The Spirit of Japan gi by Tatami Fightwear is an awesome tribute gi made to replicate Enson Inoue's famous Pride FC kimono as pictured below (Photo Cred).
As with most A3 gis from Tatami Fightwear, the fit of this gi was spot on. It is covered in patches (as it should be) and now features an interior rashguard (which Tatami also did on their Terere signature gi).
This review also features a video preview of the gi and a good lesson on charging your camera before you start recording. Check it out below!
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Full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of Enson Inoue. His Facebook page regularly brings some hilarity or awesomeness to my daily life and he is definitely somebody worth following there. In addition, his interview with Open Mat Radio is simultaneously enlightening interesting, and entertaining.
UPDATE (JAN 14, 2017): This gi is no longer available.
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The fit of this gi, as with most all Tatami Fightwear A3 gis, is excellent. I don't favor the larger-sized A3 gis like Shoyoroll, Ronin, Moya Brand, and others because even when I shrink them, they're still too large. In that sizing, I really need an A2L or A2T which most of those brands don't make (note: Ronin does make an A2L).
As you can see in the video above the sleeve length and gi width is fantastic on me and although the video doesn't show it, the pants fit nearly perfect as well. Other than Ronin's Navy Samurai in A2L and the A3 Bull Terrier, the A3 in Tatami Fightwear is one of the best cut gis out there for me (6'1 and 200lbs).
FACT: Every patch on your gi makes you 10% more awesome.
Don't argue with me.
The gi features many of the cool patches that Enson had on the original gi, plus Tatami Fightwear patches as well. They're all placed almost exactly where they were on Enson's gi and the design is on point!
In addition to the patches being somewhat of a retro look, the gi has some cool modern design features like the stretchy rope drawstring and an internal rashguard, which are very cool.
One of the things that I love about Tatami gis is that the front fits flush on me. In my mind, this is how a gi jacket should fit and if the front does not pull flush across, it shows a poor cut in my opinion.
I found the skirt length on the gi to be enough that it wasn't coming untucked cosntantly, but not so long that I felt like I was wearing an old judo gi.
The rashguard interior further adds to the comfort of the Spirit of Japan gi and if you've ever had to do 500+ escapes off your back in a practice, you'll be happy you had a smooth gi interior.
I used this gi primarily in intense drilling sessions. I model my drilling sessions after the way Gianni Grippo drills so the heavier jacket was definitely noticeable. While the gi is an average weight pearl weave (500gsm), I believe the heavier feeling comes from the rashguard and the patches on the gi. Note: I did not weight the jacket so it may all be a placebo effect haha.
The pants are made of a solid canvas cotton similar to the canvas Tatami Estilo pants. This makes for a very solid training pant that feel very strong. I tend to enjoy wearing ripstop pants but these reminded me a lot of my Muaewear Oniwakamaru pants as well.
The stretchy rope drawstring is excellent and the belt loops are placed low enough that they won't ride up at all when you are training.
I only rolled in this gi three times due to my schedule. What made up for it was using it for a TON of intense drilling sessions (as noted above).
These weren't “5 armbars on each side” drilling sessions, mind you. My drilling sessions are typically timed rounds of as many quality reps as possible (some even of micro reps). I find these drilling sessions to be more intense and demanding than most sparring sessions. It's not rare to get 200-300 reps of a certain movement or series in a single session.
The gi held up fantastically during this: the pants stayed up and while the jacket was heavy, this took place during the winter so it was a welcome warmth. Overall, it was a lot of fun to wear and talk about Enson and the gi (I was asked about it constantly).
Overall this gi is yet another gi that won't let you blend in with a class. But if you're a fan of Enson or love the fit of Tatami gis (both for me!), then this would be perfect for you.
I'm incredibly happy with this gi and it will likely earn a special place in my collection. I doubt I'll use it for regular training, but I'll definitely break it out for special events and open mats!
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Also, be sure to check out my buddies, Meerkatsu's and BJJ Gear Junkie's reviews of this gi as well!