Gi Review: Tatami Fightwear Zero G (black) v Tatami Fightwear Competition Gi (navy)
Tatami Fightwear are a UK based MMA and BJJ clothing company that have grown fast in recent years and are prominent in sponsoring a number of events and fighters. Their popular ‘Zero G’ model has up until now only been available in white (see my previous review of the Zero G versus other brands). It is now available in black and this review will compare the black to a newly introduced Tatami Fightwear model - the pearl weave gi in navy. Beginners may wish to read my What Gi Should I Buy? article first. Readers of this blog are also eligible for a discount from Tatami Fightwear (see end of article for details).
Black versus Navy
The Tatami Fightwear line-up currently boasts 16-17 BJJ gi models. That’s a heck of a lot for any gi- maker, let along a British one. So for the punter, I can imagine it’s quite a confusing selection. This review compares two similarly priced models to each other, and to other gi brands, in order to help the punter in his gi-buying decision.
|Both gis come with a gi bag|
|New gi design, but same old patches|
The Zero G gi is touted as Tatami Fightwear’s ultra light model. The white coloured A2 sized gi weighed 1.56Kg. Most A2 gis fit me after a couple of washes but the A2 Zero G did not shrink after hot washing so I advised in my previous review that purchasers should be careful to select the appropriate size as stated on the Tatami Fightwear website (eg do not to go one size up in the hope that it will shrink down.) For both the Zero G black and the pearl weave navy, I chose to review the A1 size to see if it fitted me better. Navy blue gis are, as far as I know, legal for IBJJF tournaments as the rules simply state white, blue or black (not the shade or tone), but I have not had this confirmed from an IBJJF gi- checker so buyer beware.
Price and Ordering
The pearl weave gi is a new model that will replace their current gold weave ‘Competition’ line-up of uniforms. The navy is the first colour in the new line up and it is priced at £70 plus pp. I presume there will be other colours to come. The Zero G is priced at £65 plus pp. Postage for one gi within the UK is £7.50. Worldwide shipping is available.
All orders can be made via the website, although the owners respond to emails pretty promptly so any personal tweaks or comments can be acted upon. The website allows purchasers to add (or possibly replace) another pair of trousers at any size - an important issue that I will address later on.
The gis arrived after one working day. As with all other Tatami Fightwear uniforms, the gis come with their own gi bag. The Zero G has a black nylon bag and the navy gi comes in a cotton bag. The bag is a small but nice detail that some people find handy.
Size and shrinkage comparisons
Figures before and after x2 washes at 30 degrees (manufacturer recommendations)
Zero G Navy
Jacket Weight (Kg): 1.0 1.0
Trouser Weight (Kg): 0.4 0.7
A: 160.5/158.5 161/159
B: 74/74 75/75
C: 51.5/50 47/47
D: 15.7/15 16/15
E: 94/90 99/99
F: 22/21.5 22/22
G: 65.5/62 73/73
Jacket - Both the Zero G and the new pearl weave gi are made from the same type of fabric and, according the Tatami, cut to the same pattern. Pearl weave is basically a slightly coarser textured fabric version of a traditional single weave, such as the type found on the Vulkan or Koral uniforms. Pearl weaves are generally stronger and lighter than gold weave gis but not as soft and comfortable. Gold weaves do have a habit of shrinking a lot and looking a bit out of shape, which the pearl weave suffers less from. Some cheaper pearl weave jackets I have tried are a bit too coarse and abrasive on the skin, but these two jackets were super smooth and comfy.
|Navy gi pearl weave is not too stiff compared to cheaper brands|
Patches - In my review of the Zero G white, I commented that I really liked the design and placement of the patches. They are bright and bold, but not too ornate in my view and they especially look nice set against the black fabric. The Zero G has patches on the shoulders, base of the back and sides of the trousers. The Tao logo has been reduced significantly on the arms and the base of the trousers compared to the white model.
|Black Zero G has smaller Tao logos compared to white version|
|Navy gi Brazil flag patch is a nice touch|
The navy pearl weave is decorated in roughly the same areas as the Zero G but maintains the same patch design found on the older 'Competition' range of gis. In my opinion, this patch design is a bit too busy and not as attractive as the Zero G design. The navy gi has the addition of a Brazilian flag at the top of the back, which looks nice set against the navy colour.
Collar and lapels - It is here that the newer navy gi shows some differences to the Zero G black. The former gi has a thicker collar and is covered with canvas cotton. The latter being covered with twill. I presume canvas is less likely to fray and wear away compared to twill. Both collars were perfectly adequate in terms of protecting against gi chokes and flexible enough to wear comfortably.
|Zero G has twill lapels, navy gi has canvas lapels|
|Navy gi is slightly thicker than the Zero G|
Reinforcements and sleeves - Both jackets are identical in having triple stitching, ample reinforced side vents, double lined knees and taped seams at the cuffs. I like the idea of taped seams as the cuffs get a lot of wear and tear from enthusiastic spider guard players!
|Taped seams on the cuffs of both models are an important reinforcement|
The sleeve width is perfect in both gis. They are tapered but are not too narrow. I personally have a problem with wide sleeve widths - they flap about and are easily grabbed by opponents. The sleeve lengths however, are just a cm too short for my personal liking. I do however, have extraordinarily long arms for my height.
Trousers - It is here that the two models differ by the biggest margin. The new navy gi trousers are made from canvas, which is thicker and heavier than the twill Zero G trousers but are less prone to shrinking. Wearing the canvas trousers is close to feeling like you are wearing a pair of Chinos or work trousers! The Zero G trousers shrunk a lot - from the stats table above, you’ll see that they shrunk by as much as 4 centimetres, and end up being over 9 centimetres shorter than the navy trousers - quite a discrepancy. Punters should strongly bear in mind the shrinkage rate and their own leg lengths when ordering the Zero G as Tatami do offer a mix and match option for trousers.
|Both gi models have rope drawstrings, the navy gi trousers are made from canvas|
|Zero G trousers considerably smaller and more prone to shrinkage than new navy trousers|
Both trouser models have the rope drawstring that I think is a quality touch (rope strings are less likely to come undone and get lost in the hem). Both trousers have simple stitching at their ankles, same as with Vulkan trousers, whilst other brands eg Black Eagle, have ankles with multiple rows of stitching. I'm not sure if extra strong stitching here is that much of a worry as it is not grabbed as often as, say, the sleeve cuffs.
Colour - Many people have been calling for a black colour version of the Zero G and it definitely does look nice. After x3 washes I did not notice any huge degree of fading either, so this is a nice touch if it does remain solid black (unlike my black Vulkan which faded immediately).
|Space-age font of the Zero G|
In my view, navy is a beautiful colour for a BJJ uniform. When I dyed my Black Eagle singleweave gi navy I was so pleased with the results that it remains one of my favourite gis to wear in class simply because of the colour. The new Tatami navy gi is even nicer than my home dyed job...but there is a price to pay for having navy...irregular fading.
After x2 washes I noticed that the navy gi faded in patches. It resembles the kind of effect you get from a pair of stone-washes jeans. I’m only talking about a subtle uneveness here and it’s not noticeable until you get right up close to the fabric but it’s something I feel obliged to point out.
Others have commented to me that their navy gis, such as the Koral navy faded in the same way and when I inspected my home-dyed gi, it also had irregular colour - but I think this was more down to uneven dying rather than fading. Anyway, the effect became less obvious after several more washes.
Versus VulkanPro Lights
In my review of the Zero G white, I suggested that it was very similar in design and fit to the Vulkan. I think the Vulkans are a little lighter and softer than either of these two gis, but considering Vulkans cost over £100, then I think the cost-to-comfort ratio makes the Tatami gis better value.
Comfort and fit
I tested these gis during a rare spell of very hot weather here in the UK. That meant I sweated horribly whilst wearing the gi and suddenly the allure of nogi became very appealing. Despite the heat, I found both uniforms to be incredibly light and comfortable. Arguably the navy gi trousers, being thicker and canvassy in material, did feel the heavier of the two. But I was slightly annoyed at the tightness of the Zero G pants around the gusset (bum and crotch) and how short they had shrunk. If I were to order this again, I would get A2 trousers and A1 jacket.
The Zero G jacket is just a fraction lighter than the navy, possibly due to having a slightly thinner lapel, but the difference was negligible in my opinion. To be honest, in the hot weather, it was a joy to roll in either of these gis as the jackets fitted me very nicely.
Tatami Fightwear have made a smart move by introducing a black version of their Zero G uniform. The bright blue patches compliment the uniform colour perhaps more so than with the white uniform. The semi-circular Tao symbol - the source of some people’s criticism - has been reduced in size and the many small features that made the white model such good value (rope drawstring, taped seams, triple stitching etc) have been retained on the black model. The lightness of this gi is perfect for competition where cutting weight is a priority. It is also perfect for the summertime when the academy gets incredibly hot and sweaty (as ours did when I tested the gis!). But watch out for trouser length. It is probably better to err on the safe side and order a trouser size up (and then stitch up the hem) than have Robinson Crusoe style (and IBJJF illegal) pants!
|Zero G from all angles - note the trousers do not cover the ankle bone|
The pearl weave gi is a significant step up in quality from their soon to be replaced yet very popular gold weave ‘Competition’ range. The white gold weave Competition gi currently sells for £51. I am told by the makers that they will launch an entry level uniform priced around £50. I feel this is an important sector of the market as cheaper BJJ uniforms are part of the culture that will encourage more people to try out BJJ and help the sport to grow.
|New navy pearl weave. Note: the trousers cover the ankle bone|
Having said that, the £60-£70 range of BJJ uniforms is rapidly developing into the most competitive sector of the UK gi market. Other brands such as the Faixa Rua Leve (£70) and the Black Eagle Single (£59.99) also offer very good quality lightweight uniforms. BJJ uniforms at this price range (which are all made in Pakistan) tend to be better fitting, more comfortable and will last a bit longer compared with most budget gis.
|The Zero G in A1 fits me very well, most A1's a too small.|
|If I had to choose, the navy would get my vote over the Zero G|
In my opinion, Tatami Fightwear have upped their game with these two high quality gi models. By improving the fabric and tweaking the logos and patchwork, it appears they have listened to feedback from their customers and are offering better quality products as a result. £65-£70 represents a median between expensive import brands and cheap low quality budget brands ie it's pretty good value considering the quality of the products.If you get the right size, then either gi would make a sound purchase, but if I had to choose, then the newer navy gi would get the edge (despite being dearer) as it fits me better and the colour is nicer too.
Credits and disclaimer
My thanks to Tatami Fightwear for sending me these gis to review. All photos by me. I am not sponsored by any company, I do not receive any royalties nor do I endorse any one particular brand. My reviews are impartial, independent and I hope objective to help punters in their gi-buying decision. If after this review you decide to buy one of the gis mentioned - you can get a 5% discount if you use the code MEERKATSU5 during your order. Actually I think that can work with any of Tatami’s range of gear.
For other gi reviews, please visit my Reviews page.
I still wear the navy pearlweave gi and I can honestly say it has stood up over time as a great training gi. The navy gi colour has faded a little but the uneveness that I reported on with the earlier washes has not been so apparent over repeated washes.
I gave my Zero G black to a team mate who fitted the gi much better than me, he loves it and says it's his favourite gi...but then he only has two so take that for what you will LOL!
Tatami Fightwear asked me to post their video on here, so here it is:
22-11-10: For an alternative review of the Zero G black versus the Koral Light, see here: