Elite Sports is rather new in the market and are looking to make a splash with their first entry, a lightweight gi advertised with pre-shrunk fabric and an anti-microbial treatment. They were kind enough to ask BJJ Legends Magazine to review one of their gis, and I chose the one in blue. I’ve been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for just over 6 years and have about a dozen gis already in rotation, but was happy to try a new product -- especially at the nominal price point of only $69.99.
All of my reviews center around 4 key attributes, followed by an overall impression of the product at the end. The attributes include:
Look: What kind of audience does this product target within the Jiu-Jitsu community and what’s unique about it? How does it look out of the box? Emotional impressions?
Craftsmanship: How well was it built? Are there any loose threads? Compare fresh out of the box and after a few washes. Does it stain easily; is it soft; durable; etc.?
Feel and Fit: How does it feel when worn and how does it fit in relation to other products, both walking around and while sparring? Is it too heavy, too light, etc.? Does shrink play a factor?
Care: How can you get the most out of your purchase and is it worth it?
Today, I’m reviewing the Elite Sports Ultra-Light BJJ Jiu Jitsu Gi with Pre-Shrunk Fabric - Blue. Coming in an IBJJF-legal royal blue with an orange and white color way, this kimono makes a great first impression to the eye and is incredibly inexpensive at only $69.99. Because of the entry level price point and relative newness in the market, I didn’t have high expectations for the gi. After putting it through its paces, washing over 15 times and rolling in it exclusively for almost a month, I was able to come to a rather unexpected conclusion.
Before we get into the review, here’s how the company describes the gi: • Made from a light-weight 400gsm Pearl Weave preshrunk fabric. We still recommend that you wash the gi in cold water and hang dry it. • Lightweight pants are made from 400 gsm ripstop fabric and have a rope drawstring for tightening. • Contrasting and reinforced stitching in seams and other key areas for durability and added strength. • Fabric has anti-odor and antimicrobial treatment so that you don't have to worry about bacterial buildup or fungal infections; no one else is doing that at this price. • Comes with a free white belt.
When I unboxed the gi, I found a no nonsense approach to packaging. Opening the cardboard box, the gi sat nicely therein, within its clear bag. And while it didn’t come with a gi bag, a new white belt was included and, combined with the price point, is a nice touch for new practitioners.
The pants are a lightweight ripstop, as advertised. I appreciate a thick rope drawstring and this is no exception. While the branding is minimal on the gi overall, the Elite logo is visible on either side of the pants, stitched in nicely. With two drawstring loops on either side, I was happy with the way they were designed. Too often, I’ve found that companies either go overboard with belt loops, or make them too narrow to fit the rope comfortably. None of these issues were present on the Elite gi. As with most ripstop pants, the knees and mid-thigh are reinforced with additional quilted stitching, using an orange contrast thread. All areas that are supposed to be triple stitched – interior seams and the gusset, were done so with care. It’s also important to note that the bottom cuff is quadruple stitched for additional strength! Well done!
The jacket is simple, coming in at 400 gsm. I was surprised when taking it out of the packaging just how light it was. The orange contrasts are really helpful to give an entry level gi some needed pop. This is seen on the inside of the cuffs as well as in all contrast stitching, and at the splits in the skirt. At the top of the jacket, inside the back panel, Elite has added an orange logo section for an additional bit of flare. Their logo is seemingly everywhere on the jacket, however – three times on the front, stitched in with patches or embroidered along the lapel, then again on the back between the shoulder blades, embroidered in white thread. Inside, along the bottom seam of the jacket, their twin logos (with and without the phoenix design) revolves. In the way of branding, it’s a tiny bit overdone, but also confusing. Both logos are used interchangeably here but as a consumer, is there a primary logo or are both equally important? Further, on the back panel, the jacket notes that it was ‘Designed in California,’ but the front of the jacket, at the bottom of the lapel, states ‘Brazilian Design.’ Overall though, I was happy at the look of the jacket – there are no giant design flourishes and it’s simple in presentation. Tied together, the pants and jacket make a nice, clean match.
For $69.99, I was expecting many loose threads and poor craftsmanship from Elite right out of the box. I’m happy to report that I was sorely mistaken. I couldn’t find a single loose stitch within the bunch, and the material was light, strong, and well-tailored to my needs. There is a small tag within the jacket that denotes that it was made in Pakistan – as many other gi companies are producing their products there, I was pleasantly surprised at the durability of the gi. As I stated above, I’ve worn it exclusively during my testing period and it had no issues. On the pants, I liked the extra cuff stitching and the pearl weave jacket is just as strong as the $200 gis I have hanging in my closet – and at a lower weight per gsm to boot.
Feel and Fit:
I’m 5’7”, 155 lbs without the gi and asked for an A1. Elite is using a tailored fit that hugged the inside of my underarms a bit at first, but was overall very slimming and easy to move in. The pants fit comfortably, just as any other pair of ripstop pants, and were the appropriate length. Overall, I was very impressed with the gi at unboxing and through the first large set of test cases. While it isn’t the softest gi on the market, that isn’t the demographic Elite is tailoring to. Mind you, it’s soft enough that you don’t need a rashguard underneath, especially in the summer, but after hanging the pearl weave can be a little strong until it’s broken in. If you have any questions on fit or feel, you can always call or email them from the site and ask whatever questions you might have. I also found the gi nice and durable as I’ve used it twice or three times a week since I got it and have had no issues. Additionally, the lightweight 400 gsm jacket is great for the hot, summer weather and breathes well.
It’s important to note in this section that the company specifically notes that the gi has been hit with an antimicrobial treatment so that you don’t have to worry about fungal infections or bacterial buildup. This translates, at least to me, as whether or not the gi will smell badly after a hard session and then sitting in my car during a hot afternoon (smell = bacteria). After such an event, the gi did smell like it was used, but not nearly as badly as some of my kimonos. As I shower immediately after class, I had no chance to test the antimicrobial function outside of that. For the price point though, the added peace of mind is worth it.
As with any gi, I soaked it in vinegar and water when I first received it, washed it, then hung dry it without any shrinkage whatsoever. After 10 normal washes, I decided to dry it with a machine dryer. While it is recommended on the site that you should hang dry your gi, I opted to give it the hang dry test since it’s advertised as pre-shrunk and the dryer logo is within the care instruction panel on the jacket itself.
During this wash is when I noticed fading begin to take root – nothing major, but the pop and crispness of the colors began to deteriorate. On top of that, the jacket sleeves shrunk by about half an inch. Bear in mind that I dried the gi on high heat and didn’t bother to use Permanent Press or some other low setting. I don’t believe the average consumer would need to worry about shrinkage based on normal gi care, but be prepared to see differences in fitment and color when throwing it in the dryer for an emergency wash before your next roll.
I was pleasantly surprised by this gi, its fit and craftsmanship, and the overall durability. At such a low price point, I would definitely recommend it to new practitioners, or anyone in the market for something affordable that will hold up relatively well, so long as you don’t put too much stock in the pre-shrunk messaging. For more information on Elite Sports and their offerings, please see their web site: http://www.elitesports.com. To get directly to their gis, go to https://www.elitesports.com/brazilian-Jiu-Jitsu-bjj-gis
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.
It was a frenzy that got out of hand,…The certifications calmed things down. –Steve Goldman
A Brand New Frenzy
Gi Review: Banboo Frenzy is super soft but sizing seems to be an issue.
Submission Fight Company is releasing its newest limited edition kimono “Bamboo Frenzy” with some notable features that sets it apart from any other kimono being marketed to competitors. Ultra Soft & Comfortable, IBJJF Approved, Light 10oz pants. The smallest kimono (A0 2lbs 12ozs) the largest kimono (A5 is 4lbs and 5ozs). Comparable with the Submission “Sensation” kimono you will have the pleasure of being nice and cool due to soft fabric yet this time it comes courtesy of a blend of rayon and Bamboo. However, to say the kimono is perfect would be a bit of a stretch. We tested it and unlike many these days it is not pre-shrunk but a shrink to fit kind of Kimono. The A1 was tested and is for a male ranging (5’2-5’5 110-145). We used a male (5’4 145) and the results were not exactly as advertised. After multiple attempts to (shrink the item to accommodate) the item still did not fit. Suffice it to say, if it doesn’t fit, it won’t be IBJJF approved. It is absolutely comfortable and the exorbitant amount of perspiration one is prone to doesn’t seem to affect the kimono’s ability to keep you cooler and dryer than before. [Click here to read more about bamboo and bamboo fabrics]
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the interest of full disclosure, I really like Flow Kimonos and have since I saw their website for the first time. A year or so ago Jonathan sent me a test sample of an unbleached hemp gi. I beat the heck out of that thing and it’s still holding up great. Six months after that I got my hands on their ultra-light Pro Series (the lightest gi that I own) and finally a few months ago I was sent the Classic. Before getting into the review itself it’s worth noting that I still have and use all 3 of my Flow Kimonos. In the last few years I’ve had a few dozen gis but these three are going to be in closet for a long time to come. This review is going to be a lot different than my normal reviews, it will be very heavy on pictures. I hope you like it.
Notable Stats: The Classic Series gi is a pre-shrunk 550gsm gold weave gi that is available from Flow Kimonos in three colors (white, blue and black) and in traditional, slim & husky cuts. As a lanky guy their slim cut fits me very well and so far all three of their A3Ls have had the same cut. Flow is one of the few companies that I recommend on a regular basis to those looking for non-traditional sizes.
The gi has all of the standard features regarding quality stitching, reinforcements and well sewn embroidery. Two things that do set it apart are that it’s made in China (the gi is priced very well for one made in China) and that is still using a cloth drawstring. I like that it’s made in China and the drawstring not so much (but it does work). All the pictures were taken in the last few weeks. I wash and dry this gi every time that I wear it. For washing I use a gentle cycle and cold water, for drying I use low heat and dry it completely. If I'd wanted to keep it a little longer I would have skipped the dryer to stop shrinkage.
Wrapping It Up: Jonathon & Flow Kimonos make great gis and have great service for their customers. If you’re a Redditor you’ve probably seen more than one thread from a satisfied customer and you've seen Jon on there as well. As I said before I’ve had 3 of his gis, I’ve kept all of them and still wear them all on a regular basis. That may not sound like a big deal but I've had about 2 dozen gis over the last few years and these are 3 that I'll never part with. The Classic Series gi (154.99 for blue) is a very comfortable, durable option and ideal for someone that is looking for that workhorse gi. Check them out at their Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
“At X-Guard Brand Fight Wear, we believe that fashion, quality, and performance go hand-in-hand. Our premium jiu-jitsu kimonos, IBJJF approved rash guards, and fight shorts have been mat tested and are cage approved. We listen to our customers, read reviews, and participate in the sport which helps us continually push our Jiu-Jitsu/MMA fight wear to the next level.”
Design/Features/Construction: Firstly I want to point out that the Recon is a Limited Edition and will not be massed produced. A quick overview of the main design features of the Recon: 425 gsm honeycomb tech jacket (strength of pearl weave with softness of gold weave), 12 oz drill cotton trousers, rope drawstring, contrast stitching, EVA foam lapel and stress point stitching. The jacket and pants are a medium gray in color with mahogany brown contrast stitching; the Recon only comes in gray. The Gi sports high quality stitching with all cuffs and stress points reinforced. With very few patches, and some small embroidered areas the Gi looks clean and fresh, with not a lot of bling to be shown. The few patches/embroidered areas coupled with the great gray color makes this Gi stand out without getting any crazy looks.
The Gi is very light for how durable it feels, and is the softest Gi I own by far. Many of the spider guard players and similar guard players “really appreciate how soft” this Gi is. Which I noticed is great for their grips, not so much for me stripping them. I originally tested the first X-Guard Kimono for BJJ Legends and was impressed (as I am again) on the construction and durability, but the first time round I was not impressed by the cut. At the time I was an A3 and the Gi was long in the skirt and baggy. As X-Guard Brand points out in their company description, they listened and really narrowed down the fit. This Gi fits me great, with a nice slim cut around the shoulders and arms. The skirt stops at an appropriate level and the pants fit very well. Due to its color this Gi is not IBJJF Legal.
Jacket: The Recon jacket has a large inside tag with X-Guard Brand Info and size tagging. The bottom left lapel has a small branding patch along with the bottom left of the front of the Gi. Along the bottom right front a red patch denoted the Series Vi limited Edition. A very small red X-Brand “X” sits right below the nape of the neck. The only embroidery is on each shoulder where the X-Brand “X” sits in the same brown stitching as the rest and is about 3-1/4”x3-1/4”. The sections of embroidery are well done and have no signs of distress; the patch stitching also shows no fraying. The EVA Foam collar is covered in ripstop. The skirt and waist line of the pant cut-outs for mobility are reinforced and have brown material sewn over them for added protection. The Recon looks great, as I stated above it gets attention but nothing like a bright red Gi would. I would say it garners the right type of attention, with compliments ranging from “nice stitching” to “great color”, to “wow that’s soft”.
Pants: The 12 oz drill cotton pants fit great, and feel like I could tow a truck with them. Sporting 8 loops for the drawstring, a very long stretchable drawstring in brown and an inside mouth guard holder the pants tie great and stay tied. The waist is off-set with the back half being slightly higher. Keeping up with the jacket the pants have the same reinforced stitching at all stress points and the contrast stitching at all seams. The pant has a 4-1/2”x3” patch on the front right hip and a very small red patch on the back left right on the waist line. Inside of the back panel below the waist line a 3-1/2”x3-3/4” patch with X-Guard Brand Logos and sizing info. There is additional reinforcement at the knees starting at the thigh and is 16”in length and runs from vertical seam to seam across the front of the leg.
Test Run: Right out of the free Limited Edition Gi Bag (Black with a large X-Guard Brand Logo) this Gi felt light, durable and looked great. I was given this Gi right before class started when I was already changed and stretching. I liked it so much I had to go try it on immediately. After trying it on I was very happy with the cut and fit that I wore it that day (with the Gi being gray I felt comfortable that it wouldn’t bleed like a black or dark blue Gi might). After 10+ washes I have noticed little to no shrinkage in the pants at all. I have noticed though some shrinkage occurring on the jacket. It still fits great and I would consider it still competition legal on my body but I have noticed it getting slimmer as I have trained. Make sure to double check the sizing on their website before purchasing. I only wash in cold and air dry all of my Gi’s. [Editor’s Note: X-Guard has tall, husky and traditional sizing options]
Washed 10+ times. Both Jacket and Pants Hung Dry
Wrap Up: The Recon is a great looking Gi, with a nice fit, great durability and a softness in a Gi that I have never felt before. With the great gray color and mahogany brown contrast stitching couple with few patches this Gi stands out without screaming look at me. Only negative is the shrinkage which may affect anybody that is a little longer limbed than me. X-Guard made a great Gi after listening to their customers; they have great customer service and a wide array of other gear. The Recon comes in at $154 which is a mid-range price for a nice Gi. Make sure to check out their website and Facebook page for any upcoming deals and announcements.
Founded in summer 2010, Poland-based Ground Game Fightwear makes a line of Brazilian jiu-jitsu/grappling/MMA martial arts gear and apparel including gis, shorts, rashguards, belts, and gloves. In their own words: "Our products are extensively tested to the highest standard with the help from our sponsored fighters. Designs are made by people who, like us, are passionate about martial arts. We train, compete and are a part of the martial arts community and that is the reason why we value the relationship with our customers so much. We deliver products that we ourselves wear with pride everyday."
The Titan Energy gi is one of Ground Game's newest offerings and they were kind enough to send one to BJJ Legends for our perusal. The short-term diagnosis? Sturdy construction, nice embroidery, understated colours, and a comfortable fit.
Bull Terrier Co has been providing high quality fight gear in Japan since 2002. If you’re like me when you hear Bull Terrier you think of premium Japanese gis with a lot of bling. While they are still producing premium gis they now have several models that are more understated and will appeal to all tastes. One of these, the Super Gold, is the subject of this review. Bull Terrier also has a full line of rash guards, spats, shorts, clothing and other fight gear.
The Super Gold has a gold weave jacket with 12 oz pants and is currently available in black and blue. This gi features the high-quality construction that has become the standard for premium gis and is ornamented with high quality embroidery and a few patches. After reviewing this gi I can say that Bull Terrier's reputation for quality and durability is not overstated and is well-deserved.
- Kimono Embodying the True Jiu-Jitsu Life Style -
Everything brought into creation always originates from a source. From a baby morphing into a man to the evolution of a martial arts practice the origin of something represents the central core of how it was created and how it has evolved into what it has become today. One standout franchise that embodies this principle into the development of their products is Origin BJJ.
Created by BJJ enthusiast Peter Roberts in 2008, driving away from the gory fight perception flaunted by other fight brands, Roberts envisioned a company that aims toward bringing out the true essence of beauty and elegance that the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is all about through producing well-constructed thought out merchandise that any practitioner would fall in love with.
[social][/social] X-Guard, X-GUARD PERFORMANCE WEAR, sent us a gi to try out. Thank you X-guard!
First off, its pretty. I get lots of comments when I wear it. I received the white Xena gi piped with pink. It came embroidered with my name, very nice touch. The 3-color ribbon lining is blue, yellow and maroon. It has X patches on the shoulders, an X-Guard patch on the lower left skirt and the Xena patch on the lower right skirt. All patches are double sewn.
The fabric is 550 gsm (grams square meter), Pearl Weave, 100% cotton. 550 gsm is roughly 16 oz/yd2. Its heavy. I've trained in it, washed it (hot/cold setting) and dried it (medium setting) at least 15 times with no ill effects. The back and shoulders are one piece of fabric so you're never grinding on a seam. There is a reinforcing patch on in the armpits and at the side slits. The hems are quadruple stitched. The collar is big and 6x stitched.
The pants are cut generously. They are triple stitched and reinforced. They have lots of belt loops. They have a cord type belt. They have a big knee patch with contrast color stitching.
Another bonus is customer service. They hit me back every time on Facebook hours after I posted my questions.