This review is brought to you by the good folks at Black Eagle (don’t worry – this will not keep me from being objective) and BJJHQ. Go check them out and get you some goodies! Preferably, get yourself a Black Eagle product from BJJHQ!
I decided to go a different route with this month’s series of reviews. Why not do a ‘Spy vs. Spy’ theme and see how it plays out? On one hand, we have the Gameness Platinum Gi. On the other is Black Eagle’s Predator MKII Special Edition. We’ll compare these two side-by-side and rank them based on design, fit, comfort, weight, price, shrinkage and unique features. Only one will be victorious!
The Predator sports a clean, classic look; which I prefer in a gi. The Predator branding is embroidered along the shoulders, lower back and chest. The only patch work is on the sides of the legs. I find this to be a plus! The embroidery is nicer than a patch as well. There’s care in stitches – ask any surgeon.
The Gameness, on the other hand, is gaudy. How many large, ugly patches can we slap on a gi? And a pit-bull? Really?? It’s tacky. It feels like it was designed by DMX. If Tupac is indeed practicing Jiu-Jitsu with Master Helio in Heaven, this is the gi he is wearing. If I was to roll in East L.A. then I would wear this gi to a drive-by with a large gold chain. The only thing that would make this gi even worse would be a matching rash guard with Old-English font around the neck line. Sup Dawg?
When all is said and done I will most likely remove the large back patch and chest patch from the Gameness gi.
Just to be clear on this, I’m 6′ and 195lbs and have a 36″ waist. I wore an A3 in both gi’s.
The Predator fits well enough. The pants and sleeves fall to where they should. My complaints are that it is large in the mid-section of the jacket and the trousers have a low-rise wear around the waist. I feel like the jacket was made to wrap around a barrel. I’m not a skinny guy so I’m not used to my gi’s fitting so loose. If that’s what you’re looking for, or maybe if you’re a shorter (and of a more round body type), this jacket might work for you.
The pants, unlike a more traditional cut pair of trousers where the drawstring is worn more around the waist, are cut to be worn more around the hips, like a pair of mid- or low-rise jeans. This would be nice if I was just strutting around the gym trying to look super cool but it’s not good for when I’m rolling around on the ground and having a player pulling on pants.
Predator calls it a Competition Cut.
The Gameness fit perfectly. The torso of the jacket was definitely more of an athletic cut so it fit really well. It wasn’t too tight and it wasn’t too loose. The sleeves and legs ran to where they were supposed to. Also, the trousers had a longer waist cord so there was plenty of twill to work with. Again, I’m not skinny so I’ll take all the cord I can get.
The Predator stomped Gameness in weight. There’s just no comparison. My Predator gi, fresh out of the package, weighed in at 3.7lbs. The gameness, also removed from its packaging, weighed in at 5.2lbs. That’s a full pound and a half lighter! You may not think about this but spend 3 hours in a seminar where you’re doing a lot of drilling and really working up a sweat, that’s 1.5lbs of material that is not soaking up said sweat and becoming that much heavier. That’s 1.5lbs of material that’s not causing friction on the mat in a tournament after you’ve already had 4 matches. Gameness advertises it as a favorite for summer-camps but I’d wear the lighter, more breathable Predator to Brazil or Kentucky before I wore the Gameness.
What I liked in the design of the Predator actually worked against it in the comfort department but only in the beginning. The massive amounts of embroidery were a bit irritating to the skin; a constant scratching and scuffing feeling, especially on the shoulders. After wearing it for a week and running it through a couple washes I didn’t notice it anymore. I don’t know if it was because I simply acclimated to the stitching or if after running it through the break in period and wash the threading became softer.
Also, with the Predator being a pound and a half lighter makes a huge difference. You can feel the lightness of the Predator compared to the Gameness, especially when worn back-to-back.
The Gameness was a pleasure to wear. No irritation against the skin. There is a centerline down the back where the two body panels are sewn together, which if you spend significant time flat on your back, can become bothersome. All in all, though, the Gameness definitely won me over in its feel against the body and with its cut.
Both have a twill drawstring waist cord. I hate twill. Manufactures should be required by law to have rope or climbing cord as the drawstring.
Note: I followed the wash instructions for each specific gi. I did not use hot water or a dryer. You may have different results if you do not follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.
I really expected the Gameness to shrink after reading a series of reviews that said it would. However, after wearing and washing it a few times it didn’t seem to shrink any more than it advertised. You may be able to shrink it down a good bit with hot water and a dryer but it would be unfair to hit the manufacturer for that if it’s not following the directions.
The Predator performed as advertised.
With the Gameness having a lower percentage of shrinkage it gets the point. Measurements are provided.
|Gameness Original Measurements||Gameness Post Wash Measurements||Predator Original Measurements||Predator Post Wash Measurements|
|1.9% total shrinkage||2.45% total shrinkage|
The Predator has a series of unique features that help it stand out against the pack. The gi is Sanforized (so it won’t shrink). There are additional loops on the trousers for a better fit. The trousers have rip stop. However, I think the most unique feature of this gi isn’t actually the gi; it’s that it’s a Black Eagle gi. You can get your gi embroidered by a company that has a solid reputation and is known for their customer service. Anyone can make a gi but only a few can back it up.
The Gameness gi has its own unique features, too. For example, it may have one of the thicker and stiffer collars on the market. I read a lot of reviews where people like this because they feel like their necks are safer. However, if your opponent is good enough to get to your back (especially when you know the game) and start working for that collar, he probably deserves the tap and he’s probably going to get it. A heavy, premium double weave jacket (probably where that extra 1.5lbs is hiding). Excellent stitching (around those gaudy patches).
On a side note, and this doesn’t really fall under uniqueness but it doesn’t fit anywhere else, is that the Black Eagle website gives you a tremendous amount of detail regarding their products. I like that. Put the information at the consumer’s fingertips. Gameness just gives you a blurb. It’s as if the web-designers for Gameness don’t care about their product.
Note: Prices are from BudoVideos since they sell both gi’s in the U.S.
The Predator MKII Special Edition gi is a top quality contender that has made its mark on the UK market. I expect to see it do the same in the U.S. For the price (and pound for pound), it’s the better of the two gi’s.
But, don’t count the Gameness out, however. If you’re in the market for a heavier gi (rolling in Minnesota during the winter?), fit is your deciding factor and you’re willing to shell out the extra cash than the Gameness Platinum might be exactly what you’re looking for. Just make sure you take off those hideous patches before going out in public with it.
PREDATOR MKII S.E.