Posts Tagged ‘Gi’

Gi Soap

Intro

When I reached out to my fellow BJJ players at Gi Soap, looking to write a review on some of their products, I was more interested in just getting some free stuff and maybe a cool patch.  To be honest, my plan succeeded.  I got them to send me some free product to review and a cool patch.  I didn’t necessarily expect to be impressed.  I figured, “soap is soap”.  You don’t really think that any one soap or body wash will be different from any other.  Sure, some smell nicer than others.  Maybe you notice one lathers a little bit more, or maybe, one rinses a little easier.  But rarely, do you say, “Wow!  That’s some GOOD soap!”

Well, today was that day, my friend.  I got me some DAMN GOOD SOAP!   Gi Soap has recently released a new body wash line to complement their bar soap production.  It’s all quality stuff.

Oddly enough, I suddenly found myself reliving scene from Fight Club.  Instead of selling soap to glamorized, size 0, twenty-something’s who just had liposuction I was trying to pawn off this great product on meat-heads with cauliflower ear.  Hollywood ALMOST got it right…

The Science:

There’s a little bit of education involved here.  You have to have some personal revelations about yourself and your body before you become willing to drop $9.00 on a bottle of soap.  If you think about it you’ll probably come to the same realizations that I had.

First, traditional body wash that is chemically made is not good for you.  It “cleans” you by stripping away the natural oils of your body.  Sure, it also strips away all that nasty dirt, sweat and grime but you’re not cleaning your body the way nature intended.  We, as animals, produce and secrete our own natural oil as natural barrier and protection for our skin.  We are programed to defend ourselves against bacteria, dirt, sweat, grime and anything else we can try to find to roll around in.

By stripping our own natural oils we’re no longer protecting ourselves.  Conversely, we’re making ourselves more susceptible and vulnerable to infection and disease.  In fact, we’re more likely increasing our chances of catching ring worm, athlete’s foot, or some other god forsaken bacteria that will keep us off the mats and away from the gym.  This is also why you should never shower BEFORE going to the dojo.

That’s where Gi Soap steps in.  The oil’s they use in their body wash and soap bars protects us, naturally, in conjunction with our body’s own oil secretion.  Tea Tree Oil, for example, has been shown to treat and cure athlete’s foot, has the ability to cure fungus infections of the nails, and helps clear up mild and moderate acne.  Regular body wash doesn’t do that.  And that’s only one of their ingredients!’

"Real products tested on real fighters!!! Ringworm gone in a few days with our bars of soap just by washing the area few times a day and then letting it air dry!!"

“Real products tested on real fighters!!! Ringworm gone in a few days with our bars of soap just by washing the area few times a day and then letting it air dry!!”

 

Packaging:

It’s not the prettiest bottle of body wash but who cares?  It has the Gi Soap logo, the list of ingredients and a cap.  What else do you really need?

Smell / Feel:

It doesn’t smell musky, or male, or like a man without his shirt on riding backwards on a horse on the beach.  It smells natural.  It smells like a peppermint plant.  Not the peppermint candy that you get from grandma’s candy bowl in the secretary’s office, but the real plant.

Its texture is an oil base.  I feel very Roman when I shower with it.  Like I’m pouring perfumed oil over my head.  It’s a little different from what you might be used to because it doesn’t lather excessively.  Rather, it coats the skin.  You may have to use a little bit more than your normal body wash to coat your entire body.

Post Wash:

After washing with Gi Soap you’ll feel a little bit oilier than what you may be used to.  I know I did.  However, it’s not a greasy feeling.  It’s a smoothing feel.  Almost like you’ve treated your body to a massage and it has that post-oil feel.  It’s nice.  After using it for a week I can definitely tell my skin is healthier and happier.

Pros:

At the end of the day my skin doesn’t feel dry.  I don’t feel the need to put lotion on because of cheap soap.  I’ve noticed my skin has a healthier appearance and feel.  It kills bacteria.  It works WITH your body, naturally.  You’re supporting a small business, for a community you love.

Cons:

It’s a little bit expensive.  You have to use more than expected so it doesn’t last as long as your normal bottle of soap.  Your wife or girlfriend will steal it because IT’S THAT GOOD!

Conclusion:

Gi soap works with your body, not against it.  You’ll feel healthier.  Your skin will look better after a week.  It’s a great preventative measure to make sure you don’t get any kind of skin infection to begin with.

Is Gi Soap worth the cost?  Yes!  Absolutely.  After doing a little bit of research and finding out more about the soaps that I’ve been using and what they’re doing to my body, I almost have no choice.  Once you see the sin you’re committing, you have to confess and you have to mitigate it.  I’m no longer using lotion, either, which helps to offset the cost of Gi Soap as well.

After learning what Gi Soap is doing for my body and the positive results that I’ve personally seen, I don’t think I can ever stop using it.

4/5 stars.  Go pick up a bottle (or bar) and try it out.  It’s worth it and you won’t regret it.

See you on the mats!

Advertisements

GB Pro Light

Intro

The first Gracie Barra academy was established in 1986 by Master Carlos Gracie, Jr.  Starting in the 2000’s, they’ve had a requirement for schools to have “Official” gi’s.  Part of this, I believe, was their push to be uniform, and in a sense, one team under one banner.  While other schools have team gi’s, Gracie Barra is the only one I know of that you are required to wear their specific gi at all times while on the mats.  Read more here.

STORM Kimono’s was founded in 1995 and have steadily grown.  They are a leading sponsor of athletes in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu field.  You’ll find competitors at the highest level wearing their equipment, you’ll see them worn by specialists in books and magazines and you’ll even find them on the beach with their new casual wear line.  Read more here.

Info

The Gracie Barra “Pro Light” is one kimono in a line of new gi’s designed by STORM Kimonos for Gracie Barra affiliate school members.  It can be purchased online at Gracie Barra Wear or in any Gracie Barra academy for $179.99.

Earning the first stripe on my white belt back in 2009 at Gracie Barra U-H.

Earning the first stripe on my white belt back in 2009 at Gracie Barra U-H.

Disclosure

I have a special place for Gracie Barra in my heart.  I earned the first stripe on my white belt at Gracie Barra University of Hawaii.  I currently train at Chimera Mixed Martial Arts, whose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program is taught by Gracie Barra Seattle’s brown belt Ben Pyne.  I also drop in occasionally at Gracie Barra Seattle.  However, my love for Gracie Barra will in no way influence my opinion of the Storm / Gracie Barra collaboration or the product they have provided.

Intro

Gracie Barra and STORM Kimonos have teamed up to bring you a pretty slick new gi for Gracie Barra academy’s around the world.  Their design cues are well done but they stay in line with the traditional gi’s of Gracie Barra.

When you first receive the gi, the packaging is unimpressive.  You do see hints that excite you, though.  Like the massive "EQUIPE" logo.

When you first receive the gi, the packaging is unimpressive. You do see hints that excite you, though. Like the massive “EQUIPE” logo.

Inside tag of the collar.  It's a big patch but the way it's sewn in doesn't rub or scratch the back.

Inside tag of the collar. It’s a big patch but the way it’s sewn in doesn’t rub or scratch the back.

 

After opening the gi and inspecting it, the patch work is really well done.  The subdued "G"s in the red really make the "BARRA" pop.  Pretty standard logo patching from STORM throughout.

After opening the gi and inspecting it, the patch work is really well done. The subdued “G”s in the red really make the “BARRA” pop. Pretty standard logo patching from STORM throughout.

Reinforced armpit patching, which makes for some extra sturdiness in the gi.  Not all gi's have this so this is definitely a feature that I like!

Reinforced armpit patching, which makes for some extra sturdiness in the gi. Not all gi’s have this so this is definitely a feature that I like!

Extra material and reinforced stitching make the vulnerable parts of this gi extra strong.  I also really like the contrasting "G" on the tape that is found in on the edge and inside of the sleeve and pant cuffs.

Extra material and reinforced stitching make the vulnerable parts of this gi extra strong. I also really like the contrasting “G” on the tape that is found in on the edge and inside of the sleeve and pant cuffs.

More reinforcement stitching on the pants.  The red drawstring is an excellent touch.  I also like how GB/STORM have capped the drawstring with some extra blue material, as opposed to searing it or using a knot.

More reinforcement stitching on the pants. The red drawstring is an excellent touch. I also like how GB/STORM have capped the drawstring with some extra blue material, as opposed to searing it or using a knot.

Side view of the gi.  The larger patches, compared to previous ones, go a long way to making this a gi you can really appreciate.

Side view of the gi. The larger patches, compared to previous Gracie Barra gi’s, go a long way to making this a gi you can really appreciate.

Back view.  I like the small leg patch on the back.  You don't really notice it at first but then it becomes one of those little touches that you really like.

Back view. I like the small leg patch on the back. You don’t really notice it at first but then it becomes one of those little touches that you really like.  I also really liked the subdued silver “G” in the white “EQUIPE” patch.  Interesting fact, I always thought that “equipe” meant “equipment”.  Like Gracie Barra Equipment.  Turns out it’s Portuguese for “Team”.  You learn something new everyday!

Stats

I ordered a size A3 “Pro Light”.  Its weight, out of the package and prior to washing was 3.8 lbs.  The size chart does not provide a weight for the “Pro Light” gi.  I measured the “Pro Light” prior to washing it.  Its measurements were as follows:

Jacket

Arm length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the cuff, following along the top of the sleeve:  30.5” (-.6” difference from the advertised size chart)

Left cuff, flattened:  6.5” (-.3” difference from the advertised size chart)

Vertical torso length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the back:  31.5” (no difference from the advertised size chart)

Trousers

Exterior length of the leg, along the side, from the top of the waist to the edge of the cuff:  39” (-.2” difference from the advertised size chart)

Interior seam, from the crotch down to the edge of the cuff:  29” (-.1” difference from the advertised size chart)

Leg cuff, flattened:  10.25” (measurement not provided on company size chart)

Waist, from edge to edge:  23.5” (+1.3” difference from the advertised size chart)

Inseam, from the top of the waist to the joint in the crotch:  12” (measurement not provided on company size chart)

Following the care instructions on the tag, I machine washed the jacket and trousers in cold water and allowed them to hang dry.  The post wash measurements are as follows:

Jacket

Arm length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the cuff, following along the top of the sleeve:  30.0” (-0.5”)

Left cuff, flattened:  6.5” (no change)

Vertical torso length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the back:  30.75” (-.75”)

Trousers

Exterior length of the leg, along the side, from the top of the waist to the edge of the cuff:  38” (-1”)

Interior seam, from the crotch down to the edge of the cuff:  29” (no change)

Leg cuff, flattened:  10” (-.25”)

Waist, from edge to edge:  23.5” (no change)

Inseam, from the top of the waist to the joint in the crotch:  11” (-1”)

The “fit percentage”, based on the above measurements, from the advertised size chart to the actual received product was 19.84%.  That’s almost 20% of difference between what’s advertised and what’s received.  The disclaimer to this is that I did not follow all of the measurements given on the size chart.  I also am not a seamstress and may not have made the measurements in the exact place as the manufacturer.  These measurements should in no way discourage you from purchasing the gi and are provided for informational purposes.

The percentage of shrinkage, based on the above measurements, from pre-wash to post-wash, following the given care instructions was -1.92%.  Less than 2%!!  That’s great!

Overall, I was pleased with the ratio to pre- and post-wash, the weight, and the ratio to advertised size and actual size.

Fit and feel

I’m 6′ and 185-190lbs and I sometimes get stuck in these in-between sizes.  An A3 isn’t quite big enough (after the wash) and an A4 is way to big (even after I try to shrink the snot out of it).  The GB/STORM gi doesn’t have that problem.  It’s slightly bigger than most other gi’s so it fits me perfectly.  The sleeves don’t shrink up and make me look like an old school judo player and there is plenty of room on the inside of the jacket to move around in.  Some gi’s can bind and tie you down because they lack the space inside the material to move.  Not this one.  If you’re a bigger Jits player that’s on the cusp of two sizes, this may be a perfect option for you.

The jacket and pants fit great.  It’s a little big compared to the other gi’s I own so you may want to size down.  Check out my stats above, this kimono has less than 2% shrinkage so don’t expect to buy an A3 and shrink it in the wash to make it fit.  It’s going to be the size you purchase.  Check their size chart prior to purchasing.

Style and Design

The Gracie Barra “Pro Light” incorporates design inputs from STORM Kimonos and Gracie Barra.  It does an excellent job mixing the old school layout of the GB brand with new modern touches from STORM.  Subdued “G”s accent the logo and patch work.  Larger patches give it a cleaner “read” when you look at it.  The updated tags even standout.

STORM’s touches take it from a gi that you need to a gi that you want!

Fin

Roll.Adapt.Win  recently put out a picture that spoke to the heart of the White Belt.  But, it also spoke to the heart of all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu players.  Several folks did their own take on it.  So in honor of Roll.Adapt.Win’s great influence (and in homage to the point they made), I’m offering up 10 Things Every White Belt Should Know!

We all start training for different reasons, but many of us show up to class because in the back of our minds we all want to be able to take down the UFC superstars.  Yeah, sure, you say you just want to learn to be able to defend yourself in a street fight.  I say BULL$%!*!  You want to try and tap out Dos Santos!  This leads us to:

# 10:  The highest percentage of submission finishes in the UFC are fundamental, white-to-blue curriculum, techniques.  In 2009, the most successful submission in the UFC was the Guillotine, followed by the Rear Naked Choke.  My point?  Don’t worry about trying to learn that cool thing you saw one of Eddie Bravo’s Black Belt’s doing on YouTube.  LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS!

Okay, so let’s say you didn’t join the dojo to beat up on UFC fighters.  Maybe you don’t care that you can tap out Chael Sonnen.  Maybe you just want to get fit?  Maybe build a little muscle and cut a little fat?  Well, that’s great, but don’t stop hitting the gym because you found this great, new anaerobic exercise!

#9.  When all things are equal, strength and agility will be the deciding factor.  Look, there’s a reason fighters cut 20 lbs before a match.  It’s so they can be bigger, stronger, and faster than their opponent.  If you take two BJJ practitioners, both of whom have been training for 2 days a week, for 2 years, under the same instructor with the same sparring partners, the stronger, faster one is going to get the tap 8 times out of 10.

But you can’t just work out and do BJJ and expect to be the best.  You have to eat right, too.

#8.  You are a machine.  You need fuel and lube to function properly.  EAT RIGHT AND TAKE SUPPLEMENTS!  Don’t wait till you’re 50 to start popping fish oil pills.  Do it now.  Food is your fuel.  Don’t eat for now, eat for tomorrow.  What’s going to supply the power and energy your body needs for later?  I know that greasy cheeseburger looks great, but the grilled chicken salad is going to help build muscle and promote good digestion.

I had a football coach who told me I talked too much in the locker room.  I didn’t know what that meant until 10 years later and I was in a dojo listening to white belts talk too much in the locker room.  If you wear a white belt, you talk too much.  You’re talking too much online.  You’re talking too much in the locker room.  If you’re reading this quietly to yourself, not even out load but in your brain, you’re talking too much.  I still talk too much.

#7.  Shut up.  Listen.  Observe.  Use your eyeballs and mimic that awesome purple belt you admire.  Watch the black belts.  You’ll see even the friendly, outgoing ones don’t talk that much about BJJ off the mats.  You’re not an expert.  Be a student.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great.  It’s a complete, all around martial art.  I’ll be the first to admit that there’s not a single martial art that’s better than BJJ.  However, like supplementing your BJJ with strength and conditioning workouts, you should consider supplementing your training with another martial art as well.  Many BJJ black belts are also black belts in Judo, Aikido, or some other form of martial art.

#6.  If your BJJ dojo offers more than one martial art, sign up for it!  Expand your horizon and become a multi-martial arts practitioner.  Taking Judo 1 day a week will significantly increase your BJJ in the long run.  This includes arts like Yoga and Tae Chi.  I practice yoga every now and again with my wife and just the small increases in flexibility and balance have done wonders for my game.

So let’s say you took up yoga.  Great!  But being on the mats isn’t the time to work on your Zen either.  Be aggressive in what you want to do.

#5.  ATTACK!  Now, I’m not saying flail around like a suffocating fish on the sea pier.  Don’t be wild.  But, force your game onto your opponent.  Don’t sit in someone’s guard and let them dictate where the match is headed.  And don’t lay on your back and watch them pass your guard, either.

Have a game plan.  If you’re still new, and haven’t even started developing a game plan, have a move.  Have 1 move for each position (that’s 8 moves, give or take) and repeat each move.  He’s in your guard?  Keep trying that same sweep until you learn another.  If it fails and he passes?  Oh well!  Try that side mount escape.  Did it fail?  Good.

#4.  Fail often.  Fail again.  Ask any world champion what they learned after they won a fight and they won’t have a good answer.  Sure, they had some questions answered.  But what did they learn?  Ask any world champion what they learned after they lost a fight, and they’ll tell you a lot.  What they learned about themselves, about what did or didn’t really work, how to revamp their training, etc., etc.  The list is endless.  We learn more in failure than success.

You know what the other great thing about failing at a technique is?  You learn what works best for you.  Repetition and drills are great, they build mechanics, but failure builds technique.

#3.  Learn the variation that works for you.  Eddie Bravo’s rubber guard isn’t for everybody, but it’s for somebody.  And the person that can execute it successfully can give people a good run for their money.  So maybe the standard straight arm-lock isn’t hitting for you, but maybe the reversal is.  Learn to set up the reverse from failing the standard variation.

You have to know the moves, though.  You can’t do anything if you don’t have the knowledge.  Spend 20 minutes a day, even day’s you’re not training, studying.

#2.  Hit the books.  Watch YouTube.  Subscribe to Gracie University.  Buy Gracie Barra fundamentals on DVD.  Get your subscription to Jiu-Jitsu Magazine.  Buy one of Kid Peligro’s books.  Look, keeping it fresh in your mind and studying the material will make you a better grappler by 5%.  It’s a fact, trust me.  Especially if you grab another white belt and say, “Hey, I just saw this cool technique, can we walk through it a few times?”

All of this being said, you’re still going to lose.  However, there’s good news!

#1.  …Drum roll…  There is no losing.  Ah, see how I got all Buddhist monk right there!  You’re going to lose but there is no losing!  Okay, seriously though, you’re sparring.  You’re rolling around on the ground with your friends, trying to perform a specific technique.  This isn’t a MMA fight.  This isn’t a street match.  There’s the old adage, tap early and tap often.  That comes into play here.  Knowing when you’re in a bad spot is important, and attempting to get out of it is important, but not at the cost of your ACL or tearing a shoulder.

Hopefully, I helped out at least one white belt.  Now shut up and roll!

Photograph rights and property of Laura Hensen of GRITZ photography.

INTRO

This review is brought to you by the good folks at BJJHQ and MAS.  Go check them out.  Then buy something!

This thing is just ugly enough to be pretty.  Kind of like the Honey Badger itself.  Orange and purple highlights stand out perfectly against the black.  Classic Tatami patch work and quality.  Lightweight, comfortable, and great fit.  This bad boy didn’t shrink much or loose any color in the washes.  It doesn’t turn stale and feel like sandpaper when you air dry it, either.  The stitching and quality are great so all around, I really, really like this gi.

And of course, quality design by the great Meerkatsu.  I still haven’t decided if I like this guy or if I’m jealous of his success.  It’s kind of funny because I hate him for making great products!  I’m jealous of his creative acumen!  Too bad his HB v.2 looks even more sic.  You can check out his pre-release review of the HB gi here.

DESIGN

Unfortunately, you can’t wear this gi to the Dojo without being prepared to withstand the barrage of Cobra Kai jokes that are sure to be launched in your general direction.  Then, waiting for you when you get home, will be the continued Facebook remarks of your latest and greatest gi outing.  It only gets better when you wear it back there a second time.  The white belt college student who just finished watching Dodgeball for the 1000th time can’t help but call you the leader of the Purple Cobra’s and start throwing medicine balls at your head!  Do you know how hard it is to dodge 8 lb medicine balls every time you walk into the gym?!?

The good news is that your Halloween costume is already taken care of for this year.  “Joanie loves Chachi!”

In all seriousness, though, the design on this gi is great.  It’s toned down from his original HB rash guard (which I also thought was really impressive) which makes it look great.  The little tweaks around the Tatami patch of the HB’s crawling over are a nice subtle touch.

COMFORT AND FIT

Photograph rights and property of Laura Hensen of GRITZ photography

This is probably my best fitting and most comfortable gi in my closet right now.  It’s a lightweight hybrid weave that fits like a competition uniform.  On me, the sleeves and legs go down to where they’re supposed to.  Which, you would think, wouldn’t be uncommon.  However, most of my gi’s don’t reach the first knuckle of my thumb (like they’re supposed to).

Since it’s a lightweight, hybrid jacket the collar isn’t overly stiff.  Which I find kind of nice considering less than a year ago it seemed most designers were trying to make their gi collars as hard and stiff as possible.  If you tuck your chin and protect your neck (like a good Jiu-Jitsu practitioner) the collar stiffness doesn’t make a difference.  I don’t want to wear a gi that feels like sandpaper.  No fears here with the Honey Badger.  The Honey Badger don’t give a shit about collar stiffness.  One downfall, I found, to the jacket was that the embroidery on the back will rub and irritate your back.

The pants are 8 oz. twill cotton.  Which is nice because it keeps them comfortable as well.  However, I usually prefer rip-stop.  They haven’t torn yet (and Lord knows my training partners have been trying to tear this thing apart) so it’s been a non-issue thus far.  IF they tear, we’ll see how well they take to patching.  A definite plus to the pants, on top of the cotton comfort, is the drawstring is cord instead of the twill drawstring.  Tatami has made the cord fairly standard in their gi’s, which is great because I HATE twill drawstring.  They never pull tight enough and they stretch and come loose.  It’s habit for me to replace them now with rope from the Home Depot.  Good job, Tatami.

PERFORMANCE ON THE MAT

Photograph rights and property of Laura Hensen of GRITZ photography

I really enjoy rolling in this gi.  It fits great.  It’s not too tight but it’s not super loose either.  It’s the perfect mix between a competition cut jiu-jitsu gi and a traditional judo gi.  It can take a beating, that’s for sure.  The sleeves are great for gripping and because they’re the proper length you won’t have any issues executing that new Ezekiel choke you just learned!

A closing thought, I haven’t found any loose threads in the stitching.  Even after multiple wears and washes it hasn’t started to fray anywhere.  Which is pretty impressive considering all the embroidery that is on this gi.  I gave this gi a vinegar bath for its first wash and haven’t noticed any color loss anywhere either.  I don’t know if that’s because of the vinegar bath or because Tatami puts out quality products.  Either way, I’m satisfied.

CONCLUSION

Like I said, I really like this gi.  Go buy it and wear it often.  You won’t be disappointed in the money spent.  It’s IBJJF competition legal and fits great.  The included gi bag is nice, too.  Cobra Kai!

Photograph rights and property of Laura Hensen of GRITZ photography.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with one of the greatest minds in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Kid Peligro, at a Team Hopkins seminar. Any time you have the opportunity to chat with a Black Belt that’s under Royler Gracie, who just happens to be the author of pretty much every Gracie Jiu-Jitsu book on the market, you have to jump on it!  The seminar was excellent and we covered a ton of material.  Here’s just a taste:

Bump from Head Clinch to Double Leg (setup drill)

Butterfly Sweep (drill and technique)

Butterfly Guard Pass (opponent sitting up) to Cross Body Position

Butterfly Guard Pass (opponent on back) to Double-Leg Lock; to Cross Body Position

Take the Back (drill)

Take the Back (technique)

Shrimp (drills)

Escape from Cross Body with Shrimp

Counter to Scarf Hold (side headlock)

Counter Arm lock to Counter Arm Lock

BJ Penn Arm and/or Shoulder Lock from Seated Open Guard or Butterfly Guard

I wish I had taken more notes…  We covered more material than I can remember.  After the seminar I chatted him up.  He’s releasing another app and ebook which are going to work hand in hand.  I’m looking forward to that.  This man is a genius!!  He was also kind enough to show us a new technique off of his upcoming app, Counter to the Omoplata.

I did the Omoplata wrong.  If you’re going to screw something up, be like me and make sure you get it on camera, in front of your peers, while practicing with a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu master.  Go big or go home, right?!  Dammit…  Here’s the interview.  Check it out on my YouTube page.

Get a top quality Fuji Jiu Jitsu gi for just $60 today on BJJ HQ..




Fuji BJJ Gi

This deal is available world wide.

LUTA Short Sleeve Laser-Tech MMA Rash Guard

This review is brought to you by the good people at BJJHQ, MMAHQ, and MAS.  Go check them out.  Buy something.  End shameless plug…

Company Background: LUTA
I totally dig the cause and back story of LUTA. A small boxing club was formed on the streets of Brazil, named Luta Pela Paz. It’s Portuguese for “Fight for Peace”. In a community that was wrecked by violence, drugs and poverty; here is a glimmer of light. A place where the community’s youth can escape too, rehabilitate their lives and find something to focus their energy on. That small boxing club has transformed into a multi-combative sport club, that’s transgressed into an athletic wear company, that now has a 50% profit share with their own NGO, Fight for Peace. You can check out LUTA’s page discussing their heritage here.

Initial Impressions

When I first received the LUTA rash guard, I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s material was soft and smooth.  It’s bold white and black design allows it to pair well with almost any gi or shorts in my closet.  I wasn’t really excited about the heat bonded logo on the front.  I did like the placement of the LUTA logo on the top-center of the upper back.  I wasn’t sure about the paneling down the sides.  I was concerned they would cause irritation on the skin in and around the armpit area.

Wear and Comfort

The rash guard wears well enough.  The collar is a bit on the tight side.  When I first wore it I felt as if I was getting choked.  The good news is that you get used to it so it’s not a down side.  The polyester and elastane knitted fabric is very comfortable against the skin.  Again, it’s soft and smooth!  The rash guard also breathes extremely well.  It has kept me the coolest of any rash guard I’ve worn to date.  I usually wear long-sleeve rash guards so the short sleeve feel was a bit different to me.  It actually started to grow on me, especially for wear under my gi.  I still prefer to wear a long sleeve rash guard when playing no-gi for hygienic reasons.

One personal downside, and we’ll chalk this up under “comfort”, is that at the end of a rolling session I look like a fat kid who entered a wet t-shirt contest.  You can see my nipples and the outline of gut and belly-button.  I’m not exactly the thin kid in class so I’m a bit conscious about the way I look.  I want to look cool, damn it, not fat!  If you’re thin or in shape or shaped like Superman, this is a non-factor.  However, if you’re not, this might be a reason to buy the black and yellow version.

The rash guard wicks sweat and heat away from the body.  The paneling does not cause irritation, nor does the double-welded seaming.

Construction

This rash guard is really, really soft.  Why?  First, because of the polyester and elastane fabric.  Second, the build.  LUTA’s 6-panel construction using double-welded seams keeps the stitching on the skin to a minimum.  So smooth.  The incorporation of the vented panels down the side are really nice, too.  They breathe well and do an excellent job of venting heat away from the body.

Durability

Unfortunately, this rash guard hasn’t held up too well on the mat.  The stitching around the bottom has begun to unravel and the material has unfolded.

Also, the heat bonded chest logo, which isn’t supposed to peel, is beginning to peel.  It’s not a lot of peeling, but it’s enough that I know it’s only going to get worse the more I wear and wash it.

In LUTA’s defense, I have not contacted them about a replacement, but I’m sure their customer service department would replace the rash guard at no cost.  If not, then shame on them.

Summary

Overall, I really like the LUTA short sleeve rash guard.  I enjoy the wear and feel of the rash guard, especially under a gi.  I like the welded seeming and underarm panels.  I also really relate to the company profile.  However, there are a few hiccups that would prevent me from purchasing this rash guard, especially at $99.  I don’t like the fact that it makes me look as fat as I am, that the stitching is unraveling and that the chest logo is peeling.  For $99, LUTA can afford sublimated graphics.  3 Out of 5 Stars for this one guys, sorry.  😦