Two different gi models from a Brazilian based brand. The 'BJJ Style' offers a sturdy mid-weight pearlweave with super comfortable pants, while the 'Sensei' is an ultra light pearl. Both are decorated with slightly garish skull graphics that may or may not be to your taste.
Cost: R 389 (BJJ Style) R$ 299 (Sensei).
Roughly equivalent to: £103 and £79 respectively. Shipping cost not known.
For orders in the UK, the KVRA store will ship internationally. My contact in the UK is Luiz Riberio who runs London Fight Factory. He can be contacted here.
I have no personal or business connection with KVRA. All views expressed in this report are my own.
It's been a while since I reviewed a BJJ brand actually from Brazil - the last Brazilian brand I sampled was the Atama Mundial #9. KVRA are a new name to me. I don't know anything about their history or how long they have been operating. Another mystery is where their gis are manufactured since there is no information on the label. I was sent two of their models via UK based BJJ instructor Luiz who runs London Fight Factory. He seems to be promoting them here in the UK and already I've seen a number of British based BJJ guys wearing KVRA. Time then to make my own assessment of these gis...
Size in centimetres and weight in kilograms. For reference, I am 59-60Kg in weight and 167cm in height. I am used to wearing A1 or A1L size gis though I do have long arms. First figure brand new, second figure after x3 mild temperature washes and then air dried.
KVRA BJJ Style (blue) - size (cm) when new vs size after three warm washes (40 degrees)
Jacket weight: 1.1Kg
Pants weight: 0.5Kg
KVRA Sensei (white) - size (cm) when new vs after three warm washes (40 degrees).
The immediate difference between these two models is the sleeve wingspan (154 for the BJJ Style versus 164 for the Sensei) and the Weight - 1.6Kg for the former, 1.3kg for the latter. All other areas are roughly the same. The wingspan on the BJJ Style, being much shorter to start with, meant that with shrinkage, it ended up being short on my arms. I can still sort of get away with it but it's not ideal for my long arms.
The weights don't appear on the surface to be that big a difference, but the Sensei at 1.3 Kg does really feel much much thinner and lighter than the BJJ Style. Worth noting is 0.3Kg is an important difference to your weight cutting regime.
The KVRA website is written entirely in Portuguese. I can't see any stats relating to fabric weight but the BJJ Style certainly feels thicker and sturdier than the Sensei. The former reminding more of an Estilo in terms of fabric thickness while the latter is more like the Scramble Athlete...possibly even lighter than that.
The Sensei is the lightweight model. It has woven shoulder patches and screen printed skull on the inside jacket flap. There is also branded seam tape. The whole aesthetic seems a bit juvenile and sk8r boi for my taste but each to their own. After over a dozen usages and washes, the screen graphics did not fade, crack or peel away. The sleeve tape and inside label is a bit scratchy however. The collar is very thin.
The BJJ Style is the regular everyday kimono. It feels a lot thicker than the Sensei and also softer, despite both being made from pearlweave fabric. The collar on the BJJ Style is definitely thicker than the Sensei model. In my opinion, this is a much nicer gi than the lightweight sensei. The seam tape on the cuffs for example are non-scratchy and the material feels more comfortable. More about the rolling performance later. What makes this gi stand out a little bit from others in this sector are the super comfy pants...
The trousers on both models are straight up twill cotton but as with the tops, the pants differ in thickness and weight. The Sensei is very thin and contrasts sharply against the BJJ Style, which seems almost like a pair of luxury brushed cotton chinos.
The Sensei is notable for its orange ribbon and pearlweave gusset section. The double lining along the knees stops just below the knee bone.
The BJJ Style uses a traditional drawstring and the double knee lining extends all the way to the base.
I have written in previous reviews how I am not really a fan of ultra light gis. The KVRA Sensei gi hasn't changed my opinion. In the current British summer it is a good choice of gi to wear owing to its lightness and ability to lose body heat, but the whole gi seems less well thought out when compared with the BJJ Style model. The orange ribbon drawstring is a nice touch aesthetically, and it performs the job of staying tied as good as rope or drawstring. Personally I don't need to cut weight for tournaments but if you do, the Sensei might be worth considering. For everyday comfort and quality however, the BJJ Style gi is a better choice. Sadly, sleeve shrinkage on the BJJ Style ended up being a bit more than I like. It's a shame because those cotton pants are so damn comfy.
Back in the day (circa 15-20 years ago) the only place to buy BJJ kimonos was Brazil. A lot has changed since. But these two gis show that Brazilian brands can still cut it among the massive recent influx of worldwide jiu jitsu brands. I'm personally more drawn to the sturdier mid-weight BJJ Style model than the ultra light Sensei model, but the graphics on both are not really my cup of tea. Despite this, if you do manage to get hold of one, I don't think they are too bad for the price.