As regular readers know that as well as practicing BJJ I also train in Judo. Last year I needed a new competition gi for the British Judo Championships and had a nightmare buying a gi. A mixture of poor stock levels, import costs, gi shrinkage and in some cases poor customer service left me disillusioned with a number of Judo gi companies. So when I heard that Valor Fightwear were starting to produce judo gi’s instantly got in touch to find out about launch dates. I was even more delighted to be asked if I wished to test one out!
Now Judo gi’s are a different beast to BJJ gi’s both in terms of cut and also sizing. For this review, I tested a 170cm gi which is my usual sizing for judo gi’s. The Judo Gi its self is extremely well made. It has a classic design (judo gi’s can’t have the same level of design or patches compared to BJJ ones) with stylish valor branding. Obviously, the gi is stitched in all the right places to ensure strength and reinforcement. Out of the bag, the
Out of the bag, the gi was slightly larger than perfect but nothing that prevented me wearing on the mats. In fact, for me it was positive as judo gi’s due to their design seem more prone to shrinkage and enabled me to some shrinkage whilst still staying competition legal.
In judo your weigh in as an adult is usually without the gi. This results in some really heavy tanks of a gi. This gi is very much a halfway house. The pants are the quality you’d expect from a BJJ brand but definitely a higher quality than most judo gis and on par with competing brands. The jacket is more lightweight than many competition gi’s on the market but as a BJJ player, I preferred this as I feel it gives me better movement. I find many judo jackets too hot and heavy. That being said the jacket can still stand up on its own – literally.
Performance wise for my preferences it felt good. The pants stayed tied (judo gis have fewer belt loops so this can be problematic) and the jacket performed well to multiple opponents attempting to throw me around by it! I wore the gi to my BJA Level 1 coach course and got several compliments on my gi from fellow coaches and judoka so simply by that logic (and that I passed the course) means not only did I look good but it must have at least improved my takedowns by 0.01%!
In terms of shrinkage, washing and those all-important measurements:
|Out of the Bag||After 5 Washes|
|Body Length||83 cm||82.5 cm|
|Body Width||57 cm||55.5 cm|
|Wing Span||152.6 cm||144 cm|
|Sleeve Length||66.5 cm||62 cm|
|Inside Leg||79.5 cm||74 cm|
|Outside Leg||103.5 cm||100 cm|
|Pant Width||24.5 cm||24 cm|
*5Washes = cold wash, tumble spin and air drying. For Gi Map click here.
Yes, the gi shrunk a little bit but not as much as other judo gis have I owned and tried. Currently, the gi still fits me well and has stayed competition legal. As always just bear in mind when you buy and gi that there may be shrinkage and if your borderline to sizes especially ifs due to height then it may be worth going one size up.
Overall this gi is a great club level gi. It’s not IJF approved (in judo gi’s are licensed as approved for international events) but for domestic competition and general training its a great gi to have. A solid piece of kit combined with Valor experience in the BJJ community and their approach to customer service makes this a great option for both experienced judoka’s as well as grapplers crossing over. The gi is now available and retails for £50 so check out Valor Fightwear UK and Valor Fightwear USA for more information.
*Bonus Review* Valor also sent me one of their Elite Gi Material Belts. This is one high-quality belt – strong coloring (in fact people prematurely congratulated me my promotion!) and it quickly became flexible enough to tie and hold a great knot for training. If you need a new or spare competition belt I’d certainly recommend it! Check out Valor Fightwear UK or US to get hold of one.