Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

21 Dec 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Gi Review: G110 Gameness Limited Edition XT

    Gameness G110 FrontGameness G110 backI had the opportunity recently to lay my hands on a new Gi: The Gamesness G110 XT Limited Edition.  So, what do I think of it?

    Well, when looking at a Gi, I think there are really probably only a few things that people really care about:

    1- Does it make people ooo and aaaah?

    2- How does it feel? (fit and movement)

    3- Is it gonna hold up?

    4- Would you buy another one?

    Well, let’s start with the first point:

     

    How does it look?

    Well, you can see the pictures, so obviously you can decide for yourself as well.  I will say, that for me I really like the look.  I have always liked the Gameness pitbull logo.  I think it’s edgy, yet well respected.  I love the contracts of the Gray on Black.  If it were me designing it, I’d have thrown a little red in there as well, but hey… I’m a bit flashier than some :)  I will say, that those who have seen my gi on the mat definitely comment.  It really is a perfect spot that allows you to have a really cool looking gi without looking like a fan-boy bling-whore.

    Another thing I really liked (and this feeds into the whole “will it hold up”), is that all of the decoration is stitched.  Even the patch on the front is stitched.  This is different than that Gameness Pearl that I tend to roll in, and a huge improvement as far as making the gi look awesome for the long run.  I also LOVE the face on the back of the leg (I feel like he’s got my back).

    How does it feel?

    The fit on this Gi was great.  I have to say, I’ve lost just over 50 pounds in the last year, so this gi is actually my first A4 purchase.  I was excited to finally fit into one :)

    I have washed mine once so far (in cold).  After that wash the pants fit exactly perfect.  The top fits really well also, but the sleeve length at the moment is just a smidgen on the long side.  I don’t count that as a negative however.  I am confident that after a few more washes the sleeves will be perfect.  This is important to me, as the sleeve length on my Gameness Pearl remained where I wanted, even as many of my other gi tops started getting shorter and shorter in the arm length.

    Another nice aspect of the Gameness Pearl weaves, and the XT, as compared to some cheaper Gi’s is that the texture inside the gi is different than outside.  Inside the fabric is relatively smooth.  Outside is much rougher, which can make it hard for an opponent to keep as good of a hold on you, especially in your stand-up game.

    Another aspect of fit is that Gameness has gone from 2 belt loops on the front to 6.  HUGE improvement.  Makes the pants far more comfortable for me.  Any of you who follow my reviews know that I tend to like rip-stop pants a lot (they don’t absorb the sweat as much).  But I have to say, that of my non-rip-stop pants, the XT pants are probably my favorites right now.  Although I really like how Gorilla Gi’s Beefy Silverback pants are made as well, I find that the tighter more jiu jitsu like fit of the XT is preferable to me.  Well done Gameness.

    Is it gonna hold up?

    Okay, so let me start by saying that I have had my Gameness Pearl for nearly 6 years now, and it has been pretty much bulletproof.  These gi’s are tough as hell.  Not only that, with the XT they have really taken it to the next level.  As I mentioned, all of the designs on this gi are stitched, and will last for the long haul.  The additional 4 belt loops will make the pants hold up better.  They have put immense amounts of stitching around the elbows (I’ve never seen anything like it on any other gi).  I could go on further about various stitching and stuff, but in short: will it hold up?  Hell ya.

    Would I buy another one?

    Well, I could use a ton of words to tell you my thoughts on this.  But it’s pretty simple: I own more Gameness Gi’s than any other brand.  This is by far my favorite of all of the Gameness Gi’s I own.  What do you think? :)

    12 Apr 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Gotta love a good company

    Like many of us, I have dealt with a lot of different online martial arts equipment companies.  I have to tell you though, that one of my favorites has been dealing with Aaron at KarateDepot.com.  Now, I know, you might read that and think, “Karate?  Hmm… not for me.”  But I have worked with Aaron to get a great Jiu Jitsu Gi, Muay Thai focus mitts, and Venum MMA shorts.

    He has been nothing short of a pleasure to deal with, and I can’t recommend him strongly enough.

    Thanks Aaron!!

    16 Feb 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Sneak peek of some MMA Shirt designs

    Wanted to give you all a sneak peek of some of the shirt designs we’ve pulled together so far, and are working with printers to get made up.  In addition to the shirts we’ll have Viking themed boxing gloves, bags, pads, you name it.  The reign of the vikings begins anew!!

    You’ll be able to buy all of this very soon over on our product site:

    MMA Vikings Shirts and Fight Gear

    18 Dec 2011

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • The 2011 BJJ Gi Survey Results are posted!

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog


    Whether you participated in the survey or are just looking for an idea of which gi to buy, this is just too cool to ignore. Check out this article.

    Aesopian has spent a TON of time on this survey and it shows. Big props to him for putting his time and effort into this – I think it’s a huge service to the BJJ community at large.

    Most interesting to me is that apparently in the top 33 brands of gi, there is no significant variance in quality (Black Eagle is not on the top 20, for example, and I consider their product to be top notch). There really hundreds of factors that influence results, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Aesopian breaks it down and interprets the data.

    I for one am thrilled that many of the top brands are under $130 retail.


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    13 Dec 2011

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Product Review: Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog


    I’m late for the bus. Not the first time this has happened to me, but the sinking feeling of panic never goes away. I abandon my breakfast on the countertop, fling my books over my shoulder and run down the driveway. Just as the bus begins to pull a way, I pound frantically on the door. Breathless as I run up the stairs, I stomp the snow off my shows and turn to face the bus full of my classmates. Then it happens. A cold draft of air wafts up my leg. From the back of the bus, someone yells “Hey, he’s not wearing any pants!”

    http://usa.venumfight.com/

    But I’m not worried. I’ve had this dream before, and this time I came prepared. I’m rockin’ my Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts, and I own this dream.

    For any of you who still have dreams like this, where you’re the victim of some humiliating situation, buy some Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts and wear them to bed. These babies keep you so secure that there won’t be any room for paranoia.


    First questions first: what is the difference between a vale tudo short and a traditional fight short?

    The biggest difference it is that vale tudo shorts are form-fitting. They hug your body and flex with you. They do not hide bulges and curves, like looser fight shorts would. In other words, they cover your butt, but they don’t hide it!

    Venum Shines Through

    My biggest question when Aaron from BJJHQsent me these was how to accurately review a product meant for cage fighting. I was definitely not going into the octagon just to test these babies out.

    Aaron saved me on this one: “Many people wear them under their gi pants. You need big…wait…you need a lot of body confidence to rock them alone.”

    Well, I have only moderate…uh…body confidence. So that solved it. I would wear and test them under my gi pants.
    (…)
    Finish reading Product Review: Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts.


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    6 Dec 2011

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Best and Worst Gis for Big and Tall (or Fat) People

    Okay, so before I start this review I just have to get it out on the table:  I’m fat.

    I’m not huge, but I am a large man (6 feet tall, 265 lbs.)  But I’m guessing that there are a fair number of you out there that live the same pains that I do.  I am tired of not being able to buy a shirt at Kohls, the Buckle, or Target because my shoulders are too broad.  I’m tired of Walmart thinking that 3XL means a shirt as wide as a tent that’s made for a person 5’9″.

    I am also tired of Gi’s that don’t fit.  It seems like every Gi review I read has a section on “fit”, and the answer seems to always be “just fine.”  Well, I’m not built like a GI Joe action figure, and I am tired of buying gi’s that don’t close good in the front, or that hang down too long in the arms in order to get one big enough in the torso.  For me, most Gi’s don’t score well at all in “fit”.

    Additionally, Gis stink.  Due to this, I don’t follow washing instructions.  My Gi’s get washed in warm, and yes, they occasionally end up in a dryer.

    Okay, so on to the Gis.  For me, there is a much bigger challenge in finding a Kimono that fits that it is to find pants that fit, so I’ll cover the two separately:

     

    Pants

    Before I go through several different pant descriptions and insights, let me just let you know that my favorite pants are:

    Atama Mundial #9

    I like these pants the best of my pants for a few key reasons:

    - They are ripstop.  I have come to LOVE ripstop pants.  They are much cooler, feel better at the end of a workout (and stay tight and tied well). (Note: planning to pick up some Padilla and Sons ripstop pants this spring… well let you know how it goes.)

    - They fit well (but honestly, finding pants that fit well isn’t nearly as hard as a Kimono that does).

    - They look sharp.

    As a note however, I did have some problems with some of the stitching on the Atama pants coming undone (on row of three, so the gi didn’t fall apart, but still kinda pissed me off.)

    Other pants worth mentioning:

    Gorilla Gear –

    The pants on the Gorilla Gear Husky Silver Back are probably the best made pants I own as far as attention to detail (you can read my full review of that gi here.) They fit great, are very comfortable, but they are very heavy as well.  On a negative note: When Gorilla designed this gi they made the openings on the pant and arm cuffs HUGE…

    Toraki –

    I like the pants on my Toraki a lot (again, you can read a full review here).  They are a lot lighter weight then the Gorilla Gear pants, tend to be a lot shorter, and tighter to the leg.  They use a cloth strip draw-string rather than rope (I prefer rope personally), but it doesn’t creep up above the material as I wear it like some gi’s due to the fact that the loops are actually set down a bit from the top of the pants.  Nice pants for in the “traditional” category.

    The rest –

    As far as pants, you can read all of the reviews you want, but it reality most pants are okay.  I train regularly in my Gameness Platinum pants, which are nice because they use a draw string rather than a fabric cord, as well as several other types.  The biggest advice I would give you on pants is that rather its my Vulkans, Gameness, Toraki, or most of the others they all work fine.

    One to avoid –

    Honestly, I have only had one pant that I would suggest to avoid for a big guy: The Gameness Air Ripstop Pants.  When I got these I was so excited that they were ripstop, and were thinner than any other ripstop I had owned.  But I immediately ran into a problem: The distance from the tie to the crotch is way too short.  It was pulling my junk up so bad I felt like I was weaying a jock strap on the outside of my pants.  My wife giggled as soon as she saw them.

     

    Kimonos

    Okay, so first off, let me just state that my favorite Kimono by far is the Toraki. (Size tag says: BJJ-A4-2400)

    - It’s light weight, but still super tough

    - It looks sharp (I like the embroidery instead of patches… holds up a lot better)

    - It’s not as easy to grip as some other gi’s (but not as hard as a Swain or some of the real finger-sanders)

    - The fit is perfect.  I cannot say that for ANY other gi.

    Gorilla Gear Husky Silverback – (Size: A5X)

    (Full Gorilla Gear review here)

    Pros:

    - Amazing attention to detail.

    - Great fit

    - Sharp looking

    Cons:

    - The arm holes are just too big.  I feel like I have wings.

    - Very heavy.  Feels like I’m prepared to resist an attack dog.

    Atama Mundial #9 – (Size A5)

    Pros:

    - Fits great in shoulders, around the waist, and torso length.

    - A bit lighter weight…  Cooler to train in.

    - Really nice looking embroidery.

    Cons:

    - Had to go A5 to fit, but the arm length on the A5 is way too long for me.

    - Ripstop fabric on collar can irritate the skin on your neck more than other collars when you get choked.

    Gameness Platinum – (Size A5)

    Pros:

    - Fits great in shoulders, around the waist, and torso length (almost EXACTLY the same fit as the Atama).

    Cons:

    - Had to go A5 to fit, but the arm length on the A5 is way too long for me.

    - Fabric patches don’t hold up as well as embroidery.

    Others of note:

    I have also tried on (but did not go with) another couple worth noting: Gameness Air (A5) and Vulkan Ultralight (A4).  both of these state that they should fit someone my size just fine (and the Gameness was even the same size as my Gameness Platinum).  but they were too tight in the shoulders and too short and tight in the body (as well as too short in the arms.)

    I do own several other Gi’s which I purchased when I first began practicing Judo and Jiu Jitsu, notably a Century and am HSU gi.  They are both okay (I like the Century better than the HSU), but do not fit me anywhere near we well around the gut as those I have recommended.

    I hope this help someone out there make the right Gi purchase, and please, please let me know if you are built similar to me, have faced similar challenges, and what Gi’s you have tried, so I can update others here as well.




    26 Aug 2011

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Gi Review: Black Eagle Raptor Part 2

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog


    Apparently I’m like the 4938′th blogger to review the Black Eagle Raptor.

    Well, that just means there are 4937 other lucky grapplers out there who get to wear one of these to training every day. Black Eagle really outdid themselves with the Raptor.

    Lest I sound like a gawking fanboy, you should know I found a few problems with this model that I’ll be exposing in my review; and one flaw in particular would really make think twice about buying it unless they fix it for the production model.

    If you want the short version, here’s the video. For you die-hards, continue on after the video for specifics in measurements, weight, and to find out whether or not I got made fun of for wearing a gi with purple flowing letters on it.

    Video Review

    360-degree Photos

    (click to view in slideshow)

    (…)
    Finish reading Gi Review: Black Eagle Raptor Part 2.


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    22 Aug 2011

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Gi Review: Black Eagle Raptor Part 1 – The Interview

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog


    I know that Arcanum is starting to feel like a review blog, but it’s not. It’s a BJJ blog. It’s just that lately I’ve had a rash of gis to review and very little time to get it all done. The blog will feature more and more training material over the next months.

    In the mean time, the next gi review is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. Get ready to meet the Black Eagle Raptor; the first luxury gi I’ve ever rolled in. The Raptor is so comfortable it induces a feeling of guilt; almost like I’m cheating on my other gis when I wear it. Not to say that it’s perfect; I found some definite issues with this pre-production model that I hope will get serious attention for the official launch (comfort was not the issue, by the way). But more on that later.

    Now it’s time to hear what Steve from Black Eagle has to say about the Raptor:

    ArcanumBJJ

    What was your goal in building the Raptor?


    Black Eagle

    We wanted to show that we could also build a Kimono that stood out, but the difference being we were not prepared to let people order something without first getting samples and having those tested thoroughly.


    ABJJ

    What made you guys decide to try your hand at a “luxury” kimono?


    B.E.

    Our ‘forte’ has always been durable, lightweight BJJ Kimonos of a high quality. The Raptor was a project to show that we could also produce a ‘luxury’ Kimono to a high standard, but at a price people could afford.


    ABJJ

    How does adding built-in rashguard lining complicate the manufacturing process?


    B.E.

    The rash guard has to be made and printed and then stitched into the jacket at the pattern stage, so getting the print lined up is the hard part. But, yes, it adds cost due to the additional procedures required to ensure a good fit.


    ABJJ

    What sort of testing does a new gi model go through?


    (…)
    Finish reading Gi Review: Black Eagle Raptor Part 1 – The Interview.


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    14 Jul 2011

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Gi Review: Submission Light Gi Part 1

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog


    Paid to Destroy…

    Usually I keep my work as far as possible from my jiu-jitsu and Arcanum.

    But it recently occurred to me: I’m a software quality engineer. I SCRUTINIZE AND BREAK THINGS FOR A LIVING. And yet my gi reviews are sadly devoid of breaking. I know how to test, and I should be testing the stitching out of these things.

    The BJJ gi market is brutal; and so should the reviews be. Not necessarily negative, but raw and creative. Elvis had it right when he said, “A little less conversation, a little more action.”

    Part I: The Interview

    Submission Fight Co.

    The first gi to be subjected to my new madness is the Submission Light gi. Shakib from Submission Fight Co. graciously sent me the gi for review. Before I get into the grizzly details of what this gi went through in part 2, I wanted to give Shakib a chance to plug the product.

    ………………………………………………………

    Arcanum

    What was your objective in designing and making the Submission Light gi?


    SubmissionFC

    Our goal was simple, to create a Bjj Gi that surpasses expensive gis in terms of style quality and durability for the lowest possible price. Many things that are featured on expensive gis are also featured on the Submission Light Gi such as the rip stop collar, contrast stitching, pre-shrunk fabric, rope draw string, rip stop pants, etc.

    Single-leg me, won't you?

    Arcanum

    What is unique about this gi that should set it apart in the eye of jiu-jitsu practitioners?


    SFC

    What makes these Gis unique is the fact that it is not based off any previously made Gi, but instead was designed from the ground up and refined until it reached its current excellence. And believe me, you will not find another Gi on the market with similar style quality and durability at the price point we have. Everyone is quickly making the switch to the Submission Gis. One roll and you will know the difference.


    (…)
    Finish reading Gi Review: Submission Light Gi Part 1.


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    19 May 2011

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Gi Review: Black Eagle Predator MKII

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog


    YO! Because I’m feeling really good about life, there is an Easter egg hidden in this review. Be the first to figure out which gi I am reviewing next, and you will win one of these sweet T-shirts. Send me an email with your answer!


    It seems like UK companies are serving out quality BJJ gis like belts at a taekwondo school.

    UK-based Black Eagle recently sent me their latest BJJ gi for review: the Predator MKII. I’ve had about a month to sink my teeth, sweat and blood into this uniform (in that order). I can honestly say the Predator MKII is the most unique-fitting gi

    I own. This is unmistakably a BJJ uniform…not a modified judo uniform, not a stamped-out clone.

    Black Eagle touts it as being “competition cut.” I asked what that means, and here’s the reply I got:

    “We designed this Kimono to be as close to the legal limits under IBJJF rules as possible, and is also why we decided to make this Kimono a non-shrinkable one! Sleeve cuffs are right on the Gi checker limit, the jacket is slightly better tapered to hug the body, but still has the important shoulder room for easy mobility on the mat. A stiffer collar makes gripping by your opponent more difficult to achieve. Trousers are also tapered better, but again within the IBJJF limits, giving wearers a Kimono that takes advantage of the rules of BJJ and gives the opponent no extra opportunities against you!”

    That’s a confident claim. I can’t verify that this gi will make the difference between winning and losing, but I have rolled in it enough to give you a solid opinion.

    First Impressions

    In a world of blingy gis, Black Eagle kimonos come across as rather plain. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, if you think gold filigree is overkill for a grappling uniform.

    Good thing I really dig the embroidered Black Eagle logo. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s classy. I wouldn’t call the Predator MKII an “eye catcher,” but I think it’s a sharp-looking gi. I prefer embroidery over patches any day.

    The pants fit great and felt great; they’re soft and light but still tough.

    The jacket is comfortable, too…much softer out of the bag than I have come to expect from pearl weave uniforms. I was surprised at how comfortable it was, and at how different the cut felt on my frame.

    Measurements and Weigh-In

    At 3lbs 1.4oz (A3 and A4 mix), the Predator MKII is indeed one of the lightest gis on the market…on par with gis such as the Vulkan Ultra Light.
    (…)
    Finish reading Gi Review: Black Eagle Predator MKII.


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