Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gi Review: the Submission Fight Co. Light gi

The short version: Not light enough to be considered a "light" gi, but well-made and VERY reasonably priced -- an excellent entry-level training gi.   Maybe not the best choice, fit-wise, for a petite or curvy girl, but should be fine on a guy!

Shakib sent me this gi for a review in April, and I wore the heck out of it for a while to be able to give you my opinion on it.  Meerkatsu posted a very detailed review of the preproduction version a year ago here.  Everything BJJ also reviewed it here, BJJ Gear Junkie reviewed it here, and SEA MMA Gear reviewed it too.

You can buy this gi directly from Submission Fight Company or from BudoVideos.  And with this code, "Georgette5", you can get 5% off anything storewide until December 31, 2012-- only on www.SubmissionFC.com.

Submission Fight Company introduced their first generation of goldweave and pearl weave gis in 2010. This followup, aimed at the competition market looking for light weight kimonos, is very reasonably priced at under $100 for the white version and only $105 for the blue (with the black coming in at $110.)  The blue they offer is the standard bright cobalt/royal blue-- if it looks navy in some of the photos, it's due to me shooting some photos in daylight and some with my kitchen overheads on, sorry.

Shakib emphasized some updates and improvements made to this gi including double stitching on all the patches, some adjustments to the measurements, and the biggest improvement of all to the pants-- 1 inch of padding along the seams of the gi pants for extra durability and to prevent any type of ripping along the seams.  Their website also lists the following features:
  • Pearl Weave Fabric Top
  • Contrast Stitching
  • Light 100% Rip Stop Pants
  • Pre-Shrunk
  • Rip Stop Collar and Lapel
  • New Logo and Patch Designs
  • Heavily Reinforced Stress Points
  • Rope Draw String
  • Awesome Fit
I beg leave to differ on the awesome fit, but I'm an odd model, it's not a women's-fit gi, and we'll get into that below.  Also, they claim the A1 weighs 3 lbs 3 ounces... I can only say that the one I was sent weighs 4 lbs 1 ounce on a digital scale.  This A1 is not a lightweight gi, compared to my Vulkan Ultralight (3lbs), my Vulkan Pro Light (3lbs 2 ounces), or even the Black Eagle Predadora F3 which isn't marketed as a "light" gi yet also weighs just 3 lbs 1 ounce. 

I wish I could have shrunk this gi more-- it really hardly shrank at all despite hot water washing and hot machine drying, which is good especially if, as a beginner, you only own one gi.  (NO EXCUSES FOR NOT WASHING IT EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU TRAIN!  THROW THAT SUCKER IN THE DRYER!  and a dryer sheet wouldn't kill you either.)  I found the jacket to be somewhat stiff, boxy and loose in fit even after several hot water washes and hot machine dries.   I need to dig out my pre-wash measurements, but I think you can see from this photo that they resolved the short-arms issue with the preproduction version. 

More uncomfortable for me was the fit of the pants.  There is some extra fabric between the legs, and I think with a less-ample behind to fill it out, there may be a bit of a diaper feel to it.  The front crotch area always wanted to pooch out, giving the visual impression of an erection.

 This might be a plus if you wear a cup the size of a serving dish, but was somewhat disturbing for me when it prompted some snickering from training partners who know me well enough to take the mick out of me on occasion.

The patches are bold and eye-catching, and the contrast stitching is sharp.  I think it reaches a nice balance between plain and blingy. 

I was intrigued by the use of what I thought was the Muslim crescent moon and star as the "O" in Submission (Meerkatsu interpreted it as a billiards ball so perhaps I am mistaken.) In any case, it's an attractive looking logo and gi.

The jacket is made from single weave material (I couldn't tell you the difference between pearl and single weave-- but I know this is not the fat, felty feel of double weave) that feels smooth and comfortable against your skin and the lapels are covered in ripstop too, which I find wears better than twill.

Here you see the fray on the front crotch seam of the pants which I observed before washing/wearing it.  There were a couple of missed stitches in places and the ripstop was fraying here and there but nothing excessive, and certainly not enough to impair the lifespan of the gi.  I was happy with the high quality of this gi considering it is priced in the low/frugal range of what's out there.

This gi is amply reinforced at the key stress areas, like the armpit.

 The sleeve cuffs are lined with rip stop tape with a double seam.  The side vents and armpits are enforced with an extra layer of gi material and there is more ripstop lining around the edges of the side vents.

The pants are ripstop cotton.  Like Meerkatsu, I noticed a stiffness to the material.  After about the 7th wear/wash/dry cycle, they softened up a bit, but still have a touch of whatever fabric treatment I assume was applied in the factory.

I wouldn't say they're plasticy though, and they were comfortable in a non-air conditioned academy in Las Vegas, and a non-air conditioned gym in Texas when it was about 90 degrees outside... so that's pretty good.  I wasn't as comfortable in the jacket, but I believe that was because of the fit issues there-- just too much fabric for my frame, though this was fine as I used it as my judo gi.  The arms were a bit long, and baggy, and the chest/torso/shoulders definitely very roomy.  If you're a short, stocky guy with broad shoulders like my husband, this gi is for you.  (And yes, that's my husband's belt-- mine was out in the car.)

Like tuxedo pants, there is a stripe of tape along the outer leg and the rope drawstring is very comfortable and easy to adjust.

 There are only two belt loops on the trousers. More would have been nice but since they're rather widely spaced, it wasn't a problem in terms of the drawstring coming up too high over my hipbones.

I did like how well the pants were constructed and sewn, except that unlike the version Meerkatsu reviewed, the lining on the front of my pants stopped just below my knee, so when I knelt, the horizontal seam cut my knees up. 

Here you can see the start of the lining is about thigh-height, extending down to the upper part of your shin when standing.
*-- top of lining

*-- bottom of lining
As much as I wanted to like this gi, because it's from a new company and I seem to root for the underdog a fair bit, I wasn't crazy about it.  I'm spoiled, though, because I have an uncommon body shape and size compared to the majority of jiu jitsu students, and I've diligently pursued the "ideal fit" for me, which this was not.

I imagine if I were a traditionally sized and shaped student, I would really enjoy this gi. While it definitely was not a "light weight" gi by my standards, it is constructed from a light weave and rip stop material which is climatically comfortable especially when training in warm weather.  It looks sharp and is so reasonably priced, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone getting into the sport and looking for a quality entry-level gi.  Don't forget to take advantage of the 5% off discount code "Georgette5" through the rest of 2012, at www.SubmissionFC.com!


Dakota said...

Wow they actually have padding along the seams? That's pretty cool!

Almost all my pants rip at the seams so this is pretty innovative. The pic u have shows some fraying on the crotch so maybe this helped stop it from ripping, u think?

SO this gi gives you an erection!! Hmmm... haha

Georgette said...

1. I have to say-- what they call "padding" appears to be just gi fabric, folded over and sewn. Whether that adds to the resilience of the seam I don't know; having done some sewing myself back in the day, I believe it would not, as the tension on the fabric from grabbing, pulling etc is still the same. It's not like the sewing is any different, but that's just my opinion.

2. The fraying on the crotch was a fabric flaw, because it was a brand new, never worn, never washed gi. I don't think there's any stress or tension on that aspect of the seam so I don't think there's any risk of a rip.

Thanks for writing! :)