi to me gave off an unwashed look. Upon feeling the material I found it to be quite rough and when I put the jacket on I noticed almost straight away that this material was the type that wasn’t going to be suitable for me unless I had a rash guard on under it. I then had a look through the care instructions and noticed a recommendation to wash the Gi twice before use. Off the laundry I went. After the first wash I pulled it out and had a feel before hanging it out to dry, and noticed a little softening had occurred. It didn’t take as long as I expected to dry and with one more wash with some added fabric softener it felt softer again. Once it dried I put the jacket on and instantly noticed the difference, although I still felt the need to put a rash guard on.
FIRST WORKOUT AND ROLL:
The fit of the Gi was nice although I did find it a little loose around my shoulders and noticed that the jacket slid of my shoulders quite a bit, this led me to develop a conscience about my broadness and led me to destroy my shoulders in the weights workouts that followed so thank you Datsusara for that. This was the first Hemp Gi I had seen and was very excited to roll in it. People within my club have started to notice that ever 4 or so weeks I have been bringing out a new gi and begun to ask questions. I let them all know that it was 100% hemp and as you could imagine the jokes began to come. I didn’t realise that not only do I train at an amazing club with some awesome people but we also have quite a lot of comedic talent with in the club. I think some of them may have missed there calling, well except for Zach who actually does quite a bit of stand up on the local scene. One recommendation was that we close all the doors to the gym and I do hip escapes up and down the mats for a while and see what happens. Back to the Gi. After a gruelling 2 hour session on the mats I had a new respect for Hemp material it was quite a warm night and with the rashie on I was surprised how cool I stayed and how soft the Gi got in just the one session. The Gi has a total combined weight of around the 2kg mark which I found quite nice.
Rolling in this Gi was a fun experience its sturdy design and ability to breathe was great, however the heat in the gym combined with the rash guard seen me sweating up a storm. After a few weeks of rolling in this Gi it began to really grow on me, however with the warmer weather I think it is definitely a cooler climate gi, for me anyway. The feedback from my training partners was also all positive however the one thing that came up early in the piece was the roughness of the Gi if it was on their face, these complaints started to disappear the more it was washed. The colour of the Gi was also noted with a 50/50 response, me personally it grew on me.
WASH AND FIT:
With the washing of the Gi the Datsusara website states that due to the properties of the hemp blend the Gi actually gets softer and more comfortable with each wash while retaining its strength, it wears in rather than out. I honestly thought this was a marketing phrase however I found this statement to be 100% true. Wash after wash the Gi got more comfortable over time. I wash all of my Gi according to the instructions on the tag and with this it states 30c wash.
1. Will not shrink on you.
2. Customer service you receive will be amazing. Chris literally shipped this Gi half way across the world and checked in to ensure I received it.
3. Gets softer and softer after each wash bring you to new levels of comfort each training session.
4. Hemp is environmentally friendly.
The colour seems to put a few people off.
The material can be found rather rough in the first few sessions.
You will notice all the comedians come out when you mention the 100% Hemp.
Over all this Gi is a high quality Gi. This one will be either one you like or you don’t. If you are not a natural white fan you also have the option to purchase the Black Combat Gi which looks quite nice. All in all this was a great Gi to train in however the Gi rash that came from it in the early phase before many washes may upset your more “sensitive” training partners. If you are in a cooler climate then this Gi would be perfect its medium weight and ability to breathe would make it a great training necessity on the chillier evenings. Overall I award the Combat Gi 3 Gis out of 5.
If you would like to take a look at the other gear Datsusara have to offer why not head over to www.dsgear.com to take a look at the combat Gi a whole lot more 100% hemp gear that they have to offer.