Ground Fighter specializes in unique, creative, and minimalist designs on products made with the highest quality materials. Our clothing is durable, comfortable, fashionable, and doesn’t cost a fortune. We know you have lots of choices when it comes to gear. Our hope is that you’re drawn to us because of the passion and creativity we put into our products and that you’ll stay with us because of our quality and customer service. This week`s review of Ground Fighters Inaugural Gi the much anticipated "Northern Lights".
A snippet from the GroundFighter.net website.
Ground Fighter Grappling Gear Ready Set Roll
Ground fighting is its own unique culture made up of passionate enthusiasts around the world who thrive for the battle on the mat. Ground Fighter is an athletic apparel brand founded on that same passion, created specifically for grapplers by grapplers. We’re lifelong ground fighting fanatics who in 2009 decided that we were tired of waiting around for a brand to produce quality clothing that matched our style, budget, and love for the sport.
Let’s get to the review.
WHAT YOU’RE GETTING
Ground Fighters “Northern Lights” Inaugural Gi Release I will be reviewing the A3 White Gi I am 92 kgs and 184cm tall, or 202llbs and 6’1
Jacket Details • 420 GM pearl weave top (single piece) • Sublimated, moisture-wicking shoulder/vent liners • EVA foam collar • Woven taping inside of jacket skirt • Reinforced stitching in high wear areas • Green contrast stitching
Pants Detail • 10 oz drill pants • Pearl weave gusset • Reinforced knee padding • Green rope drawstring with 6 belt loops FIRST LOOK IMPRESSIONS: When I opened the package from Ground Fighters I was pleasantly surprised to see a handwritten note from the Vice President of the brand wishing me the best with my new Northern Lights Gi along with a few stickers and a bar of handmade Soap. Instantly I took a liking to the brand as it is rare to find that level of customer service in the competitive market of fight gear. First look at the Gi with its bright white with green contrast stitching was definitely a very unique look but it was the bright colours of the Northern Lights in the top half of the jacket that really caught my eye. If you, like me also have children that train it would look equally as good on either a boy or girl and Ground Fighter have now released a child’s version of this Gi. When I felt the Gi for the first time I was supremely surprised to feel the softness of the collar the Jacket itself was a little stiff so I threw it in the wash before line drying it. No shrinkage occurred at all. Then it was time to put the Gi in its Northern Lights Gi bag and head of and train.
WORKOUT AND ROLLING PERFORMANCE: The fit of the Gi was quite comfortable, and after the wash the jacket was very soft. When I got this Gi it was coming to the end of winter here in Australia and my first night training in it was a touch colder than usual. On this night I decided I would put a rash guard under the Gi, which for me is a rare occurrence. I am not sure if it was because of this but I found that the Jacket was constantly sliding of my shoulders, which during rolls I found rather annoying.
During my second and further sessions in the Gi I have not worn a rash guard and the slipping off the shoulder has not occurred. The more I have trained in this Gi the more I have come to love it and out of all of the Gis I own this one has worked the way to my number one pick for training. Due to its lightweight design I packed this Gi into my bag when I went on a four week trip overseas just recently, the design of the Gi caught many eyes as I was asked about it time and time again and was happy to send them to Groundfighter.net for further info. Rolling in this Gi was a pleasurable experience its light weight and ability to breathe meant I didn’t find myself overheating or sweating as much as normal. The feedback from my training partners was also all positive with the softness of the collar being noted time and time again.
When I get my next competition Gi I will be definitely looking towards another Northern Lights based purely on the comfort of the Jacket and softness of the collar, combined with the light weight construction and the fact that is IBJJF approved I believe this Gi would rival any of the larger brands. Being the first Gi released by Ground Fighter Grappling Gear I for one am excited about what is on the horizon for this exciting brand out of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
FIRST WASH AND FIT: With this Gi the website states clearly never to tumble dry, which suits me fine I still can’t bring myself to do it even though some brands say it is safe on low heat. The Northern Lights Gi is very light in weight and when hung out correctly I have found is dry almost 100% over night.
Even with the Gis that say wash in cold water there have been times when some of these Gis have shrunk and I am pleased to report that this Gi has not shrunk at all in the month and a bit I have been training in it. I aim to train in all of my review Gis at least 3 times a week where possible. The Northern Lights has been more then put through its paces and has handled itself very well. There have been many occasions over the past 5 weeks where blood has been spilt on it, both a combination of my own and my training partners (more often than not it is my own). When this has happened I have put in the wash straight away on COLD cycle and not one stain has locked itself into the Gi, it has managed to hold its pristine white colour really well.
As mentioned earlier the Gi has not shrunk at all since its first use/wash, and still fits nicely.
THE GOOD: 1. Will not shrink on you after a wash allegedly even if put in the dryer. 2. Eye Catching Northern Lights Design printed on the inside of the Jacket. 3. Light Weight Construction and IBJJF approved. 5. Remains white and doesn’t hold contaminations of you rigorous training sessions.
THE BAD: 1. Priced a little higher on the market (but the customer service you will receive makes it worthwhile). 2. Has potential to slip of shoulders during training (mine at least when worn over rash guard).
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is the second light weight Gi I have tested out and am extremely happy with its performance. The Northern Lights Gi has become my number one pick out of my collection so far. If I didn’t have a competition Gi patched up or I competed a little more, I would have a Northern Lights Gi patched up and ready to roll. I look forward to training more in this Gi as the weather starts to heat up down under. Its Lightweight construction makes it great for the travelling practitioner/competitor. If you would like to take a look at this Gi in a little more detail head over to www.groundfighter.net. While you’re there be sure to check out the rest of the range that this sensational brand has on offer.
A look behind the scenes with Chrissy Biehler VP of Ground Fighter Grappling Gear and how you can get yourself get yourself a Gi you can be proud of...
Hi Chrissy thanks for your time today, first things first, how and when did Ground Fighter get started?
We (Garrett and Chrissy Ford) founded Ground Fighter in 2009 in Dallas, TX. We’ve traveled all over the US growing this company and have lived in multiple states since we’ve started, but we’re now back in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We were tired of never having any grappling gear or apparel that matched our style and passion for the sport. That combined with a long conversation about how “if money was no object, what would you want to do” on a road trip from Texas to Oregon. From there ideas started rolling in, and we began making unique products that we loved. Thankfully lots of other people loved our style too. Generally Garrett is the creative one who has the product ideas and does most of the design work, whereas Chrissy handles the day-to-day business operations. We make a good team, and enjoy working our tails off to produce stellar grappling gear!
Tell us about Ground Fighter.
When we first started Ground Fighter, it seemed like everything had skulls and wings. So we wanted to offer people a completely different style. Even now with all the different brands out there, our style is still very unique. We love coming up with creative ideas, designing products with a minimalistic approach, and using bold colors to stand out. For example, take our “Kimura” or “Jiu Jitsu” shirt designs. They look clean and simple, but a lot of thought and creativity went into designing them. We usually include a blurb about the design process on each product page, like this: http://groundfighter.net/collections/shirts/products/ground-fighter-kimura-shirt-navy
We think that most people are drawn to Ground Fighter because of our name and style, but our customers keep coming back because of our high quality products and unbeatable customer service. Every product we release has been through intense testing to make sure it’s comfortable and durable. The very first pair of no gi shorts we released five years ago is still in the regular rotation of training gear in our house. And we hear a lot of people tell us that they bought one shirt and it quickly became their favorite tshirt in their closet, so they ended up buying several more.
We also feel that good customer service goes well beyond being personable, answering questions, and making sure our customers are generally happy with their products. We’re always trying to think up completely unexpected ways to thrill our followers. Everything from the buying experience with informative size charts, product info, and reviews, free shipping over $75, custom packaging, and extra goodies, on down to providing valuable BJJ content like training videos and nutrition tips and recipes via social media/newsletters. And we LOVE chatting with fellow BJJers--at gyms, tournaments, dive bars, or on social media. Connecting with our audience is our favorite part of running this company.
What obstacles did you come across when you first started out?
Finding manufacturers who could meet our high standards of quality wasn’t easy or cheap. Also finding the best way to reach our audience was tough. Back in 2009 the functions and features of social media wasn’t near the level it’s at now. We actually spent 3 years traveling around the country in a travel trailer going to gyms, tournaments, fights, etc. to grow the brand. It was definitely an adventure, and we got to meet a ton of awesome people.
What’s your most popular product?
Our “Shoot First” spats have been incredibly popular, as has our trademarked “Ready Set Roll” line of products. We are most proud of our new “Northern Lights” gi though. Word is spreading about the amazing design and quality, and we don’t doubt that it will be a key product for the Ground Fighter brand.
What items do you sell that people may not be aware of?
We just recently released our very first gi, so many people may not know us as a gi company yet. Also we carry kids gear. It’s hard to find good kids gear, so we think it’s important to provide high quality products for the future of the sport as well.
Do you have any exciting plans for new products coming up?
We’ve got lots of new designs and new products in the works--ranked rashguards, shorts, spats, hats, our second gi, etc. Sometimes we get so excited about a new product that we wish we could rush the release, but we know how important it is to make sure every little detail is perfect first.
Where do you get inspiration from in designing new products?
Inspirations come from anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes ideas come when we’re completely surrounded by BJJ--like obsessing over a new move, or a phrase someone says when rolling. Other times it happens when we’re the furthest from BJJ--like the way colors come together in nature when backpacking through the mountains, which is where the idea for our “Northern Lights” gi came from. We get cool ideas a lot faster than we can get them on products and released. More than once we’ve had to scrap an idea because by the time we were able to complete it, someone else had done something with a similar theme.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we ship to just about anywhere in the world, and we’re always working to reduce shipping costs. With international shipping costs vary depending on location, but the more you order the more you save on shipping. We also offer multiple shipping options to meet your needs.
Why should people support Ground Fighter?
Ultimately our goal is to grow the sport of Jiu Jitsu as much as can and however we can. We see a lot of other sports televised on ESPN, and there’s no reason why BJJ shouldn’t be too. So everything we do is in support of the sport. Jiu Jitsu is expensive with gym fees, tournament costs, travel expenses, etc., and we try to keep the cost of gear down while still providing the best quality so it will last a long time. We also have sales and contest giveaways frequently, and you can get 10% off when signing up for our newsletter. We provide womens and kids gear, and are always working to expand those products. We help support tournaments big and small, seminars, and also sponsor a number of athletes from all over. And we’re always using our passion and creativity to inspire newcomers to join the BJJ community. Even when traveling or on vacation, we’ll get friends, family and locals together to train. There’s nothing like a flow roll at 15,000 ft overlooking a glistening lake as your first introduction to Jiu Jitsu.
How did you get into Jiu-Jitsu?
I actually never thought of myself as very athletic growing up and spent most of my youth studying drama, choir, and other arts. It was until my second year at Arizona St that I got into BJJ. I had dabbled some in martial arts growing up--Karate, Akido, Judo, Boxing, and Muay Thai, but I never took anything seriously until I found Jiu-Jitsu. A friend of mine took me to a class at Charles Gracie Academy, and after getting tied into a knot for a few hours I knew I had to learn more. I’m a pretty small guy and found that I loved BJJ because I could hold my own against bigger guys if my technique was on point. I trained at Megaton’s for over 2 years while I was in AZ. I remember Mackenzie Dern making me look like a fool when she was an orange belt. I’ve trained at a lot of different gyms since then, but now that I’m back in TX, I train at Next Gen in Frisco, TX under Chris Brennan.
What social media sites are you on, and what are those addresses?