Bright, attractive and very well constructed rashguard top and fight shorts from new Polish brand. The fit of both items was very good (size small each) and I was very impressed with the sturdiness of the shorts - which were reinforced copiously throughout.
I have no business or personal connection with Ground Game other than with this review. I do know the artist behind the illustrations.
Rashguard priced at: 44 Euros
Shorts prices at: 49 Euros
Ground Game first burst on to the fightwear scene last year with a series of eye-popping gi designs featuring fresh, bold colours and lively screen printed interiors. This series of products - the Samurai Shadows rashguard and shorts - features the work of BJJ artist Jody Clarke. I've not met Jody personally but we have spoken regularly on various BJJ and art matters online. He mentioned to me in advance that he was working on a major samurai themed piece and I'm glad to see the final result on these products. The artwork on both is superbly executed.
The fight shorts are very impressively constructed. The main fabric is 100% polyester and it feels very thick.
The front of the shorts are secured with a large expanse of velcro. These velcro panels are placed left and right of the flies and down the fly openings. In addition to these, there is a large velcro lined overlap flap to prevent the shorts from opening out. Finally, as if all that massive wad of velcro was not enough, there are a pair of shoe-lace type drawstrings to pull the shorts even tighter.
Centering the shorts is a panel of thinner, stretchy, lycra that provides flexibility when needed.
The photo above shows the top of the side vents. This region is reinforced with a thick triangle of fabric. The side vents themselves are pretty long (18 centimetres on the size Small shorts) - I guess handy for those who like to throw out high kicks, not something I really do myself these days.
I think my favourite portion of the artwork here is the little demon character sitting atop the samurai helmet. It's a small, personal touch but something that sets this artwork apart from other, similarly themed designs. Regular readers may recall my review of the Fuji Sakana rashguard and I had a little moan about the poor vector line work on that artwork. Not so here, the vector drawn lines are immaculate. It is printed using dye sublimation, which embeds the ink within the polyester fibres and resists fading.
But I'm less enthusiastic with the rather cheesy Banzaii!!! wording and the cheesy font used to display the type. It reminds of very naff vinyl decals used on some of the more lurid examples of car customisation! I'm also not too enthusiastic with the gridlines. Just seems odd to me. These are minor quibbles I guess and do not detract from the overall neat appearance of the design.
Oh I almost forgot to mention - inside the waistline is a thick rubberised seam that acts as a grip, thus making the shorts mega tight and as immovable as it can.
The Samurai rashguard comes only in short sleeve. It is composed of a simple front and rear torso panel and sleeves. This is a much simpler construction compared to some other brands, eg Scramble 'Shadows' rashguard, which is composed of additional side torso panels.
The photo above shows the front of the rashguard and the photo below shows the back. I personally find the front design a little too plain - the back design is clearly a lot more showy and would look just as good if it were the front design - so I can show it off even if wearing the gi on top. I'm not really a fan of the sleeve logos, especially the word 'Banzai!!!' which as mentioned before, is kinda cheesy.
Some white rashguards receive complaints from users about opaqueness, or the lack of! After sweating and wearing this item and inspecting myself in the mirror, I can't say I noticed any transparency issues. But then I think this might be a problem for those who have dark chest hair possibly. That issue is never going to be a problem for me luckily. In any case, I don't think lack of opaqueness is a problem here.
But the overall artwork is superb and really draws my eye towards the detailing. The artwork, as with the shorts, is printed using dye sublimation.
The underside of the sleeves - directly under the armpit - features a stitched intersection. I have read in other reviews of other rashguard brands with a similar construction that this region could cause armpit irritation. I however did not note any such problems myself.
The base of the rashguard features a simple folded over flat lock stitched seam. Within the seam is strip of elastic.
I subjected the rashguard to my earguard velcro strap to test pilling and bobbling resistance. As you can see it did suffer a little wear and tear but I really had to push and pull with the Velcro quite vigorously before some threads began to pull away. I would say this rashguard is quite good in that respect.
I wore both of these products to nogi class and the rashguard only to regular gi class. I must say, the fit and comfort of the rashguard is very nice. It is quite long on the body, which prevents riding above the waistline. It is also superbly snug, with no loose or ill fitting areas. By contrast, again referring back to my Scramble Shadows v Fuji Sakana rashguard review, I indicated how the Shadows rashguard had areas that was loose fitting. For my body shape, the Ground Game product fitted me a lot better than the Scramble item.
The shorts are perhaps a bit too heavy and all those reinforcements I think come at the expense of fluidity of movement. I personally prefer to roll nogi with as light as possible apparel, these shorts are not really that light. Having said that, they are immensely tough and sturdy. They have the durability of a military tank, so if that is something that is important to you, I would recommend these highly.
Both products are a nice effort from Ground Game.