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Tuesday, 04 December 2012 18:02

Gi Review: Kaimu (A3) by Onda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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"You cannot stop the wave, but you can learn how to surf.” Onda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Onda BJJ is a new manufacturer out of the East Coast of the US that manufacturers Brazilian jiu jitsu gis (Kaimu, Recife & Bavaro), belts (blue, purple, brown & black) and clothing such as hats.  Their gis have distinctive styling and construction that is intended to please the eye and body.  Kaimu is a Hawaiian word for "gathering [at the sea] to watch" and can be used to describe those watching others surf.  Kaimu beach was known as Black Sand Beach and served as inspiration for the styling of the gi.

When asking for info on the gi beforehand, Jessy (from Onda) described it to me by saying, “The Kaimu is the equivalent of a euro sports car in the gi world: excellent form and function, lightweight and you just feel good wearing it.”  Always ready for a mini mid-life crisis I decided to give this one a shot.

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Construction:
The Kaimu consists of a 450g pearl weave jacket top with ultralight ripstop pants.  The jacket collar is EVA foam filled and covered with ripstop fabric to make it easier for grip breaking.  The seams are reinforced throughout jacket.  There is extra reinforcement at the armpits and the side slits.  Ripstop cloth tape has been used generously to cover the internal stitching on the chest, and inside the cuffs of the sleeves. 

The pants are made of ripstop and have reinforced seams throughout.  Similar to the Crimson Tide by Roots there is extra material in the rear seam to prevent tears.  The pants have four belt loops and the drawstring is a flat ripstop cloth string.  The reinforced knees start at the upper-thigh and continue down to 7.5" from the bottom of the pants.  Finally, there is a pearl weave gusset for increased mobility.

weaves onda gfg xguard     collars onda gfg xguard

onda kaimu jacket armpit     onda kaimu pants belt line

Jacket:
The Kaimu’s jacket is constructed of 450g pearl weavel.  The weave is somewhere between the Do or Die Hyperfly and the Redstar Stamp for softness and doesn't get as "crunchy" as some other pearl weave gis.  The solid black gi doesn’t have a lot of bling but what is there will definitely draw the eye to it.  The “ONDA” brand logo is embroidered on the left side of the jacket just to the side of the lapel.  The embroidery is very well done and the “O” is stylized to include a graphic of a wave within the letter.  “Kaimu” is also embroidered in script on the bottom left of the gi.  All of the embroidery, patches and trim are in silver.

There are patches on each shoulder.  The patches are 3.25” x 5.5” and have another version of the brand logo.  The shoulder patches are double stitched but could be removed with a little effort.  The only other patch is the standard small patch at the bottom of the lapel with the manufacturer’s information.  The final piece of decoration is silver satin trim around the base of the gi and at the cuffs.  The trim is about an inch high and goes around the entire gi.  The trim has “Onda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” written in block writing on the back.  Inside the gi there is similar trim but with “you cannot stop the wave, but you can learn to surf” written on it in script.

After washing and hang drying the jacket the shrinkage was minimal to the cuffs (6.625” --> 6.5”) and chest (25.5" -->25").  The torso length did not change at all (33.125") and the wingspan shrank some (69.25" --> 68").

onda kaimu jacket full

onda kaimu jacket inside trim     onda kaimu jacket embroidery closeup

onda kaimu jacket skirt     onda kaimu jacket rear skirt

Pants:
The pants have an offset waist similar to the Redstar Stamp, Do or Die Hyperfly, and Bull Terrier Super Gold.  The offset cut helps the pants to stay into place better while rolling and being gripped.  The slits at the side of the pants are trimmed with black ripstop and have triangle pattern sewing for extra reinforcement.  There is an Onda brand logo patch sewn to the right upper thigh.  The stitching of the patch was good but would be easily removed with a stitch ripper.  The only other decoration is silver trim around the cuffs of the pants.  The trim is only on the outside of the pants and has Onda printed on them.  After washing and hang drying the pants several times they did not measureably shrink.

onda kaimu pants full

onda kaimu pants cuffs2     onda kaimu pants profile

Test Run:

onda kaimu full

A quick note on the jacket, after speaking to Jessy I got the A3 because their gis have amble wingspan for those with longer arms.  Right out of the bag I could tell that this gi was noticeably lighter than my other gis.  Which is unusual since almost everything that I wear is pearl weave and lightweight.  I enjoyed rolling in this gi.  It fit me well (6’4” and 190lb) especially for a standard stock size gi.  The A3 jacket is a little smaller than a Hyperfly A4 while still having adequate length in the arms.  The gi is very lightweight, comfortable, felt great when it was warm in the gym and didn’t hinder my movement while rolling or working open guard.  While I’m not a fan of the flat strip drawstrings these worked just fine and I had no problems with them.  I've rolled in this gi both with and without a rashguard and in both cases the gi was not overly hot to train in.

Special Considerations:
When buying this gi, or any other for that matter, make sure that you get a few measurements of yourself and from the manufacturer to make sure that it’s going to fit.  As most of you know the sizing charts are all over the place and many of us don’t fit nicely into a single category.  For me personally, the first thing that I ask is, “What’s the wingspan for an A3 and A4?”  The wingspan for the Kaimu is longer than most A3s (and some A4s) and I was able to get the slimmer fit of an A3 with the length of an A4, which was a win/win.

Wrap Up:
The Kaimu is currently selling for $160 which seems to be the sweet spot for a lot of newer manufacturers.  The gi has some really nice features: competition fit, very lightweight, ripstop collar, high-quality stitching/embroidery and ultra light ripstop pants.  The Kaimu is a solid choice as a gi that would be suitable for everyday training, competitions and warm weather training.  Be sure to check out their main site, Facebook and Twitter (@ondabjj) for sales and promotions (their gis have been in sales in the past for up to 30% off).

Read 4291 times Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012 06:28
Matthew Corley

I'm a 37 year old husband and father to two girls.  I train under Ezra Lenon (black belt under Kiko France of American Top Team) in St Louis MO.  I drag my two little girls with me to the gym every chance that I get and usually end up training 5 days a week.  I'm a huge gear junkie, spend entirely too much time watching BJJ videos and am fascinated with the cerebral side of our sport.  When I'm not training or hanging with my family I work as a clinical pharmacist.

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Contact: matt(at)bjjlegends.com

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