In this review, I will be looking at two popular white, IBJJF legal gis by one American and one British brand: Fuji and Tatami Fightwear respectively. The gi models I reviewed were the Suparaito by Fuji and Sub-Zero Ultralight by Tatami Fightwear. I asked both companies to send me white A2 models to review and that the gis would be IBJJF legal as I wanted to road test them at the 2015 European Open in Lisbon, Portugal. First, let's look at the Fuji Suparaito gi:
Fuji Suparaito Gi:
When I first got this gi, I was a bit concerned it would be too tight to pass regulation. I'm 176 cm (5ft 9') and weigh around the 85kg (13.3 stones or 187.4 lb). The gi is so perfectly tailored with no slack that it feels like a fitted shirt. I loved it, I just wanted the IBJJF gi checker to love it too.
From an aesthetic point of view, the Suparaito is minimalistic and beautiful. The white model had navy contrasting embroidery and details which I really liked. Very traditional and Japanese. I'm not, however, sure about the blue model which comes with neon green details but that's a different kettle of fish. There are hardly any patches (1 small one at the bottom of one lapel) and just a couple of embroideries.
|Jacket skirt embroidery|
The gi jacket is made, mostly, of a very light pearl weave. I say mostly because the lapel is ripstop, reinforced with extra rows of stitching. The pants are a ripstop / cotton blend and feel very light yet comfortable. The jacket skirt length is much shorter than other gis I've trained / competed in which means less control for your opponent. I know this sounds like small details but when you add all these elements together you end up with a slick and dangerous animal.
Ordering information for UK customers:Sent from HatashitaSports.com, my contact for this gi was the amazing Jimmy Pedro himself. Customer service was second to none. I received continuous emails from Mr Pedro and the Hatashita staff updating me on when to expect the gi and it arrived very quickly all the way from the US to the UK. I really could not fault them on their customer service. The gi is available from Hatashita Sports for $134 with a variety of shipping options (from $16 to $82 depending how and how soon you needed it).
I asked Jimmy and co where Part Time Grapplers could order this gi here in the UK and he directed me to the good folks at Fight store pro. This gi retails in the UK for £114.99 and Fight Store Pro boast a 1-3 working days' delivery at £3.95 with Royal Mail 1st class within the UK.
Tatami Fightwear Sub-Zero gi:
350g pearl weave so very light indeed. The reinforced trousers are 8 ounce cotton, similar to the 93 Brand - Charlie gi.
|High quality weave|
Again, very minimalistic on the embroidery and patches. Right off the bat you get the feeling that this is an old school martial arts uniform: white, crisp and resilient.
I put this gi on and was surprised how roomy it felt. Tatami's size charts recommend an A2 for my height and weight so I knew I had the right model but I felt that the sleeves were massive and the gi was very roomy around my shoulders / upper back area.
|Jacket skirt embroidery|
I wore it to the gym and immediately got the same reaction from my friends. I checked the product description and it mentioned "deeper jacket side vents" so that might be the reason behind the roominess. I decided it needed to be shrunk so I washed twice on 30 degrees as instructed on a Tatami Fightwear's website and it shrunk a little, but just not significantly enough.
|Hip Paths and gusset|
Tatami Fightwear have pushed the envelope when it comes to developing jiujitsu gis and the Ultralight Sub-Zero is full of innovations and I've always had very positive customer service with them. To order, you can go directly to the Tatami Fightwear website.
As soon as I put it on, I realised the difference between the Sub-Zero and the Suparaito: the cut.
While the Sub-Zero Ultralight is very similar to the Suparaito in weight and stylistic design, the major difference was in the tailoring. I have come to love them both but for different reasons: I was recently invited to teach for three hours at a friend's academy up in Rochdale so I immediately packed the Ultralight yet roomy and comfortable Sub-Zero. Didn't even have to think about it. Boom. When I had to choose a gi to take to the European Open in a Lisbon, Portugal however, the Suparaito was the clear choice. The cut and tailoring of the Suparaito is beyond anything I've ever experienced. Look at this still shot from one of matches and see how snug and tailored it fits around my upper back:
Both gis are prime examples of how far Brazilian jiu-Jitsu has come from the early days of coarse, heavy and rough judo-gi knock-offs to high tech competition specific gis. Everything is thoroughly investigated and well thought out. The fabric is tough yet light. The design is minimalistic. The cut of the Suparaito, the deciding factor for me, is tailored yet exactly competition legal, even for the huskier built like yours truly. The comfort and breathability of the Sub-Zero, on the other hand, made it ideal for long days on the mat.
I'd like to thank Mr Jimmy Pedro and Mr Gareth Drummer from Fuji and Tatami respectively for the gis and for their continuous support of the sport and art of jiujitsu.
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
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