OK first of all a confession. I had no intentions of buying this gi! But then I walked into OTM in Torrance and not only was it just hanging there clearly in display, nut it was light grey (I’ve been admiring grey gis for a while). Plus it was also very pretty (without being over the top bling) and then to add to its desirability it was also purple! These acts alone combined with jetlag and gi lust meant I very quickly ignored the price and put it on my husbands credit card!
At the till I discovered I had just purchased my first bamboo gi and a quick Google back home revealed I had purchased a Jeff Glover Tyke Bamboo Gi. Yes I just fell in love with love gi and bought without even knowing what it was! I paid $280 (£189) for it at OTM. This gi is a limited release but is still available in some US stores and directly from Lucky Gis. Due to import rates you’ll tend not to see too many of these around the UK gyms!
The gi it’s self is made of ultra-soft and rip resistant bamboo. Now bamboo is apparently the super gi fabric. Its fibres are comparable to silk because of their shape making it ultra soft. But bamboo also has antifungal and antibacterial properties (so a less stinky gi). It also is supposed to be highly breathable and if things couldn’t get any better because of its improved ventilation is able to keep the wearer almost two degrees cooler in the heat and noticeably warmer in the cold (hello, british weather!). In fact I think the only thing this fabric allegedly can’t do is learn your techniques for you!
As I have mentioned above this is a very cool light grey colour gi with a purple trim. It has some great lucky gi embroidery and nice touches like the “harder you train the luckier you get” printed inside the cuff and jacket. You are definitely going to stand out at training in this gi (and get your fair share of compliments) but it’s also not totally over the top like some of Lucky’s other offerings (which whilst cool are not totally my taste). I basically love how the gi looks which is basically why I bought it! But on to more practical things like sizing and performance……
The first thing regarding Lucky Gis are the large sizing. I am normally an A1 in most branded gis but actually fitted into a A0 (I tried in the shop first). Even then straight out of the bag it’s a little baggy and long on the arms. But I found the pants fitted well. From a quick google of their size chart it became pretty clear that Lucky Gis are one of the larger sized gis on the market which is obviously great for some people but as a rule means that it is a gi not that many women are going to be able to enjoy (I’m a 5ft 7, female middleweight).
So onto the crucial measurement part:
|Out of the Bag||After 3 Washes|
|Body Length||75.5 cm||74.5 cm|
|Body Width||59 cm||54.5 cm|
|Wing Span||169 cm||160 cm|
|Sleeve Length||59 cm||54 cm|
|Cuff Width||156.5 cm||16 cm|
|Inside Leg||69 cm||66 cm|
|Outside Leg||93 cm||91 cm|
|Pant Width||21 cm||20.5 cm|
Bamboo apparently only shrinks 3-5% if washed and dried on a hot temperature. My gis when I test them get washed three times on a cold wash setting and air dried. As you can see from the figures despite bamboo allegedly not shrinking that much I still managed to shrink the gi a little bit. I imagine if I did attempt a hot wash / dry then I might have been able to take a little bit more off the width but I didn’t want to risk the overall length of the gi. Overall I wouldn’t treat this gi as pre-shrunk and I would still take some shrinkage into account when buying.
In terms of feel and performance the gi felt lovely and soft but the taping on the side of the cuff did feel a little scratchy. Not too much to be an issue especially if you like wearing long sleeved rash guards and perhaps it was more noticeable because the rest of the gi feels like it is giving you a hug but either way it was something I spotted. I didn’t notice any obvious stretching or shaping problems during sessions (sleeves stretching etc) which is often a problem with softer gis although obviously as a softer gi there it does add a little extra challenge to grip breaking battles! Luckily the lapel is quite sturdily made and although no the stiffest in my collection I didn’t feel that it gave my opponent too much of a choking advantage.
I can’t really make a comment about the gis heat regulating abilities of the bamboo as it’s really hard to spot the difference. Partly because of the changeable British weather and because I realistically always go red and sweaty when I roll! But I do have to say that after being stuck in my bag on the way home it does seem to be a little less stinky than my other newer gis. Perhaps a placebo effect or it could have been the bamboos magic!
The Gi is surprisingly light, soft and very stylish and I do really love it. However for that it does come with what would be considered a hefty price tag. There are many other gis that perform as well from a practical perspective that have a lower price point and would fit a wider range of grapplers. But these are limited edition pieces and Lucky Gi do do some very unique looking gis. Plus if you buy a signature gi of an athlete, a significant portion actual goes to that athletes pockets so your helping with athlete sponsorship (every bit of justification helps!).
If you have the money or someone who wants to buy you a generous present then this is one of those gis definitely a guilty pleasure or one to buy simply because “you’re worth it”! As mentioned earlier there aren’t many of this release about but there is a new release Lucky Gi Jeff Glover Bamboo Gi that just dropped that you may want to look at too.