Fushida Komodo BJJ Kimono in Blue - Part Two
|Fushida komodo (blue) size A1x|
The Fushida Komodo will appeal to connoisseurs of BJJ uniforms and experienced players looking for something understated, high quality and carefully matched to fit their own personal body size. It incorporates numerous extra layers of reinforcements designed to offer maximum longevity and toughness. Considering the incredibly good level of service, the careful fitting of the item, the extreme attention to detail of the product, this gi is possibly the best fitting ‘off-the-shelf’ BJJ uniform a person could buy. I rate the Fushida Komodo BJJ gi as excellent value for money but personally falls short of perfection. Read on for the full review...
In part one of this review I described how James Carey’s essay on his gi-addiction prompted me to order the gi that he describes as his perfect fitting uniform. In James’ case he ordered a Fushida Mantis (lightweight model) but I wanted a blue uniform so I ordered the slightly heavier Komodo uniform. For web service, ordering and delivery details, see Part One. It is important to state, the Fushida gi is not a specifically tailored gi. It is a uniform selected from their extensive inventory of in betweeny sizes that best matches your body size. The key point to make here is that it is up to the company to source the best match of sizes according to your stats. This differs to the vast majority of online gi-buying websites where no such service exists and it is up to you to choose your size based on just your weight and your height. This is not always enough information to base a gi purchase on and the most common complaint heard is that one aspect or another of a uniform is ill-fitting. Very rarely would a customer purchase something costing £100 or much much more for an item that has no guarantee of actually fitting properly. And yet this is a daily occurance with BJJ uniforms. Strange.
Ordering and Delivery
Full details of how I ordered my Fushida gi in Part One, but to sum:
The gi costs: CAN$ 145*
Shipping was: CAN$ 48
UK Customs: £22
Total Fee: £142
Delivery: Sent by Fushida on the 16th July, left USA 20th, in UK awaiting customs 26th, finally arrived at my desk 3rd August 2010 - a total of 16 working days.
This ‘pre-shrunk’ gi is made in Pakistan. Washing instructions state that the gi should be washed at 30 degrees Celsius. Despite stating that it is ‘pre-shrunk’, the advice from Christo is that it will in fact shrink - depending on how hot you wash it and how you dry the item. In other words, don’t freak when you get it and it is too big as you can control to some degree how much to shrink the gi jacket should you need to. The trousers are a different matter.
After submitting my personal body size measurements, Christo recommended that I purchase the A1X size in both the trousers and the jacket. A1X is a kind of inbetweeny size - longer armed than A1, narrower than an A2 and the trousers are longer than an A1.
Brand new After x3 washes at 30 degrees
A: 163 159
B: 77 77
C: 55 54
D: 17 16
E: 27 24
[Trousers were washed at 60 degrees and dried at high temperature]
F: 105 103
G: 52 51
H: 23 22.5
I 39.5 39
Weight (Kg): Jacket = 1.39Kg, Trousers = 0.61Kg, Total = 2.0Kg
On the islands of Indonesia, the Komodo dragon is a fierce lizard that rules the land. There is indeed something of the reptilian about the weave pattern on this gi. It is a single (pearl) weave fabric but as you can see in the photo below, each repeating loop of thread is quite ‘scaly’ looking’ - maybe that’s just me and my wierdo outlook! But compare this to, say, a Black Eagle single weave gi and you can see a slight difference in weave pattern. It also seems to be a bit denser and thicker than other pearl weaves I own.
|Pearl weave fabric textile and arm logo|
Brand new out of the bag, the fabric is very soft and carries a visible sheen. After washing however, the sheen faded and it did get a degree stiffer. This is as expected - in general I find that pearl weaves get stiffer after washing but do maintain shape, while gold weaves get softer but suffer from sagginess and are more likely to get out of shape.
(a) Collar - the collar contains the usual rubbery filling found on most other mid to high priced gis. The covering is made from twill cotton and is held together with no less than six rows of stitching. I personally find twill to look a bit worn out and fuzzy, whereas canvas coverings tend to be less prone to this. I’m sure it makes no difference to the functionality.
|Collar = 6 rows of stitching|
|Reasonably thick collar|
(b) Sleeves - straight out of the bag the sleeves are a bit too long but after several washes they shrunk down to fit me to exactly the perfect length. The inner cuff seam is taped for extra reinforcements. I did notice one sleeve had wonky stitching on it though.
|Sleeve width tapered and narrow in keeping with others|
(c) Reinforcements - in addition to the collar and sleeve cuffs, reinforcements adorn the jacket aplenty. These include the bottom hem (taped seams), side vents (large double lined reinforcements with multiple stitching criss-crossing the material), armpits (double lined patch plus extra layer of taping covering the edges). All parts of the main jacket are held together with triple stitching. The photo below shows the armpit area, the Black Eagle gi (which I dyed navy) shows single row of stitching while the Fushida has a double row.
|Lots of extra armput stitching compared|
|x4 stitched sleeve tape reinforcements|
|Inside armput - double stitched tape over extra layer fabric|
(d) Patches and Design - the jacket has one large woven chest patch and two small embroidered arm logos. They are pretty discrete and minimal but if you don’t want the chest patch, I am told by Christo that he can remove it prior to shipping. Both the chest patch and the smaller embroidered logos carry the words: in spiritu et veritate, which is latin for ‘in spirit and in truth’. I know because I googled it :)
|Chest patch - large but tasteful|
(e) Cut - the pattern of this A1X gi is basically a longer body length version of the A1 size, with longer arms too, but virtually similar width torso cavity to the A1. I could feel a noticeable ‘snuggness’ under the armpits. I was informed by Christo prior to shipping that this would be the intended effect and if I did not like this, I should order the A2. I chose his recommendation of the A1X. The armpit snugness was weird at first but I quickly got used to it and now, whenever I wear my A2 gis, they feel all baggy and ‘wrong’. It’s probably the single biggest difference in terms of the fit and feel, of these Fushida Komodos compared to all my other gis. Even the A1 Tatami Fightwear gis I own are not as snug as these and I must say, I really like it.
The ‘skirt’ portion is a little bit longer than with my other gis but I think the jacket length will shrink over time so may actually end up being the same as the Tatami and the Vulkan, both of which are the right length for me.
The jacket does have rather large side side vents. Much longer than the Tatami navy and the Vulkan Pro. This may be a throwback to Fushida’s judo origins as I cannot see any reason why large side vents might be advantageous for BJJ. Regardless, they are reinforced impeccably.
|Rather large side vent|
(a) Fabric - the Komodo trousers are made from rip-stop cotton. Rip stop is a type of textile that uses less material (hence lighter) but maintains its strength due to the manner in which it is woven (looks a bit like plain tartan). Due to the thinness, extra stitching and reinforcements have been added as a ‘just in case’ measure which will be discussed couple paras down. This is my first experience with ripstop material and I have to admit it takes a little getting used to. It feels rather like wearing thick shellsuit track bottoms compared to my regular cotton twill or canvas trousers. Under heavy use, the sweat tended to make the trousers ‘stick’ to my legs - a minor quibble compared to my findings in the next section...
|Ripstop cotton trousers|
(b) Size - Straight out of the bag, the A1X trousers were way too long on me. During the ordering process Christo had analysed my measurements and decided that A1 would be too short and A2 too long. After three 60 degree washes plus drying at high temperate in a tumble dryer, the trousers did shrink a little. However there’s no getting away from the fact that they are still too long for me and annoying during any stand-up training. I will probably get a tailor to shorten them.
|A2 Vulkan v A1 Tatami navy v A1x Fushida komodo|
(c) Design - One small embroidered logo sits at the base of the left trouser leg. The drawstring is of the flat type and there are four belt loops. I’m really pleased it has four belt loops since I see no reason why other manufacturers cannot do this too - it adds greatly to the stability of the drawstring for comparitively little extra cost. But I’m not a fan of flat drawstrings though - they are fiddly, prone to coming untied and they absorb large amounts of sweat whic ironically makes them difficult to untie when you want to get changed afterwards!
|x4 belt loops = good, flat drawstring = meh|
(d) Reinforcements - the base of each trouser leg is reinforced with a generous five rows of stitching. The gusset (groin area) is triple stitched with extra stitching where two fabric panels meet. Other brands vary considerably on the level of trouser ankle stitching - Vulkans have just two, Black Eagles have a massive six rows. The Fushida has five rows.
|Highly stitched ankles|
Comfort and Fit
This is gi is designed for the serious business of hardcore jiu-jitsu training. It feels like a suit of armour. Not in a heavy chunky way, but more like a gi that is made for serious jitsukas who put in some serious mat time. With all those reinforcements you walk onto the mat feeling ready to go to work - jiu-jitsu style!
|Some geezer in a Fushida, note long trousers covering instep|
But there is a downside to the awesome toughness and durability however - it soaks up sweat and makes the gi heavier as the session rolls on. I tested this gi during summer here in the UK and our summers are quite humid so this may have been a factor in the statement above. My other regular training gis are lightweight models and these do not suffer from the same degree of heavy-sweat-soak factor. I think this will be less of an issue in winter as I wear a rash guard and sweat less. But it is something to bear in mind for those who live in hot climates.
|Seen through the plastic packaging|
As mentioned before, the jacket fitted me very well - it was agreeably snug under the armpits and nicely narrow around my torso. The trousers however are too long - despite high temperature washing and high temperature tumble drying (as recommended by Christo). I will have to have a seamstress take up the overlap.
The detailed process of buying a gi from Fushida is an experience one very rarely encounters when shopping for fight apparel. With the myriad of clothing companies out there vying for attention, all offering attractively designed products, it is refreshing to come across a gi that simply does what it sets out to do. It does not have contrast stitching or iPod pockets, it does not have huge ‘Gangsta’ patches or skulls lining the inside. The Fushida Komodo simply does what it says on the tin. It’s an extremely high quality product that is fitted as closely to your size as possible and sold at a reasonably affordable price.
With the near-zealous over-stitching and reinforcements applied throughout both the jacket and trousers, I have no doubt it will withstand the rigours of serious mat time long after my other gis have bitten the dust - this gi is most definitely built to last.
The Fushida komodo is almost everything my expectations had promised. I feel the whole uniform falls just below my idea of perfection due to the slightly over-long trousers. However I can live with and fix that. It’s definitely a gi I will add to my roll-call of regular training uniforms - but possibly not during the warmer months where a lightweight model would suit better. I will report an update on here six months down the line with how the gi has performed.
The raw cost of this gi is $145CAN ($140USD). Using the excellent Budovideos website as a price guide, the Fushida is cheaper than an Atama Mundial No.9 ($178USD) or Koral Classic ($175USD), and yet here is a gi that equals, if not beats other prestige brands in terms of fit, quality and potential longevity.
I would love for all newcomers to buy a Fushida as their first gi. It would save years of disappointments with cheap, ill-fitting or badly designed uniforms. But I suspect that with the cost of delivery and tax, plus the small, but not insignificant effort required to measure the body and gi sizes, the process will probably appeal more to connoisseurs of BJJ uniforms and experienced players. If you are looking for something understated, high quality and better matched to your personal body size, then the Fushida komodo would make a most excellent choice.
|In spirit and truth|
1/9/10 Christo acknowledges that my trousers were not quite the correct size and he is sending me a smaller size. I asked if this is what would happen to a normal paying customer and he confirmed this would most definitely be the case in the event of a customer who was not happy with their sizing.
9/9/10: The A1 trousers have arrived and after trying them on, I am happy to say that they fit absolutely perfectly. Thankyou Christo for an amazing customer service.
23/9/10: I've been getting emails and comments from those wanting to know what the differences are like between the Komodo and the Mantis gis. My pal James has both so these are his comments: " Aside from the weight difference, which isn't huge, there's pretty much zero difference. I think that's due to the superb fit. Didn't feel any hotter or cumbersome then the Mantis. Main difference is it doesn't stretch out when damp like lighter gis do, which is due to the tighter weave. Even the Mantis stretches out a little after hard training, but the Komodo completely holds its shape. Very impressed with it. Had to get the pants taken up, but that's no great pain. I still prefer the Mantis due to the lighter weight, but if the Komodo was the only model on offer I'd still think it's the best thing since sliced bread and would recommend it without hesitation."
*CREDIT AND DISCLAIMER
My thanks to Christo and Fushida for sending me this gi to review. I was offered a discount on the Komodo gi and I paid for all shipping and tax. I am not sponsored by any company and I do not endorse any brand. My reviews are an independent, objective and unbiased look at products that I hope you will find useful.
The views in the this review represent just my opinions. For a review of the Fushida Mantis BJJ gi, check out Junior Familia’s review.