Jiu-Jitsu Head Gear Review: Cliff Keen Twister vs Asics Unrestrained

Cliff Keen Twisters

 

I posted a while ago about “Learning About Cauliflower Ears”.  I got my first visible damage to a ear and it made me paranoid of getting cauliflower ears.  I also have had very sore ears from practice.  Its been a pain trying to find a way to sleep on my side at night.  The solution was to find suitable protective head gear for rolling during BJJ practice.

I picked up a pair of Cliff Keen Twisters from MMAOutLet.com and a pair of Asics Unrestrained from my local sporting goods store.  The Twisters cost me $31 and the Asics $24 (tax and shipping not included).

unrestrained

The Twister as you can see from the picture has 3  main straps.  The Unrestrained has 5 or 6 depending on how you look at it.  I’ll cut to the chase and give you the verdict Cliff Keen Twister won hands down!  I couldn’t even make myself wear the Unrestrained.  It gave me a headache just wearing it.  Unrestrained? No, a better name would be headcrab.

 

Cliff Keen Twister

Pros:

  1. Larger straps spread out the pressure.  It didn’t feel like I had anything on.
  2. The ear protectors are made of a flexible plastic that moves better with you.
  3. Minimal adjustment of straps was needed to get a comfortable fit.
  4. Plenty of ear space.
  5. Foam on ear protectors is light weight and has no construction edges that might rub.
  6. Detachable foam for cleaning or replacement.
  7. Snap-On-Snap-Off chin strap.  One time adjustment is all that is needed.

Cons:

  1. Straps have rough ends that might rub during rolling.  I had to mash my hair down on the front strap to make sure I had some protection.  I didn’t get any rub.

Asics Unrestrained

Pros:

  1. Cheaper

Cons:

  1. Strap adjustment takes for ever!
  2. I felt like I was the man in the iron mask.  It was giving me a headache no matter how I adjusted the straps.
  3. Ear space is acceptable but only after lengthy adjustment of straps.
  4. Very stiff and inflexible.
  5. It is all Velcro no snaps
  6. Top strap was like some one constantly pushing their thumb into the top of my head.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

How To Pick Your First Gi or Kimono

A while ago I posted Top 10 Gi or Kimono Rankings.  I have to say my rankings were based on empirical data from the three gis I owned and what I had observed as the most valued by those around me and in videos.  Since then I have found a much more scientific approach at Aesopian.com.  He posted  Ranking Gis from Best to Worst.  The data is based off of a far larger sample size of readers to his blog.  Oh and his comes with cool graphs!  I have done some gi reviews.  They are:

  1. Koral MKM vs  HSU Kodokan
  2. Atama Mundial #5 vs Koral MKM

But neither of my reviews compares to the one done by Meerkatsu entitled "Great British Gi Review".  I know they are British makers.  I know we are all not in Britain.  But the quality of the review is a standard to look for in other reviews.  Lets not forget the ladies when we talk about reviews for gis.  If you want superb gi reviews for women check out Georgette’s World.  She did one not so long ago entitled Women’s Gi Review: Fenom Gi, A1.

So you are out shopping for your first gi and you don’t want to put down your hard won cash for trash.  These links should help you start figuring out what you want and why.

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!