Tag Archives: BJJ

Book Review – Bloody Revolution A Journey Into UK MMA

So I have just finished reading the new UK MMA book “Bloody Revolution A Journey Into UK MMA” click here for info

I should always mention that the cover picture was taken by my GB Sheffield team mate and recent forge blue belt and all round good guy Martin Rhodes as he can get a wee bit precious if he is not mentioned.

I thought this was a really god read, easy to follow, well researched and shows that this is something Mick has a real passion for.

I have been to a few MMA fights in the UK and frankly Mick captures it perfectly, a world of hard dedicated men who give all they can in cages and rings from tiny leisure centers to large arenas. He also captures beautifully the people who go and watch and this is perhaps the bit that I most associated with and laughed at, the cage side Royce Gracie’s dressed like a Burberry cologne bottle with more bad tattoos than the whole of Sheffield put together.

This then is what makes it so readable so much fun so interesting, it is not just another book about the fights, the fighters et al, as we have all read a lot about this and the events, there are sites galore out there that cover this in depth. This gets under the skin of what makes MMA in the UK so good and also at times so awful to attend and watch. How quickly the mood can swing, swing back and then settle again and how blood feuds as well as long term bonds are formed at these events.

It is a book I would highly recommend to all UK fans as you will associate with it and it will make you both smile and shake your head, for all readers over seas it is a great insight into the world of MMA over here and well worth reading.

Also published on the US websites http://www.mma.humankindpreview.com/book-review-bloody-revolution-a-journey-into-uk-mma

and on the front page of on the mat http://www.onthemat.com/blogs-posts/book-review-%E2%80%93-bloody-revolution-journey-uk-mma


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UK MMA – New Book

How cool is this, a new UK MMA book has just come out “Bloody Revolution A Journey Into UK MMA” click here for info

The cover picture was taken by recent forge blue belt and all round good guy Martin Rhodes

and the author’s (Mick Bower) daughter also trains at the forge, now if that is not reason enough for you lot from the forge to get out there and buy it I do not know what is.  However this is not just for forge guys this is a book for all UK MMA fans, I have just started reading it as it was an early birthday gift so I will report back later on but it seems well written and easy to read.

The book is also available in paperback and kindle formats from Amazon UK

So why not give it a go support a UK based and even better (in my opinion) South Yorks based writer as if this ones goes well I am promised there will be more to come.

And anyway what is there not to like about a man who told Jaime Oliver Go Home

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Black Eagle Predator II – Arrived

Thanks so much to Steve Turner at Black Eagle the new Predator II has arrived and looks lovely, I will just have to see how I get on with rip stop trousers as I have never been that keen personally on the feel but these do seem softer so we shall see.

So I am looking forward to getting this reviewed along with all the others I have I just need to get rolling again and hopefully the physio I am having on my back along will help with this goal.  Also the Friday April 1st deadline I have set for my new leaf is looming as it will be the start of my 35th year around which is half my 3 score years and 20 🙂

Steve also tells me that this Gi will be available in an A6 if there is enough demand and that it has virtually zero shrinkage (we will see 🙂 )

There is also a plan to try and introduce mix and match pants and jackets come about September but this is very much a thought at the moment.

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Gi’s Galore and Reviews ahoy

Well I am almost back to the same lack of physical fitness I was at the end of the year and some consistent training is on the horizon 🙂  I am booked for some physio so may be a fully functioning human soon.

Was at a wedding last week which was great and have the big party for it this Friday but not sure the whiskey and beer has helped, though guess it is kill or cure 🙂 I think it is time for a serious weight loss program and new diet as I turn 34 April 1st and it has gone on too long to quote Cypress Hill “Fat guy on a diet, don’t try it” well think I am gonna have to.

Anyway I now have a stack of Gi reviews due as I have been very lucky and had some great folk help me out so to follow on in teh next few weeks and months are in no particular order.

Black Eagle Predator – the new Gi in the big guy size and initial view is it looks and feels lovely

Tatami Estilo 2 – The next generation from Tatami and as ever it it seems a quality item

Sick Gi – Had some issues with this one as the one I was sent had short arms and some quality issues, however I spoke to Jim who said this was a review Gi issue and he would send a new one, well this has arrived and it fits great and seems a far better Gi

Lucky Gi – Thanks to scotty for what is of course a top Gi

Gorilla Gi – Heavy duty and hard wearing but initial rolls may have highlighted some issues

I also hope to have a app review from a UK black belt and I have some top interviews coming up which is all exciting, so onwards and upwards this year I intend to make April 1st 2011 my turning point and kick on from there.

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Notes From a Samurai II – Rash Review

Much like Mark Morrison you knew that he’d be back, and here he is again guest writer Samurai =================================================================

Well I’ve been called back to active service following my review of the Bruno Alvez seminar at the top of the year.

In the mean time a lot has happened; Grandao is back on the mats (“This Death Star is fully operational!” is the battle cry I heard which caused me to LMAO), our illustrious leader John Goldson received his black belt from Lagarto and…to prove there is always hope, I got my blue belt on the same day 🙂

So my Samurai skills are today focused on the Caged Steel Short Sleeve Rash vest.


Firstly I don’t know why they’ve gone with “vest” as opposed to “guard” but I’ll use the terms interchangeably. I always think of Rab C Nesbitt and Homer Simpson when I hear “vest”…

The Caged Steel brand is an offshoot of the MMA gym which goes by the same name. They get off to a fantastic start with being based in God’s own county…Yorkshire! As you all know we Yorkshire folk work harder than anyone else (Just watch the ‘4 Yorkshire men’ sketch on YouTube lol) and despite being busy putting ferrets down our trousers and instigating industrial action we have a plethora of solid MMA, BJJ and Thai gyms in the county.

First impressions are good. The black with lime green stitching is a good colour combo. The stitching is rubberised which, it is claimed, prevents it from becoming tangled in the Velcro on shorts etc. The rash vest material is dubbed “Duo Breathe” and “Sharkskin” – more on this later.

The material was much thicker than my Manto rash guards and the athletic Nike ones I purchased many moons ago. This wasn’t a bad thing and gave the garment a more substantial feel.

The elastic at the bottom of the vest was also the widest and most taut I have seen on such a product. When donned, you certainly feel it clamping in around the top of your legs. I’d feared this would inhibit free movement during rolling but needn’t have worried. It was perfectly comfortable and didn’t ride up. The neck line is also great and snug. I experienced no problems with errant fingers grabbing for my gi and accidentally grabbing the top of my rash guard too.

The stitching also doesn’t go under the armpit but either side of the sleeve/rib panel of the garment. This prevents the irritation that can develop otherwise.

A word on sizing too. Whilst I’m not a dainty little fella I’m no man mountain either! I wear an A3 in a gi and a Large in all my rash guards. This was an XXL! It fitted well; just like my L’s but almost gave me a heart attack as far as the success of my weight loss programme was concerned 🙂

The branding is the “Caged Steel” logo on one arm and the upper back of the vest. In small print it says ‘Grappling Jiu Jitsu MMA’ across the chest. Sadly it is not a sublimated print and will therefore show clear signs of wear and washing. I personally can’t see why sublimated print isn’t adopted as a standard, particularly when such items are branded and that forms part of the “added value”.

At this point I pause and ask “What makes an MMA rash guard/vest?” One assumes, expects quite frankly, that it has been designed with the specific rigours of BJJ/MMA in mind. When the printed logos disappear what are you left with?

My best efforts turned up nothing about “Duo Breathe” and “Sharkskin” as materials. I then checked what I had suspected within minutes of actually handling the garment…it was essentially a rash guard used in diving.

I compared it to the O’Neil one I use when I dive and the attributes I’ve described above (elastic width, rubberised stitching etc) were all present.

Now there’s nothing wrong with this per se but you can pick up branded diving rash guards for £20 – £30 and high profile MMA/BJJ rash guards from £30-£40. With the Caged Steel coming in at £29.99 what warrants the extra money? What is the added value?

If it’s the branding then I don’t personally think it’s strong enough to warrant the premium; particularly as it will disappear due to it not being sublimated.

So in answer to “When the printed logos disappear what are you left with?” I have to answer a generic, all be it very functional for BJJ/MMA, diving rash guard.

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Tatami Gi Review – 3 month update

As I always said the purpose of this blog was not only to review how the big guy Gi’s fit and react but also how they stand up to the pushing and pulling, the rolling and sparring and the washing and care that generally is put onto a Gi when you are my size. A quick illustration of this is taken form the fact I weigh around 310 lbs and spar in general with the bigger lads who are at about 210 lbs. Therefore (and these are rough calculations): I place 26 pounds of pressure per square inch on my knee when it is down. 155 pounds of pressure per square inch on my elbow when it is down. Around 500 lbs of torque on the sleeve when I stand and lift an opponent who is gripping my sleeve. This is a lot of pressure to put on a garment which costs at the start around £70 and just go up and up from there so how do they stand up to it, is the purchase going to be good for a while but start to come apart quickly and soon become a patchwork quilt or a discolored mess? Thus after the reviews I do I will be going back and looking at the Gi’s after a few months and then after about a year so here is the Tatami look back 3 months down the line.

Well to be honest the Zero G has done a little bit as I expected, it is a very light Gi and while the jacket still looks fairly pristine the trousers have started to scuff a little and show a few broken stitches.  However as I said this is a Gi I would recommend to a larger competitor when they compete or when it is very warm.  It has stood up very well overall it is just starting to  look a little battle worn, but by no means is it looking like it will give up the ghost any time soon.

As for the Estilo I have to say I am amazed it has stood up incredibly well it looks pristine and has had some real hard hammer, especially the half guard session with Fiddy and numerous rolls with Chaz.  It looks as good now as it did and has not a stitch or scuff out of place.  A fabulous effort considering the pressure and tension it has been out under to say the least.

I will be off line for the next week or so with a wedding (not mine) amongst other things in my diary but I for one cannot wait to review the new Estilo 2 along with a couple of other reviews for Gi’s and a new App which will be coming soon.

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Some Cool News From Black Eagle

Just had contact from Black Eagle and they are bringing in a brand new range of Pearl Weave BJJ Kimonos very shortly.

Not only that but they are back and up at the grandao size of A5 and have asked me to review one which of course I jumped at the chance to do, this is great news and will give all the big lads of the UK BJJ scene another quality British make to have a look at.

Watch this space as they say, whoever they are.

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