15 Jul 2010

Gi Review: Tatami Fightwear Zero G Black v New navy gi

Gi Review: Tatami Fightwear Zero G (black) v Tatami Fightwear Competition Gi (navy)


Tatami Fightwear are a UK based MMA and BJJ clothing company that have grown fast in recent years and are prominent in sponsoring a number of events and fighters. Their popular ‘Zero G’ model has up until now only been available in white (see my previous review of the Zero G versus other brands). It is now available in black and this review will compare the black to a newly introduced Tatami Fightwear model - the pearl weave gi in navy. Beginners may wish to read my What Gi Should I Buy? article first. Readers of this blog are also eligible for a discount from Tatami Fightwear (see end of article for details).

Black versus Navy

The Tatami Fightwear line-up currently boasts 16-17 BJJ gi models. That’s a heck of a lot for any gi- maker, let along a British one. So for the punter, I can imagine it’s quite a confusing selection. This review compares two similarly priced models to each other, and to other gi brands, in order to help the punter in his gi-buying decision.

Both gis come with a gi bag
New gi design, but same old patches

The Zero G gi is touted as Tatami Fightwear’s ultra light model. The white coloured A2 sized gi weighed 1.56Kg. Most A2 gis fit me after a couple of washes but the A2 Zero G did not shrink after hot washing so I advised in my previous review that purchasers should be careful to select the appropriate size as stated on the Tatami Fightwear website (eg do not to go one size up in the hope that it will shrink down.) For both the Zero G black and the pearl weave navy, I chose to review the A1 size to see if it fitted me better. Navy blue gis are, as far as I know, legal for IBJJF tournaments as the rules simply state white, blue or black (not the shade or tone), but I have not had this confirmed from an IBJJF gi- checker so buyer beware.

Price and Ordering

The pearl weave gi is a new model that will replace their current gold weave ‘Competition’ line-up of uniforms. The navy is the first colour in the new line up and it is priced at £70 plus pp. I presume there will be other colours to come. The Zero G is priced at £65 plus pp. Postage for one gi within the UK is £7.50. Worldwide shipping is available.

All orders can be made via the website, although the owners respond to emails pretty promptly so any personal tweaks or comments can be acted upon. The website allows purchasers to add (or possibly replace) another pair of trousers at any size - an important issue that I will address later on.

The gis arrived after one working day. As with all other Tatami Fightwear uniforms, the gis come with their own gi bag. The Zero G has a black nylon bag and the navy gi comes in a cotton bag. The bag is a small but nice detail that some people find handy.

Size and shrinkage comparisons

Figures before and after x2 washes at 30 degrees (manufacturer recommendations)

                                        Zero G            Navy

Jacket Weight (Kg):         1.0            1.0

Trouser Weight (Kg):        0.4            0.7

A:                                  160.5/158.5        161/159  

B:                                  74/74            75/75

C:                                  51.5/50        47/47

D:                                 15.7/15        16/15

E:                                  94/90            99/99

F:                                 22/21.5        22/22

G:                                65.5/62        73/73


Jacket - Both the Zero G and the new pearl weave gi are made from the same type of fabric and, according the Tatami, cut to the same pattern. Pearl weave is basically a slightly coarser textured fabric version of a traditional single weave, such as the type found on the Vulkan or Koral uniforms. Pearl weaves are generally stronger and lighter than gold weave gis but not as soft and comfortable. Gold weaves do have a habit of shrinking a lot and looking a bit out of shape, which the pearl weave suffers less from. Some cheaper pearl weave jackets I have tried are a bit too coarse and abrasive on the skin, but these two jackets were super smooth and comfy.

Navy gi pearl weave is not too stiff compared to cheaper brands

Patches - In my review of the Zero G white, I commented that I really liked the design and placement of the patches. They are bright and bold, but not too ornate in my view and they especially look nice set against the black fabric. The Zero G has patches on the shoulders, base of the back and sides of the trousers. The Tao logo has been reduced significantly on the arms and the base of the trousers compared to the white model.
Black Zero G has smaller Tao logos compared to white version

Navy gi Brazil flag patch is a nice touch

The navy pearl weave is decorated in roughly the same areas as the Zero G but maintains the same patch design found on the older 'Competition' range of gis. In my opinion, this patch design is a bit too busy and not as attractive as the Zero G design. The navy gi has the addition of a Brazilian flag at the top of the back, which looks nice set against the navy colour.

Collar and lapels - It is here that the newer navy gi shows some differences to the Zero G black. The former gi has a thicker collar and is covered with canvas cotton. The latter being covered with twill. I presume canvas is less likely to fray and wear away compared to twill. Both collars were perfectly adequate in terms of protecting against gi chokes and flexible enough to wear comfortably.

Zero G has twill lapels, navy gi has canvas lapels

Navy gi is slightly thicker than the Zero G

Reinforcements and sleeves - Both jackets are identical in having triple stitching, ample reinforced side vents, double lined knees and taped seams at the cuffs. I like the idea of taped seams as the cuffs get a lot of wear and tear from enthusiastic spider guard players!

Taped seams on the cuffs of both models are an important reinforcement

The sleeve width is perfect in both gis. They are tapered but are not too narrow. I personally have a problem with wide sleeve widths - they flap about and are easily grabbed by opponents. The sleeve lengths however, are just a cm too short for my personal liking. I do however, have extraordinarily long arms for my height.

Trousers - It is here that the two models differ by the biggest margin. The new navy gi trousers are made from canvas, which is thicker and heavier than the twill Zero G trousers but are less prone to shrinking. Wearing the canvas trousers is close to feeling like you are wearing a pair of Chinos or work trousers! The Zero G trousers shrunk a lot - from the stats table above, you’ll see that they shrunk by as much as 4 centimetres, and end up being over 9 centimetres shorter than the navy trousers - quite a discrepancy. Punters should strongly bear in mind the shrinkage rate and their own leg lengths when ordering the Zero G as Tatami do offer a mix and match option for trousers.

Both gi models have rope drawstrings, the navy gi trousers are made from canvas
Zero G trousers considerably smaller and more prone to shrinkage than new navy trousers

Both trouser models have the rope drawstring that I think is a quality touch (rope strings are less likely to come undone and get lost in the hem). Both trousers have simple stitching at their ankles, same as with Vulkan trousers, whilst other brands eg Black Eagle, have ankles with multiple rows of stitching. I'm not sure if extra strong stitching here is that much of a worry as it is not grabbed as often as, say, the sleeve cuffs.

Colour - Many people have been calling for a black colour version of the Zero G and it definitely does look nice. After x3 washes I did not notice any huge degree of fading either, so this is a nice touch if it does remain solid black (unlike my black Vulkan which faded immediately).
Space-age font of the Zero G 

In my view, navy is a beautiful colour for a BJJ uniform. When I dyed my Black Eagle singleweave gi navy I was so pleased with the results that it remains one of my favourite gis to wear in class simply because of the colour. The new Tatami navy gi is even nicer than my home dyed job...but there is a price to pay for having navy...irregular fading.

After x2 washes I noticed that the navy gi faded in patches. It resembles the kind of effect you get from a pair of stone-washes jeans. I’m only talking about a subtle uneveness here and it’s not noticeable until you get right up close to the fabric but it’s something I feel obliged to point out.

Others have commented to me that their navy gis, such as the Koral navy faded in the same way and when I inspected my home-dyed gi, it also had irregular colour - but I think this was more down to uneven dying rather than fading. Anyway, the effect became less obvious after several more washes.

Versus VulkanPro Lights

In my review of the Zero G white, I suggested that it was very similar in design and fit to the Vulkan. I think the Vulkans are a little lighter and softer than either of these two gis, but considering Vulkans cost over £100, then I think the cost-to-comfort ratio makes the Tatami gis better value.

Comfort and fit

I tested these gis during a rare spell of very hot weather here in the UK. That meant I sweated horribly whilst wearing the gi and suddenly the allure of nogi became very appealing. Despite the heat, I found both uniforms to be incredibly light and comfortable. Arguably the navy gi trousers, being thicker and canvassy in material, did feel the heavier of the two. But I was slightly annoyed at the tightness of the Zero G pants around the gusset (bum and crotch) and how short they had shrunk. If I were to order this again, I would get A2 trousers and A1 jacket.

The Zero G jacket is just a fraction lighter than the navy, possibly due to having a slightly thinner lapel, but the difference was negligible in my opinion. To be honest, in the hot weather, it was a joy to roll in either of these gis as the jackets fitted me very nicely.


Tatami Fightwear have made a smart move by introducing a black version of their Zero G uniform. The bright blue patches compliment the uniform colour perhaps more so than with the white uniform. The semi-circular Tao symbol - the source of some people’s criticism - has been reduced in size and the many small features that made the white model such good value (rope drawstring, taped seams, triple stitching etc) have been retained on the black model. The lightness of this gi is perfect for competition where cutting weight is a priority. It is also perfect for the summertime when the academy gets incredibly hot and sweaty (as ours did when I tested the gis!). But watch out for trouser length. It is probably better to err on the safe side and order a trouser size up (and then stitch up the hem) than have Robinson Crusoe style (and IBJJF illegal) pants!

Zero G from all angles - note the trousers do not cover the ankle bone

The pearl weave gi is a significant step up in quality from their soon to be replaced yet very popular gold weave ‘Competition’ range. The white gold weave Competition gi currently sells for £51. I am told by the makers that they will launch an entry level uniform priced around £50. I feel this is an important sector of the  market as cheaper BJJ uniforms are part of the culture that will encourage more people to try out BJJ and help the sport to grow.

New navy pearl weave. Note: the trousers cover the ankle bone

Having said that, the £60-£70 range of BJJ uniforms is rapidly developing into the most competitive sector of the UK gi market. Other brands such as the Faixa Rua Leve (£70) and the Black Eagle Single (£59.99) also offer very good quality lightweight uniforms. BJJ uniforms at this price range (which are all made in Pakistan)  tend to be better fitting, more comfortable and will last a bit longer compared with most budget gis.
The Zero G in A1 fits me very well, most A1's a too small.
If I had to choose, the navy would get my vote over the Zero G

In my opinion, Tatami Fightwear have upped their game with these two high quality gi models. By improving the fabric and tweaking the logos and patchwork, it appears they have listened to feedback from their customers and are offering better quality products as a result. £65-£70 represents a median between expensive import brands and cheap low quality budget brands ie it's pretty good value considering the quality of the products.If you get the right size, then either gi would make a sound purchase, but if I had to choose, then the newer navy gi would get the edge (despite being dearer) as it fits me better and the colour is nicer too.

Credits and disclaimer

My thanks to Tatami Fightwear for sending me these gis to review. All photos by me. I am not sponsored by any company, I do not receive any royalties nor do I endorse any one particular brand. My reviews are impartial, independent and I hope objective to help punters in their gi-buying decision. If after this review you decide to buy one of the gis mentioned - you can get a 5% discount if you use the code MEERKATSU5 during your order. Actually I think that can work with any of Tatami’s range of gear.

For other gi reviews, please visit my Reviews page.

I still wear the navy pearlweave gi and I can honestly say it has stood up over time as a great training gi. The navy gi colour has faded a little but the uneveness that I reported on with the earlier washes has not been so apparent over repeated washes.
I gave my Zero G black to a team mate who fitted the gi much better than me, he loves it and says it's his favourite gi...but then he only has two so take that for what you will LOL!

Tatami Fightwear asked me to post their video on here, so here it is:

22-11-10: For an alternative review of the Zero G black versus the Koral Light, see here:

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


André said...

Loving the navy gi. Aren't the trousers a bit too long on you? Will you shrink them even more for that matter?
The black zero gi is pretty hot too but the trouser shrinking could be an issue as it leaves me (and probably other people) not knowing exactly how to pick and choose.

Ah, I seem to recall reading somewhere about a FB group for BJJ bloggers (here?). If you know about it hook me up ;)

Meerkatsu said...

Hi Andre,
The navy trousers fit me absolutely fine, perfect in fact.
The Zero G trousers started off short, and got shorter after washing. It's better that my review pointed this out than for punters to buy it unaware.
It's whay Tatami FW offer you to buy a spare pair of trousers at time of purchase (not sure if this is to replace the ordered pair, or as an addition).

I guess you'll know if you have long legs for your height or short legs. The TFW online gi measurments are pretty accurate so use that as your guide.

I'll send an invite to you on the GOBB FB group.

André said...

Ah, I see. I prefer that the trousers don't reach the heel. Actually I hate when they do, eheh.
I will see about that as I will probably buy both, or a black and a white zero gi.
Definitely cool that you don't hold out on any info. Cheers for that.

I'm in, thanks!

Meerkatsu said...

See...gi addiction bug beginning to bite. Deny it all you want LOL!

André said...

No no, it's just that I need a gi for each day I go to classes plus one, so that way I'll have just enough.


Georgette said...

Navy gis are legal in IBJJF tournaments. I watched people compete in navy at the Pan and Mundials this year, as well as the standard cobalt, and even saw a cadet-type blue as well.

Meerkatsu said...

Thanks Georgette, comfirmation from the front line people.

A.D. McClish said...

Great write up! Love the picture at the bottom. Too cute!! :)

Meerkatsu said...

I'm terrible exploiter of my kids.

Meg Smitley said...

Nice review, Meerkat. The pix are great and writing very informative. I like the styling of both gi and the colour of the Navy one; haven't tried Tatami, yet.

Meerkatsu said...

Cheers Meg, would be interesting to see how the ladies Zero G gi feels compared to the Fenom. Maybe a project there for you?

Adrian said...

Very nice! Was planning on holding out for the new Shoyorolls but I just might go with the navy gi instead. Couple questions. How does the gi feel after being washed and hung dry? Is it still soft or does it stiffen up? Have you ever worn Korals, and if so how does the fit compare? Finally, what's your height and weight (sorry if you already posted this -- I didn't see it).

Meerkatsu said...

Hi Adrian
I think first of all, buying into the Shoyoroll brand and buying a Tatami FW gi are two different things. Shoyoroll offer limited edition gis that are highly sought after - even second hand! TFW gis are pretty run of the mill mass produced gis made in Pakistan. Having said that, and i have never worn a Shoyoroll, I believe TFW have pretty much made about as good a gi that you can get given the source manufacturing region.

the navy gi is a little stiff after wash an dhang dry. I think this is the same with all pearl weave fabrics. Certainly it is with all my other gis except the Vulkans, which are very pliable. As for soft, well i think you only really get nice soft comfort from a really decent gold weave jacket - such as early Atamas and MKimonos.

Yes i have worn a Koral - one of the original Koral Classics. I would say the cut is virtually identical - and I believe Koral's cut is a little bigger than most other brands.

My height is 167cm and weight is 59Kg. but my wrist to wrist wingspan is very long - much more than most guys my height, so I usually opt for an A2 instead of A1...which is why the TFW navy A1 was so surprisingly well fitting for me as I don;t normally like A1 gis.

Hope this helps!


William said...

Great review Seymour, I ordered the navy Gi from Tatami and I told them about your review for their Gis and how it led me to buy one and the emailed me back saying they will be using you in the future.

Meerkatsu said...

Wow! thanks for your support William. Feedback really helps me and I think helps the gi company too. I think you'll be really happy with the Navy. I try my best to remain impartial and objective in my reviews but when a gi is good I am more than happy to rave about it. The TFW navy gi is pretty awesome in every respect imo. I prefer it over the Zero G due to the colour of course but also the trousers are better. I'm not a fan of the patches, but can live with it.
Hope you used the discount code too.
thanks for posting, keep rolling!

William said...

Quick question Seymour, how do you wash your Gis, i've been looking around on places like Sherdog and people talk about using white vinegar, baking soda and other stuff but how do you wash your Gis to prevent it from getting that lovely ammonia smell?

Meerkatsu said...

William are you asking about colour fixing your gi or just getting rid of smell?

If it is the former, then I understand various combinations of salt, soda or proper colour fixative can help preserve the colour a bit more - see the relevant chapter in my What Gi To Buy article (in the reviews section).

But according to many experts, gi fade is inevitable and actually mostly down to friction during washing and rolling, than specific dye-loss from the fabric.

For smell - I just wash as normal - 30 degrees with detergent and softener and air dry at room temp - giving plenty of space around the gis for ample evaporation. If on the rare occassion something smells musty, I give a quick spray with Fabreze (clothes freshener). One colleague always drops a sheet ot tumble dryer paper into the gi bag to keep things nice and fresh smelling.

Hope this helps.

William said...

I was talking about getting rid of the smell, apparently white vinegar is very good at killing odours and baking soda too. What detergent or softener do you use?

Meerkatsu said...

We use Fairy non bio tablets as the kids are not allergic to this brand. Not sure of the softener.
Long wash cycle too - the automatic cycle takes only one hour but imo does not wash properly, a good two hour cycle is what's needed.

But I suspect that the way the gi is dried could affect the smell.

the only gi that smelled for me was my Atama mundial which is a goldweave. The weave is thick and chunky but quite 'spacy' so plenty of holes for bacteria and moisture to 'settle'. all my own theory of course, I could be talking load of crap LOL!

for further discussion please feel free to email: seymouryang at gmail

Anonymous said...

Hey, Which one do you think would be more suitable for a tall skinny guy? I'm 6"3 and just under 12 stone. :)

Meerkatsu said...

Hey Anon,
Well both jackets are basically the same, but the trousers on the Navy are longer and do not shrink as much as the Zero G. So that might be better. The newer 'Estilo' gis on the TFW website are exactly the same as the Navy gi so you have more choice there too.
Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

How hard do you think it would be to remove all the unnecessary patches from these gis?

Meerkatsu said...

You'll need a seam ripper:

Pretty easy.

Garrett said...

Hello I am very interested in buying the zero G gi. My concern is that I am 6'1 with long built arms, and I weigh about 180 pounds. According to size charts I should go for an A3. My only problem is that my other A3 is way to baggy and I strongly dislike bagy gi's. Do you think I should go for a A2 or A3?

Meerkatsu said...

Tough one Garret.
Zero G is quite slim and does not shrink much, so you *could* get away with an A2. My only worry would be your arm length and leg lengths being too long for the A2. Why don't you hit the boys over at Tatami with an email and get their advice?

good luck!

Tony said...

Hey seymour I was wondering if you had any experience with the limited edition zero-g midas? I enjoy reading your reviews & really wanted to know about the hybrid weave that it has & how it fairs compared to the standard zero-g's weave.

Meerkatsu said...

That's a good question man, I don;t know as I have not been given the Midas for review. I am however due to review the Zero G V2.0 which may or may not also contain the hybrid weave so stay tuned!

MikijoLaw said...

I have had my A2 Navy Gi for about 11 months now and it is my favourite gi. But I have had to fold it up and put it away as it is just to big now due to weight loss, and I cannot get the flippin thing to shrink LOL.
I even put it on a 90 degree wash as a last ditch attempt, but no joy :(
I can put up with the body being a bit big(helps with gi chokes), but it is the arm length that is just winding me up now. It was always been a bit long for me to be honest.

So I have just gone and ordered myself an estilio 2.0 and a zero G Midas in an A1 in the Tatami sale to cheer myself up.

If the estilio is as good as the navy then I will be very happy with the £40 outlay, and will keep the zero G for comps.

Anonymous said...

Hi there i love this site and am in mix looking for new gi at moment im so torn between, Zero black, Koral light black, and the Faixa rua black. Any advice on what be best and sizing? im 5'9 145 pounds, thin. i want something thats most fitted, and also that has short skirt. Any Advice? keep up the good work.

Jay- jay.gallup@yahoo.co.uk


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