Platinum Jiu Jitsu has a small but deeply loyal following of jiu jiteiros that appreciate the flash of their designs and the quality of their craftsmanship. Each gi is produced in a very small batch, just 25 total gis divided among the 4 sizes, and features a fully sublimated rashguard liner. The rasghuards are based on artwork by Hawaiian artist Katch1. The exterior patching, embroidery and color schemes are all intended to compliment the interior artwork. Sean sent me the Grenada, #5 of 25, in A3 a few months ago and I’ve been putting it thru its paces ever since.
Intro: OSS made its intro into the BJJ clothing scene about a year ago. In that short time they’ve developed a reputation for quality and exception customer service. Their initial line up consisted mostly of BJJ-themed tees but it wasn’t too long before they begun to add kimonos. OSS has two models to choose from, the Original (available in white, blue & black) and the limited edition Wolf. The Wolf, $150, is a beautiful grey gi with accents designed by Seymour Yang, aka Meerkatsu, and the subject of this review.
Manto has been around for quite a while and is considered by most to be one of the “big boys” of BJJ and MMA gear. Their current line of products include: clothes, kimonos, rashguards and fight gear. As athletes are getting bigger and stronger Manto has created a gi created specifically for competitors and those that need to keep the weight of their gi as low as possible. I was sent a Manto “X” Pro Ultra-light A3 a few months ago and have been using it regularly ever since. The gi is very light (the A3 weighs just less than 2 kg) and has a very slim cut. From the time I opened the package I knew that this might turn into one of my favorite gis to train in.
Intro: Flow Kimonos is a Boston based gear manufacturer that was created last year by Jonathan Leung. I stumbled across Flow Kimonos while searching thru Facebook for new gear manufacturers and after seeing some of their pictures and sizing chart (they have slim/tall cuts) I contacted them about a review. Fast forward 3 months. I’ve been training in their prototype unbleached hemp gi since mid-December and in that time it has become one of my favorite gis and a staple of my training. Flow Kimono’s hemp gi is manufactured in China and they are transitioning their other gis, the Pro Series White & Black, to China as well. The Navy Blue Hemp gi (production version of my prototype) is available for pre-order and should be available in late-April or early May.
Intro: Roots Kimonos came onto the gi manufacturer’s scene a few months ago with their Tide kimono. Mike is starting 2013 with a new batch of gis and the first to be released is the Carnivale. The Carnivale is a white gi, available in tall sizes and available for $144.99. The Carnivale will be shipping out to customers in early February. I was lucky enough to get a prototype in December and am glad to see that the Roots has made another high-quality gi at a reasonable price. Something that I was particularly excited to see is the inclusion of tall sizes (A1L and A3L) for us lanky guys. If you're familiar with Roots' other gis the design will be familiar with some aesthetic changes (color palette mosty) and some cuts to the cut as well.
Intro: Sprawl has been around forever. They’re one of the oldest names in fight shorts that I can remember and introduced their first pair over 10 years ago. Since then Sprawl’s line has expanded to include rashguards, clothing and most recently gi pants. Sprawls original Gi-Flex pants were released about 2 years ago and just last month the Gi-Flex 2 pants were released.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if your fight shorts were 2 feet longer, look no further than the Gi-Flex 2 pants. The waist and upper portion of the pants are almost identical to a pair of high-end fight shorts and instead of ending at your knees the ripstop material extends down to your ankles.
If you’ve ever watched an MMA event you’ve probably seen at least half a dozen different Venum shorts and walk out shirts. Just off the top of my head I can name close to 30 different UFC fighters that are sponsored by Venum. Guys like Jose Aldo, Carlos Condit, Wanderlei Silva and Jim Miller all use Venum gear in their fights.
Venum also has a line BJJ gis that include single weave and gold weave models. The good folks over at MAS sent Venum’s Competitor gi to me for a review. The Competitor is a single weave gi is comes in white, blue and black. It is available in the traditional sizes as well as A1.5 and A2.5 and is modeled by none other than Rodolfo Vieira himself.
Intro: Lucky Gi was founded by Scotty Nelson who also brought us On The Mat (OTM) way back in the Stone Age of BJJ. Scotty’s obsession with gis began in the 90’s while training in Brazil and has been growing ever since. After years of traveling, training and researching he decided to make his own gis and to break with tradition by using factories in China, instead of Pakistan, and to experiment with other fabrics, notably bamboo.
Lucky’s gis have included the bamboo Fleur-De-Lis and signature fighter gis such as the Raphael Lovato Jr, Jeff Glover and currently the Diaz Brothers gi (also in black). For this review we’ll be looking at the Diaz Bros gi. The gi has a 550gm pearl weave top, 12oz bull denim pants, sizing options for everyone (tall & husky sizes are available and you can mix & match the jacket to pants) and comes with a travel bag.
"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.
LUTA is a unique fight wear company that focuses not only on innovative product design but also on their strong sense of social awareness and responsibility. As a company they share 50% of their profits with Fight for Peace International, an international organization that opens and runs academies combining boxing, martial arts as well as educational and personal development programs. The academies are in areas of the world where there are few opportunities for young people that don’t involve crime and violence. For this review LUTA sent their two most popular products: the MMA Performance rash guard and MMA fight shorts as well as their newest innovation the Laser Tech rash guard. My first introduction to LUTA was at BJJHQ when the MMA Performance rash guard was posted and promptly sold out. Luta offers rashguards, fight shorts, boxing training gear, and clothing.
From the LUTA website: Born in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Luta is a new fightwear and lifestyle clothing brand that brings together real fight performance, favela street style and a genuine social mission.
LUTA, Portuguese for fight, was founded for three reasons: 1st - There was a need for really advanced performance fightwear and trainingwear. 2nd - I wanted to pay homage to the positive energy in the favelas and the strength I’d witnessed training young champions there since 2000. 3rd - I wanted to support those young champions in communities that suffer from crime and violence, by providing Fight for Peace with a profit share in the company. Luke Dowdney
One last thing before the review. To celebrate LUTA's new US Website we've gotten a 25% off coupon code good for all purchases from the US shop! The code is: BJJVIP and will be valid until December 19th, 2012.