6 Aug 2010

The Fushida Way - a gi pre-review

When I asked my BJJ mate James Carey to write an essay for this blog about his gi-addiction (Part one and Part two), I did not expect his tale to conclude with a happy ending - namely that he had found his perfect fitting gi: The Fushida Mantis. James raved about the awesome level of service he encountered from Fushida and the very exacting fitting requirements. The result was a gi that fitted him absolutely perfectly - a feat that no other gi (in his 20 or so previous purchases) had ever managed to achieve. They even removed the chest patch for him as James liked his gis plain and simple.

The revelation of a perfect fitting gi with awesome customer service was too much for me to resist so I embarked on the same journey that James did of ordering a BJJ gi from Fushida. Would the hype live up to the expectations I wondered? There was only one way to find out...

To buy a product from Fushida is to be whisked away from the noisy, tacky online malls of most other fightwear websites, and enter into the peaceful and comforting confines where elite customer service and high quality products go hand-in-hand. I can imagine Fushida, a Canadian firm, to base their operations out of a log pine chalet nestled amid giant pine trees with babbling waterfalls and tweeting birds outside...ahem...

This is more than just a gi review, pre-review. It’s the story of how the world should be - before profit and materialism got in the way of ensuring that you, me and everyone - the customer - was the person that counted the most.

Ordering and Customer Service
In all my previous reviews, I usually write the same thing: the website was fine, ordering was simple, the goods came within a few days. Not so with Fushida. You have to work for your perfect gi.

Model selection is simple enough - there are only two, either the pearl weave Komodo in three colours or the lightweight Mantis in white only. But ordering your size relies on filling in a form that requires no less than 26 size measurements. These include your entire body dimensions and those of your best fitting current gi. It is clear from the very start, that Fushida want to make your gi the very best fitting gi possible (either that or they have a fetish for stats LOL!)

The website is careful to state that you must not measure your own dimensions by yourself as this is less accurate. So I roped in my wife to size me up - arms, legs, height, wrists, ankles, waists, hips etc etc. Then I sized up my fave Vulkan Pro Light in black. The whole measuring process took about 20 minutes give or take breaks where we fell about giggling and laughingsince my wife couldn't resist tickling me, hmmm.

Anyway, entering the details into the Fushida website was a simple operation, the online descriptions and instructions were very easy to follow. Then, the next day I got an email from Fushida’s owner Christo offering his comments on my measurements.

Me, my size and I
Now here's a revelation. According to Christo, I had been wearing a gi that was way too wide for me (my Vulkans). Damn! I thought the Vulkans were perfect. He was actually surprised I did not mention the looseness of the fitting in my form (there is a box for you to write fitting notes). To be honest, I never really thought about it, I just assumed all gis were loose and flappy around my chest and the only important parts were the arm lengths. But I put on the gi again and suddenly I could see in fact that the A2 body size of the Vulkan gi was indeed pretty wide. Christo siad I had very long arms.

I always thought my arms were a little longer than average - my ‘wingspan’ measures 167cm wrist to wrist across, yet my height is only 167cm tall. That’s a ratio of exactly 1:1 (wingspan to height). Try it for yourself - hold your hands out like a robot and measure from wrist, around the back of your shoulders right the way round to the back of your other wrist. Then measure your height. What’s your ratio? do you have ape-like arms too? Well anyway, my own experience suggests that I do because a typical A2 gi fits me perfect in the arm lengths but are usually too baggy and long on my torso.

More data!
Christo suggested I measure up another gi, one that was smaller for me so he could have an additional set of measurements in which to base his recommendation. So I picked up my new Tatami Fightwear Zero G A1. This is a great gi, the body size is a tiny bit tight and the arms are just a tiny bit too short for me but I can live with it since Tatami tends to make their gis big.

After measuring it I realised that if the arms were a tad longer and the body a tad wider, the Zero G A1 would actually be perfect. The A1 has a significantly narrower torso - or lean body cavity as Christo put it - compared to the A2, something I had never noticed before, but of course seems obvious now.

So I passed on the details and Christo came back the next day.

He confirmed to me that yes, it does seem that the perfect gi for me would be one that would take into account my slim torso, long arms and average legs. Just call me monkey boy! He suggested the A1X. I love this. I get an 'X' rated gi hahah!

Going Postal
And so the gi was duly despatched. Although based in Canada, Christo said he found sending via the US Postal Service was actually quicker, and he supplied me with a tracking number too. Now that is service. I was able to follow the parcel as it traversed across depots and across the Atlantic and into the hands of our beloved department of HM Customs and Excise.

Standard cost for a Komodo Blue gi: $CAN 145 (£90 GBP or $140 USD)
Cost for shipping is: $CAN 48 (£30)
Cost for customs VAT tax and release fee: £22
Total: £142

The gi was sent to me on the 16th July and I finally got it into my hands on the 6th August - a total of 16 working days.

Would the Fushida fit me any better than my previous gis? Would it shrink too much? Would I find something wrong with it? What if it sucked??

I will reveal all in Part Two of this gi review, coming soon...


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Bill Thomas said...

Getting excited to hear how it fit and the quality of the gi Seymour! I have no gis that actually fit well so this could be a great find!


henno said...

Hey Seymour

I just ordered a Mantis based on the previous article.

The fitting advice deal was quite a trip [my wife didn't tickle me :(]. I think it should have just left Fushida by now.

I hope your gi turns out well - looking forward to the update.


Meerkatsu said...

Goodness, some qick responses there!
Thanks guys. I'm super keen to know the result too but the Komodo is still in its wrapping here in the office and I'm just counting the hours down until home time!!

Henno, drop us a line here and let us know your findings too.

Bill, maybe you couod do a review on your site if you do order one.

Georgette said...

Christo has been nothing but SUPERB in his service and diligence. I, too, decided to order a gi based on the recommendation of the Gi Addict. I still have to finish measuring another gi or two (none of mine fit me "perfectly") and then we'll get the show on the road. I can't wait. I will definitely report back!

Laura said...

I recently bought an A1X Komodo, and I love it. I finally have a gi that isn't too short in the arms and legs while being too loose in the body.

Also, I liked how Christo told me how many times I needed to shrink my gi to get it to fit perfect. Three times through the wash on hot for the jacket and none for the trousers.

While I am not exactly 1:1, I do also have long arms compared to height 9:10.

SkinnyD said...

Wha????? A freaking cliffhanger? I am seriously loving all these gi reviews. Based on your reviews and Dev's reviews, I'm picking up a Zero-G and a Black Eagle competition Gi, soon to join my Padilla & Sons. Sounds like a Fushida may bump out the Zero G, though, since it sounds like it could fit me better. I also want a Keiko Raca, since they supposedly fit us tall skinny guys well, plus I love the contrasting lining on the cuffs. DANG IT!!!!! Now I don't know which one to get first...

Meerkatsu said...

@Georgette - I think some people might be put off by the measuring process but I actually like. It's like you are having a big say over how your new gi will turn out, rather than randomly be assigned an ill-fitting gi.

@Laura, thanks I was not aware that the Komodo could be shrunk washed as it states pre-shrunk, but you've confirmed that it can be done.

@SkinnyD - dude tough choice - Black Eagle, Zero G or Fushida. hmm let me give the Fushida a real in depth look and then I'll see which come sout on top.

Laura said...

Yes, the Komodo can be shrunk. I measured before and after I washed in hot water and dried in the dryer (so 2 shrinkings by Christo's way of counting).

Across the back from cuff to cuff lost 5 cm, the shoulder to skirt lost 2cm, armpit to cuff lost 1.25cm and the width of the cuff shrank 0.5cm.

Junior Familia said...

I love my fushida gi !
the fit is perfect and it seems to be my new favorite gi, i cant wait tto try it out in competition..at least the top anyway. im not to sure on how legal the ripstop pants are.

Anonymous said...

Hope it's ok that I posted a link to your Fushida review at judoforum.com

Looking forward to the follow-up review, Seymour.

Jiu Jitsu Gis said...

Hello from the USA. Do many of you in the UK order your Jiu Jitsu Gis from over seas?

Liam H Wandi said...

Awesome Pre-review. I have a perfect gi for me and they no longer make them. How frikking sad is that! (the Feral Fightwear)

Monkey boy you say? I'm more of the T-rex shape: Long, thick torso and short legs and arms.

James said...

Junior Familia - Ripstop pants are legal. The Shoyoroll that Kayron (and many others) wore at the Mundials has ripstop pants, as do the Atama Mundial models which many have worn at IBJJF comps.

Meerkatsu said...

@Liam, LOL! You know you have to sketch yourself as a Tyrannosaur now!

@Junior, thanks for checking. I rather suspected they were legal since so many brands use ripstop now. It's my first ripstop experience personally so this is gonna be a bit different.

Meerkatsu said...

@Jiu Jitsu Gis, - sorry man I only just noticed your comment. I would say a fair proportion of guys prefer to import their gis. They tend to be people for whom the domestic market is not to their taste and brands like Shoyoroll or Sirius (which you can't get here) are preferred. Hope that helps.

@Anon, yes of course please feel free to link on your judo site. Happy to help :)

Ryan Peterson said...

I've been curious and intrigued by Fushida for some time. I can't wait to read the review!

Meerkatsu said...

Thanks Ryan, it's imminent, slight delay due to me carrying an injury so can't roll this week, but should finalise my report end of next week after I get a few sessions in.

so far however...pretty awesome

Anonymous said...

How tall are you and how much do you weigh. It looks like we have a similar build and I am interested in a Komodo in the future. Thanks

Meerkatsu said...

Hey Anon, as I mentioned above, I am 167cm tall, but I did not mention I am about 59Kg. The point being that I would normally fit an A1 on everyone's size chart but with my 167cm wrist to wrist wingspan, that would mean I have to accept an A2. thus an A1x would be better for me.
Hope this helps.


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