It is that time of year again!
Here are my top picks for gifts you can and should buy - either for yourself or for that special grappler close to you. I chose them simply because I think they look cool or I have sampled them myself and can highly recommend.
Tatami Fightwear Estilo 5 - this one is due to drop any day now and is eagerly awaited by Estilo fans (including me!) Stay tuned to the Tatami Fightwear Facebook page for instant news.
Scramble Sengoku - their premium goldweave black coloured gi was so popular upon release, they ran out swiftly. Now fully re-stocked and available to order, if you like a good solid luxury gi, this one should be up high on your list.
Newaza Apparel are fast becoming as popular as they are bright and colourful. I mean, REALLY colourful. This tee I designed for them below is a fun reverse take on the fast paced jiu jitsu style and the sweatshirt (cover image) is my interpretation of snowmen engaged in a beatdown:
Oss Clothing offers classic styling heavily influenced by traditional Japanese imagery.
93 Brand have forged a path in the market using smart, tightly focused twists on pop culture themes. Like this tee design, based on the Ramones classic album design:
Scramble's latest t-shirt arrives fresh with the scent of 80's badass gang beatings in the form of their Warriors tribute.
Periodic Table of BJJ - as a science geek myself, this t-shirt, available only from BJJWarehouse got me all nerded out!
The Ground Game Irezumi rashguard is pretty epic I think.
This cheeky number from British designer Gartista is themed around the oft-used phrase Beast Mode! you'll have to contact them direct since the website is not quite ready for launch just yet.
The always excellent Gawakoto still has his official Terada range of rashguards. I love them to bits and so should you!
4. Leisure wear
Seeing as we're on the Gawakoto theme, their recently released hoodie looks promisingly warm and not too in your face.
Of course, I love hoodies myself and in typical style, Scramble go ahead and bust all the walls by releasing this, their Sakuraba signature Hoodie. It's pretty damned amazing!
Tatami Fightwear now offer these jogging pants. I have a pair myself and they are super comfy and snug. I have yet to go jogging in them though...no amount of cool jogging pantitude can make me go jogging, ever.
Day by Day Flipflops. That's right, even in the thick of winter here in Blighty, we need flipflops - an essential in the gym item of footwear for stepping off the mat with.
5. Reading material
How to get a sponsorship e-book/Kindle by Hywel Teague. How cool would it be to get a BJJ sponsorship as your Xmas present? It's easy if you know how. Well it is if you read Hywel's exhaustive and well researched guide to getting a BJJ sponsorship.
Choque by Roberto Pedreira is not exactly a light read, but it's certainly the most well referenced history book on the early days of BJJ in Brazil. Read it, bust some myths along the way, enhance your jiu jitsu knowledge.
I've been writing for Jiu Jitsu Style and Jiu Jitsu Magazine since the birth of both these publications. Get a subscription to both!
I am currently watching several Ryan Hall DVDs in great detail, including Back Attack and Passing the Guard. On order from America are his two latest instructionals: The Open Elbow and the Defensive Guard. I expect both to be as awesome as his previous DVDs.
Another good place to get some online tuition is Jason Scully's The Grappler's Guide. I have so many good things about Jason's teaching method and the sheer diversity of material on offer. Jason takes pride on not offering any shady internet marketing tactics that plague quite a few 'rival' tutorial platforms.
7. Customised fightwear
The British company Subguards have been producing consistently great, affordable, customised fightgear for a while now. They kindly sent me a bunch of one-off Meerkatsu rashguards and I must say, the quality is really great.
Similarly, in the US, Cruz Combat continue to offer their custom fightwear service to individuals or large groups.
Also in the US and fairly new in the custom market, is BJJ Supply. They offer small run (or large if you prefer) patch making service but they can also custom print on rashguards, shorts and other material. Check them out on Facebook.
8. Stocking Fillers
I had to laugh at this cauliflower mug available from Tatami Fightwear!
Rumour has it that the face and ear was modelled on brand owner Gareth, but that's purely speculation.
Saviour Tea is pretty yummy. I recommend the Hydration or Recovery blend.
Finally, if you are feeling particularly generous, buy as much as you can from my own Meerkatsu store. I have rashguards, fight shorts, gis, vale tudo shorts, t-shirts and patches. Thank yoooooooooo!