This gi incorporates original art created by me for Tatami Fightwear who kindly hired my services. This report is not a gi review. It is a showcase of the art I created for the gi and my commentary on the design and material elements I chose to use for the gi. The photos show the pre-production samples, the final gi will be available to buy from Tatami Fightwear (and other retailers) around late March - April 2012. A full in depth review on the gi itself will be available from impartial gi reviewers soon.
Last year I designed a rashguard themed around my illustrations of a honey badger munching on some tasty cobras. To my immense surprise, it was an amazing success selling hundreds and hundreds of units all over the world. I received tons of feedback from happy rash guard wearers, many of them saying one thing: when was I going to release the honey badger gi? Well, here it is. Okay not quite here yet, the sample I am modelling is the first and only copy in the world of the honey badger gi. But Tatami Fightwear's suppliers are making them as I write.
Here is a little more detail about the gi...
Size, Weight and Shrink Data Based on A1
Sizes in centimetres brand new v three 40 degree washes
A: 159cm / 157cm
B: 77cm / 77cm
C: 56cm / 55cm
D: 16cm / 16cm
E: 52cm / 51cm
F: 96cm / 96cm
G: 21.5cm / 21.5cm
Jacket Weight = 1.00Kg
Trouser Weight = 0.46Kg
My stats: Height 167cm, Weight 59Kg
Remarkably, as the stats show, this gi did not shrink much at all - even over three washes at warm temperature. 2cm off the wingspan and nothing off the pant length is quite unusual. These set of dimensions are near perfect for me. It is as if the gi has been tailor made!
At a total weight of 1.5Kg this gi is very light. Not quite ultra light (my recently reviewed Kingz Comp 420 weighs only 1.3Kg) but pretty damn light enough for tournament use.
The jacket is made from what Tatami Fightwear (TFW) describe as 'hybrid weave'. This looks and feels a lot like a judo rice grain style single weave. It is light, strong and very robust. I chose to keep the gi black only. I guess I could have added a white version but for me, I wanted the little honey badger (HB) face to look mean and cryptic within the design, and for that to happen, black was the best choice of colour.
The sleeves (and the front leg) feature the HB face from the rash guard, but with a more stripped back colour scheme - just black and white. I wanted a fiercer and more 'skull-like' appearance.
Unlike the Estilo or Zero G models made by Tatami, I decided to eliminate the shoulder patches on the HB gi. It was too much clutter in my opinion to have additional shoulder patches, just the chest patch was enough. Note that I changed the colour scheme of the standard TFW patch and added crawling HBs - just like the back design for my rash guard.
Due to current IBJJF rules on patch placements and other adornments, adding bling to a gi is quite a tricky task. However, there is still plenty of 'canvas space' for me to apply small design elements - the neck label for example. I put the label together and originally, TFW were going to number each gi individually, hence the No 0001 bit at the bottom. Circumstances have changed and they will now not be numbered on the label. Instead something else will possibly be used to provide a more personal touch to each gi sent out to a new owner.
The sleeves feature tape to cover and reinforce the cuff seams. The tape is woven and contains the words: HONEY BADGER FIGHTWEAR MEERKATSU TATAMI FIGHTWEAR. It is the same tape quality as the Estilo gi, which I have found to be non-scratchy - unlike some other brands using woven tape.
So far I haven't mentioned colour palette. The HB gi uses the same colours as the rash guard but I selected only the three or four that would contrast and compliment each other the best. I wanted something dark with sneaky slivers of elements that were bright, zesty and rich. Hence, for example, the purple used to line the side vents, or the orange contrast stitching throughout the gi, and so on. From the whole gi photos above, the overall effect is actually quite subtle in my opinion, merely hinting at something spicy, but not pushing it in ones face. All opinion of course!
Having just said that, I still wanted something on this gi that would make a big impact, hence, the bold and brassy HB+cobras embroidered on the back.
I am very pleased with the workmanship by the supplier on this sample. I used over 5, possibly 6 colours on the design and the embroidery is damn near perfect. The design is a tweak to the one used on the HB rash guard, I basically got rid of the lower pair of cobras. It looks neater when used this way.
Despite the addition of embroidery, the overall weight of the jacket is very light. I actually competed wearing this gi and it was perfect for the job.
The pants are very light twill cotton, the same as those found on the Zero G uniforms by TFW. The brilliant TFW rope cord was something I insisted on, and it had to be orange! the purple belt loops add to the zing!
A close up of the lower leg HB shows the neatness of the embroidery work.
Rolling Performance and other thoughts
As mentioned earlier, I have been testing this sample vigorously. I have rolled in it at class over two weeks and I wore it to the Hereford Open and fought in it. The lightness and strength made it superb for both training and competing in. More than that however, the design drew many compliments, everyone agreeing, it was very cool, but not outrageously in yer face (unlike my rash guard of the same!)
The gi fabric is a little different to other TFW models I have reviewed. The hybrid weave seems softer and less stiff compared to the Estilo's pearlweave. I enjoyed the greater freedom of movement that the thinner and lighter twill trousers gave me compared to the less flexible canvas pants of the Estilo. some might suggest that the thinness of the trousers might be a weak point for tearing or ripping. I can only say that the HB trousers have not suffered any damage so far.
The Honey Badger Gi will arrive from the supplier around the end of March, early April time.
It will retail in the UK for £95
In the USA and ROW - check your local retailer
In the UK and areas without a direct seller: www.tatamifightwear.com
In North America: Budovideos, MMAOutlet, BJJHQ, Fighters Market...more outlets to be announced soon.
TFW have requested a number of BJJ bloggers to review this gi - I will update their reports here.
I designed the imagery on this gi in its entirety from scratch. All rights reserved. I receive royalties based on the sales of this gi.