Where Do You Wear Your Gi?

When I first started BJJ I of course noticed some of the more flamboyant kimonos right off.  I noticed that some of those wearing them came walking into the school with them on.  I was surprised to find out that they wore them in public.  I thought for my personality that was way to flashy.  I wouldn’t want to call attention to myself in a white one let alone brightly colored gi.  But as time went on I got a Urban Camo Koral MKM and later a red Atama Mundial #5.  One night my wife called me and asked me to pick up something from the grocery store on the way home from class.  At first I thought "no way" but then I felt that Jiu-Jitsu confidence come over me and pride in what I practice.  So in I went in my Koral.  I got looks and stares.  Some people avoided eye contact with me.  I even got a complement from the check out girl.  She said she liked my jacket.  I said "thank you" and explained it wasn’t jacket but a gi.  Now if on my way to or from class I need to stop and get something in my gi I am not shy at all.  What next?  Family functions?  Who knows!  Some one needs to start selling clothing based off of the gi.  You could market it as fight wear for those who love the gi.

So where do you wear your gi or kimono?

Atama Mundial #5 Gi vs Koral MKM Kimono

I picked up a red Atama Mundial #5 (Size A3) and promised I’d do a post comparing it to my Koral MKM Urban Camo (Size A3).  I haven’t had as much time with the Atama Mundial #5 as I have with my Koral MKM Urban Camo but so far I’m liking it.  Here are some of the key differences I have noticed so far:

  1. The Mundial #5 gi top is longer by a good 2 inches then the MKM.  That keeps it in your belt a little longer while rolling and I have decided I like that.  Its sleeves are about 1/2 inch longer too and have a little more room then the MKM.  I don’t mind that.
  2. The Mundial #5 is a little better quality.  Why I say this is little details are done.  For example: gi-strings Notice how on the red Atama Mundial #5 they have folded over the end and sewn it for the draw string.  On my Koral MKM Urban Camo I did the sewing on the end so it wouldn’t fray over time.  The patches also look like they have better borders for the Atama and are sewn to the gi better.  I have already had to sew part of a patch back on for my Koral.
  3. The Mundial is heavier and not as soft for the gi top.  Notice the difference in the weave of the two from the pictures. koral-mkm-urban-camo-weave atama-mundial-5-weave Don’t ask me what the difference is.  I just know what I feel.  Because I wear a long sleeve rash guard the coarseness doesn’t bother me.  The added weight of the Atama is good for the winter right now.  I wonder if it will be much hotter come summer.
  4. The pants of the Atama are softer and a hair longer then the Koral.  I think they have about the same fit for me and I like them both.  There was one big difference I noted.  The cuff is sewn different.  Notice how the Koral MKM really will last with all those lines of reinforced stitching.  The Atama only has the stitching need to sew on the black strip with their name.  I don’t think this bad just in the long run I expect the Koral pants to out last the Atama. gi-pant-cuffs
  5. For those of us who don’t use the dryer after washing our gis, to extend their life, the Atama gi top takes much longer to dry out.  Like I said it is heavier.  I sat mine out all night in my arid house and it still didn’t dry out by noon the next day.  The Koral MKM dries out over night.  This worries me because I don’t want a stinky gi but I don’t want it to wear out quicker from the dryer.

When all is said and done they are both fine kimonos and have different qualities that make them a top brand.  Over all I like the Atama but think my Koral wins out for now.

Top 10 Gi or Kimono Rankings

Georgette tipped me off to the close out sales happening at Atama right now. After searching around I found a Mundial #5, red, A4 that I liked.  I purchased it for $50 off list price.  I’ve been looking for another gi or kimono to help give my Koral MKM Urban Camo a break.  Its starting to show signs of wear on the collar.  I really have been happy with my Koral.  With the exception of one patch having to be sown partially back on it has been great.  I started my Jiu Jitsu training in a HSU Judo gi.  I blogged about the differences between it and my Koral MKM in: Koral MKM Kimono vs HSU Kodokan Gi.  The Koral MKM is my only gi I use right now and I decided I need another to spread out the wear.  My Submission Master Grappling Dummy now wears the HSU.  I’ve heard good things about Atama and a good number of guys wear them at my school.  I will be sure to do a review about the differences between the Koral MKM and the Atama Mundial #5 after I get it.  Next I need to find a competition gi.  Urban camo and red aren’t accepted in most cases.  I need something in white, blue, or black.  I’ve heard that Koral and Atama are in the top 10 for gis but I haven’t been able to find any real rankings anywhere. Here is a guess based upon brands I see in competition:

  1. Koral
  2. Vulkan
  3. Atama
  4. ISAMI
  5. Gameness
  6. Lucky
  7. Venum
  8. Fuji
  9. HCK
  10. Keiko

Tell me the which and in what order you think they are.

Beware of the Used GI or Kimono

A while back West Side Jiu Jitsu, where I practice, ran a promotion offering four classes for free instead of the customary one.  They also included a free month for referrals.  We had a good number of potential new students come that month.  I don’t remember to much about most of them that didn’t stay but I will never forget one particular guy.  He was very proud of the fact that he had purchased his gi off of eBay for only $35.  It was a white starter gi and I thought it wasn’t a bad investment.  Its probably good he didn’t last longer then the free classes.  Towards the end, maybe his third class or so,  I was sitting out and watching the guys roll.  I then discovered why the gi was $35.  I noticed that at some point someone had lost bowl control in that gi.  No washing had been able to remove it.  It wasn’t noticeable when the guy was standing but when he was bent over in guard it was beacon.  Your eye was drawn right to it.  It occurred to me that others might sell gis that had ringworm.  I will never buy a used gi.  Getting what I think is a good deal would never be worth ruining my BJJ time or reputation. 

The Submission Master Grappling Dummy Review – Assembling of the Dummy

I got my Submission Master grappling dummy yesterday for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  I was very excited and hauled the 70 lbs box into the house.  The dummy comes in two pieces and requires some assembly.  Here it is all assembled and in my old gi.  Submission Master 1 One of the reason I decided to buy the Submission Master was that it will sit up in guard.  I found the video on YouTube.com very helpful in getting it put together.  It came with a poorly photo copied set of instructions that looked like something from a kindergarten craft project.  Here is the link to the Submission Master Assembly Instructions video.  He does make it look a lot easier then it was.  I had a hard time getting the rope tight enough.  I think I will have to go back later and tighten it or do it again.  That isn’t to big a deal.  I think it will loosen in time anyway and need to be retied.  I also followed the YouTube video about breaking the Submission Master in.  If you don’t break it in correctly you can pop stitches.  Here is the video to help you: Submission Master and Breaking It In.  After working the feet and legs as directed it sat right up.  I didn’t waste any time in trying out a Triangle Choke on it.  The first thing I noticed is that humans are softer then dummies.  I didn’t realize how hard the Submission Master would be.  Its was easy to practice a Triangle Choke to Arm Bar combination on the dummy.  I started breaking a sweat just trying to haul the thing around and get it in place for another technique.  I was getting a “caveman” work out just moving the thing.

In my next post I’ll tell you more about how my BJJ practices are going with it and other things I’m finding out as I work with it.

No-Gi vs. Gi – Part 3

In my two previous blogs, Why Am I Writing about Gi vs. No-Gi and No-Gi vs. Gi – Part 2 I blogged about my theory and experience with the gi and no-gi.  Today I came across a quote from Royler Gracie that supports my thoughts.  He said in his book Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Grappling this: “I strongly recommend that everyone who is going to learn submission grappling train with a gi before taking the gi off.  There are many reasons for this.  The gi makes you more technical because it forces you to concentrate on the details and posture. . . Then once you attain a certain level of proficiency, take off the gi, and start to train submission grappling, you find it easy to adapt your techniques to the lack of a gi.  However, if  the opposite occurs – you learn to train without the gi and then someday need to fight with a gi – you will have great difficulty dealing with your opponent’s level of control over you.” (pg. 6)  He later even adds “I train with a gi most of the time. . . . I trained jiu-jitsu for thirty-four years and only took off the gi in 1996 when I fought in the Vale-Tudo Open in Japan . . .” (pg. 6-7).  So my observations and theory are verified by Royler Gracie.  You should start in the gi and only go to no-gi after you have reached a level of proficiency.

No-gi vs. Gi – Part 2

In my post “Why Am I Writing About Gi vs. No-gi”  I talked about the differences between the two in my opinion and how I was going to but my thoughts to the test.  I did compete in a No-gi tournament.  I did lose and it was not for the reason I would have expected.  I couldn’t get the guy to let go of my wrists and I showed forth some really poor escape technique.  I was also very unprepared for the intensity with which I was meet.  I was too relaxed about it.  The match went like this: After some grappling back and forth he got both his hands around my neck and we just sunk into guard position.  I quickly passed his guard and got him in cross body.  This is when I couldn’t get him to let go of my wrists.  I transitioned in a upper cross body and worked his legs.  I made a nice smooth transition to mount and began looking for a arm bar.  I was in complete control at this time.  I was up 7 zip, then things went bad.  He managed to get a hold of my wrist on one side and with a nice upa rolled me over.  I escaped being mounted by pushing him right over me.  Before I could completely turn around he hit me broad side and fell into mount on me.  It was tied up at that point.  I could have still won but I made a sad attempt at escape from mount and then I make the critical mistake of turning on my side giving him a easy arm bar.  I was especially upset with myself after seeing the video when I realized I didn’t try a hitch-hiker escape.  I didn’t try any escape.  It was a sloppy arm bar too.  I was stunned by the speed of everything and the intensity.  Do I feel No-gi is a subset of Gi still?  Yes.  Do I feel you should train Gi first and then No-gi still? Yes.  Will I do another No-gi tournament?  Yes!  But not before I have a few classes to get the feel for the speed and bump up my intensity.  All BJJ rocks!  I learned a lot from that 3.5 minutes on the mat.  Just like when Helio Gracie came away from losing to Kimura.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Why Am I Writing About Gi vs. No-Gi?

If you have been in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) or MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) for anytime you will have heard the gi vs. no-gi debate.  So why am I writing about it?  Because I want to hear some real arguments for no-gi as your foundation technique. I see no-gi technique as a subset of gi (kimono) technique.  If you use a gi to train, you learn a larger set of techniques that can be applied on the street.  Its true people don’t go around in gis.  It is also true they don’t always wear shorts, short sleeve shirts, and are all sweaty.  Winter is coming on and your typical person will be wearing what?  A heavy coat and long pants.  These are a perfect substitution for a gi.

It is my opinion that first you should train in the gi and only after achieving a belt or two worry about doing no-gi.  You want to improve your arsenal with no-gi.  You want a solid base to start with.  That is why you start in gi and later add no-gi classes.

Not convinced?  You don’t fall into the pride category then like this blog entitled Be Proud, but Humble on Tap or Die suggests, I hope?  I am going to put my money where my mouth is and go to a no-gi tournament having never done no-gi.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the mean while, let me hear your side of the debate.

 

Don’t Make These Six Common Mistakes When You Begin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  1. Don’t pick the first school you see.  Not all Jiu Jitsu schools are created equal, shop around. Visit the schools that look interesting.  Most schools offer a free class or two.  Take them up on it before you sign up.
  2. Don’t start with a gi or kimono that doesn’t fit. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis or kimonos are cut for Jiu Jitsu not Karate or Judo.  You first kimono can be inexpensive but should fit properly.
  3. Don’t start without purchasing a mouth guard.  Chances are you are going to get banged up at first.  You don’t need a chipped tooth or dentist bill to remind you that a $5 mouth guard would have saved you a $1000.
  4. Don’t start without purchasing some knee sleeves.  They are cheap and save on bruises around the knees which come with being inexperienced and having your guard passed frequently.  Know one likes knee pain.
  5. Don’t start without purchasing a rash guard.  It acts like a work glove and helps keep bruising to a minimum plus protects you from skin to skin contact.  Some unsavory opponents could have ring worm or some other fungus.  You only want them to share their technique with you.
  6. Don’t think you are going to be Helio Gracie in the first month.  You will get tapped all the time at first.  Tell yourself you are going to try for a year before you decide if you are going to stop.

Jiu Jitsu is life and life is Jiu Jitsu.  By avoiding these six common mistakes you will enjoy both more as you begin the thrilling and rewarding path to BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) enlightenment.

Ki belt vs. Koral belt – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

After hard work and time I have achieved blue belt.  I was awarded a Ki belt at the test.  It was a little small for me.  It gave me the look of Baby Huey when I had it on.  It was thin and flimsy.  I decide there had to be something better.  I had just bought my first real Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Kimono (Koral MKM Urban Camo Kimono) and decided that I should get a belt from Koral (click to see).  I was a little skeptical about the Koral belts at first. Koral Color Belts As you can see in the picture it doesn’t give much detail.  Koral belts were going for roughly $20 plus shipping where as the Ki sold for $5 plus shipping.  I didn’t want to have another flimsy belt with a know brand name on it.  Koral is made in Brazil and Ki is made in China.  I decided to take a chance and get a blue Koral but now how to pick the right size?  There was no belt size chart to help me.  I finally decided to go with the same size as my kimono or gi.  In short order my belt arrived in the mail.  I quickly took it out and compared it to my Ki and old HSU white belt.  My new Koral was longer then my Ki, to my relief, but shorter then my old HSU white belt.  I tried it on with my gi and it looked good.  The quality of the belt is much better too.  It is thicker and has the black ends for strips.  I guess you get what you pay for.  I recommend the Koral belt over Ki.