4 Mar 2011

Gi Review: Gameness Elite

A stunning prestige gi offered at a prestige price, the Gameness Elite uniquely (afaik) incorporates a built-in rash guard lining. This gi is generously cut and is both simply beautiful to look at and beautiful to wear.

Gameness gis are available directly from their webstore or through various resellers. I obtained mine through the UK online store BJJGISHOP.

How do you turn a pitbull into a pomeranian? If you do it the Gameness Fightwear way, then you take your old skool, canine-snarling logo with its menacing blackletter typeface and kick it screaming into the present age with a bunch of sleek new gi designs - the pinnacle of which is this one - the Gameness Elite.

Out of the bag

Gameness have been around a long time. I remember their gis when I first began BJJ eight years ago and back then they were known as tough as nails, heavy, thick, heavy, tough (ok you get the picture). They still sell those gis, but these days, you can also buy lightweight Gameness models. And then there's the Elite. Described by the marketing blurb as "The Cadillac of gis".

Cadillac means nothing to me since I am British and we don't have Cadillacs here. But if I were to classify this gi as a car - then among a congested highway full of Fords, VW's and Fiats, I reckon this gi would be a Lexus - luxurious, sleek, pricey. But I digress, you want to know how it fits and shrinks and all that too, right?

Size stats and shrinkage
Click for bigger view
As you can see from the stats table, the jacket simply did not shrink - when the company said pre-shrunk, they really meant it! The trousers shrank a little in length but other than that, if it fits out of the bag, then that's how it will stay over time.

The jacket is quite generously cut. It is reasonably long on the body length, compared to say a Break Point Deluxe (which is very short), but not as long as my Fushida Komodo. I personally like gi skirts to be slightly shorter, but it did not bother me too much. A longer skirt offers more room to show off the base patch:

A rash guard material is stitched into the jacket as an additional inner lining. Whilst it is certainly loose and pliable, it does not stretch out of shape or flap around. The workmanship by which it is incorporated into the jacket panels is nothing short of superb! The lining extends along the entire length of the torso and into the sleeves, stopping at around the elbow level.

Note: ripstop side vent reinforcements

It feels great to wear and the dye printed logos help ensure it also looks beautiful. More importantly perhaps, the inner rash lining serves a useful function in wicking away sweat and acting as a comfortable barrier between skin and gi fabric. The price I guess is that it adds to the total weight and cost.

Body length for (a) Breakpoint A1, (b) Gameness Elite A1, (c) Fushida Komodo A1x

Design and style
The Gameness Elite in my opinion excels above many other, so-called 'bling' brands, by offering tastefully applied embroidery and patching.

I love the application of red stitching over black fabric. I love the neat use of the logos, stylised paw prints and Gameness branding dotted throughout both the jacket and trousers. I am not too keen on the shoulder patches - more about that later - however the overall look of the gi is of style and class without being overly distracting and loud.

The collar contains a rubber inner core and is covered with ripstop fabric. I have noticed more and more new gi models using ripstop. This makes sense as rip stop is light and tough, and I reckon will not fray or fade as much as say twill cotton or canvas cotton. Possibly. Only longer term use of this gi will tell.

Collar thickness for: (a) Breakpoint a1, (b) Elite a1, (c) Komodo A1x

It's not the thickest collar on the market but certainly not the thinnest. A comparison of this collar with the Break Point and Komodo show that it sits in the middle of the collar thickness spectrum.

The sleeve lengths are pleasingly long for an A1. I have long arms and many A1 gis are too short in this department. But not the Elite, it is perfect - even after 3-4 washes.

Sleeve widths for: (a) Break Point, (b) Elite, (c) Komodo

The cuff widths are slightly on the narrower spectrum of widths - I could still get four fingers into the sleeve gap so perfectly legal. The cuff seams are reinforced with logo'ed synthetic tape. I did not find these to be scratchy on the skin, unlike a couple of past gis using a similar tape I have reviewed.

The trousers are made from rip stop fabric. I like the quality of this ripstop , it did not feel waxy or stiff compared to past ripstop trousers I have tried. The pitbull patch on the front and the rear paw print embroidery I think is really cute.

Only two belt loops

Again, the cut of the trousers are fairly generous (long and wide) compared to some other A1 gis, which I feel suits me fine.

The trousers are held up by a flat ripstop cotton drawstring and two belt loops. I  much prefer rope drawstrings and a few more loops would be handy. In fact I noticed the Gameness webstore offers spare rope style drawstrings in the accessories section.

Gusset reinforcements (circled)

The ankle cuffs are a simple double stitch job. Other gis I have reviewed have reinforced this area with extra tape and more rows of stitching. The gussets were secured with extra material at the joins.

Reinforcements at stress points throughout the gi are as expected. I would not say this gi is as heavily reinforced compared with the Storm Typhoon, Fushida Komodo gi or the K2 Premier gi - those models contain an over-abundance of extra stitching and materials designed to ensure long term durability.

Red coloured contrast stitching and base logo tape

But with taped cuff seams, extra material on gusset and armpit joins, side vents and jacket base, it covers all the major stress areas more than adequately. The ankle cuffs on the trousers could do with extra seam tape (for example as seen on the K2 gi) though this is not as common in general.

Rolling performance, fit, comfort and discussion.
For me, the real test of a superb gi is the fact that I am dying to wear it each and every time I train. Of all the gis I have tested, very few make the final cut into my personal rotation but the Gameness Elite is definitely in there. Without a doubt, it is an impeccably crafted uniform, made to supremely high standards. I could not see a stitch out of place or a thread out of line.

Note: not a real 35mm film

Quality is only one aspect of the BJJ training uniform. The way it is cut, how it fits and overall comfort whilst training are also equally important. But they are aspects that are personal to each and every wearer. For me, I found the Elite to be a joy to wear. The built-in rash guard worked superbly in wicking away sweat and provided a slick and smooth inner lining for my skin to rub against. The A1 size and the way it is cut was perfect on my physique. The trousers are made from a very comfortable ripstop material -neither too heavy nor too light and definitely not waxy and stiff like some ripstops I have tried in the past. The whole garment was tough yet wonderfully comfortable.

Rash inner lining stays in place no matter how much you pull it

If I had one small, tiny, tiny niggle, I would say it is not that light. At 1.9 kg I would say that the Elite sits squarely in the middle of the weight/size ratio of pearlweave gis. Mind you, I started wearing this gi straight off the back of road testing the ultra light (1.3Kg) Manto, so maybe it takes a few more rolls for my body to adjust to this slightly heavier gi.


Many BJJ folk wince at the prospect of rolling in a gi that is considered 'bling'. A smaller proportion (including myself) revel in sporting such an item. There is something about wearing a very cool BJJ uniform that helps make me feel positive and roll positive. Maybe it is the thought that I would look very stupid if my on the mat skills were a poor relation to the awesomeness of the gi itself. Who knows? Looking objectively at the whole uniform, the Gameness Elite is not that loud. Most of the elements are subtly designed. But arrrrrgh - those shoulder patches! In my opinion, dumping a bold geometric slab serif into the smoothly contoured embroidery found on the rest of the gi is like taking that beautiful Lexus and sticking on a Nissan badge! I mean I can see why they did it - in order to maintain uniformity across their entire range of gis - but I think it cheapens the look ever so slightly.

Woof woof

The Gameness Elite is a luxury product that comes with a luxury price tag. Aesthetically speaking, it is beautiful to look at (except perhaps the shoulder patches), construction-wise it is as solid as the majority of other premium priced gis out there, and practically, it is a delight to train in. Priced at a touch under £150 I consider it an expensive item, but if you require a gi that is stylish, superbly functional and a little different to the gis that most people wear, then I would say that you do get your money's worth.

Thanks to BJJGISHOP and Gameness Fightwear for sending me this gi for review.

This review represents my own opinions. I am not an expert just a BJJ student who, ahem, likes a few BJJ gis (okay a lot). I consider myself independent and impartial - I am not sponsored by any one company nor do I endorse any one brand. I have a close dialogue with a large number of gi makers and sellers, some of whom I collaborate with on various projects that are unconnected with this review. If you have any questions about this review, please feel free to email me (see About Me) or post a comment below. I hope this review was helpful.

Gimme a gi


About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Anonymous said...

Another Awesome review dude...
you really are the Jeremy Clarkson of Gi reviewers :)

Keep up the good work


Liam H Wandi said...

Superb review as always. The gi looks very tasty!

slideyfoot said...

Obviously I would never, ever wear this gi (being firmly in the wincing group you mentioned), but that rash guard lining is an intriguing idea. I'll be interested to hear how it holds up a year or two down the line. I wonder if it will catch on, like the whole ripstop thing has?

Steve Spencer said...

Much appreciated review. Good to see a really impartial opinion.

As you know, I love bling, and longer skirts on my gi's, so this one really looks perfect. The ripstop pants and the internal rash guard are additional huge perks for me.

Sharp looking gi. really appreciate all you do to ensure we have a clear picture on the products.

Also, one thing that I really hope catches in is the truly pre-shrunk top. Very nice.

Unknown said...

Keep'em coming sir. Great review as per your usual.

Author Bio said...

Love the Jeremy Clarson reference of Andy :D

Anyway, same question as the Grips, are inner linings like this IBJJF compliant? They're great to have with gis in hot, humid weather like where I am in Asia


Anonymous said...

When you say wash 3x at 30 degrees did you only wash it and hang dry or also dry? Do you know how drying a gi with a built in rashguard might affect the fit of the rashguard inside?


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