BJJ Interview: Valor Kimono Founder Kevin Adshead

I recently ordered a beautiful gi-material brown belt from Valor Fightwear after a very positive review from my friend Seymour at Meerkatsu. I was so impressed with the quality and aesthetics of the belt I contacted the company for an interview and got through to Mr Kevin Adshead, the founder. He was very generous with his time. I hope you enjoy it.

Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

My name is Kevin, I am 34 years old and I am originally from London and now live in Essex. I am the owner of Valor Fightwear and I also own/run a couple of gi stores as well.

Are you currently training Martial Arts? 

I train BJJ and I am a purple belt under Braulio Estima black belt Lee Catling at Gracie Barra Essex. Ive been training for 6.5 years.

How do you manage to fit your own training around work and family time?

This is one I am still trying to work out! As most people will know it's hard trying to get a decent life/work balance especially those who run their own businesses.

Do you compete in your sport? 

I don't currently but I have in the past at white and blue belt. I've competed at most of the main comps in the UK including the English, British, South East, Brighton, Bournemouth and Hereford opens. I haven't medalled but I've come close on a few occasions which has been very annoying!

What is the greatest thrill you have gotten out of practicing your sport?

It has to be when getting promoted. There's no greater feeling than knowing that all your hard work has been recognised and paid off. Submitting someone at a tournament would come a very close second though.

Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)

The best thing for any time management has to be preparation. Having a clear plan of action and getting things ready beforehand makes a huge difference when trying to fit exercise around life or managing your time in general.

With regards to my own exercise I try to do this in the morning as I am more motivated at the start of the day.

Now let’s balance that with what you consider the top 5 time-thieves.

1. Work, 2. Family/friends, 3. Procrastination, 4. The internet, 5. PS4

Do you have any regrets?

I try not to have them. What has happened in the past is behind us and cannot be changed so there is no point dwelling on or regretting anything.

Why do you train? What drives you?

I started training for the main benefit being self defence but now I would say the main reasons would be for stress relief and self defence. It doesn't matter how bad your day has been there's no greater stress relief than being choked or getting smashed by your team.

What is your involvement with Valor. How long have you done that for?

I'm the owner and creator. I started the brand in late 2010 as at the time there wasn't many decent affordable gis available. The average price for a gi was around £80 so we launched the Bravura to fill a gap in the market and everything took off from there. We now stock a full range of gis and no gi gear.

What has been the highlight of this company's history?

I cant think of 1 particular highlight but something that continues to be a highlight for me is seeing people in our gear either at a tournament, online or in print.

Do you currently sponsor any athletes?

We currently sponsor some of the top guys from the UK and Europe from yellow to black belt. With some of them being World, Pan, European, Abu Dhabi and English/British open champions.

We are also very proud to sponsor the British Army and RAF BJJ teams.

What do you look for in a brand ambassador?

It varies between applicants really but the main thing I always ask and what people who are looking to be sponsored should ask is; what can you do for the brand?

You would be surprised at how many people just email and ask to be sponsored without mentioning what they can do to help promote or grow the brand.

The best bit of advice I would give to anyone looking to get sponsored or become a brand ambassador would be to work out the best way you can help the brand grow and then put some effort in to a decent email and contact them.

If someone is in two minds about purchasing a Valor Gi, what would you advise them?

Just do it! You won't be disappointed. A lot of time, effort and experience has gone in to designing each and everyone of our products. I have lived and breathed BJJ and gis in particular for the last 6 years. In this time I have sold and trained in every major brand and some of the smaller gi brands through my other gi stores so I know what makes a decent gi. All of this experience has gone in to making our products.

Summarize the brand in 5 words.

Quality, affordable Brazilian Jiujitsu gear.

I would like to thank Valor Fightwear and Kevin in particular for the great work they're doing and for taking the time to answer my questions.


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