Koral MKM Kimono vs. HSU Kodokan Gi for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

My first gi was a HSU Kodokan blue, size 6.  It was a good deal for a beginner like me.  What I didn’t realize at the time is what a good gi was.  I didn’t know anything about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Judo.  I was just starting out in BJJ.  Now I know the error of my ways.  Please note gi and kimono are two words for the same thing.  Brazilians say kimono and Americans gi.

A simple search for “Kodokan” on Google brings up Judo related links.  HSU sells Jiu-Jitsu gi’s.  Then why does there Jiu-Jitsu gi say Kodokan on it?  The URL to there site is www.hsujudo.com.  When you visit there site you will see that there Judo gi’s have a different picture but look the same as those for Jiu-Jitsu.  Are you starting to see a pattern here? My first gi is a Judo gi which was marketed as a Jiu-Jitsu gi.  It doesn’t have the smaller cuffs or pants legs.  The whole of it is baggier.  I had a black belt comment on the “extra large cuffs” while instructing my partner on how to get a good hold on them.  My size 6 will fit some one between 6’0” to 6’4”.  The collar is very thick.  After washing I can’t get it to dry out.  This has caused it to smell and I had to figure out how to clean it (see my post on “How to Clean your Gi”). The pants were too long.  I had them altered to fit.

My new gi is a Koral MKM Urban Camo Kimono size A3.  It is sized differently by height 5’11”-6’2″ and weight 190-220 lbs.  It doesn’t have the large cuffs and the pants fit right off in every aspect.  The collar is half as think and the jacket is light weight.  Great for hot summers!  It has vulcanized rubber inside of the collar.  It is preshrunk, so when you put it on you know that is the size it will stay.  You should have seen how big my HSU was before it shrunk!  The patches on the Koral MKM Urban Camo are cool.  Ok, so I paid a good deal more for it.  But it is worth it by far!  My game has changed too.  I can move better in it and I don’t have tons of cloth for my opponent to grab.  I’ll never go back.  Koral makes a quality Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu kimono.  Hands down they win this comparison.

HSU Kodokan Gi

  1. HSU does not sell Jiu-Jitsu gi’s.  They market Judo gi’s as Jiu-Jitsu gi’s.
  2. HSU gi’s are made in China.
  3. Collar of gi is not easy to dry out after washing.  Gets smelly and needs more care to keep it clean.
  4. HSU gi comes in broader size making for a bagger fit.  It is more of a Judo cut.
  5. Jacket is heavy and there is a good chance the pants won’t fit you right off.   The Jacket is two piece.

Koral MKM Urban Camo Kimono (click to see it)

  1. Koral Kimonos are made in Brazil, home of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  2. Collar isn’t too thick.  It dries all the way through in half the time.
  3. The jacket is one piece.  No seams around the waist.
  4. The Kimono fit out of the box like a dream and after washing.
  5. It is lighter and has more reinforcement.
  6. It was make by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners for Jiu-Jitsu!

Gracie University – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Online

Did you know you can get up to a brown belt in Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu online?  I didn’t until today.  At GracieUniversity.com you watch videos of everything you need to learn.  You video tape your self doing the techniques with some one and mail it in.  What a revolutionary idea.  My questions are, what kind of quality of brown belt will you get in the end?  Does it really substitute for in person training?  I like the chat room that is enabled with each video clip so that you can chat with others about what you are working on.  It also has a online instructor to ask questions about what you are working on.  These are both great ideas.  I wonder if they would accept your submission or test video if you don’t have anyone to work with and only use a grappling dummy?

Please let me know your experience with Gracie University.  I would especially like to hear from some one who has tested for a belt through this system.

My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt Testing Experience

Saturday, July 11th 2009 I passed my blue belt test at Unified Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Pedro Sauer Team.  The test lasted 3 hours in the heat of July.  Shawn Weaver and James Gardner, black belts, conducted the test.  There were 12 of us taking the test that day.  The test consisted of 88 techniques.  We divided up into 2 lines of 6, each with a partner.  Shawn would then ask us to do a technique from the list.  He would demonstrate the starting position of the technique with James.  We would all then begin doing the technique we thought he wanted.  He and James would then walk around observing and in some cases instructing.  He would then stop all of us and demonstrate the technique on James that he expected to have seen.  He would point out the finer points and the street application of the technique.  After the test was finished we paid our testing fee of $50 and waited for the results.  Shawn and James came out with belts and we lined up.  The belts were awarded for those who passed and each was given a congratulatory throw.  All 12 of us passed.  Shawn spoke to the group after the test and said he had been looking at our “movements”.  That is how he decided if we understood enough to pass.

My Tips for a successful test:

  1. Have your testing fee in cash.  Waiting after a long hot test for someone to write a check can be aggravating.
  2. Come and warm up ahead of time.  I came a 1/2 early and was invited to join the class in progress.  I took the time to warm up and get ready for the test.
  3. Try to be towards the front of the class during the test.  You don’t want to keep repeating the technique over and over.  You want them to see you right off and “check you off”.
  4. Know the names of the techniques on the test.  It shows you have studied them.  It is impressive when you are the first and only one to know what you are doing right off while the others mill around unsure.  Even if you do a different variation of what they wanted it still says you are skilled and ready to pass as you show them you can do both.
  5. Don’t show off.  Just do what they ask and ask questions only as needed.  Your knowledge and skill will show forth in your technique.
  6. Relax and let your muscles do what you have trained them for. Don’t think just do what you have been doing.

 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt Test – Pedro Sauer

The time has come at last!  My instructor (Mark) says I’m ready to test for Blue Belt.  I’ll be testing July 11, 2009 at Pedro Sauer’s first school, Unified, in Sandy, Utah.  I am feeling ready!  I’ve notice in the past month how much easier it is to pick up new moves or techniques.  I’ve also started to see how things can flow together or transition into something else.

The test covers 88 different techniques.  I have tried to match up every thing on the list with what is shown in Renzo and Royler Gracie’s book: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Theory and Technique (click to see the book).  Here is what I have so far:

1. Tie The Belt (BJJ T&T pg. 30)

2. Roll Forward (BJJ T&T pg. 32)

4. Bridge (UPA) (BJJ T&T pg. 34)

7. Elbow Escape Movements (3 Options) (BJJ T&T pg. 88)

8. Stand Up in Base (BJJ T&T pg. 152) ???

9. Two-Handed Choke Defense (BJJ T&T pg. 38)

10. Same Side Wrist Grab Escape (BJJ T&T pg. 40)

11. Two-Hand Wrist Grab Escape (BJJ T&T pg. 44)

12. One-Hand Lapel Grab Defense (Straight Arm) (BJJ T&T pg. 112)

17. Front Kick Defense (BJJ T&T pg. 60)

20. T-Position Hip Throw (BJJ T&T pg. 46)

26. Upa with Choke Defense (BJJ T&T pg. 58)

28. Basic Cross Choke  (BJJ T&T pg. 50)

29. Basic Cross Choke from Mount  (BJJ T&T pg. 193)

34. Kimura (From Guard) (BJJ T&T pg. 96)

37. Cross Choke Defense in the Guard (Squeeze the

Bread) (BJJ T&T pg. 56) ???

39. Scissor Sweep to Mount (BJJ T&T pg. 64)

40. Armlock from Guard (BJJ T&T pg. 130)

41. Triangle from Guard (BJJ T&T pg. 124)

42. Guillotine Choke from Guard (BJJ T&T pg. 104)

I will add more as I document them.  For now here is what I have of the 88.  I hope this helps.  I will also blog later about what the test was like.  I’m a little nervous.  It would have been nice to read a post from someone who had taken the test at Unified before hand.

Jiu-Jitsu Shin Guards – Stopping the Bruises – Part 1

I’m a white belt.  I’m new to Jiu-Jitsu.  My guard is passed often as I learn while rolling.  As a result I have bruises up and down my legs.  The majority are from some one pinning my leg down as they pass.  From my knees down I look like a leopard, black, blue, and yellow.  I can’t heal as fast as I am getting new bruises.  I had to find a way to stop accumulating new ones until my technique improves.  I looked at the typical MMA shin guards but didn’t want something with the instep.  I also wanted coverage on the knee and farther around the leg then just the shin.  I was surprised to find that Softball Sliding Shin Guards (like these at Amazon.com) did the trick for me.  They didn’t hamper my movement.  I had to adjust them after each roll but the most important part is they gave my legs time to heal.

I picked up a few other kinds of shin guard that I am going to try in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.  I will review them as I try them out.

Ginastica Natural – Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga

How do I improve my muscle memory, stamina, and strength for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?  I’m not a little guy at 214 lb but that puts me in the lower end of the heavy weight division.  I end up with the 275 lb guys.  I need a way to speed up my learning while increasing my body strength.  I hate doing what I call mindless aerobics or movement for movements sake.  I want something from it even if it means peddling a stationary bike that produces electricity.  Because I don’t always have some one to do BJJ with I have started looking into Ginastica.  Here is a video of it on YouTube: Ginastica Natural in Action.  It combines Jiu-Jitsu moves with Yoga and claims to help in the three categories I want to improve.  I just ordered it from BudoVideos.com.  I will let you know how it works out for me.  I am hoping it will help me also reach my goal weight of 200 lb (10 more pounds then what I weighted in High School).

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Beginners Books

I’m a beginner to Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I started Nov. 2008.  I was swamped with the many names of moves, techniques, holds, bars, chokes, sweeps, and the like.  I got a list of what was required for belt advancement or testing.  I then began to map them to pages in common books put out by Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie.  The most common one that I use is:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)

As I am taught a new hold, arm bar, or technique I look it up on the belt testing list I have and then I find it in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique book.  I add the page number to the list.  Its making it easier to remember what I’ve done and what the name is that goes with it.  I try to walk through the list now and again to help refresh myself.  I feel it is helping me advance faster.

Sprawl Rash Guard vs Under Armour HeatGear Shirts

Sprawl wins hands down and here is why.  I bought both the Sprawl Rash Guard long sleeve shirt and the Under Armour HeatGear compression long sleeve shirt for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I found that the Under Armor shirt was thin and tended to ride up.  Because it is a compression top it just stayed up.  I also felt like a sausage.  Whats worse is when I was in a crunch or being smothered having any constriction around my chest didn’t help.  I didn’t notice that much change when it came to “moisture transport” as I wear a heavy cotton gi.  Also the “bolstering of muscle support” didn’t seem to matter.  It did provide good abrasion-resistant.  That was its one redeeming quality.  Sprawl Rash Guard was thicker and I feel would last longer especially with its double stitching.  It has a loose fit and falls down if it gets pushed or rolled up.  It has a very pleasant silky feeling and doesn’t compress your already struggling lungs in a good match.  It provide the same level of abrasion-resistant as the Under Armour did.  I knew I’d be staying with the Sprawl Rash Guard when I realized it hadn’t been washed from my last practice and I would have to wear the Under Armour HeatGear shirt.  Sprawl’s Rash Guard taps out Under Armour which really was never made for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Grappling and Submission

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the street fighters best weapon.  You can see all kinds of fights on Cable, YouTube.com, and other media.  It seems like no matter the skill level of the opponents they always end up on the ground grappling.  I decided to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for just that reason.  I have a few years under my belt of Kempo, Ki-Shi-Kan, Wa-Daru, and other various forms of Japanes martial arts.  But none of them compare to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ.  Every time I got in a fight my training failed me because I didn’t have Mixed Martial Art skills or MMA.  But with BJJ things are changing.  I’m going to try and blog my rise to black belt.  Let me start with the books that have really helped me get started.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)
Championship Techniques (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)
Jiu-Jitsu University

“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique” teach you the very basics and requirements for belts in the Gracie Academy.  This also applies to those affiliated with Gracie Academ like Pedro Sauer .  “Championship Techniques” teaches you more skills and includes drills you can do by yourself.  “Jiu-Jitsu University” teaches you how to survive as a white belt and then how to progress until black.  I’ve found them all very helpful and my study of them has helped excelerate my training.  Its given me a edge in classes.  In my next post I’ll discuss what every what belt should know about gear and conditioning so you won’t start off on a bad foot like I did.