10 Oct 2010

Gi Review: Typhoon by Storm Kimonos



Summary
Old skool gi company returns with an in yer face bling model that offers much bang for its buck. Despite its attractive offerings, its slightly unusual cut may not suit everyone and patch placement may be an issue.

This gi was sent to me for review by online fightwear store: www.made4fighters.com
Readers can obtain a 10 percent discount (valid until 30th October) off all products on the made4fighters website. See below for full details.




Introduction
Storm kimonos have been going a long time - 1996 in fact. Just look at the cover of the classic book ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Theory and Practice’ and you’ll see Renzo Gracie rocking a Storm. In fact he’s still endorsing the Storm kimono, alongside another World champion, Andre Galvao. Storm began as a small company and remained so until fairly recently, when the owner joined forces with a large company, Aggressive Combatives, and decided to take the brand to a new level - the Chinese-made Typhoon is the result.


Size, Weight and other Stats



Fabric and Shrinkage
The Typhoon gi is sold as a pre-shrunk gi. After several washes at 30 I found that the arms shrank a little, but the gi jacket and trouser length were mostly unaffected. Storm actually have a very comprehensive choose your size chart which you can find here. Based on the Storm chart I was able to identify the A1 as being closest to my size.

Chest patch

It is something most other gi makers should follow.The fabric is a basic judo style single weave - the same as found on my Roy Dean kimono, however the Storm gi is treated with an antibacterial coating.

Antimicrobial!


Design
The Typhoon is not for the shy - it is pitched squarely at the BJJer who like a lot of ‘bling’ with their gi. The same person who covets flash brands such as Breakpoint, Lucky or Bull Terrier gis.

Sleeve patch

The gi is adorned with huge ‘Storm’ patches on the chest, left arm and left trouser leg. There are also smaller circular lightning logos on the right trouser leg, behind the shoulders and the base of the lapel. My black coloured gi had red lining details on the inside of the jacket. To top it off, the trousers contained a neat little ID/mouthguard pocket which was velcro fastened.

Velcro fastened ID or gumshield pocket

The overall look of gi is incredibly attractive in my opinion - the arrangement of black and reds decorating the gi are wonderfully OTT without being distasteful. But some people have expressed concern over the legality at IBJJF competitions of the patch placements.

Storm HQ released a statement on this issue, the full version of which you can read here:

Interestingly, one of the things they admit is: “due to unfamiliarity by certain bullpen officials with the new product at times, the gi has been removed or had certain items like pants removed from main events like the Mundials.

However the press statement goes on to illustrate a case at this year’s Mundials where a competitor wearing the Storm Typhoon has been allowed to continue by a bullpen official.

According to the official IBJJF guideline on the placement of patches (see below) it is clear that the Storm Typhoon gi more or less follows the legal areas where patches can be placed. The only argument is whether or not the large size of the patches complies with the rather vague regions indicated by the circles on the IBJJF diagram.

If absolute IBJJF legality is your prime concern,. then it is probably safer to opt for another brand or at least bring a second, plainer gi, with you to the tournament. It should be noted however, that most regional and local tournaments will not be as strict as the IBJJF and the gi was quite happily used at the (non IBJJF) Abu Dhabi World ProGi event earlier this year.


Collar
The Storm collar is soft and light, it may have a rubber core but it’s hard to tell as it is very flexible and soft, unlilke the Koral or Vulkans I have owned in the past. Regardless, it is suitably thick. There is also an extra layer of material that joins the lapel to the main body of the gi jacket. A nice extra reinforcement detail.

Extra collar lapel reinforcement

Sleeves
The sleeves shrunk a bit in the wash ending up being a tad shorted than I would prefer. But the cuffs are heavily reinforced with neat red coloured seams.

Neat red sleeve reinforcement


Reinforcements
Red tape is also used to reinforce the jacket skirt, trouser ankles and many other areas. One could even say it is over-reinforced as some of the extra taping is very wide.

Contrast coloured reinforcements


Trousers
The Storm trousers are pretty thick cotton twill with the added feature of padded knees - not something you see a lot of with other BJJ uniforms. One thing I would have liked to have seen is a rope trouser cord instead of a flat one. There are three belt loops, which I personally find annoying, I prefer either two or four...the middle loop is fiddly. Arguably the middle loop prevents the cord knot from riding above the trouser hem, but this rarely happens to me, or I certainly haven’t noticed an issue with this.
The ID/mouthguard pocket is a nice touch and the trousers are slim and the perfect length for my size.

Flat trousers tie
Padded knees


Comfort and fit
The first thing to note about this gi is the cut. As you can see from the photos below, the arms slope downwards whereas the Fushida behind it (and ALL other gis I have ever owned) are cut with arms perpendicular to the torso. The result is a gi that curves over the shoulders and a collar that rises slightly higher behind the neck compared with other gis. It’s certainly something a little unusual.

Storm - a very different cut
Yes, yes, I'm still wearing my belt too high.

When I wore the gi in training I found the gi material to be soft and comfortable but something just didn’t seem right with the way it hung off my body. The gi jacket seemed very ‘open’ and the shoulders a little too wide for me - despite it being an A1 (traditionally A1’s are usually a bit too small for me). There was also the slightly nagging sensation of the rear collar riding up over the back of my neck whenever I hunched my shoulders. Of course all of these observations were made because I was consciously looking for things to report on. I guess over time I would get used to the Storm’s unique feel and it would be less of an issue, however I do feel that this gi is heavily designed for a different body shape to mine - the wide shoulders, sloping arms and narrow torso suggests the gi would be better off fitting a more chunky, muscley guy rather than me (skinny, long armed, weird body shape altogether). In fact I would say that if you have the same body shape as Renzo Gracie or Andre Galvao, then this is the perfect fitted gi for you.

Renzo fit

A training pal of mine also has this gi. He is the same height as me and a few kilos heavier but is much more muscley. The Storm fits him perfectly he says.

Another thing I noticed during rolling were the thickness and stiffness of the patches. They are not only huge, but incredibly stiff. The patches themselves appear to be embroidered onto a thick block of material which is then sewn onto the gi fabric. That’s a lot of layers for a patch. The result was that the gi sits a little a heavy on the body and restricts movement to a small degree.
One of the patches also had a loose thread.

Discussion
There are many things to consider if you are thinking of buying this gi: it is not a light gi, it is quite pricey and there may be issues concerning the patch placements. There is also the way the gi is designed - which may not suit all body types. But damn! It is a nice looking gi. In my opinion, the white version looks even better than the black. The weave is also very soft and comfortable and the trousers are slim and well designed. My guess is that this gi will sell on sight - you either love it or hate it.

Brochure pic


Conclusion
The Storm Typhoon is a beautiful gi that comes with a lot of extra features and well thought out design touches. But there are a few aspects to the cut that did not suit my body shape. If you are fairly broad shouldered and are after an attractive uniform and are not too worried about strict IBJJF patch compliancy then you will be very happy with this comfortably soft and highly durable gi.

Back collar lightning bolt


Credits and Disclaimers
I am not sponsored by any company and I do not endorse any one brand. The opinions expressed here are my own independent, unbiased views - yours may differ completely. Luke from BJJAsia also reviewed this gi so check out his views on the kimono.


If you like what you’ve read and are tempted to buy something as a result, please mention ‘Meerkatsu’ as it helps me review more gear. I would like to thank www.made4fighters.co.uk for supplying me with this gi and providing excellent feedback and service.


DISCOUNT CODE OFFER: type ‘MEERKATSU’ at checkout to receive 10% off all products until 30th October when you buy at made4fighters.com



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About the Author

Meerkatsu

Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.

17 comments:

Ishak said...

Thanks for the review, Seymour.

I've been considering buying this gi for a little while now but as I have a slim build like yourself, I think this gi won't suit my body type.

I think it's a lovely looking gi, with some nice details and I think the £110 they're asking for it is quite reasonable. But the stiff, and possibly illegal, patches is off putting.

Thanks again for an impartial review.

A.D. McClish said...

I love the black and red together. Sharp looking gi. Thanks for the mention about IBJJF and patches. That was something I hadn't considered before when I was thinking about buying gis. I will now!

Dev said...

As usual, fantastic review. As far as the gi itself...meh. There's something just a little off about it, and I can't decide what it is - the patches are too big, maybe. Anyway. :)

SkinnyD said...

Some nice features, but the John Hancock patches are a little much... plus I'd probably have the same problem with the fit as you. I'll skip this one. Great review, though!

Meerkatsu said...

Hi guys, yes more than any other gi brand this Storm seems to elicit a real love it or hate it reaction - just from sight alone.

training bjj said...

Good review.

Not sure I like the patches. Doesn't fit the gi for some reason. But the gi may fit me. I have broad shoulders and neck but it looks like it would be opening and coming out of my belt quite often.

ShahidAj said...

Got this gi, the patches soften up after a few weeks of ragging - I got the blue and white version - the different colour scheme takes it from looking bling to looking quite clean I think.

being a bigger guy is definitely what this gi was made for fits awesome on the shoulders and traps.

Meerkatsu said...

Thanks for your comment ShahidAj. Hopefully buyers who read both the review and the comments here can make an informed decision when they decide to purchase the gi since everyone's opinion counts.

Thanks for reading I hope to bring more useful, entertaining and informative posts to come.

Benjamin Liu said...

Awesome Reviews on the Gi Man,
Just keep them coming.

Galo said...

I was really looking for another light weight gi as my vulcan is getting a bit tatty after a year of fairly hard use. I also have a Venum power gi which I love but I tend to leave it at home because it's so damn heavy in comparison and living in London with no car I need to drag my gear around with me everywhere I go. The storm gi is also a bit heavy but I really do like the look so I might give it a crack - seems like a good deal with the discount too.

UFC fan expo this weekend so going to see if there are any good supplier deals there first though!

Cheers for the review!

Meerkatsu said...

Hey Galo, yes the Storm is a nice looking gi but it does tend to suit a particular body type so that's a strong aspect to consider.
I know what you mean about dragging gear around town. Anything around 2.0 kg becomes a burden.

I'd look also at the Tatami Fightwear Zero G, the Masaru (review to come) and the Grab and Pull all ripstop (even though I personally did not really like it). all of these are so light that dragging them around town will no longer be a pain.

Have fun at the Expo. Yes, always ask for discounts. At least 10 percent. Don't be shy, just ask, it's your money.
Report back here on your experiences please!

Cheers.

Galo said...

I ended up buying the storm Gi at the UFC expo - was actually nice to be able to try a Gi on for a change rather than buying over the internet and hoping for a good fit. I ended up going for the A2 where as I'm normally an A3 and the sizing chart probably would have led me to go that way although I'm about in the middle (85kgs/6ft). The gi was priced at £100 at the show and you could view the lack of delivery charge a saving too.

I've only rolled in the gi once but I'm absolutely loving it. I've noticed that the material is much softer than my Vulcan Pro light gi (even after a wash) and the weight overall is not too bad - still much lighter than my Venum power gi (which looks awesome but wouldn't really recommend to anyone based on weight and the fact that the pants seemed to shrink quite a bit). I've had a couple of staph infections this year so like the antibacterial feature - although I'm not sure how well that would actually work in practice. The cut is good on me in an A2 but I think I would have felt differently had I purchased the A3. The pants are a good length but I do happen to have pretty muscular legs and would have preferred them to be a little more roomy. I love the style with the red trimmings and oversized patches.

The UFC show itself was pretty cool and I had the opportunity to train with Randy Couture. Not too much BJJ related stuff at the show to be honest so I won't go into too much detail - however I did learn a couple of no gi moves from the fighter demonstrations including a nice setup to a reverse triangle and kimora combination which I'd like to try and apply to my gi game on Monday.

d henwood said...

oh dear, well now im pretty much screwed as ive just ordered the competition submission sniper gi and the lightweight tuff fightwear in white, and now i want this too. well it is my birthday in march :P

clintonoshea said...

What a yummy looking gi, but it seems like there are a few too many cons compared to the pros for my liking. Another cracking review, though - cheers!

Anonymous said...

The top is ok...but pants are made of this weird pajamalike soft material. There are threads sticking out of ultrathick patches and I have some issue with the size. I`m a solid A3. Keiko A3 , and Koral A3 fit me fine...but Storm A3 is a bit too large for me.

Son Pham said...

Great review! Does the arm patch look like it can be removed without causing damage to the gi?

Son Pham said...

Great review! Does it look like the arm patch can be removed without causing damage to the gi?

 

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