Goldweave jacket decorated with Japanese influenced graphics this gi designed by BJJ black belt Mike Fowler is quite simply the most beautiful kimono ever to have come into existence. Gorgeously comfortable to wear, sturdy yet still lightweight, if I could pick just one fault it would have to be the tendency for the goldweave to shrink more than pearlweaves. My sample ended up being too short in the sleeves for my long arms.
Available direct from Tatami Fightwear website (from Friday 17th July) cost £110.
Also available worldwide through various Tatami resellers.
I have worked as a freelance designer on a number of Tatami Fightwear projects. I have had no involvement with the Mike Fowler gi. All views expressed are my own.
Mike Fowler is an American BJJ black belt well known as much for his flamboyant hairstyles as much for his winning techniques. Read a review I wrote of his seminar.
Mike has strong roots with Japan, having travelled there frequently and participating in epic walks along the entire length of the country. It is clear his love for Japanese culture manifests itself here in his signature BJJ gi, produced by Tatami Fightwear. There are numerous discussion points with this gi, but the stand out feature is the printed gi collar covering. Let's take a closer look...
Size, weight, shrink data
I wore a size A1 gi for approximately 8 weeks. The gi was washed at 40 degrees and air dried. My own dimensions are 167cm height and 58-60Kg weight with long arms for someone who wears size A1.
Size in centimetres for an A1 model gi.
Jacket - 1.1Kg
Trousers - 0.6Kg
Overall the jacket dimensions held up pretty well against a post washed Tatami Fightwear Estilo gi
all except the sleeve lengths and the trouser lengths. See the photo at the bottom of this report to observe how a wingspan of 150cm looks on me. Shrinkage is clearly an issue still with goldweave material.
Weight wise, I'm impressed that despite the plethora of embroidery and extra decoration, the Fowler gi at size A1 only weighs 1.7Kg.
The jacket material is made from goldweave cotton. The collar, lapels and cuff areas are covered with a lycra-like fabric with a printed design. The texture of the goldweave is thick yet very soft. Embroidery is used extensively front and back. Obviously, this gi would not be IBJJF gi rules compliant.
The pants are made from heavy duty plain cotton drill. Three belt loops plus a label that actds as a fourth loop keep the rope drawstring in place. Double knee lining extends all the way to the ankles, which are covered in the same manner as the jacket sleeves.
Not gonna lie, this gi is simply devine to roll in. Much of that sensation is down to the soft yet reassuringly thick goldweave material. But also the collar and lapels, with their flamboyant covering, add to the impression of lapel thickness. Speaking of which, my initial concern was that the material covering these parts would be too thin and weak. My training partners tugged and tugged at the lycra-like covering each sparring session, but they remained undamaged. Proof that the durability of these parts is solid.
This gi is both beautiful to look at and beautiful to wear. The overall aesthetic is super tasteful. Even my most conservative team mates remarked that it looked very pretty and they wouldn't mind wearing one themselves. If you don't have longer than average length arms like me, then it should fit you perfectly even with shrinkage. At £110 I wouldn't even say it is expensive. In years to come, it will be viewed as a rare collectable item. More importantly, it still does the job. Construction is high quality and it was a joy to wear in the months I was testing it.