Monday, December 24, 2012

Storm Kimonos Typhoon Gi Review

It's been a while since I've done a gi review so what better time than right before Christmas?  I wanted to review a gi that doesn't get a lot of attention on other gi review sites which brought me to Storm Kimonos.  Storm Kimonos was originally established in 1996 so they are not new to the BJJ scene but may be new to some grapplers today.  I first became aware of Storm Kimonos earlier this year due to their affiliation with the Mendes Brothers and Andre Galvao who all  have been sporting these sharp gi's over the last year.

Over all the design of the Typhoon is pretty standard fare.  There is no contrast stitching present which has almost become the industry standard over the last couple of years.  The only flare on this gi are the two large patches prominently placed on the jacket.  I do like the Storm patch that runs vertically along the lapel.  That said I could do without the equally large (matching) patch on the sleeve.  I like what they were trying to accomplish by breaking away from the standard patch placement but feel the design of this patch could have been smaller or different all together.  The red taping on the inside of the jacket accents the gi very well.  There is a smaller version of these patches placed near the waistline of the pants but cannot be seen while the jacket is being worn.  There are two additional embroidered lightning bolts on the front and back pant legs along with one placed behind the collar on the jacket.  The embroidery is clean and adds a nice touch.

Size         Weight          Height
A1         110-140lbs     5'2-5'5"              50-63kg         158-168cm
A2         140-175         5'5"-5'9"             63-79            168-180
A3         175-210         5'9"-6'1"             79-95            180-186
A4         210-250         6'1"-6'4"             95-113           186-195

The Typhoon kimono is basically the entry level model by Storm.  The jacket features 550 gsm Golden Jacquard Weave Fabric (100% cotton) and the pants are 340 gsm (100% cotton twill).  The gi boasts to have been pre-shrunk and anti-odor due to an anti-microbial treatment.

The quality of construction on this gi is very good.  The weave on the jacket is very nice and unlike other gi's I have owned.  I cannot find any real complaints with the stitching at all.  There are no runners or sloppy work here.  The stitching isn't compromised, no loose threads, or problems with the stitching on the patches.  The gi pants feature a traditional flat drawstring with just two loops.  I would have liked to see at least two more loops and the drawstring could be a bit longer but nothing that adversely affects tying the pants.  The pants feature nice, thick knee pads that provide cushion and should lengthen the lifespan of the trousers.  Both the jacket and pants feature pockets for items like a mouth guard.  The pocket in the jacket has a Velcro enclosure which is a bit awkward to access.  I could see placing something like an ID, credit card, etc. in this pocket since it seems so secure but not something I'd regularly want to access frequently.  The pants have a more standard pocket but the practicality for storing a mouth guard on a short term basis seems a bit laborious to get in and out of either for the jacket or pants.  The skirt of the jacket is much longer than what I'm accustomed to.  More on that later.

The gi itself (pants and jacket) are made of 100% cotton and seem quite soft. I imagine if the gi is treated with fabric softener it will become even softer after multiple trips through the washer and dryer. The collar is both thick and sturdy.  I assume it is a rubberized collar but their website doesn't state the material used.  The A1 gi that I have used for this review weighs right at 4 pounds.

The gi claims to have been treated with an anti-microbial process.  While this seems like a good idea I do have to question how effective it is over the long term life of the gi.  A quick search on the web for anti-microbial treated textiles recommends that washing should be done in cool water and tumble dried on low.  The use of bleach or products containing chlorine can ruin the treatment in the fabric.  These are all basic things most people try to avoid with their gi's but might be useful for some that like to periodically use bleach or intentionally try and shrink their kimonos.  So be aware that you could adversely affect the longevity of the anti-microbial process integrated into the fabric.

Let me preface this by saying that I am 5'7" and 150lbs.  When I originally ordered this gi I selected an A2 using their basic sizing chart.  They do provide actual measurements of each gi on Budovideos and in hindsight wish I had checked my own measurements.  As luck would have it the A2 was way too big.  I compared the measurements of the A1 & A2 and decided to give the smaller size a shot.  That being said I cannot stress the importance of having your own measurements taken and keeping them handy when ordering a gi.  Some manufacturers provide this information for their gi's and knowing your own measurements can save you the time and hassle of returns.  After receiving the A1 I found it to be a bit bulky.  Nothing alarming and to be expected to some degree when trying out a new brand.  The top has a very strange cut in a couple areas.  The jacket is unusually long making the skirt to be about an inch longer than most gi's that I currently own.  I have found the fit of the jacket in the upper torso area to be excessively bulky.  Laying the jacket flat is somewhat revealing and may explain why it fits in this manner.  The sleeves appear to be tapered in a slight, downward sloping manner.  None of the other gi's in my inventory are cut like this.  I feel like this gi doesn't match my body type well and may be more suited to someone with a bigger torso.  The fit of the pants seem very well unlike the jacket.

Here you can see how the jacket isn't
tailored particularly well for my body type.

Collar thickness comparisons
Please keep in mind that the measurements taken here were after washing the gi's a few times.  There has most likely been some shrinkage since I did use warm water and ran it through the dryer.

Rolling Impressions
This is where things get complicated.  The awkward fit of the jacket really showed up while training.  I found that the jacket was almost always in my way.  It seemed like the lapels wanted to open up and I was struggling to readjust the gi top by pulling down on the skirt and lapels.  It's difficult to describe as I haven't experienced this with other gi's.  When first putting the gi on it feels really good but once training starts it just feels like more of an obstruction.  At times the collar did manage to get pulled up over my head while stuck in bad positions such as north-south.  The sleeves unfortunately seem a bit long as well.  I would prefer the sleeves and cuffs to be a bit more tailored.  As training sessions wore on the sleeves felt longer and longer making them easy to manipulate by training partners.  Again the pants seemed to fit very well and I had no problem with them while training.  The padding in the knees is definitely appreciated and better than average.

I have washed this gi twice now in warm water and tumble dry with medium to high heat with the intention of shrinking it.  While it has shrunk some I'm not sure that a lot can be done to make this one smaller.  Their advertised "pre-shrunk" process is pretty true to form.

Closing Thoughts
I hate to sound harsh in this review.  I think that the design and construction of the gi is excellent and one of the best I have owned from that standpoint.  I also find this gi to be one of the more comfortable that I've reviewed.  Storm Kimonos has definitely built a solid gi for everyday training or competition.  Unfortunately the fit just isn't suited for my body type.  I do feel that this is a gi that many others can appreciate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 IBJJF Pro League

Saturday night we were treated to our first IBJJF Pro League event.  While this isn't the Mundials or Pan it is a big deal for a couple reasons.  Finally these world class black belts are getting paid  to compete and we as viewers are able to watch the event for FREE!!!!  I managed to catch most of the event which was run very smoothly and the commentators did a very good job of describing the action.  The event ran with two mats until the finals at which point they only ran one match at a time.  I've found three of the finals matches and posted them here for those that missed out on the event.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  I will add more as I run across them.  

Update:  IBJJF uploaded their higher quality videos so I am passing them along here.

Probably one of the coolest things that happened in this event was the performance of Tanner Rice.  Rice is 19 and recently received his black belt from Cobrinha about 2 months ago.  He defeated Megaton earlier that day by kimura and went on to have a great match Tanquinho in the 1st round of the Pro.  I think it's safe to say we can expect BIG things from Tanner Rice on the competition circuit.  Unfortunately he had to withdraw after this match due to injury.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 Nogi Worlds (Post Analysis)

Caio Terra (Gracie Fighter) x Fabbio Passos (Alliance)  Rooster Final

I unfortunately missed this match but thankfully Budovideos posted it on Youtube for our viewing pleasure.  Note that at the beginning of the match two funny things happen.  First, there is discussion about the IBJJF forbidding the use of thong underwear for female competitors and Caio takes a timeout prior to the start of the match to fix his hair.  This match was nothing short of brilliant on the part of Caio Terra.  As the match begins, Passos moves into a sitting guard single leg and transitions into deep half guard.  It looks like Passos wanted to sweep into a single leg but Caio is almost two steps ahead of him.  Caio responds by grabbing a kimura before Passos can initiate the sweep which allows him to sneak around to the back of Passos.  VERY SLICK!  Caio moves into the top rear mount position and slaps on a RNC.  As Passos attempts to bring his left arms out to defend the choke Caio traps it with his left knee which enables him to finish easily by RNC.

The stream was improved in some ways this time around by Budovideos.  For this tournament they utilized instant replays which was GREAT.  All too often I miss crucial moments that happen and one glance away from the screen is all it would take to miss out on something amazing.  They also made the mat assignments available so the viewer was aware of everything that was going on.  There was an aerial view provided which made it much easier to know if switching to a different mat was even worthwhile since not all mats always have a match ongoing.  My only complaint about the stream this year was the quality of the video stream seemed to be down a little bit.  There didn't seem to be too much lag (not anymore than normal) but that could be a combination of traffic and/or my Internet connection.

Onto overall impressions from the tournament.  My initial impressions (at the black belt level) was that the brackets seemed a little thin.  I have to wonder if some of this is due to the increasingly busy IBJJF schedule and upcoming IBJJF Pro shows.  The IBJJF Masters/Seniors tournament was less than a month ago as was the Metamoris PPV event.  I was unable to watch the stream on Saturday but did see a good portion on Sunday.  I came away from this having a new found respect for Team Lloyd Irvin.  I have been following them more closely since last summer and they have a recipe for building top level competitors.  Their results at the Worlds this year speak volumes.  DJ Jackson is now officially the first TLI adult male to claim a world championship.  They were only two points behind Alliance in overall adult men's rankings which shocked me.  Some may argue with the style and/or marketing of Lloyd Irvin but it's hard to dispute that they are creating some awesome competitors the likes of Ryan Hall, Jonathan Torres, DJ Jackson, Jordon Schultz & Kennan Cornelius (who by the way submitted everyone on his way to gold).  It will be interesting to see if they can keep this momentum when the 2013 Pan Championships roll around next Spring.

Academy Results

1 - Alliance - 82
2 - Team Lloyd Irvin - 80
3 - Gracie Elite Team - 50 

1 - Gracie Humaita - 53
2 - Gracie Barra - 38
3 - Alliance - 35 

1 - Gracie Barra - 22
2 - Nova União - 21
3 - Carvalho Teixeira BJJ - 18 

1 - Gracie Barra - 103
2 - Brazilian Top Team - 86
3 - Nova União - 76 

The remainder of the results can be found here on the IBJJF website.

I've added some videos that Budo just released from Lloyd Irvin's matches.  I thought it would be cool to post them because there aren't a ton of competition videos out there of Lloyd.

Match 1 is against Paul Halme of Peak Performance

Match 2 (final) is against Mark Zuber (assistant instructor from our school NDBJJ)

Keenan Cornelius (TLI) Match 2

Keenan Cornelius (TLI) Match 4 or 5?

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 IBJJF Nogi Worlds Brackets

Here are the Black Belt Adult Men's Brackets.  I will try and add others as time permits.

Women's Black Belt Brackets

Men's Black Belt Master Brackets

Mens Brown Belt Adult Brackets

Friday, August 24, 2012

Being Injured (Popped Ribs) SUCKS!

I've been training BJJ for just over four years now and I've had my fair share of injuries.  I have managed to do the following:
  • Hyper-extended thumbs
  • Strained groin (borderline hernia)
  • Dislocated pinky toe
  • Torn MCL
  • Fractured orbital
  • "Popped" ribs
The popped rib incident happened a week ago from last Monday.  This occurred while trying to escape side mount against a larger rolling partner.  It was definitely not something that happens very often.  In fact I have only popped one rib a while back (again with a larger rolling partner) but it wasn't that bad and healed up in a couple to few weeks.  Well this latest incident involved three popping sounds.  The feeling of having this occur just takes your breath away and hurts like HELL.  I would equate it to getting hit in the ribs with a sledgehammer.  It sucked pretty bad but I've managed to stay on the mats and focus mostly on drilling.  I'd be lying though if I said I've not pushed it a bit too much (errant bumps) and simply trying to roll "light" with larger people....just not a very good recipe for getting healthy.  I got a terrible reminder this morning rolling light with one of the black belts at our gym.  That feeling should last at least a few weeks and remind me not to push it.  I think the biggest problem is twisting the upper body while bearing weight or load from other people.  Unfortunately a large part of my game is playing from various guards and that just isn't a viable option with any sort of resistance.  Should be a good time to get in a ridiculous amount of reps drilling.  

So moving forward I'm going to follow my own advice.
  • Stop being a dumb-dumb and train around the injury
  • Stop pushing it and let it heal

If you made it this far, here's a really cool match between Caio Terra and one of his friends (co-instructors) Osvaldo Augusto Queixnho from last year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Playa del Carmen 2012 (Honeymoon)

Lindsey and I got married earlier this year in February. We had a small, private wedding at our favorite drinkery....Mercy (  We had a nice mixture of family and friends.  Lindsey and I took off to Playa del Carmen the next day.  We had an wonderful time and thought I'd share some of the pictures from our visit.  Lindsey had never visited the Yucatan (my second trip) and it was a great experience.  We stayed at La Tortuga which is a really exclusive place (not to be confused with inclusive) and basically in downtown Playa.  The accommodations and staff are nothing short of amazing.  I highly recommend this place for those that aren't married to inclusive resorts.  They have a restaurant (El Bistro) that provides complimentary (FREAKING AWESOME) breakfast with lots of choices.  This isn't some buffet like you get at most resorts.  They have a nice lounging area for drinking and using their Wi-Fi which came in very handy.

Mamita's Beach Club & view

One of the coolest places we went was Akumal Bay to swim with the sea turtles.  They have a dive shop for those that need equipment, scuba, want to do a dive trip, etc.  We had our own snorkel gear and rented a locker.  The water was a bit cold but the tortugas were awesome.  What we didn't expect to find was lots of  reef out there.  We probably swam out about 100 yards (still in the bay by a long shot) and found Rays, lobsters, plenty of diverse reef fish, giant Gorgonians, lots of Porites, Barracuda, and a trio of CUDDLEFISH swimming!  That was the biggest surprise by far.  Unfortunately we didn't bring the camera but the memories will last forever.  Coolest part is you don't need a guide to do this.  Just swim out there and see it on your own.
We used the collectivo (bus) to get around about 95% of the time rather than more expensive taxi's.  It's literally dimes on the dollar if you want to save some money.

We also did a guided snorkel trip in Puerto Morelos which was nice but having to wear a life jacket was super lame.  It's a National Park so it's mandatory apparently.  We'll do that one go further down the beach!  Here are some pics from that gorgeous area.
We attempted to do a cenote dive but (unlucky) found a place that wasn't snorkel friendly....Cenote Azul. It would have been suicidal to try and dive down and come up into the cenotes at this place without scuba.  It was a really beautiful spot though with really pretty freshwater fish.  

One of our favorite places to eat by far was El Fogon.  This was a small restaurant that made PURE AWESOME on the grille.  

Carboncito's is also another really good restaurant with AWESOMELY large margaritas.
Downtown Playa