Black Friday is a gi addicts worst time of year. You promise yourself that you’re not buying any more gi’s and then you see a tempting discount – made worst by the fact that your husband is buying one too reducing the shipping costs! It was this deadly combination and my soft spot for a pretty gi that saw the Gr1ps Ara gi winging its way to me!
Regular readers will know that I have owned a few Gr1ps gi’s including the Arte Suave and Primero gi. It’s also one of the few brands where I regularly use one of their female cut gi’s (Amazonia) so i was intrigued to test out their latest female offering.
The design of the gi is supposed to be inspired by the Brazilian Rainforests hence the Parrot lining and bright contrast stitching. However the jacket is a strong as my other Gr1ps gi’s and is 100% pearl weave. The majority of the detail is saved for the inside leaving plenty of space for patches etc should you wish to wear it for competition. Although there are some lovely touches of branding including embedded into the contract stitching. It has reinforced stitching as you’d expect where required and always from Gr1ps – a great tape inside the cuffs to prevent chaffing.
Gr1ps have returned to ripstop pants for this gi which I do prefer. Not only because it makes this gi much lighter (compared to the Primero) but also more comfortable. Overall the gi came in at around 1.3kg when I checked it on my scale. Gr1p’s gis always tend to have a padded drawstring that makes for a gi that is easy to tie and this ones no different. Although it is possibly the softest feeling drawstring ever! Seriously you’ll find yourself almost stroking it as you tie your gi! I also like the variation on the pant loops for this design as there functional but also add to the design.
I ordered the F3 gi which I’ll be honest I did double-check the size chart is this is in theory my smallest gi (I normally have mens A1 or F4 gi’s). However it fitted solidly out of the bag and would have been legal for competition. However, this did mean there were not much flexibility in term of shrinkage. In terms of those all important measurements:
|Out of the Bag||After 3 Washes|
|Body Length||74 cm||74.5 cm|
*3 Washes = cold wash, tumble spin and air drying. For Gi Map click here.
This gi is steamed and pre-washed for a more tailored fit so in theory shouldn’t shrink much from washing and retain its shape. There was very minor shrinkage but nothing that you would notice through your daily wearing. Similar to other Gr1ps gis you really do need to check against the size chart as when they say pre-shrunk they genuinely do mean it!
I’m currently not in competition training but I made sure to wear this gi for training as much as I could to ensure it got a thorough testing. Now I’ll be honest the UK temperatures at the moment does mean that sweat isn’t that much of a problem (its been snowing etc). But there has been no signs of the gi stretching of giving during rolls or grip fights. The only issue I found was straight out of the bag the collar was so stiff that if I tied my gi too tight I was almost choking myself as it dug into the throat a little. However after a couple of washes this softened meaning it was definitely only my training partners do the choking!
Once again GR1PS have produced a solid gi that will be a regular in both my training and competition rotation. The gi is IBJJF legal so due to its lightweight and great fit it makes a strong addition to my collection for both training and BJJ adventures!
I bought mine directly from the Gr1ps Europe website where it currently retails for 175 euros or $189 for US shop customers.