By Dan ‘Dressed up as Jango Fett for ComiCon' Halpin
HCK RS Lite Preview
Arriving at the end of June is the new RS LITE from Howard Combat Kimonos. This is a 100% cotton Rip Stop weave Jiu Jitsu uniform that is very light weight but steely strong. The pants are made of the same fabric as the jacket. The uniform is made of 420 gram 100% cotton woven in the rip stop pattern, unlike the typical rip stop weave that is a poly/cotton blend. The all cotton weave makes for a very breatheable and comfortable fabric, and a balanced strength within the fabric. Poly/cotton blends are not as breatheable and because polyester threads are stronger than cotton threads, there is an imbalance of strength to the fabric which can result in the fabric tearing under stress, such as pulling and tugging.
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Jacket features include stiff felt collar, setsugi stitching, taped seams for a more comfortable finish, and all logos are embroidered. The pants are made of the same 420 gram fabric, with a 280 gram twill padding from the the top of the thigh all the down to the end of the pant cuff, elastic waist band with an inner drawstring. All uniforms come in regular, short/stocky and tall/lean sizes.
The RS Lite is available in White, Blue and Black.
From the Howard Combat Kimonos Site
The HCK Ripstop Lite (AKA RS Lite):
420 gr. cotton Rip Stop weave. Very light and very strong. Felt collar, setsugi stitching, taped seams. Pants made of 420 gr. cotton Rip Stop weave. White belt. Embroidered logos.
What you receive:
- 1 x Gi Top
- 1 x Gi Pant
- 1 x BJJ White Belt
HCK RS Lite Review Summary
I have a lot of Gi's, at least more than most people, I think. I have two Gi's that I will never part with, my Do or Die Hyperfly and (now) my HCK Ripstop.
This Gi is downright amazing. I don't think words can describe how awesome this Gi is. From the cut, to the pants, it's spectacular. I was blown away since day one with this Gi. It's solved many issues I thought would always be standard on Gis.
HCK is known for a seam in the back that I originally had my doubts about, but after rolling hard in this Gi for a weeks now I can say put those doubts to rest. I have had no issues with back scratching or uncomfortable rubbing and I predominately play guard.
A lot of attention to detail seemed to be put into making this Gi as can be seen in the stitching and cut. EVERYONE SHOULD BUY THIS GI.
…or maybe not..because then I'd have to deal with the legendary HCK collars that are made of steel and carbonite. (“Yes, he's alive.. and in perfect hibernation.” ~ Brendan)
I expected the light ripstop material, but when the Gi arrived I was surprised with a thicker ripstop weave more suitable for year round grappling.
It's no ultra light Gi top, but it's definitely not heavy, middle of the road is how I'd describe it in terms of weight.
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To me, it has the perfect amount of flare on it. Some nice simple embroidery on the shoulders and they leave it at that. The yellow and white really do pop off of the black of the Gi as well. Even still after a dozen washes or so. Aesthetics wise it is again one of my top two Gis.
The cut is magnificent on this thing. It has a tailored cut that leaves out the excess material your opponents usually can grab. HCK does this while still managing to give full non-restrictive motion to the arms. The sleeves are finished off with extra thick seam tape around the wrist on the inside.
I have never been the biggest fan of Ripstop in the past as I feel it's too easy to grip and it turns unbreathable after sweating in it, but the thickness of this Gi makes it tough to grab and somehow it doesn't lose its breathability like I've experienced in the past with thinner Ripstop weaves.
One of my favorite features about the HCK Ripstop Lite is the collar. It's comfortable but probably the sturdiest collar I've ever worn. My training partners have complained vehemently about it. Which is good thing for the wearer, me, obviously. Even me just pickup up the Gi by the collar I notice it's difficult to get a full grip around it. Very impressive.
The pants are the same material as the top, which makes them heavier than normal cotton pants or even the lighter versions of Ripstop, but they are super tough. From above the knee extra reinforcement is made all the way to the bottom of the pant (similar to JustGiPants). Something I have heard every single BJJ practioner I know of mention that they want in Gi pants.
Now, the most obvious addition to these pants is the elastic waistband. I was a non-believer myself until I actually put them on. Maybe it's the fat lazy American side of me, but man are they comfortable. These are the only Gi pants I have that I never have to readjust in class. The elastic band and the drawstrings on the inside of the pant means they never get undone which is extremely conveinent.
I will roll for almost 2 hours with never having to adjust my pants. It may look “different” to some people, but I'll take function over form anyday of the week in regards to something people are never going to see anyway. (Never going to see it? I disagree. I take every chance I get to untuck my gi top and show off my six-pack abzors. Doesn't everybody do this? ~ Brendan)
If good performing Gi pants are what you are looking for, look no further.
The pants durability has been great for training and the weave of the pants makes it more difficult for my opponents to grab, unlike the thinner Ripstop weaves which are extremely easy to manipulate. The crotch has a diamond shape cut to allow for greater leg movement without worrying about tearing the pants.
Unlike most companies HCK sends a white BJJ belt with every Gi. A nice add on if you're a white belt. The belt isn't too thick and ties into a “super knot” nicely. It has the standard black box for stripes and a small HCK logo on the other end. It ties much better than the BreakPoint belts I've been using which, although sturdy, come undone much too often.
Howard Liu from HCK was 100% awesome and professional from start to finish in me receiving my Gi. You can really tell he cares about his Gi's and the people they are going to.
Do note though that HCK uses an international size chart that differs from the typical A1-A4 size charting you're used to seeing, so be prepared to get your measurements and give HCK a call with any questions.
HCK, for a $10 fee, allows you to get a different size pant with the purchase of your Gi. I myself am typically an A3 top, A2 bottoms.
If that is typically what you wear, with HCK I'd venture to guess a size 5 top (at 195lbs 5'10” the 5 fit me perfect) and 4-5 pant would do you justice depending on your waist.
HCK will no doubt help you out in your selection.
About Howard Combat Kimonos (HCK)
Howard Combat Kimonos (HCK) is known for building rock-solid gis and some really cool, unique BJJ belts. The craftsmanship is top notch and we haven't known anybody who owns an HCK gi and doesn't love it. It comes highly recommended on every message board and website and this is no different.
The gis are incredibly durable and sturdy and the pants are known for being just as tough as the jackets.
Howard Liu is an awesome guy and posts frequently on message boards should you ever need to get ahold of him outside of the contact e-mail on his website.
The collar came apart on this gi, but this is the only time we've ever heard of that happening. Seems like a case of Murphy's law. The one gi that gets reviewed online is the one gi that has a factory defect.
Not to fear though!
With top notch customer service (see the comments section below), Howard replaced the jacket with a brand new one, and was super helpful throughout the process. WELL DONE HCK!
To purchase HCK's RS Lite gi, click here. At $125-$135, this gi is a total steal. Thanks to Howard for keeping his gi prices where they should be!
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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON JULY 30, 2012 | UPDATED ON DEC 1, 2016