I was sent this Gi to review by the patient and friendly Steve Turner at Black Eagle who I must also say has been very cool to deal with at all points, the Gi is available to purchase http://www.black-eagle.co.uk/bjjgipredatormkiipearlweavewhite-p-3182.html
How I review
There are other more technical reviews out there on the market or meerkat (some of which you will see linked below) and I do not intend to re invent the wheel, as I have said earlier I will be looking at this from the big man point of view. How does it fit, how is it when you jog, run, sprawl and roll in it? Does it stay a good fit, does my extra bulk and torque damage the Gi and also how do my training partners feel?
I stand six foot three inches tall and am 300lbs I am wearing an A5 Gi.
This is a step back into the big man market as Black Eagle had decided the numbers did not add up but thankfully they have decided to start stocking A5 Gi’s and soon even A6 Gi’s I am told and I for one am glad.
Now this is sold as super light and super strong and also that it will NEVER shrink, that’s right never, “what never ever?” that’s right never ever. So instantly I am a bit worried and skeptical, then I notice ripstop trousers and my worry rises.
First of all ripstop bottoms have always tended to cut into me, it is the big lad, flabby bits, rip stop becomes a ligature and all things hurt problem. Secondly ultra light Gi’s are always a wee bit scary that soon enough the seam will pop and everyone will be getting a better view of the big man than they wanted.
Finally the never ever shrink thing, well that is a claim I have seen before and ended up with what looked like a tank top and plus fours, as more often than not when I put a Gi on it just fits and no more, so shrinkage is not good.
Were my initial fears well founded, well read on intrepid reader
The Science Part
The make up of the Gi is as follows:
The cost is £69.99 (reduced from 74.99) plus post and packaging 4.90
The Brand New Predator MKII BJJ Gi.
1. Ultra light, ultra strong ripstop trousers
2. Ultra Light Pearl Weave jacket
3. Extra lines of stitching on re-enforced lapel with ripstop overlay
4. Ripstop trimming to sleeve cuffs and jacket trim
5. New patch designs and Predator embroideries
6. Sanforized – Guaranteed never to shrink out of fit
7. Mercerised – Increases the strength of the fibres and further protects from shrinkage
8. Additional loops on trousers for greater comfort fit
9. Improved Competition cut, and fully IBJJF legal
And soon mix and match pants and jacket will be available
As you can see the Gi did not shrink at all which amazed me, in fact it slightly relaxed and got a bit bigger, which did amaze me, and I will also admit I then gave it a 90 degree wash and it still did not shrink. This is quite something and is impressive meaning you order the size that you need in safe knowledge that it will keep fitting you.
Rolling, Sparring, Training, Fit and Feedback
The important point how does it look, feel and most of all how does it hold together when rolling.
While it does not look as flashy as some the patches and the design is very nice, well stitched, designed but for those of you who like your Gi very bling it is not so much the one for you, I however like it.
The jacket fit is good if a little shorter than some I have worn, the trousers are very comfortable and the most comfortable ripstop ones I have ever worn. They are quite long in the reach (from the top of point G to the waist band) which is often an issue for the taller and wider fighter. However for my liking they are just long enough and no more, I have said before that I like a longer trouser which is hard as I have a 34 inch inside leg. However they are easily comp legal and for most fighters will be the perfect length. There is no extra padding at all on this but it is designed to be light.
The jacket is a good fit all over with the sleeves a near perfect length and the cuffs nice and wide so that it is good for both myself and the person I am rolling with, which when training is important. There are no extra tags round the cuffs as I have seen on other Gis and which provide a tailor made hand hold for opponents which is also a good thing.
Rolling in it feel easy and light and while the weave stays very light and is also quite cool importantly it does not fall out of shape or start to look ragged and twisted.
I as ever went very hard for in this Gi, and the Gi held up brilliantly, it did not lose shape or end up with pull marks all over it.
It is also amazingly light, the whole Gi felt lighter than a Gracie Barra A2 jacket on it’s own yet it still feels substantial enough to roll in it, it does not feel like it will just rip away.
Well simply I was wrong, the Gi has held up well to some extreme punishment and the trousers are the most comfortable ripstop material I have ever worn, they do not rope up and cut and also do not cling too much when they get sweaty making them hard for training partners. The whole Gi in fact almost has a wicking effect when you start to sweat which is due to the weave and light nature of it.
If I could change anything I would make the draw strings on the trousers longer and of the bungee cord material which I am a big fan of these days also I would in all honestly have liked a slightly bigger Gi maybe the A6 but that is just because I like a bit more material than some as this would have been perfectly legal for me to wear.
Again like all ultra light Gi’s It is probably not a Gi I would put into my every day rotation as the real strength and robust nature of some others means they are going to be my every day use Gi’s. However for a competition Gi it is fantastic, it is light so if you have to make weight, apparently some people do , it is ideal. Also it will stay cool, dries quickly and is durable and strong.
If you are looking for a second Gi or a comp Gi I would definitely add it to your armory and at the currently reduced price it is a very attractive prospect.
I will keep wearing it and revisit in a few months to see how it has continued to hold up.