Wednesday, May 12, 2010


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,

Kenny Bond


  1. It seems like Gi-fashion is following closely on the heels of real fashion. Much like jeans, I've noticed gi pants getting skinnier and skinnier. They also have low-rise waists like the latest jeans, which unfortunately results in a lot more ass crack being displayed on the mats. I'm not super flexible to begin with, so it just seems wrong when it feels like the crotch of my gi pants is going to rip when I'm playing open guard.

    Maybe I'm just a dinosaur, but unless I'm stepping on a scale, I really prefer the roomy fit of an older gi....not circus tent roomy like a judo gi....but something simple and strong like an old-school HCK Comp gi. Plus they last forever. But they are weight killers if you're stepping onto the IBJJF scales.

    But please, let's not forget about DSTRYR's super awesome DENIM gi from Krugens!!

  2. I absolutely love this post!!!!

  3. awesome!!! Yeah, DSTRYRsg is Haute Kimono Couture for sure.

  4. I'm going on record here and maintaining that I had the pass! Or, rather, I would have had it were it not for those damn tear-away pants.

  5. Fantabulous. Francisco has hella grip apparently.

    I just want to see one of you in a tiedye gi.

  6. looks like a Howard Competition Lite.
    how does the collar and cut compare to the original line of Howard kimonos?

  7. is it safe to assume that the jacket is good, but, the pants suck?
    thanks in advance.

  8. Hey whos the guy inside the guard, looks like a navy blue gi? can name?

  9. Interesting blog, the author thanks so much for the interesting explanation!Keep it up, great success! Bloggy wish a lot of good posts!

  10. Great articles and it's so helpful. I want to add your blog into my rrs reader but i can't find the rrs address. Would you please send your address to my email? Thanks a lot!
    By Jordan 6

  11. herana: I just added the RSS feed dealio thing for you (top left column). Hope that helps.

    Georgette: Not sure I could pull a tie-dye gi off, but I'd try! The denim gi was a stretch.

    I'll let Mr. Bond reply to the rest of the comments on the gi ion question.

  12. Thanks for the comments.

    I did not mean for the article to be a gi review but to answer anonymous' question, it is a HCK Comp Lite.
    Howard knows about the tear heard 'round the world and is on it, CSI style. He already replaced my pants with the old style and another lite pair. Per his request, I sent him the torn pair so he can show his manufacturer.

    To answer anonymous' other question, the top is awesome. I've always liked the quality and fit of HCK, but found them to be too hot and too heavy for my taste. The HCK Comp Lite top is the perfect weight, the quality is top notch. Plus the price is right (less than $100).

    Georgette, Francisco's grip is freakishly ridiculously gorilla-like. It's almost as annoying as his rainbow mouthguard.

    Keep the comments coming and see you on the mat,


    BTW, dstryrSG was NEVER close to passing

    1. kenny ure a punk and i ll still kick ure ass like i did back in 87 to 92 still my bitch from og crazy criminal class

  13. on the subject of DSTRYR'S fashion. I remember quite vividly rolling with DSTRYR and suddenly being transfixed by his rainbow colored mouthguard. I was in a trance and then suddenly triangled. Im beginning to think that Dstryr's 300.00 kimonos and flashy mouthpieces might just be some kind of psychological warfare? Jedi mind trick?

  14. pee ess,

    reminds me of the Drysdale/ Roger Gracie Gi rip. Drysdale said that any man that can rip a GI should be feared.

  15. Hi Bondo,

    How does the collar of the HCK Competition Lite compare to collars of the other HCKs you have used in the past?
    Thanks in advance.

  16. Hey Paul,

    Collar is very similar, maybe a little lighter than the Comp Single.


  17. thank you very much, Bondo!

  18. mine too have ripped, on the other die of the knee patch from yours. I am an avid HCK guy & got the same response. mail em to me right away. I think its bad material is all,,,,the top is the bomb & I love the embroidery more than anything else

  19. Thank you for the well-written and entertaining article!

    Does anyone know where you can buy just BJJ pants without the top? It seems like you can purchase uniform pants separately for every other style of martial arts (judo, karate, etc.) except BJJ.

    I resell gis but don't have access to or sell BJJ pants only. I get this question from customers occasional and it would be nice to at least know where to refer them when they ask this question instead of just saying "I don't know?".


  20. Randall:

    I know some of the gi manufacturers do sell pants separately.

    For Atama and Ouano:

    Looks like Koral sells them directly as well:

    For Keiko:

  21. Thank you for links and information. I appreciate it!


  22. When I was in the military, our government issue ripstop cammies would spontaneously shred if they came into contact with anything that had an edge (trees, bushes, rocks). No way am I paying money to get ripstop gi pants.

  23. Haha, funny how you mention Shoyoroll as the choice for BJJ gi snobs. I agree.

  24. Hi Kenny!
    Great post, very useful information.
    Im rokie in BJJ and this information helped me alot. Thanks!

    Martial Art Training

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