Sunday, June 13, 2010

Black Eagle custom embroidered gi review...

Disclaimer: I'm sponsored by Black Eagle. They sent me this gi free. But I'm telling you, I have plenty of gis, so I really don't care if I piss them off, it's not like I depend on them to send me more in the future.

On that note you'll be expecting a bashfest, and you're going to be disappointed. I really like this gi! I got a single weight, white, custom embroidered gi and it's going to get a lot of use. I admit, I feel like a big cheese, at least a medium cheese, having a gi with embroidery on it. The downside is my training partners seem to think it merits extra choke attention or something. This just encourages my natural hedgehog jiu jitsu tendencies.

This is the Black Eagle logo (actually, a green eagle!) which is on both shoulders. That, plus a small label on the bottom of the front lapel, and two stripe labels on the side of the legs, is the only ornament that comes with this gi.

Seymour at Meerkatsu already wrote a very detailed and technical review of this gi in comparison with two others manufactured in the UK, found here, which I highly recommend you read. His photography is definitely superior, as well.

I ordered an A1, and measured it before and after washing/drying in the machine. Happily it is a shrink to fit kind of gi, because it was a little big on me at the start.

Measurements: in inches, out of the bag first then after 6 washes, the first in hot water, the rest in cold, in a hot dryer first and low heat after that.

Pants inseam 21.5/19
Pants outseam 36/33
Pants cuff 9.25/9

Jacket back 28/27
Jacket arm outside 20/19
Jacket front 28/27
Sleeve cuff 6/5.5

It did all the shrinking in the first go-around, so I was able to wear it the first time I trained after receiving it (at New Breed in California.) So you see, the pants got shorter, but the jacket didn't shrink too much. My A1 fits me perfectly. I really like that they sent a plain pair of pants for training as well as an embroidered pair. The gi is sewn with a great deal of attention to detail, from the triple stitching to the reinforced cuffs and the soft, thick, comfortable collar. The custom embroidery is SLICK... I sent an image file of my Red Menace logo (from's printing people who made that patch for me) and one from my school website of the Relson Gracie logo.

The embroidery itself is super tight, very detailed, and well done. It's nothing like the crappy embroidery I had on a womens' Atama (the white gi with pink/blue embroidery.. the one I had tiedyed by Chris at Happy Kimonos.) which was frazzled and loopy and frayed almost from the get-go. The inside side of the embroidery is smooth, too, and not irritating on your back when you fight from guard. I did notice that the fabric-softener-sheet stuff that's stitched into a design like this, on the inside of the garment, did shred pretty quickly and get tossed, especially that underlaying the eagles on the shoulders, but it doesn't appear to have any detrimental effects on the design.

The pants are really nice. I wish the waist tie was cord, not flat fabric, but I haven't had problems with it yet like getting knotted up, being hard to pull or whatever. There are two loops in front, kind of lower and spread out pretty well, so no issues with the fabric cutting into my waist or hips. There's room for my junk in the trunk but not too much extra fabric.

I like having my school logo low on the front lapel, so you see it but still have room for other patches on the front, or can leave it plain if you desire.

My only complaint, such a small one, is that they didn't give the Relson Gracie shark a pupil in his eye. No biggie.

The single weave fabric feels like the Gameness Pearl weave. It's as sturdy to the hand as my Atama Mundials jackets (7 and 9) but not as stiff. It comes out of the dryer or air-tumble feeling silky soft, which is nice. The pants are sturdy too, but much softer and more fluid than Gameness pants. They're almost a bit fuzzy or peached in texture, but they haven't picked up dirt yet. Both pants and jacket breathe well and have been comfortable in the 100 degree heat, 3 hour classes here.

The single weave is on Black Eagle's site for 60 British pounds, which today is US $87.47. Getting your name embroidered on the back will run you an extra $8-11, depending on how big you want the letters. They'll also, of course, do your academy logo, and the cost starts at $25, depending on the number of stitches, intricacy of design, etc. Turnaround time is surprisingly quick considering the custom design and the overseas shipping-- as fast as a week or up to 2-3 weeks depending on their level of business.

I have been told that academies wanting to batch order gis with their school logos will get a good price for quantity orders.

They also do custom embroidered gi belts starting at $18, and custom embroidered back patches (to be sewn onto your gi) starting at $38.

That's my pitch... I think it's a sweet gi. I'm so torn when people ask me my favorite gi!
** My tiedye gi makes the list but simply because it looks so awesome-- the female Atama itself is fine, take or leave it.
** The Fenom gi (which just came out with a new model, the Lotus gi) is on the list because I like the company philosophy and because it's soooooo thick and soft at the same time, but I do kind of think it's not a depth-of-summer kind of gi for me.
** I find myself reaching for the Kauai nylon ripstop gi all the time because it's cool, light, and my hips move so well in it.
** My Vulkan Ultralight competition gi is great for IBJJF or when I'm fat, and it already has all my patches on it. I have to get some duplicate patches so my wardrobe has flexibility, LOL.

But overall, for a very sharp look and the most comfy fit and fabric, in hot weather or cold, I like my Black Eagle.


Meerkatsu said...

An honest and candid review, well done.

The embroidery looks really nice. BE have done a lot of very complex embroidery for their customers, which I see a lot on the forums, so they have developed some good expeirenc with handling these requests.

In my view, the BE single weave jacket is on a par with the most expensive gis out there, I really enjoy rolling in mine. But the trousers need more work. Mine (which is the normal cotton version before they replaced it with the ripstop version) has shrunk way too much and the patches have frayed and torn off (although I did dye mine navy so maybe that caused it?).

Apart from that, tremendous value for money and great to see a British company offering high quality products for the BJJ community.

Steve said...

A very good and honest review, thanks.

The Part Time Grappler said...

Welcome to the I-have-my-name-on-my-clothes club :)

I went for the modest name on the lower gi-skirt option but my next gi is defo gonna have the big ass club logo on the back shizzle!

Excellent pics by the way!