Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gals' Gis: Black Eagle Predadora vs. Gameness Ladies' Feather

I love that manufacturers have been listening and making a variety of "ladies' fit" gis.  Especially for curvy gals, it can be frustrating trying to find a gi that feels good.  If you're looking for a lightweight competition gi that is still sturdy enough for daily training, these are two great options.  Women of any shape will like them both, but the Predadora suits curvier ladies better than the Gameness.  The Predadora shrinks less, too, but I liked them both.

As you know, I'm sponsored by Black Eagle, who make the Predadora, the ladies' version of the Predator. Gameness also offered me a gi recently so I could consider their products and service.

I've had a Gameness Pearl weave, size A1, for almost as long as I've been training, and it's just too bad I didn't write a review of it earlier. I will say that even though I custom dyed it, I didn't end up wearing it once I had plenty of other options, because it didn't fit so hot and because the twill pants were pretty icky when wet with sweat. [Maybe I'll write a review, minus shrinkage stats?]

So, I agreed to try out the Gameness ladies' gi and literally 24 hours later the Feather arrived at my doorstep. I brought it and the Predadora with me to Las Vegas for the holidays and wanted to give you my opinions on them both.

Unlike most of my gi reviews, I've only worn the Gameness Feather five times, all while training here at Drysdale's academy. I feel like that's enough to have a useful opinion about it, so here we go.

Gameness Feather

Stats: 475g pearl weave top, rubber collar, lightweight ripstop pants. F3 size weighs 2.9 lbs. Available in white and violet on the Gameness site for $155-165.

Previously reviewed by Michelle Welti.

Measurements:  I ignored the label instructions and attempt to shrink the heck out of it.  Although I'm short enough for the F2 size, I'm round enough for the F3-- currently, 5'2" tall, >140lbs, 36-28-39.  Here's the size chart from Gameness' website.

Size Height Weight
F1 4’9″ – 5′ 85 lbs. – 100 lbs.
F2 5′ – 5’4″ 100 lbs. – 120 lbs.
F3 5’3″ – 5’6″ 115 lbs. – 145 lbs.
F4 5’6″ – 5’9″ 140 lbs. – 170 lbs.
F5 5’8″ – 6′ 165 lbs. – 200 lbs.

First measurement is straight out of the bag; second is after 6 wears and 5 washes and dries on the hottest settings.


Front top of shoulder to hem at bottom:  27.5" / 26.125"
Chest width under arms: 18.25" / 17.75"
Arm length (under arm): 21" / 18.75"
Cuff: 5.75" / 5.25"

Waist: 20" / 20"
Leg length, outside, waist to cuff: 35.25" / 33.25"
Cuff: 9.25" / 9"
Rise, front: 13.25" / 11.5"
Rise, rear: 15.5" / 13.75"

As you can see, it does shrink a bit, so take that into consideration when you wash and dry.

General impressions: The gi top has a nice weave to it- the inside-facing side of the material is smoother than the outside and feels comfortable.  The hem tape is the standard Gameness label stuff.  Here's the shoulder patch.

The front lapel has the standard Gameness banner.

There seems to be an excess of material in the back of the jacket-- perhaps because I am short-waisted.  But I like the length of the skirt.

 The sleeves fit nicely-- slim and trim, but IBJJF legal.

Before and after shrinking, the pants were a little snug especially around my bottom and thighs, but welcome to my life; on a lady who carried her weight elsewhere they'd be better.  These photos taken after class, so you can see that like many, the gi stretches out a bit-- it gets poochey knees and more room for movement although the derriere is always on the tight side.

 The gi jacket is tapered in the torso, but not enough to keep the front from "belling" outwards from the waist up.

The pants are a huge improvement over the old twill ones, which were thick and rather stiff, especially when wet.  The ripstop is crisp and light.  If you airdry them, they are a little more "starchy" feeling.  One drawback is the two-belt-loop thing that's become a pet peeve for me.  Once you've rolled a while, the string creeps up at the sides and tends to cut into your hips a bit.

(Don't laugh at my in-laws' guestroom bedspread.)
In general, it's a very well made gi.  I could only find one stitching error-- a spot at the bottom of one leg, where the double layer over the knee ends.  Nothing that seemed more than cosmetic.

Reinforcement inside the crotch with double seams.

And reinforcement of the vent in the jacket skirt.

A really nice touch is the different height of the rear and front rise in the pants.  No plumbers' crack and you're not going to have the high-waisted feel in the front, or the saggy crotch halfway to your knees.

Sadly, I didn't bring a third gi for collar-thickness comparison shots.  If you demand a super-thick collar a la HCK, you will be disappointed.  They're both on the average side.

Overall, I like the gi.  I'll have to wear it more and keep updating as my experiences grow (and my derriere shrinks.)  I am pretty much at my highest weight ever so I expect the fit to improve, and with it my happiness (with the gi and generally speaking.)

Black Eagle's Predadora:

Stats: "Ultra light" pearl weave top and ultra light ripstop pants.  I have the F3 and it weighs 2.75lbs (just .15lb more than my Vulkan Ultralight.)

Previously reviewed on Sherdog... and of course by MegJitsu who helped develop it.  

Available for US$102 on Black Eagle's site and $15 shipping to the US, or US$115 at Budovideos, but at the time of posting, the F2, F3 and F4 were out of stock.

Note:  you can buy the jacket and pants separately to mix-and-match sizes, which is nice.

Measurements: For reference, again I'm 5'2" and >140lbs.

Here's the size chart on the Black Eagle website--

                     size   CM     height              age         body weight
000 110 UNDER 3' 8" 4-5 yrs 45lbs 20.5Kg
00 120 3' 9" to 4' 2" 6-7 yrs 60lbs 27.0Kg
0 130 4' 3" to 4' 5" 8-9 yrs 80lbs 36.5Kg
1 140 4' 6" to 4' 9" 10-11 yrs 100lbs 45.5Kg
2 150 4' 10" to 5' 2" 12-13 yrs 120lbs 54.5Kg
3 160 5' 3" to 5' 5" Small 140lbs 63.5Kg
4 170 5' 6" to 5' 9" Medium 175lbs 79.5Kg
5 180 5' 10" to 6' 1" Large 185lbs 84.0Kg
6 190 6' 2" to 6' 5" X Large 200lbs 91.0Kg
7 200 6' 6" UP XX Large 225lbs 102.0Kg

Budovideos shares this size guide:
Height - Weight (lbs)
4'9"-5'0" - 85-100 - F-1
5'0"-5'4" - 100-120 - F2
5'3"-5'6" - 115-145 - F-3
5'5"-5'9" - 140-170 - F-4

Black Eagle gives the same special treatment to the Predadora fabric they've given to the Predator.  "Sanforized - Guaranteed never to shrink out of fit (still allow for an initial shrinkage of around 1%-2%) [and] Mercerised - Increases the strength of the fibres and further protects from shrinkage."

Here's my shrinkage results, with hot water washes and hot machine drying.

[need to insert measurements]

Overall:  My favorite gi so far, because of the fit and, to a lesser extent, the fabric.  I finally have a pair of gi pants that doesn't make me feel fat nor like I'm wearing a tent-diaper when I put them on, and no matter how much I weigh, the pants don't restrict my mobility.

I know once I get back down to my normal training weight, much less my competition weight, this won't be such an issue.  But this gi is one less excuse to not go train.  I know non-jiu jitsu people won't go to the gym because they are ashamed of how they look.  They think they'll just walk in their neighborhood until they lose a little weight and feel better about themselves, before going to the gym.  We can predict how well that works.  At the moment, post-holidays, post-eating everything my inlaws put in front of me, post-time off this summer for my knee, I can't afford any excuses not to train.  These pants feel fantastic.  They're not tight across the rear and are comfortable around my thighs. 

The pants shrunk a bit in length after the first wash/dry but no more.  They're just about as short as I'd care to wear them.  I wouldn't want them shorter, but they are IBJJF legal.

Six belt loops, evenly spaced across the front, make me happy.  The double layer of fabric over the knees starts mid-thigh and ends mid-shin.

I like the color scheme.  I am a bit tired of pink and lavender and flowers and butterflies.  This is a simple turquoise-and-silver scheme (the embroidered eagle on the shoulder is silvery grey.)  I don't need feminine on my gi, to be honest.

Maybe you can't tell from this photo, but the fit on the jacket is another plus.  It's really slim in the torso and would be tight under the arms if it were any smaller.  The benefit of this is that the jacket stays put around your body even if the belt comes untied.  The skirt is on the shorter side and good luck to people trying to wrap your lapels under your arms, behind your head, etc.  The shorter lapels and skirt take some getting used to if you're accustomed to a baggy male-fit gi and normally have miles of gi available to wrap people up. 

See what I mean about the fit?  The fabric really follows the contours of your body around the shoulderblades, the torso, the waist, and under your arms.  Not a lot of extra in the arms themselves either.  IBJJF legal and no more.

The fabric itself is quite soft and thin; not as thin-feeling as the Vulkan Ultralight, but definitely thinner than the Atama Mundial #9, the Koral MKM, the Fenom, and the Fuji.  It's as thin as the Feather, but softer/smoother to the hand.  Also, it seems to stay a bright white even in the knees and on the back, which I believe is a result of either mercerization or sanforization.

The word Predadora appears in 3 places on the gi top-- both shoulders and the back of the skirt.  The embroidery is super-tight and smooth, inside and out, which is to be expected from a company like Black Eagle which offers custom embroidery on all kinds of gear.  Here's the inside of the skirt.  (Sorry for the white bands on the photo, I screwed up the image manipulation and didn't feel upset enough about it to redo it.)
The gi is reinforced in all the standard places-- here's the interior vent on the jacket skirt...

There were some defects though.  I was told by Steve at Black Eagle that they're using a different sewing/assembly system for the gis going out now because of some quality complaints, but I decided just to live with it or fix mine myself with a needle and thread.  

Hard to photograph, but this shows how the second layer of fabric over one knee was a little larger than the pants underneath, resulting in a permanent fold or wrinkle about an inch long.  Didn't affect the feel or function, but worth noting.

Another sewing problem could lead to a durability issue.  The folded-over entrance to the channel in which the belt runs was not sewn together.  Not a problem now but maybe in months or a year, more stitching could come loose, and that's a place where you will get wear and tear.  It was a simple fix with a needle and thread, or I could have gotten a seamstress to do it for a couple bones.  But as I mentioned, Steve reports that this issue has been resolved by switching who does their sewing. 

Ultimately, despite these problems, I give the gi an A.  I love having a lightweight gi that stands up to intense training and has thicker collars than the Vulkan Ultralight.  I love the soft hand of the fabric and I especially appreciate the pants, with room for the junk without being a flappy diaper.

Looking forward to trying the Black Eagle Raptora soon....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gi review part three: the Dom Gear DMX

Earlier, I cheekily described this gi as "Rick Perry. A decent beginning if you didn't press for details, but spectacular failure ensued."  That was entirely unfair-- Rick Perry didn't even start out decently, whereas the gi certainly started out great-- and I only did it for the limited purpose of fitting into my "Iowa Caucus" joke.  Here's a better, more accurate examination.

Dom Fightgear is a Texas company with a big presence at a lot of local tournaments and an interesting "about us" story on their website:

"One day Rocky Haire [a personal injury attorney] was leaving his firm, heading to his Porsche in the parking garage, when a paper blew across his path. Only God knows why he left at that moment and the paper was in that precise spot. It was Bryan Griffin’s Angel Tree application. Angel Tree is a group that sends out Christmas presents to the children of inmates. Rock sent him a letter asking if the application had been granted and if there was anything he could do for him. Anything. For months Bryan [an "oil and gas guy"] ignored the letter, thinking it was more bad news from a lawyer. Had they found his prints on something? Rocky made arrangements for the gifts, just in case, and forgot about it.

Bryan finally opened the letter and couldn't believe it. He responded immediately and it was Rocky’s turn to be surprised--Bryan said he was fine and didn't ask for anything. Later they would laugh about why Bryan didn't need anything in prison, and when the Statute of Limitations expires, we will tell you why he was the wealthiest guy on the block.

Bryan was released and set out to find Rocky. Since they were both MMA fans and fighters, and both businessmen, they formed an alliance to promote high end fightgear."

It's worth a mention that Dom Fightgear has a moral agenda as well: "In a very real sense, DOM has always been here, as it is more a state of mind than a clothing line. Once we establish a significant presence in the world market, we will roll out our plan to get bullying stopped in the public schools of our Nation—and more importantly,  bring God back into them in the process."

Huh.  Interesting.

I won this gi at a tournament last spring and I'll tell you why it took so long to review it in a moment.

Let's discuss specifics.

For reference, I measure gis out of the bag, then wash in the hottest possible wash and rinse setting, and dry in a hot dryer at least once before the second measurement.  Future washes are usually on warm or cool settings but still machine dried.  If further shrinkage is notable, I will re-measure.  Also, when I modeled for the pictures I was non-competition-weight >140lbs, 36-28-39, 5'2".
This gi is available in white, black, blue and pink for $135 on Dom's website. The DMX II, the competition (gold weave) version is available in white or black only for $119.

Reviewed previously by ... no one, as best I can tell.  Wow.  The sister gi, a lighter competition version, was reviewed by a while back.   

Stats:  Their website doesn't list specifics, but the pants are ripstop and the jacket is doubleweave and quite thick, as well as being lined with microfiber material.  My size A1 (pants and jacket) weighs 4lbs 5 oz.  My A1 jacket with A2 pants weighs 4 lbs 8 oz.  This is not a lightweight gi despite the ripstop pants.

Note: Measurements of the size A1 pants/jacket but photos taken with size A2 pants, A1 jacket.  Explanation to follow.

Measurements: size A1 before and after wash--

Pants across waist: 21"/21"

Leg outside, front waist to cuff: 34"/34"

Cuff: 10"/10"

Rise (center of crotch up to waist) front: 18"/18"

Jacket front length (shoulder next to collar to bottom hem): 30"/27"

Chest width (underarm to underarm): 23"/21"

Arm length (underarm to cuff): 22"/19 1/2"

Cuff: 6 1/2"/6"

The jacket is trimmed at the bottom and cuffs with a satin tape saying "Domaine de la Octade."

In an interview with CageDoor, Rocky Haire (one of Dom's owners) said that he invented the phrase "Domaine de la Octade" after being inspired by a Food & Wine article and that it means The Octagon is my Home.  Read the interview here. 

My first impression of the gi-- wow, it's lined!  Not with rashguard stretchy material.  It's microfiber, woven, and rather thin, and feels simultaneously sleek and fuzzy.  Like the skin of a peach, actually.  Second thought was, damn, this is heavy.   Third thought-- ugh, I hate the pink.  Classic Crayola "carnation pink" but I wasn't looking the gift horse in the teeth at the tournament so I didn't think to trade it for another color.

Capturing the lining in a still photo proved to exceed our documentary skills.

The lining made this an extremely comfortable gi top.  It didn't add any thickness or diminish the roominess of the cut, which is rather boxy and judo-esque.  The a lining was well-shaped and finely attached to the jacket, without excess fabric bunching up in the armpits or sagging below the jacket hem; no loose seams or exposed stitching.  The fabric seemed to be sturdy enough to withstand the tugging and pulling, and really made the gi feel great on bare skin.  It was also nice in hot weather, because the sweaty microfiber felt much cooler and less restrictive than sweaty doubleweave.  In cooler weather (which we didn't have much of, before summer came) it was also warmer-feeling especially when the gi was first put on.

The satin tape proved to be the first casualty, however, and began to fray and disintegrate during the very first class.  After the first wash, there were tendrils of black thread hanging like tinsel.

All the patches (tops of the shoulders and front of the chest, plus the bottom of the gi pants, as seen below) are made of the same satin fabric, and they appear to suffer the same fate to one degree or another.

I know I'm being picky, but here's what seemed to precipitate the fraying of the patches-- after a wash, the edges of the satin seemed to curl up and develop "corners," which seemed subject to greater abrasion and later fraying.  Also, seemed like the gi material shrank a bit more than the patches, creating some puckering and protrusion as well.  But the patches look slick anyway-- nice shiny high-quality satin and very smooth, thick, tight embroidery on top-- and if you just trim the loose threads with scissors you can probably maintain the look for a long time.

 The pants were the second casualty.

Explosive casualty, that is.  I'd worn the gi about four times, and was suiting up for the fifth.  I happened to be in the changing room, and I squatted down because the pants felt a little tight (the way you'll try to loosen up jeans that are fresh out of the dryer, perhaps.)  The dangnabbit pants split right up the backside-- from mid-butt cheek straight down the back of my hamstring to the bottom of my calf muscle.  Not on a seam-- right down the middle of the fabric.  So much for ripstop!  Fortunately I always carry a spare gi in the trunk of my car (you never know when you might want to roll, right?) so I was able to train that night.

Now, I've never pretended I am the slimmest girl on the mat-- although this was mid-tournament season as I prepped for the Pan so I was definitely at or near my fittest and lightest.  I wouldn't pretend to blame Dom Gear for the pants being a little on the "fits like a glove" side (though they do brag that this will be your impression on their website-- "Lined lightweight gis, hoodies and shirts that you want to wear everyday--that sit on you like a glove and can take a beating or go on a date.")  The competition-weight pants were also on the slim side for the male reviewer at the CageDoor.  But I guarantee you, the strain of containing my derriere was not THAT great.  The fabric or the cut or both was flawed in some way.

However, it was a great opportunity to see Dom's customer service in action.  I emailed them photos of the tear.  I didn't hear back from them for a while (couple months!) and emailed again.  Turns out they'd immediately sent me a new pair of pants, and for some reason I never received them, so the delay was mere miscommunication.  Siegfried (another of the owners) was very kind and within a day shipped me a whole new gi-- this time a size A2 at my request.  So, these photos are of the A2 pants, which I didn't measure, as I haven't worn them to train in nor have I washed/dried them yet.

The A1 pants were a little short for me, but these A2s are just fine, length-wise, although they too are slim cut.

As a result, I conclude that the Dom pants are not cut for ladies shaped like me.  The rise is too high (the waist comes up over my bottom rib) and the hip/thigh area is too straight, making the pants too tight around the quadricep area. 

 I wish there were more than 2 belt loops, but I like how they're placed if you're only going to have two-- closer to the hipbone and therefore more likely to keep the strings low.  The belt is a flat stitched strip of the pants material.  No extra fabric reinforces the stress points at the waist vents or crotch, but the knees are double-layered down to the ankle.

The gi top is roomy, as I mentioned, but the arms are just right length-wise.  Again this picture is of the A1 top and A2 pants.

The collar feels unusually thick, although soft... thicker than the Atama Mundial #9 and every other gi in this review.  The Dom website doesn't say what the core of the lapel is made with.

Left to Right: Black Eagle Predator, Dom DMX, Kauai ripstop, Ouano Comp Light, Atama Mundial #9, and Tatami Nova.

Bottom line:  Dom Fightgear aimed to make the Armani suit of gis with this.  I wouldn't go quite that far.  The cut is off, the pants were ripstart instead of ripstop, and the jacket shrinks a fair bit; however, the lining is really, really nice, and it's a good heavy training jacket, if not pants.  I would be concerned about the patches raveling, but they'd be easy to remove.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gi review, part two: the Black Eagle Predator MK II

I am sponsored by Black Eagle, so logically you'd think I'm biased in a review of their products.  I would like to think I'm balanced and fair about it, at least I am certainly trying to be... but take what I say with a grain of salt, of course.  I guess I am lucky to be sponsored by a company about whose products I can be enthusiastic.  Most jiu jitsu fighters (I think) who are sponsored are getting money as well as gear.  Since I just get gis from Black Eagle, I can afford to be choosy in the sense that if they started making crap, I wouldn't wear it or keep the sponsorship.  If I depended on them for airfare and tournament entries and training costs, well, then, maybe I'd feel differently.  Again, I am very lucky to be partnered with them.

With that out of the way... let me join the hordes reviewing this spiffy gi.  I've had these gis in my rotation for about nine months.  I have a blue and a white, custom embroidered, and I wear the crap out of them.  We took all these photos a couple days ago, and I was non-competition-weight >140lbs, 36-28-39, 5'2".

Lots of reviews out there, by JiuJitsuSweep...a number of threads on Sherdog, again by BJJinChicago, and again by SEAMMAGear... Meerkatsu wrote a technical test review here ... Slideyfoot...ArcanumBJJ... okay, that's enough.  But there are more out there if you want to really be thorough.

Available for purchase on Black Eagle's site in white for 60 pounds (US$94) and shipping to the UK is under 5 pounds; to the US is only US$23 or so.  The black and blue versions retail for 70 pounds/US$110.   If your order price exceeds 100 pounds, shipping is free.

Stats:  "ultralight" ripstop pants, pearl weave jacket, and an A1 weighs 2.9lbs.  By comparison, my Vulkan Ultralight A1 weighs 2.6lbs.  Many many people complain how soft and almost flimsy the Ultralight feels, and you won't say that about the Predator.  

Measurements:  Black Eagle provided this chart so you can compare your current best-fitting gi to this model and see what size is best.

I compared my two gis to their measurements and surprisingly, found them spot on, with a 1/4-5/16" variance at most.  (Yes, I got out my mom's sewing ruler for this.)

Considering that fabric is factory cut, usually from a huge stack of layers using CAD computers, machines like a table saw and even lasers, this is extremely uncommon and speaks of great attention to detail.  (Yes, I contacted several industrial sewing contractors..  MonaLisa Manufacturing, Bearse Manufacturing and Robocuts in Canada.) Now you know why, when you buy pants in more than one color, but only tried one on, and you get home and the other color doesn't fit properly.

I really did my best to shrink these suckers, just to test.  I probably hot-water-washed and hot-setting-dried them at least 45 times (two months' worth of classes) before taking the second measurement.   A tiny bit of length shrinkage, well under 1%, on the pants, not the jacket.  No width shrinkage.  When there were different measurements obtained on the gis, I state that.

Pants across waist: 21"/21"
Leg outside, from waist to cuff [their "D" on the chart]: new 35" and 34 3/4"; washed, 34 13/16" and 34 1/2" respectively [note statistically insignificant yet different shrinkage.]
Cuff: 9"/9"
Rise (center of crotch up to waist) front: 15" and 15 1/4" new, 14 11/16" and 15" washed
Rise rear: same [some womens' fit pants have a longer rear rise for better fit; this was not a woman's fit gi but it fit me fine.  See my Predadora review soon for the ladies' version.]

Jacket front length (shoulder next to collar to bottom hem, basically their "B" on the chart): 28"/28"
Chest width (underarm to underarm, their "C"): 21 11/16"/21 3/8"
Arm length (underarm to cuff): 22"/22"
Cuff: 6"/6"

Opinion and comments:  Two fabric treatments are unique to the Predator BJJ line as far as I know-- the material is Sanforized - a method of stretching, shrinking, and fixing the cloth in both length and width, before cutting and producing to reduce the shrinkage which would otherwise occur after washing, and it's Mercerised -  which further preshrinks the fabric, makes it stronger and easier to dye, and gives the cloth a lustrous appearance and a softer feel.  I do notice a difference.

I notice that the mercerization makes the material, especially the white, stay cleaner-looking.  Usually after a good long open mat, the back and knees of my gis look dingy, but this treatment seems to resist getting smeared, and when it's clean, the white gleams just a tiny bit (dammit, it does not glow in the dark-- which would be COOOL!) 

Also, the fabric has a nice soft hand-- it's not any thinner or more flexible than, say, the Atama Mundial 9, but it's more slick to the touch.  I bought my husband one of these gis as a gift, and when I rolled with him wearing it, I found sleeve grips to be challenging even with a pocket/cat's paw type grip.  Even Leticia's tricky pistol grip variation was tough to keep.

I like the color schemes.  The black version comes with contrasty goldenrod stitching/belt/loops.  Obviously, the white gi has black embroidery and black belt loops, belt, etc. 

The embroidery on the back, front and pants can be whatever color you like when you do the custom thing.  The Black Eagle patch on the side of the leg (above) is very securely stitched to the material and I haven't found any fraying in nine months of several-times-a-week use.

I didn't photograph the blue-and-red for this post, but I have a couple shots from the Leticia/Bia Mesquita seminar.  The belt loops, belt, and shoulder patches are red, and I haven't noticed any fading of the red.  The blue fades a little bit at the edges of the sleeves and cuffs, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The fit is fine for me.  Comfortable in the torso and sleeves, and a fitted rise that would be slightly (not excessively) looser on someone with less of a bum.  The pants are ripstop, not as fluid as the Kauai type or even a well-worn Atama Mundial pair, but not stiff like the Ouanos.  Overall, good construction, and for a "lightweight" gi it definitely feels more sturdy and resilient than the Vulkan Ultralight (which is supremely soft and comfy, and I find to be plenty tough, but some complain about its lightness for day-to-day training.)

SIX belt loops.  Keeps the belt low all the way across, kinder to the hipbones.  And unlike Seymour, I prefer the flat-style belt to the round cord.  Stretches less, feels better under the back.

The pants are cut to be pretty slim so it surprised me that I liked them, being as curvy as I am.  I didn't feel confined or constricted, but I do think they're succeeding in their aim of providing a "competition" cut that is IBJJF legal but as far from boxy, floppy or judoesque as possible.  The second layer on the front of the legs goes from above the knee to a little further down the shin than halfway.

I wish my husband would have straightened out my jacket before snapping this one but he was a champ about taking these-- we were running around the house packing to leave for two weeks at his parents, trying to wrap gifts and clean up and all that too...

I will say, the embroidered back patch gets a LOT of abrasion and wear because I have a nasty habit of being flat on my back, but the stitching still looks sharp and tight.  Sadly I did not photograph it before leaving home but I'll try to add something after the holidays.


The collars are a comfortable thickness, softer than some other rubber-cored collars as Meerkatsu noted.   From left to right: the Predator, Dom Gear DMX, Kauai Ripstop, Ouano Comp Light, Atama Mundial 9 (the 2nd white), and Tatami Nova.  This is also a good example of the minimal fading after nine months of heavy wear and tear.

If it weren't for the Predadora ladies-fit, this would be my favorite gi.  I highly recommend it.  :)