Monday, October 26, 2009


My First Gi (Kwon)

Speaking of gis that are heavy as lead, my first gi was a "Kwon" which I purchased at my local martial arts supply store. Everyone should be so lucky to have such a ridiculous store tucked away within the office complexes of their semi-rural suburb. At that time (3 years ago) they were surprisingly well stocked with MMA gear right next to the kung fu movies and various swords etc. However, they only carried one type of gi, Kwon, from a company that focuses mainly on Judo. Today, they carry Atamas as well as a few other kinds -- this with the sudden growth of jiu jitsu schools in and around Phoenixville, PA.


My Kwon is a size A1. It was huge on me when I got it, but I liked it that way. I could move inside of it even when my opponent held on tight. Furthermore, (now here is the gross part) I never washed it. I only washed it if it smelled awful or if there was a tournament coming up. Yes, the logic escapes me... but that said, it usually did not smell at all. Anyway, the point of that disgusting story was to conclude by saying when I finally DID put it in the dryer (2 years later) it shrunk to 65% of it's original size. Now, it doesn't close all the way. While the top fits tightly now, the pants remained immensely baggy. The draw string was always extremely difficult to pull. A few days ago the string broke for the second time, rendering it way too short to use. Also, their are tears all over which I've had to sew up repeatedly. I no longer use these pants.

The sleeves are also not tapered making movement within them easy, but breaking grips difficult. The worst part was that it is ROUGH on the INSIDE and SOFT on the OUTSIDE! I would get scraped up way more than my opponents. All that said, it was a good beginners gi and reasonably priced ($100) for something with such strong and heavy fabric. The patches are understated.

(and now to take a leaf from Joker's book)

Pros: simple patches, durability, price
Cons: weight, sizing, roughness

Overall Fit: terrible
Color: white only
Patches: shoulders only, modest
Stitching: pants tore after 2.5 years, durable
Fabric: soft on outside, rough inside
Pants: way too big, way too heavy; Drawstring: fabric style (as opposed to rope), twists easily, broke after 2.5 years
Jacket: shrunk excessively, shallow angled lapels, does not close even on skinny-me

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