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The Rook was the third gi made by CTRL Industries. Their first gi really piqued my interest and I definitely wanted to check it out, but I wasn’t so sure as a new gi company was popping up every day.
Let me say this.
Based on The Rook, not only is CTRL Industries here to stay and become a major player in the BJJ scene, but I’m super upset that I never got that first Carioca gi.
The Rook from CTRL Industries combines a very solid gi top and the best pair of pants that I have ever worn (more on that later). As mentioned above, it is the third gi that they’ve produced and, by all accounts, including my own, every single one has been extremely high quality. I believe that this trend will continue into the future as well.
Fit is everything in a BJJ gi. If a gi is too baggy, too long, too tight in all the wrong places, etc. it can turn a beautiful gi into something you let sit in the closet. Fortunately for me, CTRL has one of the best fitting gis that I have ever worn. I am 6’1″ and fluctuate between 200-210lbs and the A3 fits me perfectly. The jacket has a great sleeve length and skirt length. The pants are the perfect length and cut for competition. My partners had a lot of trouble grabbing them due to the cut, which I absolutely love (I detest baggy pants in BJJ).
The design on this gi is very well done. They kept with the chess theme (hence the gis name) without going overboard with it. It can pass for a plain black gi with nice low-key accent stitching. But, it can also pass for a very bling gi if you dig the awesome taping (which isn’t scratchy and actually *is* seam taping) and the very cool embroidery and shoulder patches.
Please excuse the random fuzz and whatnot on the gi in the pictures.
They were taken directly after an intense training session and after having worn it for a few weeks!
The jacket on this gi looks very sharp and is a single weave top. This makes it great for training and for competition. I would probably prefer it for competition because I hate using super-thin gi jackets that let your opponent have whatever grips they want. It was a pleasure to train in and fared exactly the same as all of my other single weave gi tops, including my first gi. Despite being made of 550gm material (meaning it weighs 550grams per yard of fabric), it felt very mobile and light. Future models made by CTRL Industries, including their newest release, the Carioca 1.2, will be 450 gram material (which is only slightly lighter, maybe 1/2 pound overall). Also, the jacket’s sleeves were a perfect width that they didn’t feel like judo / wizard sleeves, but were also wide enough that I could easily execute Ezekiel chokes.
Okay, let’s get to the best part of this gi. During my review for this gi, I had to message CTRL on Facebook with the following message:
I got in trouble during sparring today because after the first few rounds of rolling with people, everybody was really interested in what the heck the Rook’s gi pants were made out of. When the rest time between rounds ended, none of them had partners because they were all looking at the pants. Many pushups were done.
These are the best ripstop pants that I have ever worn. The material is very difficult to grip and seems exceptionally strong. Definitely the strongest pair of ripstop pants that I own (as compared to 10+ other pairs of ripstop pants). The pants initially felt a bit waxy, which I had never felt on ripstop pants before, and they did soften a bit. Over time, they became easier to move in, but still very difficult for others to manipulate.
The cut on the Rook pants is really fantastic as well. It fits my thighs tighter than any of my other pants and the bottoms are a bit tighter on my calves as well. This leaves very little room for my training partner’s to grab to sweep me or pass my guard. This is exemplified beautifully in the video below.
Since they fit really well out of the bag, I always washed on cold and hung dry in my basement (out of the sun) to prevent any shrinkage or extra wear and tear. The knee reinforcements also fit my knees perfectly, not too low or too high. They feel strong and will likely hold up for a really long time.
The pants also held up very very well. The drawstring is stretchy and thin, but I experienced absolutely no wear and tear on it. The embroidery and all of the stitching (including the really cool taping inside the pant leg) has held up beautifully. I really put these pants through the ringer as well, not only for normal classes and training, but also for extra 2 hour drilling sessions that I started doing on Saturdays.
As mentioned above, the Rook was a joy to roll in. It will definitely stay in my regular rotation. I had full range of movement, but without giving up a bunch of extra material. The gi top felt very similar in size to my other A3 gis, including my Shoyoroll Americana and Black Eagle. Also, the gi held up really well and didn’t come untucked easily, despite liking to wear my belt very low. Also, I did not notice either the jacket or trousers stretch out during rolling despite my partners playing a lot of spider guard and de la riva guard (which tend to really stretch out sleeves).
I own a lot of gis and only a few make it into my regular rotation of 4-5 gis (which also change depending on time of the year). It’s honestly been difficult to not wear the Rook for every class after having worn it for this review. Due to the fit, durability, and style of this gi, I think it is definitely worth the $160 price tag. Despite offering pre-orders, CTRL Industries always tries to keep the Rook and their other gis in stock and have sold them on Budovideos in the past.
There are a lot of small gi companies popping up every day and some of their gis are hit or miss. CTRL has been spot on with their gis since day one and the Rook is no exception. I implore you, especially if you are built like I am (big back, and large thighs), to grab one of their gis as soon as possible. Also, if you are my height, but a bit thinner (read: you can abstain for taco binges, which I can’t), they will likely be offering an A2T size in the future!
Brendan is the Founder and mastermind behind Gireviews.net. He is currently a Purple belt training in both gi and no gi. By day he is a elementary school teacher, by night, a jedi gi reviewer!
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