WIN A UNIQUE ONE-OFF CUSTOM RASHGUARD JUST FOR YOU! 

Yes folks your very own personal one-off unique Meerkatsu rashguard in conjunction with the highly awesome CRUZ CMBT (read more about CRUZ CMBT in my review here.)

Here’s the prize: 
You pick a piece of artwork I have drawn in the past (some designs are restricted, and sorry, I can’t offer any new artwork) and I will place that artwork onto your rashguard template. I can also add your name and academy logos, a slogan...any text you want to make it more personal to you. I can even play around with colour options. Once you approve the final design, I will send it off to my good friends at CRUZ CMBT who will make up the one-off item and ship it out to you.

Check out their website for size guide. Have a look at my own image galleries for an idea of past artworks - Flickr, Redbubble, Facebook

You can even mix and match, you may for example want my Heavenly Footlock on the front and the Bow and Arrow on the back of one rashguard. Or you may want my Dueling Apes artwork on the front while the sleeves have the Gentle Ape. Have a browse, think over what you want and let me know!


How to enter: 
**ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED**

Suggest a past design/s of mine you that would love to have on your very own custom Meerkatsu/ CRUZ CMBT rashguard.

Write your name, address, rashguard size


Subject heading: CRUZ CMBT x Meerkatsu Rashguard Entry

Competition ends: 10pm GMT Sunday 28th September

I will pick one winner at random and notify them by email. Winner announced on Facebook and here on this blog.

***UPDATE: A RUNNER UP PRIZE WILL BE DRAWN AT RANDOM TO WIN A RASHGUARD FROM MY STORE ****

Full Rules: 

  • One entry per person 
  • I can only offer artwork from my back catalogue, some designs are restricted and unavailable – I will advise which ones are available. 
  • Sorry, this prize does not extend to the creation of new artwork. 
  • I can however offer limited design and layout options on the final product – I will advise how much is feasible. 
  • Rashguard can be short or long sleeved. 
  • CRUZ CMBT and Meerkatsu logos must appear on the final product. 
  • No cash or other product alternative 
  • Due to the unique nature of the prize, it cannot be returned or exchanged
  • CRUZ CMBT will do their best to get the right size for you, but check their website fully before deciding 
  • CRUZ CMBT will manufacture the final prize up to four weeks from receipt of the final design. 
  • Once the design is accepted, no alterations can be made. 
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond – failure to respond will result in another winner being picked.
  • Both Meerkatsu and CRUZ CMBT overwrite all production and shipping costs except any import/customs charges when you receive the item (from outside the USA). 
  • Wear your unique prize with pride and joy!







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Summary
I was sent frozen acai pulp by post from a company called Acaiteria who are based in Bournemouth, UK. The package arrived via next day delivery, contents were still semi frozen.





Book review: Choque: The Untold story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil 1856-1949


Summary
Writer Roberto Pedreira delves into Brazilian newspaper archives in a quest to uncover as much verifiable information about the origin of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Along the way, he uncovers some uncomfortable truths that may alter your perception over who did what, where and when between 1856 and 1949.  At 744 pages, it is a weighty volume and much of it consists of lists of names, fights and other accounts of raw data culled from newspaper reports and adverts. 240 pages are dedicated as an appendix and this includes numerous photographs and press clippings. It all adds up to an essential read for any self respecting BJJ enthusiast and sets the scene for an eagerly anticipated Volume 2.



Information
Available from: Amazon in paperback or digital format
Pages: 744 (240 pages of which form the appendix)
Price: £10.68 book, £6.19 Kindle
Language: English
Print version weight:  1.2kg



XTAL Clothing is a new BJJ and surfing influenced lifestyle brand based in Manchester, UK. I spoke with owner Tim Fong about the vision behind his brand.



Summary
Strike issue the sequel to their first Crowd Control gi - a gi that was in part designed through popular voting by online followers. I found my sample to be made from the usual good quality standard and value for money price point that Strike is known for. I wasn't too keen on the quality of the drawstring, but apart from that, it's a great lightweight and stylish general rolling BJJ uniform.

Information
Strike Fightwear Crowd Control 2.0
Available from the Strike Fightwear website
Size range: A0 to A4 including A1L and A2L mid sizes.
Price: £75

Disclosures
I have done freelance design work for Strike Fightwear in the past. I have no involvement with this product. All views expressed in this report are my own.



Following the success of my white tiger design and continuing the Chinese four seasons project for Kenka is this design - the black tortoise. In Chinese traditional paintings and sculptures, the black tortoise is often shown entwined with a snake.

You can buy it here on the Kenka website.

Some more photos:-




Summary
Short 55 minute journey examining jiu jitsu techniques from a conceptual viewpoint. The DVD features two renowned instructors, Kit Dale and Nicolas Gregoriades, who alternate on the video teaching concepts that help with improving all areas of ones jiu jitsu game. Although there are techniques shown, these are used merely to illustrate the concept being discussed. The theory being, that understanding concepts will allow the student to apply these to a much wider array of techniques.

Available
In DVD format ($59.99) or digital download ($49.99) at: http://www.gobeyondtechnique.com/
Length: 55 mins 44 seconds

Disclosures
I have trained with Nic Gregoriades and known Kit Dale online for past few years. I have had no personal involvement with this project. This review is based solely on my own opinions.



Quick summer discount code - SUMMER15 - (caps lock on). Runs from 2nd August until 4th August 2014.

Have fun!


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Summary
Generously sized soap bars and liquid soap bottle with strong yet attractive aromas. The products lasted a long time, arguably way longer than previous soaps aimed at MMA/grappling audience. I enjoyed using the soap bars but did not like the liquid soap.



Andre Galvao is one of the titans in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (read about him here.) The fightwear brand Kingz asked me to design the rashguard he would wear for the forthcoming Metamoris 4 event. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!

The story behind this concept began when Bruno, owner of Kingz, gave me an open brief. He told me to just design anything that would stand out. Heh, that's absolutely my perfect brief. Well, Galvao and his Atos branding is very openly religious so for me, the lion seemed to be an obvious choice for so many symbolic reasons. And not just religious, but historical and culturally, the lion fits in so well.

Early concept sketch


Hopefully you can see in the final product my intention to create a fierce intensity with the facial expression.

Bruno tells me that a retail version of this design will also be available for everyone to buy. It will feature the same lion but minus the sponsor logos. I'll post about it here and on my social media sites as soon as I know more. Below, Andre wearing the koi I designed for Kingz.



Metamoris 4 is on August 9th and the livestream tickets can be bought here.
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All week on my Facebook page I have been releasing these cool BJJ diet friendly recipe cards put together by the excellent Grappler Gourmet, aka, MacKenzie Arrington from New York.

I first met MacKenzie when he sent me an email in response to a competition prize thing I was running and I was intrigued by one of his emails in which he described what he did for a living. Fast forward to today and I came up with the idea of recipe cards for MacKenzie to show off his culinary expertise within a BJJ athlete friendly context. And here they are!

[At the end of the series of cards is a short interview with MacKenzie]



I had the pleasure of training and learning from some of the greats of the sport today at Roger Gracie Academy in London. Igor Gracie, Gregor Gracie and Andre Monteiro [<--click on their names to read about achievements.]



I designed some MMA or nogi style fight shorts with an evil bat drawing on them. I call them the Morcegão Fight Shorts. You can buy them here from my store.



You can read more about how I put together the artwork and design over on my art blog here.


I decided to design something that would appeal to my younger audience hence these sparring kittens. They are available through my store only - click here.

Here are more photos and information:-




Summary
Two different gi models from a Brazilian based brand. The 'BJJ Style' offers a sturdy mid-weight pearlweave with super comfortable pants, while the 'Sensei' is an ultra light pearl. Both are decorated with slightly garish skull graphics that may or may not be to your taste.

Information
KVRA Website
Cost: R 389 (BJJ Style)  R$ 299 (Sensei).
Roughly equivalent to: £103 and £79 respectively. Shipping cost not known.
For orders in the UK, the KVRA store will ship internationally. My contact in the UK is Luiz Riberio who runs London Fight Factory. He can be contacted here.

Disclosures
I have no personal or business connection with KVRA. All views expressed in this report are my own.



Summary
World Champion Lucas Lepri presents 24 guard passing techniques. These techniques apply to many popular guard positions such as the de la Riva guard, X-guard, spider guard and deep half guard. The production of this set is adequate though the slow-motion replays are tedious and the music annoying. Overall however, a very fine set of techniques from a master guard passer. The very specific nature of this set and the lack of conceptual explanation would mean this is of more use by intermediate to advanced players.


Information
Available from Digitsu website
Cost: $69.95
Length: 180 minutes over two discs
Techniques: 24 (12 per disc)
Language: English
Region code: all regions


Disclosures
I have no business or personal connection with this company.



Just a quick little something for my USA readers out there.

Here's a video showing how I created the artwork. It's my first attempt at a progress video. I intend to do more of these and post them up on my newly created YouTube Channel - which you can subscribe to if you like.





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Summary
Super soft, comfortable and snug fitting hooded top loaded with cool little details and an eye-catching design. One or two small little areas could see an improvement in my opinion, but overall, the Legal hoodie is an excellent leisure/casual wear item.

Information
Available from the Scramble website.
Price - normally £44.99, currently on sale (as of 29-June-2014) for £24.99

Disclosures
I have had numerous business and design collaborative projects with Scramble in the past. I have had no involvement with this product.



Summary
Generous sized and long lasting soap marketed at people who train sports. This bar was very pleasant smelling, long lasting and surprisingly foamy compared with many soaps I have tried before. The embedded 'seeds' didn't do much for me except feel a bit annoyingly scratchy but apart from that, a fantastic cleansing item with neat ziplock carry case.

Disclosures
I have no personal or business connections with this company. All views expressed in this report are my own opinion.



I met the owner of Progress Jiu Jitsu, a new UK based fightwear brand, at the Chelmsford Open and we got on really well. I asked James Tighe if he would be kind enough to spare some time for an interview. Here it is:-



Summary
Super comfortable, soft and well fitting rashguard featuring artwork by one of the icons of manga-style comic art, Terada.

Information
Available to buy here - Gawakoto store
Price - £34.99
Made in - China
Made from - 92% polyester, 8% ammonia-inn (not sure what the 'inn' means)

Disclosures
I have had previous business (design collaborative) relations with Gawakoto, I am good friends with the owner, this review is based on my own personal opinions of the product.

I am very sad to witness almost on a daily basis, many of my designs and products that have been faked and bootlegged. The photos here are from a particularly poor example and were sent to me by a friend who was contacted by a Pakistan based factory touting for business. The factory claimed to be official makers of my products. THIS IS NOT TRUE!
My suppliers would NEVER announce this, they don't need to because they are up to the eyeballs with orders from some of the biggest fightwear companies in the world. the companies that make my gear are in high demand and would never tout for business because they don't need to. If a company is aggressively touting for trade and showing samples that look dodgy...chances are that they ARE dodgy.

On a personal note, seeing my designs ripped off is heart breaking. I could write a very long rant about what it means to me but suffice to say it's a kick in the stomach and a mockery for all the long long hours I spend late into each and every night working my designs, running my brand and trying to produce original and authentic content.

These bogus t-shirts are printed so shoddily. Worse still, I designed the original as a charity fundraiser for survivors of rape and sexual violence. This is simply heartless.

It appears most of these rip off products base their printing on low resolution scans and direct prints from pictures featured in this very blog. In response to this, I will be removing a lot of previously unwatermarked content and re-uploading them fully watermarked. I am also considering closing down my RedBubble poster site as it too may be a source of clean artwork for scamsters to copy from.

My partners and I work incredibly hard trying to eke out a small living from fightwear designs. We're not big by any stretch of the imagination and you would be surprised just how little profit is generated. Bootleg products don't help. If you see something that might be dodgy, email me and I can usually confirm on sight. This does not apply to the many many retailers and vendors who represent my products on a legitimate basis.

I could rant on for hours! But I think I've written enough here to get things off my chest. Down with the scumbag pirates. SUPPORT ORIGINAL ARTISTS!

Thank you.


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Following from the trailer I posted about earlier, I'm very pleased to finally present the full length version of the Meerkatsu short film made for me by film maker Hannah Jell.

 

It's not too long but I hope in four minutes it reveals a snippet of my thought processes behind the things I draw and why I draw them in connection to BJJ.

My thanks to Hannah for all her hard work, able assistant Thanos for sound recording, plus those who took part in the film, including Tanya Tansiri, Kat Gibson, Casey Lee, Jack Burrell, Sophie Walters, Chris Hearn and everyone else in the film.

Enjoy!


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Summary
An ambitious debut effort from new brand Combat Skin, featuring artwork created by me. This gi is super ornate and blingy on the inside with more sedate graphic touches on the outside. There were one or two aspects I personally was not comfortable with, but overall, a solid gi.

Information
Website: http://combatskin.com/shop/gi/combat-warrior-gi-detail
Facebook
Price: $180

Disclosures
I was commissioned to provide artwork for this gi model. I was paid a fixed fee so I do not gain or benefit from sales. I had no contribution or say with production or materials. All the views in this report are my own opinion.