Monthly Archives: May 2011

Gi Review – Black Eagle Predator MKII


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

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.

Initial Thoughts

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.

In Conclusion

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.


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Mackenzie Dern – Interview ADCC Update

I recently got back in touch to talk to Mackenzie about her experiences in Abu Dhabi and you can see this at the end of the interview, once again many thanks to the lovely and gracious Miss Dern who as ever is a pleasure to talk to.

I sat down to talk to the daughter of BJJ legends Wellington “Megaton” Dias and step daughter of Luciana Dias herself a munidal finalist and black belt, the charming and friendly Mackenzie Dern (center below) herself a top class and dominant BJJ competitor.

Tell me a little about your past and present, and your BJJ journey?

Well, I first started learning jiu-jitsu when I was three years old. I started competing when I was 7 years old and I competed in the kids division until I was 14. I traveled a lot to Brazil and San Diego and was then able to start competing in the adult division. Fortunately, Arizona, Brazil and San Diego are where I am able to do a lot of my competition training. Right now, I am currently in Arizona but the last couple of weeks I have been traveling a lot with my dad, doing seminars and competitions throughout Europe.

You have an extremely impressive competition record for one so young, what are you highlights?

Yes, thankfully I was able to start jiu-jitsu at a young age and with the help of my instructors and teammates, good results are starting to show! My main titles are 4x World champion, 3x No gi World champion, 2x American National champion, 2x European champion, Rio International champion and South American champion.

Did you feel you had to go into BJJ with such an inspirational father as a figure?

My dad definitely is the reason for me being in Jiu-Jitsu, but he never forced me to train or compete and because of this my passion for Jiu-Jitsu developed on its own. However, because he is such a well know BJJ fighter I do feel like when I compete I am representing him so I try to represent him and his jiu-jitsu as best as I can.

How do you feel the world of BJJ has changed for female BJJ fighters?

BJJ for females has evolved so much throughout the years. We have gone from purple, brown, and black belt together and now we have enough girls to just have brown and black fighting together. Unfortunately, I think girls are still far from being treated like the guys, but slowly we are getting more and more credit for our accomplishments.

Are you held back as an attractive female with a famous father do you feel you have to fight harder for recognition?

No, I think it helped me develop myself within the jiu-jitsu community, but after a while I was recognized for my wins and not for being Megaton’s daughter. I think being an attractive female competitor and having a famous father I have a lot of attention so I try my best to be a good role model and help get more and more girls into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What are your inspirations in life and in BJJ?

My dad is my inspiration not just as an BJJ fighter or instructor but as a person as well. Not only did he help me develop my commitment to jiu-jitsu that I have today, but he taught me to try and be a good person on and off the mats. Leticia Ribeiro, also has been a huge inspiration for me throughout my BJJ journey. She dedicates herself to jiu-jitsu for women and I hope one day I can make an impact in jiu-jitsu like she has.

What are your future plans within the world of BJJ?

My future plans in Jiu-Jitsu are to compete as much as possible. I hope to compete at least every two months so I stay on a good competition rhythm. I hope to accompany my dad on many seminars so I can get some experience. When I arrive in Arizona, in the beginning of February I will be assisting an all girls open mat and I am really excited about that! Also coming up, I will be competing in the Abu Dhabi World Pro trials in Canada and then I have the Pan Ams and Worlds planned. Then I will most likely stay in Brazil for a while.

Have you considered MMA?

No, MMA is not something I plan on doing in the future. I know a lot of people who go from BJJ to MMA, and are very successful, but I just see my future in BJJ.

What aspirations and dreams are there for Mackenzie Dern?

I hope to one day win all the main competitions at black belt. I would love to have an academy with a strong women’s team. Lastly, I would really like to have made an impact in Jiu-Jitsu and stay as involved with the Jiu-Jitsu community for as long as possible!

Can tell me about the comp in Canada Adu Dhabi trials how it went and what it means to you?

The trials went great! I had a bye my first round the second round was against a black belt from Chicago. I won that match by points 5 x 0 so that was good! Then i was in the finals against a purple belt that she had already beat me once and i had already beat her once so it was good to fight again! Luckily i won that fight by points too, i think it was 4 x 0 but it was sooooo cold! Lol

And the meaning of this to me is really big! Just that I am going to be able to take part in a tournament competing with some of the best of the best is going to be a great learning experience and a privelage! I am going to train my hardest and get ready for this exciting event!

Anything else you would like to say?

I would like to thank my family, friends, and teammates who help me get to where I am today. My fans for all the support. My sponsors ATAMA Kimonos, Versatile Fighter, and Fight Soap for helping me out, and thank you Stewart for the questions

Brilliant Thanks so much I will look forward to talking to you after the ADCC see how you, your boyfriend (Augusto Tanquinho Mendes) and your step mother and father get on (first time this has ever happened in an ADCC)

ADCC Update May 2011

Man, the Abu Dhabi World Pro was a really great experience and I definetly hope I can make it back next year! I won my first fight by an armbar against a a purple from Abu Dhabi. Then I lost my second fight by armbar against Michelle Nicolini. It was a fun match and I was happy that I did better than my last fight against at the Abu Dhabi trials in Lisbon. 

My dad lost to Bruno Frazatto, a tough Atos guy, after his first fight did not show up and my stepmom lost to Monica Silva who is also a really tough girl! My boyfriend did really good in Abu Dhabi and was able to leave with a gold medal! He fought Ryan Hall is first match. Then beat Ary Farias, Guilherme Mendes, Ed Ramos, and in the finals Rafael Mendes. They were all good and tough fights for him and he was happy to be able to compete against such good competitors! I am so happy for him and, of course, for my dad and stepmom who go out there and fight so good against all the top competitors! 

In a whole the tournament was a lot of fun! It was great meeting so many people from all around the world. There were so many good fights that it was hard to pick one at a time to watch. I had to keep looking at all the different mat areas the whole time! lol I think all the competitors did a great job! 

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