Gear Review: Luta MMA Performance Rash Guard

I love rashies. For no-gi grappling, shirtless does not appeal to me, and loose t-shirts get in the way. For gi grappling, my experience is that most gis don’t feel good on bare skin. I wear rash guards when I work out, too; they have this magical effect of making me look and feel more buff than I actually am.

As much as I’m pro-rash guard, it’s surprising that I’ve never stepped outside of the Under Armour / generic brand arena. I own a couple of rash guards from our club (just OK) and the rash guard that came with the first-generation Origin Genesis (also just OK), but never made an effort to acquire a rashie specifically engineered for the sport.

When I got the Luta rash guard from Aaron at MartialArtsSupplies.com, I doubted that there could really be anything all that different about it. Turns out, there is. And now that I know what else is out there, I’ll not likely be going back.

I liked the Luta so much that it accompanied me on a journey around the Caribbean earlier this month. The stylish black and yellow added to my already considerable sexiness as I zip-lined and cave-tubed through the jungles of Belize in January.

(Click on any photo to view the photos as a slideshow.)

Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Hilarious, and so true!

A friend of mine sent this to me and it made me laugh, because I (like most of you I’m sure) have experienced these very stereotypes more than once.

On another note, I have a review coming out next week of the Luta rashguard, for those of you who like to wear rashies (I love them). This is my favorite rashguard to date, but out of all fairness, it’s the only jiu-jitsu rashguard I’ve owned…the rest are generic athletic guards. See you next week.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

The 2011 BJJ Gi Survey Results are posted!

To some people, a jiu-jitsu gi is just a tool to be worn out, used and replaced. To them, any scrap of cloth shaped like a gi will do. But some of us choose our gis with about as much discretion as we would a brain surgeon (or collect them like some women collect shoes). And for us, this survey is just too cool to ignore. Check out this article.

Aesopian has spent a TON of time on this survey and it shows. Big props to him for putting his time and effort into this – I think it’s a huge service to the BJJ community at large.

I reviewed 5 or 7 gis for this survey (I honestly can’t remember) and am pleased to note that the gis I prefer to wear training ranked highly in the results. Whether or not you participated, this survey is a great starting point to buying a new gi.

Most interesting to me is that apparently in the top 33 brands of gi, there is no significant variance in quality (Black Eagle is not on the top 20, for example, and I consider their product to be better than some of the other top 20). There are really hundreds of factors that influence results, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Aesopian breaks it down and interprets the data.

I for one am thrilled that many of the top brands are under $130 retail.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Product Review: Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts

I’m late for the bus. Not the first time this has happened to me, but the sinking feeling of panic never goes away. I abandon my breakfast on the countertop, fling my books over my shoulder and run down the driveway. Just as the bus begins to pull a way, I pound frantically on the door. Breathless as I run up the stairs, I stomp the snow off my shows and turn to face the bus full of my classmates. Then it happens. A cold draft of air wafts up my leg. From the back of the bus, someone yells “Hey, he’s not wearing any pants!”

http://usa.venumfight.com/


But I’m not worried. I’ve had this dream before, and this time I came prepared. I’m rockin’ my Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts, and I own this dream.

For any of you who still have dreams like this, where you’re the victim of some humiliating situation, buy some Venum Ultimate Vale Tudo shorts and wear them to bed. These babies keep you so secure that there won’t be any room for paranoia.


First questions first: what is the difference between a vale tudo short and a traditional fight short?

The biggest difference it is that vale tudo shorts are form-fitting. They hug your body and flex with you. They do not hide bulges and curves, like looser fight shorts would. In other words, they cover your butt, but they don’t hide it!

Venum Shines Through

My biggest question when Aaron from BJJHQ sent me these was how to accurately review a product meant for cage fighting. I was definitely not going into the octagon just to test these babies out.

Aaron saved me on this one: “Many people wear them under their gi pants. You need big…wait…you need a lot of body confidence to rock them alone.”

Well, I have only moderate…uh…body confidence. So that solved it. I would wear and test them under my gi pants.
Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

What is talent, anyway?

This is for you, Randy.

Today represents my re-entry into training after a nasty elbow injury a couple of months ago. It was just one of those things that happened during class; no one was trying to be tough or hurt anyone else, but I got arm-barred and didn’t tap soon enough. I’m just getting back to where I can train lightly.

For some reason, I don’t have much desire to blog when I’m not training. Maybe I see it as a chance to work on other things.

At any rate, I wanted to share an interesting conversation I had over YouTube regarding talent vs. hard work. Some months back, I made an off-handed comment on a video of Zakir Hussain about how I’d like to learn to play the tabla. (Zakir Hussain is pretty much the Roger Gracie of the Indian tabla drums, if you’ll forgive the analogy.) In the comment, I said I’d never be as good as Zakir because I can’t dedicate my life to playing the tabla.

Well, being YouTube, someone took issue to my comment and started going off about how even if I had a bazillion years, I could never be as good as Zakir Hussain at the tabla. Which is probably true. This led to a debate about which is more important, talent or hard work. My esteemed YouTube acquaintance pretty much told me I was messed up for thinking that talent takes a back seat to hard work.

This has everything to do with jiu-jitsu to me. Like every other discipline, we’re stratified, but what is it really that separates us average Joes from the BJJ elite? Is it some mystical element called “talent,” or is it something more palpable?

Here is the explanation I sent. Tell me what you think:

Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Gi Review: Black Eagle Raptor Part 2

Apparently I’m like the 4938′th blogger to review the Black Eagle Raptor.

Well, that just means there are 4937 other lucky grapplers out there who get to wear one of these to training every day. Black Eagle really outdid themselves with the Raptor.

Lest I sound like a gawking fanboy, you should know I found a few problems with this model that I’ll be exposing in my review; and one flaw in particular would really make think twice about buying it unless they fix it for the production model.

If you want the short version, here’s the video. For you die-hards, continue on after the video for specifics in measurements, weight, and to find out whether or not I got made fun of for wearing a gi with purple flowing letters on it.

Video Review

360-degree Photos

(click to view in slideshow)




Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Gi Review: Black Eagle Raptor Part 1 – The Interview

I know that Arcanum is starting to feel like a review blog, but it’s not. It’s a BJJ blog. It’s just that lately I’ve had a rash of gis to review and very little time to get it all done. The blog will feature more and more training material over the next months.

In the mean time, the next gi review is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. Get ready to meet the Black Eagle Raptor; the first luxury gi I’ve ever rolled in. The Raptor is so comfortable it induces a feeling of guilt; almost like I’m cheating on my other gis when I wear it. Not to say that it’s perfect; I found some definite issues with this pre-production model that I hope will get serious attention for the official launch (comfort was not the issue, by the way). But more on that later.

Now it’s time to hear what Steve from Black Eagle has to say about the Raptor:

ArcanumBJJ

What was your goal in building the Raptor?

Black Eagle

We wanted to show that we could also build a Kimono that stood out, but the difference being we were not prepared to let people order something without first getting samples and having those tested thoroughly.

ABJJ

What made you guys decide to try your hand at a “luxury” kimono?

B.E.

Our ‘forte’ has always been durable, lightweight BJJ Kimonos of a high quality. The Raptor was a project to show that we could also produce a ‘luxury’ Kimono to a high standard, but at a price people could afford.

ABJJ

How does adding built-in rashguard lining complicate the manufacturing process?

B.E.

The rash guard has to be made and printed and then stitched into the jacket at the pattern stage, so getting the print lined up is the hard part. But, yes, it adds cost due to the additional procedures required to ensure a good fit.

ABJJ

What sort of testing does a new gi model go through?


Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Gi Review: Submission Light Gi Part 2

Caution: Violent Content…

Submission Fight Co.’s Submission Light is a lightweight competition-worthy gi that will appeal to the eye as well as the wallet. Adopting a ripstop trouser and a pearl-weave top, this gi is equipped with the standard reinforcements you would expect on any gi worth its salt. It can take a beating with the best of them, as you will see if you read on.

Stylistically it scores high points, adopting an attractive red and black color scheme with contrast stitching and snazzy taping around the hem and down the pant legs.

At 4lbs 3 oz, it’s not the lightest or the softest gi out there. But it’s still in the light category and wears a lot like other light weight gis I own.
[pb_carousel group="0"]
I asked for an A4 trouser with an A3 jacket, and Shakib at SFC graciously obliged. Both fit very well; I enjoyed the long cut on the trousers and the roominess of the jacket. It’s not shaving the IBJJF competition limits like the Black Eagle Predator MKII, but it fits me well without being restrictive.
Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Technical Problems…

No use sugar-coating it. My Macbook Pro died last week. Or, at least the hard drive did…right in the middle of a backup.

I was hoping that it would be fixed by now so I could finish up some of the crucial parts of my Submission Light gi review and post them this evening. Unfortunately, it’s still out of commission and an important segment of the review is not completed as a result.

Today I got another computer with the right software that I’ll be using to finish the job. Sorry about the delay, especially to Shakib at Submission Fight Co., who sent me the gi quite a while ago and has been waiting patiently.

Keep checking back!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Gi Review: Submission Light Gi Part 1

Paid to Destroy…

Usually I keep my work as far as possible from my jiu-jitsu and Arcanum.

But it recently occurred to me: I’m a software quality engineer. I SCRUTINIZE AND BREAK THINGS FOR A LIVING. And yet my gi reviews are sadly devoid of breaking. I know how to test, and I should be testing the stitching out of these things.

The BJJ gi market is brutal; and so should the reviews be. Not necessarily negative, but raw and creative. Elvis had it right when he said, “A little less conversation, a little more action.”

Part I: The Interview

Submission Fight Co.

The first gi to be subjected to my new madness is the Submission Light gi. Shakib from Submission Fight Co. graciously sent me the gi for review. Before I get into the grizzly details of what this gi went through in part 2, I wanted to give Shakib a chance to plug the product.

………………………………………………………

Arcanum

What was your objective in designing and making the Submission Light gi?

SubmissionFC

Our goal was simple, to create a Bjj Gi that surpasses expensive gis in terms of style quality and durability for the lowest possible price. Many things that are featured on expensive gis are also featured on the Submission Light Gi such as the rip stop collar, contrast stitching, pre-shrunk fabric, rope draw string, rip stop pants, etc.

Single-leg me, won't you?

Arcanum

What is unique about this gi that should set it apart in the eye of jiu-jitsu practitioners?

SFC

What makes these Gis unique is the fact that it is not based off any previously made Gi, but instead was designed from the ground up and refined until it reached its current excellence. And believe me, you will not find another Gi on the market with similar style quality and durability at the price point we have. Everyone is quickly making the switch to the Submission Gis. One roll and you will know the difference.


Finish Reading…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter