These tees were a huge bundle of fun to produce. I came up with the idea after I saw this very famous t-shirt design and thought, hmm, maybe I can do something similar using BJJ terminology.
I wracked my brain for reasonably amusing puns and plays on pharma themes plus twisted some known hazard and warning symbols. With a little help from my BJJ Artist friends, the final design was complete.
I'd like to thank BJJHQ and 93 Brand for supporting me on this design. It's a big departure from what I normally draw. When the initial batch went live on BJJHQ, their entire allocation sold out in less than 40 minutes!
I would also like to thank CTRL Industries. Unbeknownst to me, they had previously produced their own jiu jitsu as a drug themed t-shirt. When I emailed the owner to see if was ok with my design, he was again utterly supportive.
As they say in BJJ drug circles: Prescription before Submission! (that came from one of my contest winners).
This t-shirt is available from 15th May 2013 at my Meerkatsushop store from 1pm GMT.
24 year old Cristobal Hernandez contacted me and asked if I would share his story. He also features in the current edition of Jiu Jitsu Magazine.
When Cristobel was a young teenager he was obese and suffered terrible bullying at school. His self esteem was at its lowest and things were on a continual downward spiral. But at 18, he took a drastic course of action - embarking on an epic regime of weight loss through dieting and exercise. He went from 315lbs down to 215lbs (22 stone to 15 stone). This in itself is a remarkable achievement. But he wanted more.
In 2010 he started jiu jitsu and currently trains at the Westside Training Center, Los Angeles. His goal was to lose as much weight as he could and compete at the IBJJF World Championships. After a brief break, forced by injury, he eventually hit his current weight of 17lbs (12 stone) and did compete at the Mundials.
Cristobal explains: "I just love to train jiu jitsu, I have fun doing it, and it really keeps me disciplined and focused in all aspects of my life.... Most of all it forces me to stay on top of my diet so I don't have to worry about the weight coming back on ;P I truly hope this story can motivate any of you struggling to this day. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish it."
I would like to wish Cristobal all the best for his future career in BJJ and thanks for allowing me to share his inspiring story.
To celebrate ten years of me training BJJ and existing as my nom de plume Meerkatsu, I have scoured the store room to find as many Meerkatsu designed t-shirts, rashguards and other items as I can get my paws on his this, the mahooooosive free prize giveaway. One lucky winner plucked at random will win the entire lot!
- One winner to be picked at random and their name displayed on this blog post as an update
- Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected
- No cash or alternative prize is offered.
- No returns
- Prize will be shipped by post paid for by me but if overseas (I’m based in the UK) you are eligible for any import and customs tax fees yourself.
- One entry per person - different email address from the same person will render the entry void
- Entrants agree to receive at least one newsletter after which they are free to unsubscribe.
- Closing date for entries is 15th May 2013 09:00GMT entries after the closing date will be added to our newsletter subscriber list as normal
- Your details will not be passed on to any third parties
- Automated/bulk entries and entries from third parties will be disqualified
- Judges decision is final
I recently had the pleasure of working on numerous designs for Modern Flow Brand. This new clothing and fightwear brand is the brainchild of David 'koala bear' Garmo (who I first met when he commissioned me to design his koala bear mascot) and his buddy Saif Askar.
They approached me last year with their chess themed ideas and I came up with the belt wearing designs you see in the photos.
When the designs were releases it received a huge amount of support and positive comments on the internet and was widely shared.
The belt here is mad by Kataaro. Regular readers will recall that I bought a Kataaro belt when I needed a purple belt. You can read that old review here. I will be reviewing how this belt handles alongside a small bunch of other brands in my forthcoming brown belt brands review.
You can visit the Modern Flow website to check out their current line up of products here:
I also recommend visiting their Facebook page as they update regularly: https://www.facebook.com/modernflowbjj
I was commissioned by Killarney Grappling Club in County Kerry, Ireland to design their academy rashguard. They wanted a battle scarred mean looking King Kong character dressed in BJJ uniform...and that's what I gave them.
The rashguards were printed by Tatami Fightwear's custom printing service but they made more than was needed so luckily for me, I have a small batch available through my store from 12pm GMT 23rd April 2013.
What's really cool is that despite this being a specific commission for a specific grappling school, I have received so many messages and emails from people all over the world screaming to get their hands on one. Hopefully the small batch I will put on sale tomorrow will go some way to helping satisfy that demand.
Just one favour, if you do buy one of these rashies, please take a photo and send or tag the Killarney Team on Facebook or by email. they'd be ever so chuffed to see their academy name represented by friends from all over the world.
I have just posted three new t-shirt designs for my store - www.meerkatsushop.com
The first, as modeled by my team mate Daniel Stauss, is the same design I used in my popular hoodie, the one I call 'Heavenly Lions'. It features my hand drawn artwork of two adult Chinese lions with one baby lion. In the brown t-shirt version, the artwork is inverted and I used a dark yellow ink.
In the second version, seen here below modeled by my team mate Jack Cronin, the colourway is a more traditional navy ink in white t-shirt.
Both Heavenly Lions t-shirts have a design on the back too. Again, I repeated the same design as per the hoodie. Already, both t-shirts are selling fast on my store website.
The final design is one I am particularly proud of. It's my rendition of the battle between the Monkey King against the boy prince known as Nezha. I will discuss more about this artwork over on my art blog, but it was inspired by the Chinese animated feature film Havoc in Heaven.
All three t-shirts are available now through my store - www.meerkatsushop.com
European NAGA and IBJJF Nogi champion at brown belt, Dan Strauss, examines his favourite submission, the guillotine, over a three hour seminar held at Mill Hill BJJ, London, UK. Daniel showed how to ensure the guillotine is applied with deadly effectiveness over a wide range of positions. He also taught how it could be used to sweep an opponent as well as a counter attack or transition to other submissions.
Typically exemplary quality craftsmanship from Bull Terrier plus the allure of fantasy horror artwork from Gawakoto combine to create the 'Unleashed' gi and rashguard combo (sold separately). Bull Terrier gis fit at the smaller end of the A1 spectrum of sizes. The rashguard however (size medium) fits perfectly and is possibly the finest rashguard I have ever worn, with super smooth material, ultra comfortable fit and eye poppingly amazing artwork.
I have no business of other connection with Bull Terrier. I have known Bong Abad, the artist behind Gawakoto for several years and we have collaborated on a previous project.
Unleashed is a limited edition series of gi and nogi products.
In the UK, it is available through www.gawakoto.co.uk
Gi is priced at: £135
Long sleeve rashguard priced at: £44.95
For the rest of the world, it is sold through www.btfightgear.com
(other retailers may stock this item too)
April celebrates my tenth anniversary of training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You can read about my first ever lesson here. The first ever sparring partner I ever had was with Alain Pozo so it seemed fitting to catch up with Alain at his new academy - Carlson Gracie Essex - in Colchester, Essex.
Read how I got on...
Excellent all round premium gi with improved styling and great quality as with all previous Estilo models. I did find however that the innovative rubber waistline strip to be noticeably annoying due to unnecessary bunching around the hips.
I have worked as a freelance designer for Tatami Fightwear on several projects. I am unconnected with this product.
Tatami Estilo 4 available from April 2013 via the Tatami Fightwear website and all other distributors.
Cost: tbc but likely to be around £95
What is #Clarking? Ask Clark Gracie.
Last year, he competed at a tournament and was caught by BJJ photographer John Lamonica in this pose here. It was a cool photo, but then Clark looks pretty cool in all his photos, no biggie there. Then, couple days ago, the photo was featured on REDDIT as part of an on-going internet meme focusing on extremely photogenic people looking cool in rather mundane everyday situations. Previous examples include the Ridiculously Photogenic Running Man and many others.
As a result, the photograph of Clark was shared, adapted and memed in the hundreds of thousands by people (BJJ fans and non BJJ folk alike) all over the world.
Clark himself had little to say over the matter. He appeared on Good Morning America and just smiled a lot as the presenters fawned over themselves at the sight of such a good looking jiu jitsu athlete.
If you are interested in what Clark actually does for a living, apart from existing as a ridiculously handsome man, then here's a good interview with him where he discusses BJJ.
So anyway, the #clarking thing. It's basically us trying to mimic the omoplata while looking noncholant far into the distance while the other person is suffering. I think my kids at the top photo do that very well!
I had the good pleasure recently to work on developing a new BJJ brand called OK! Kimonos. The company was started by Brendan Hufford who some of you may also know as one of the dynamic duo (along with Dan Halpin) behind GiReviews.net.
Brendan approached me last year with his plan - to create a range of fightwear aimed at kids featuring eye-poppingly zany cartoon animals. I was flattered to be assigned the task of designing the characters and so far, the company has put out a number of popular items, including kids gis, t-shirts, stickers and kit bags. More excitingly, there are a number of products soon to come aimed at adults too! Everyone it seems loves a cute tiger on their fight apparel!
I spoke to Brendan to give me the low down on his brand and what his plans are for the future...
I was editing through my tournament photos from the SUBF15TEEN contest when I was inspired to mock up a little poster here. Using the famous lines once spoken by Mr Miyagi from the Karate Kid film, I present here something you can use as a neat smartphone wallpaper background (upright format only though).
I tried it on my Samsung S3 and it cuts off the sides a bit so you can't read the whole of the bottom line, so sorry about that. Next time I will get the dimensions properly.
This is a good, solid and very reasonably priced gi that ticks all the right boxes in terms of materials, reinforcements and construction. I was a bit put off by the persistent and stubborn mothball odour, tendency to fade unevenly and the design elements. Overall however, the Wind Kimono is great value for money.
The Battle Gear 'Wind' sells for £60GBP from their website here: www.battlegearbjj.com/
I have no business or personal relations with Battle Gear.
The recent high profile submission only grappling events such as Metamoris and the Gracie Nationals have led to a resurgence of interest with extended time or no time limit submission only contests. The invitation only SUBF15TEEN tournament in the UK is one of these. This, their second show, was to be a bigger tournament, featuring 15 fighters, each to fight up to fifteen minutes with a win decided by submission only. If there was no submission after the duration, then the match was to be considered a draw. I drove up from London to photograph the event and support my team mates, five of whom were competing...
A well constructed and slim fitting pair of MMA shorts. I'm not a fan of the styling and graphics nor the large side splits but the quality of the production and the copious reinforcements and tightening fixtures make this one very tough and durable piece of kit.
Full disclosure: I have worked with Tatami Fightwear on a freelance basis over a number of unrelated projects. I have had no involvement with the design of this product.
Information: Available from the Tatami Fightwear website and other MA retailers for £35.
On behalf of BJJHQ, 93 Brand, Tatami Fightwear and myself, we want to thank all the hundreds and hundreds of people who supported our campaign to raise funds for RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) and Rape Crisis (England & Wales). I am humbled by the many, many messages of support for the campaign and acknowledgment of why we were doing this.
Here are the results of our fundraising, as of Friday 1st March 2013:
Heavenly Footlock t-shirts sold through BJJHQ: 757
Amount raised for charity: $8,919.25 USD
Heavenly Footlock t-shirts sold through Tatami Fightwear: 164
Amount raised for charity: £1,148 GBP
The artwork I present here shows a serene looking geisha applying a very painful toe hold on a Japanese demon whilst knee riding his face. The toe-hold is a perfect example of a submission that requires little strength for maximum effect. I’m sure we would all love to tap out the demons that hit us in our daily lives but sadly, some battles are tougher to fight. But, we can try. This is why Tatami Fightwear, 93 Brand, BJJHQ and I, have collaborated to make this t-shirt. 100% of the profits will go direct to charities RAINN and Rape Crisis.
These organisations raise awareness and offer support for survivors of rape. I hope you will join me by sharing this poster and purchasing the t-shirt when it is released. This t-shirt will be available on BJJHQ.com next week and through Tatami Fightwear's website very soon.
Thank you for your support.
NB: I have been working on this design for several months. It's a labour of love and I'm very proud of it. you can read more about the design itself on my art blog here.
15th FEB 2013: This t-shirt is now available direct from Tatami Fightwear - click here.
It is also available via BJJHQ.com only on 15th February 2013 at 11pm EST - click here.
New US based gear company 93 Brand offers their debut gi. It's a very cool and stylish uniform with excellent quality reinforcements and materials. The A1 did fit rather big on me. Note also that the colour is not IBJJF tournament compliant.
The Goose was first offered on a one day sale at BJJHQ.com for $100 plus shipping.
Some sizes are also offered here: http://www.karatedepot.com/un-jj-2230.html
I have provided freelance design work for BJJHQ in the past. I was not involved in the production or design of this model uniform.
Legendary competitor and 3rd degree black belt under Ricardo de la Riva, Helvécio Penna visited London and taught a three hour seminar at Mill Hill BJJ (the place where I train). Helvécio taught us a very nice series of techniques based around, as he describes, little things, that he has picked up through his experience. And boy what experience!
Last weekend saw the 2013 IBJJF European Championships held in Lisbon. I did not go but was glued to the tide of social media reporting over who fought who and who won what. By all accounts, it was an absolute barnstormer of an event with many memorable moments that will be talked about for years to come (damn!). A quick round-up of key moments:
My very good friend and sometime instructor David 'Malandro' Onuma won his black belt division too. An amazing one-two for Team Mill Hill & Friends! BTW check out David's Malandro patch. Ahem, a little graphic design effort from moi.
There were more Brits to win gold as well. Luke Costello won the adult brown belt super heavies, Pippa Granger had by all accounts a thrilling match which she won gold in the ladies master light featherweight, my friend Mark Phung won masters brown belt at light feather, Anna Mayne and Vanessa English picked up gold in the womens brown and purple belt divisions respectively. A shout out too to my good pal Steve Fage, who I train with occasionally he won gold in the purple belt senior 2 light division. And there were plenty more too numerous to mention. Well done to all the Brits who travelled to Portugal and test their skills against some very tough opponents.
One of the matches that had everyone talking was Fernando Augusto 'Tererê' against Claudio Calasans. After a fantastic first round win, Tererê advanced to the final after Alan 'Finfou' conceded a win to Tererê and in a touching gesture, handed Tererê the old black belt that Tererê gave to him many years ago.
In a statement afterward, Finfou said, “Fernando Tererê made me what I am in Jiu-Jitsu. He taught me since the white belt. This belt, he gave me one day and asked for 5 reais for it, I knew he was going to buy crack. I told him then that I was going to give him back the belt when when he got back on his feet. There was no better moment than that! I will sleep filled with joy and proud today!”
In the final, Tererê fought Calasans when the referee disqualified Tererê for knee reaping. It was a controversial decision. The video is here, so maybe you can see why people have been debating this:
The fights involving the Miyao brothers and Keenan Cornelius also had the stadium in rapt concentration. To the untrained eye, it might not be the prettiest jiu jitsu on display, but with the smallest error for either player potentially costing them to lose crucial position or grip control, this was never going to be a flaying acrobatic affair. Keenan eventually won both his weight and the absolute divisions, cementing his reputation as one of the best in the world at brown belt.
Full results are printed here.
Tatami remakes Enson Inoue's famous walk-out gi when he was a fighter in the Pride Fighting Championships. The quirky patch placements and inner rashguard lining make for an unusual looking gi, the heavy weight of all the adornments and odd sensation of a gigantic fit when worn (though in actual fact the stats reveal it is no bigger than any other Tatami gi) make for a gi that takes some getting used to.
I have worked in the past on a freelance basis to provide Tatami Fightwear with graphic and illustration design. I have had no contribution to this product.
This gi will retail for £120GBP through Tatami Fightwear's website (and affiliated resellers) at the beginning of February (possibly even sooner).
Early in January, the MMA and BJJ world was shocked to learn of two male jiu jitsu students who were arrested for brutally raping their female jiu jitsu team mate. The internet forums, blogs, websites and social media have exploded in their condemnation. But the story is deeper, way more insidious.
MMA news and commentary website Bloody Elbow summarise the developments in this selection of posts here: http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2013/1/10/3861544/two-lloyd-irvin-martial-arts-school-students-arrested
Many prominent members of the BJJ community have already spoken of the situation. For an example of some more personal thoughts, blogger Georgette sums up her thoughts here: http://georgetteoden.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/its-not-rape-culture-or-is-it.html
But I strongly recommend everyone read the words from former Lloyd Irvin student, Ryan Hall.
He writes a beautifully thoughtful essay on the darker side of life under a cult-like martial arts organisation. He implores us to take a deeper look inside ourselves and ask questions about what it is that is important to us, as decent human beings. It's a strongly worded and deeply heartfelt message that applies not just to martial artists among us, but to everything in life in general.
Here is the link to Ryan's essay:
Finally, I, along with a large group of others in the BJJ community, will be doing something to support victims of sexual violence. The recent news surrounding Lloyd Irvin students are not just a one-off local incident. Sexual violence, especially those against women, happens everyday, all over the world and in every strata of society. A number of charities are devoted to spreading awareness, empowering and supporting victims and educating the masses. But really - as one commentator noted: we should ALL be anti rape.
Here are some awesome charities that help victims of sexual violence: