As regular readers know that as well as practicing BJJ I also train in Judo. I’ve previously reviewed Valor Fightwears first Judo Gi the Shori 450 which was a great piece of kit and got me through my British Judo Coaching Qualification. So when I was approached by Valor Fightwear to review one of their latest offerings I was delighted to help them out!
Now for those that don’t cross training Judo gi’s are a different beast to BJJ gi’s both in terms of cut and also sizing. I tested a 170cm blue judo gi which is my usual sizing for judo gi’s. I wont go into too much detail into the design as they have to follow a pretty classic design (due to judo rules limiting the level of design or patches allowed compared to BJJ). Obviously the gi itself is extremely well made and stitched in all the right places to ensure strength and reinforcement.
Out of the bag, the gi was similar in size to the previous one I reviewed. It was slightly larger than perfect but nothing that prevented me wearing on the mats. The only key difference was it was slightly larger in the body. 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.
The first thing I noticed was that this definitely a judo gi was that it felt noticeably heavy than its BJJ counter part when I put it on and was definitely a more sturdy piece of kit that the original one I received. In judo your weigh in as an adult is usually without the gi so this isn’t an issue. In fact its a positive as it makes for both a harder wearing piece of kit but also something that is much harder to grip! That said the jacket and pants still felt incredibly soft to the touch so although it was a heavy gi it certainly didn’t feel more abrasive despite the heavier weave.
Performance wise I couldn’t give it my usual battering (covid has limited my ability to launch my fellow humans and to be launched in return) but I did wear it for my Zoom Judo sessions to get a reasonable feel for it (lots of drills and sweating just less being thrown!). First of all the pants stayed tied (judo gis have fewer belt loops so this can be problematic) and the drawstring didn’t feel to thin at all. The jacket also fitted and moved well especially during the solo newaza drills. But I will have to say that as a thicker gi it does get rather toasty. Although this is a judo gi problem full stop!
In terms of shrinkage, washing and those all-important measurements:
|Out of the Bag||After 3 Washes|
|Body Length||81 cm||79 cm|
|Body Width||60.5 cm||60 cm|
|Wing Span||155 cm||146.5 cm|
|Sleeve Cuff||20 cm||19.5 cm|
|Inside Leg||76.5 cm||72.5 cm|
|Outside Leg||103 cm||100 cm|
|Pant Width||24.5 cm||24 cm|
*3 Washes = 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 (some BJJ ones) that I have owned and tried. 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 is a great affordable piece of kit whether for training or competition so check out Valor Fightwear UK and Valor Fightwear USA for more information.