A bold and creative debut gi design from new Guam based fightwear brand, the Competidor Guardian offers slick eye catching style along with a superbly fitting and lightweight uniform. The myriad of tiny little design elements added to the attention to detail paid over the production values and construction. This is a very solid and likable gi.
Price: $160USD + shipping and customs if ordering from outside US.
Disclosure: I have been commissioned in the past by Competidor Brand to produce artwork for t-shirts. I have had no contribution to this design. This and the following report will be my own personal opinion and remain as objective and unbiased as I can.
The Island of Guam keeps popping up during my many online BJJ wanderings around the internet. Budo Jake (from Budovidoes) recently produced a short film about BJJ on Guam and it served to underline my suspicions that this tropical island must be a mini Mecca for BJJ enthusiasts. There's certainly no shortage of cool grappling lifestyle apparel brands - names such as Fokai and Shoyoroll are hugely familiar within BJJ circles. Now they have Competidor Brand to add to that list.
The guys from Competidor contacted me with a view to producing some artwork and we exchanged various ideas the result of which you can see here. As part of our project, I happily agreed to accept their brand new gi, the Guardian, for review. I must admit, the highly unusual combination of graphics and logos plus the cool grey fabric colour greatly appeal to my personal design senses, so I was very keen to take a closer look.
Size, Weight and Shrinkage
(First figure is brand new size, second figure is after x3 washes at 30 degrees. Sizes in centimetres.)
For a size A1 gi...
A: 163 / 154
B: 75 / 73
C: 60 / 56
D: 16.5 / 16
E: 54 / 51
F: 99 / 92
G: 22.5 / 22
Jacket : 0.9Kg
Looking at the stats, the standout figure in the table is the sleeve shrinkage, after three washes the loss in length is a quite considerable 9 centimetres. With a wingspan of 154cm, it still just about remains legal on my own longish arms. Compare the wingspan to recent gis I have reviewed and the Competidor sits a little shorter than average (Kingz = 157cm, Ronin Insignia = 161, Tatami Terere Gi = 157cm). Personally I would prefer a sleeve length to be within the 157-160cm wingspan, but the Competidor is still wearable in this department (especially if I try to remain in T-Rex stance :P).
The other notable area of shrinkage are the trousers. Based on previous gis, I ideally fit anything within or around the 95cm range of trouser length. Unwashed, the Competidor initially offer a generous 99cm of outside leg length but have shrunk down to a more modest 92cm in length which is a wee bit short but still more than fine for everyday use and still legal on me.
The Guardian, at a total weight of 1.4Kg (A1) is very light. If one considers that at this size category, anything around 1.3-1.4Kg is classed (in my opinion) as an ultra light, then Competidor can definitely be considered as an ultra light gi.
Jacket is made from light pearlweave cotton while the collar is covered with canvas cotton. The embroidered chest patch is immaculately crafted.
The company mascot - some sort of Mickey Monkey character is adorned on a large inside patch.
A really nice touch - personally handwritten serial numbers on branded card. Mine is number 51 of a hundred, I feel like I am in a secret club!
Japanese style 'mon' decorates the right sleeve. Guam is located in the Pacific Ocean and is a top tourist destination for Japanese travellers. The cultural influence on the island is very strong.
One thing I noticed with this gi was that the front chest panel is stitched incredible low down on the torso.
I must admit I have no idea if this lower 'cut' pattern has any influence on how it sits on the body - it didn't feel any different when I wore the gi. With some gi brands, it is noticeable that they are cut very differently to the average, for example tighter under the armpits or longer down the skirt length, but the Competidor felt pretty much nice all round, nothing weird or awkward about the fit at all.
Again, more little design details pop up all over the uniform. Here, as part of the side vent reinforcements, some embroidered logo work. Style plus substance, brilliant!!
Oh I know, let's add a lightning bolt on the left cuff, why? Because we can.
The 'None shall Pass' slogan received the biggest laugh from my team mates, they loved the slogan and the placing of it! The Competidor trousers contain a staggering SEVEN belt loops (three either side of a central loop), plus a rope drawstring. These combine to form one formidable tying up machine!
Screen printed patches on the legs do tend to fade after only a few washes. The unusual contrast coloured pearlweave material gusset segment is a neat touch.
Cool seam tape was non-scratchy! Some previous gis have been very rough on the edges which I find infuriating, but this gi (and the Kingz too) shows that such taping can be applied that is both functional, stylish and comfortable. Oh here's another lightning bolt too.
I love wearing this gi. I have been training in it for over two months now. It is one of those uniforms that genuinely make fellow team mates stare in amazement at each session even when they have seen it already. Despite all the crazy graphics and cool slogans, it is still clearly a gi made fit for purpose - it has a good number of quality materials reinforcing the key regions plus it is super light and ultra comfortable. Genuinely hands down a superb gi to roll in.
The Competidor Guardian is a fantastic gi. The mish mash of logos, emblems, Easter egg style messages, all of it completely speaks to me. As far as performance is concerned, it is A-class. No doubt about it, it's a fantastic lightweight and comfortable gi. The pearlweave is sturdy and durable, and the trousers are lightweight and comfortable. In an ideal world, it the sleeves could be a tad longer and the trouser legs a wee bit longer too, but other than that, I'm very happy with this gi and it has made it to my coveted rotation of regular training gis.