Grapplers, here's a special treat for you. My teammate and longtime brother in jiu jitsu, Kenny Bond aka "Bondo" aka "007" has graciously provided us with a very true (except for the parts disparaging me and/or my BJJ game), cautionary and decidedly ironic tale straight from the mat. Enjoy.
Kenny Bond is a Pan American Champion and Black Belt out of Street Sports
BJJ in Santa Monica, CA. He's now co-head instructor at Simi Valley
Jiu Jitsu in Simi Valley, CA.
"Not Another Gi Discussion on a BJJ Blog!!!"
by Kenny Bond
If you want to guarantee a lively, albeit boring, discussion among BJJ nerds, ask the question, “What gi should I buy?” or “What is the best gi?” It’s like asking a group of Star Wars nerds who the most powerful Jedi is (correct answer = Luke Skywalker).
In 15 years of rolling around on the ground in a pajama, I’ve tried just about every BJJ gi that has ever been made. In the '90s, the cool gis came from Brazil and you had to know someone who had just returned from Brazil to get an Atama, Krugans, or Machado Kimono. BJJers would "Ooooh" and "Ahhhh" with envy at your Krugan while they were sporting a dorky Tiger judo gi.
The style du jour of the '90s was a thick, heavy top with an even thicker and heavier collar (better to defend chokes they said). I was the coolest blue belt around wearing my 8lbs worth of double weave Atama.
These days the BJJ fashion police and IBJJF scales call for a lightweight gi. So all the usual suspects scrambled and came out with their version of a competition gi with the latest ripstop pants. Ironically, they have about the same feel as the Tiger judo gis but with cooler graphics and steeper price tag.
Not one to be left behind in the BJJ fashion world, I decided I needed a lightweight gi. Using the information superhighway, I made my purchase and waited patiently for the UPS man to show up. When the man in brown handed me the package, I promptly went off to train with that new gi smell.
Training was going great. I went through about 8, 5 minute rounds and my new gi was performing wonderfully. The lightness helped me pull off some great sweeps and subs. Then it was time to roll with our favorite blogger, DSTRYRsg. He, being a kimono connoisseur (snob), was wearing the latest from Shoyoroll. He sneered down his nose at my new gi and remarked something about the pants looking like Karate pants. I tried to muster a witty response but could only manage a, “I think its ripstop jerkface”
We did the obligatory jiu jitsu hand slap/ fist bump and I proceeded to pull guard and attack. DSTRYRsg worked feverishly to pass but he was mainly just trying to defend my high level open guard attacks. He clamped on to my pants like a fat kid holding a Snickers and tried to pass. But then the unthinkable happened! An ear-splitting ripping noise rang out through the school… mothers clutched their children, birds scattered, etc. I sat in silent horror as I looked at my pants which had torn spectacularly all the way up to my boxer shorts. The gym fell quiet except for DSTRYRsg’s laughter. He mockingly called my pants “ripstart.”
Is there a lesson to be learned here? I don’t know. Maybe I got a bad pair of pants. Maybe DSTRYRsg’s chimp grips are too much for kimonos-lite. Maybe I don’t need to jump on every fad that comes around at my age. By the way, does anyone know where I can get a sweet tribal tattoo?
See ya on the mat,