31 Dec 2012


Seminar:
In 2012 I attended a number of cool seminars. I always feel that I benefit in some way, no matter how small, even if I can't remember or use all the techniques shown, just being immersed for a couple of hours under the instruction of a master of BJJ is valuable. Having Master de la Riva visit our academy is always a very good session, he never fails to show us something that makes us go wow. I also really enjoyed training with Michelle Nicolini, the World Champ was here in the UK for several weeks and I was thrilled to meet and train with her over several sessions. Lucas Leite's seminar was very technical and helped me delve into the intricacies of the half guard a lot more. But for me, the best seminar of 2012 was conducted by the irrepressible Roberto 'Cyborg' Abreu. His amazing personality just shone throughout the seminar and my eyes were opened to the wonders of inverting my guard and playing with his invented tornado guard sweeps and submissions. I can honestly say no other seminar instructor has made such a profound change on me and my BJJ since the very first seminar I attended under Royce Gracie, way back in 2004 (iirc).

Reviews:

I am very fortunate in my self nominated role of BJJ gear reviewer. Over the past few years I have worn and tested gis made by pretty much all the major players in BJJ. But up until this year, one brand eluded me - Shoyoroll. Their long awaited model, the Maeda, was my first Shoyoroll. When it arrived I wore it non stop, I wanted to critique it the best I could, and, despite a printing error, I simply couldn't fault it.
 It is is still my favourite gi. The fit and cut of the A1L is perfect and the comfort and lightness of the gi is a joy to wear in training and competition. Coming very close to the Shoyoroll is a nice surprise - the Fuji All Around Gi. I genuinely did not think such a utilitarian and moderately priced gi could be so high specced and of great quality.
Commendable runner up mentions should go to: the Estilo purple gi, Oss Kimono v1, Aesthetic gis, Competidor Guardian - all exceedingly good BJJ gis.



Tournaments (that I competed in):
In 2012 I competed in just the two tournaments - the Hereford Open and the London BJJ Open. Both were great events and I learned a heck of a lot competing in both. Despite being a pretty lousy tournament player, I do really enjoy competing and feel it improves my 'game' with every event.



Tournaments (that I spectated):
This year saw the usual suspects of IBJJF majors being streamed online. The set-up run by Budovideos is now a very slick operation and I feel no live ppv BJJ event is complete without the commentary by Caleb, Shawn Williams and Budo Jake. I enjoyed watching both the Worlds and the Pans.

The IBJJF hosted the first European Nogi here in London. As official photographer, I had the unique opportunity to see how they run a comp from behind the scenes.

The winner of most amazing tournament this year hands down has to go to Metamoris. Rorion Gracie and his sons have been long been preaching how points based BJJ comps have killed the ethos of the sport, now they had a chance to show the world the meaning behind their words. And boy how they did. With no points to defend or attain, the goal was simple - win by submission. Every match was a thrill ride for us BJJ-heads. Well, all except Andre Galvao v Ryron Gracie. On the one hand, Ryron showed impressive defensive capabilities as he frustrated Andre, on the other, he kind of kicked the whole 'submission only' concept out the park by, um, not really going for submissions. In any case, maybe it did not matter how Ryron had 'kept it playful', the team had done a wonderful job with the tournament and I look forward to more in 2013.


Personal achievements of the year:
2013 was a frantically busy year for me in terms of BJJ-related assignments. I opened up my own store with the help of my business partners. The store has been a great success and I would like to thank everyone who bought one of my products.


This year, continued to write and photograph for the media, notably Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine and Jiu Jitsu Magazine. I also received my brown belt promotion by my instructor, Nick Brooks, and his instructor, Roger Gracie. It was a wonderful feeling to be promoted and the whole grading day at the academy was a very special event. But the moment that really lifted me even beyond being promoted was seeing the legend Rickson Gracie wear a t-shirt that I had designed. As one person commented on my Facebook post, "you can pretty much retire now Meerkatsu." Heh, I wish I could but I'm already drawing a ton of new artworks ready for release in 2013.


Good causes.
This year more than any other I dedicated time towards various charity projects. I contributed artwork for a Tap Cancer Out t-shirt and also their more recent IndieGoGo tournament mat fund raising project. The TCO 'gentle omoplata' t-shirt has so far raised over $4,500 profit for the charity and the signed Rickson Gracie bear print was picked up by one donor for $350.

I also took part in a 24 hour grapplethon in Bristol to raise money for Meningitis UK. Collectively we managed to raise a very impressive £2,750.

Earlier in the year, Brendan Hufford, the man behind GiReviews.net began a fund raiser, Gi Drive, to send used gis to other countries that could not afford them. I contributed various Meerkatsu designed goods that raised $150.

The popular film makers BJJ Hacks also launched a kickstarter scheme to raise funds for their Red Belt documentary. My 'Katanapus' print helped generate $275 towards their campaign. As of right now, Hywel Teague is busy making the film and it should be out soon in 2013.

Thanks to everyone who supported my endeavours, even just sharing the post or commenting with support is very helpful. BJJ has in my experience a very unique community feel about it and campaigns like the above mentioned, and others, make me feel all the more honoured to be a part of that community.


Onwards for 2013
In many ways, 2012 was a crossroads for this site. Meerkatsu, the name and brand (now a registered trademark btw), shifted irreversibly away from being a humble amateur gi tester and blogger to a professional purveyor of goods and content. The following twelve months will continue this trend as I embark on yet more freelance and own-brand design work. But the blog is important to me and I hope continues to provide information and entertainment to you readers out there too. I still feel my gear reviews have a place in the BJJ blogosphere and I trust these will continue for as long as companies send me stuff to review. As always, I try hard to produce a balanced and objective report on products - whether the company is someone I have done work for or not - they all know the score that I will test and report on both negative and positive aspects to their product.

The wallpaper art below is a Mario homage I drew for fun for everyone to share and use. Happy New Year!




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Best of 2012

Seminar : In 2012 I attended a number of cool seminars. I always feel that I benefit in some way, no matter how small, even if I can'...

28 Dec 2012


As the graphic above says, I have a wee sale going on with some of my tee designs. Go check it out by visiting here.

Thanks!


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Meerkatsu T-shirt Sale

As the graphic above says, I have a wee sale going on with some of my tee designs. Go check it out by visiting here . Thanks! .

18 Dec 2012


Summary
Kingz Kimonos (the brand made and sold by Fighters Market in Canada) improve on their first batch of gi models with their V2 models; the 420 (black) and the 450 (navy). Although initially the two models may appear to be very similar, after extensive rolling, I found that they were actually two very different gis. This review compares and contrasts the two models.

Disclosure
I have previously done freelance artwork for Kingz Kimonos. I have had no input into the design of these review products.

Quick Info:
Available from: Fighters Market
Price: 450 Comp V2 in navy - $149.95, 420 Light V2 in black - $139.95
More information: Kingz Kimonos Facebook page.
Noteworthy: Both are available in 'L' long sizes and 'H' heavy sizes.


Gi Review: Kingz Kimonos 420 Light V2 & 450 Comp V2

Summary Kingz Kimonos (the brand made and sold by Fighters Market in Canada) improve on their first batch of gi models with their V2 mod...

15 Dec 2012



In the past couple days I have been following the social media output of a Mr Lloyd Irvin Jr. For those who do not know much about Lloyd (including myself up until a few months ago), he is a BJJ black belt instructor based in USA. You will almost certainly have come across something that he has had a hand in if you follow Brazilian Jiu Jitsu online.

For a start, Lloyd is a dominant force in the world of online media marketing. If you visit his website - http://www.lloydirvin.com - or sign up to his emails, there is no escaping the very direct manner of selling. Numerous renowned instructors also follow his marketing 'template'. Some have criticised the way Lloyd sells his BJJ program, but there is no denying, his methods have been extremely successful. 

Lloyd regularly makes public claims about his career rise from pauper to millionaire all based on his BJJ programs. Team Lloyd Irvin boasts numerous champion stars such as JT Torres,  DJ Jackson and Keenan Cornelius, plus his very exciting female back belt Nyjah Easton, there is no doubt that Lloyd's stable of successful BJJ fighters and students are a major force in the world of BJJ.

The topic of Lloyd and his many claims to fame is worthy of a deeper look but for now, I'm really only focused on his current project - The Next World Champion. This is a tournament being held right now in his academy where 12 of the most highly regarded brown belts fight each other, in gi and nogi. They can win money and a claim to be the best of the best. The tournament is also dubbed the Brown Belt Kumite. There is UK interest in the form of the exciting young Luke Costello (who I interviewed in May 2010.)

Typical of Lloyd, he is keeping a tight lid on what has been happening. Instead he is feeding the masses on his Facebook page with dozens of teasing statements alluding to amazing submissions he has just witnessed or shock victories for an unnamed competitor. It's all incredibly frustrating not knowing what is happening, which of course is exactly how Lloyd wants it. He currently has a very captive audience baying for news of winners and losers. Lloyd is playing this campaign masterfully.

He has offered a snippet however. Here is a very short video of one of the earlier nogi fights, enjoy:




(Photo at top and video here taken from Lloyd Irvin's Facebook page)



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It's a Lloyd thing

In the past couple days I have been following the social media output of a Mr Lloyd Irvin Jr . For those who do not know much about Lloy...

14 Dec 2012


Summary
Good quality lightweight rashguard and sturdy grappling/fight shorts offered at a good price from new Danish brand.

Disclosure
I have no business or personal connection with Odin Fightwear.

Information
Website: odinfightwear.com
Price: 40 Euros for rashguard, 45 Euros for shorts. Plus shipping.
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/OdinFightWear



Review: Odin Fightwear rashguard and fight shorts

Summary Good quality lightweight rashguard and sturdy grappling/fight shorts offered at a good price from new Danish brand. Disclosure...

9 Dec 2012

Part two of my Xmas gift guide features a pot pourri of BJJ related products that I think would be worthy inclusions on any Xmas list. In most cases I have tried or sampled the product but I've also added stuff that I thought was just interesting though I have not used/tried the product myself.

Xmas Gift Guide #2 (unbiased version)

Part two of my Xmas gift guide features a pot pourri of BJJ related products that I think would be worthy inclusions on any Xmas list. In mo...

8 Dec 2012


I teamed up with super talented comic artist Bong Abad, of Gawakoto fame, to create this sequel to the original Raspberry Ape t-shirt (first produced by Scramble). This t-shirt went on sale today and we're nearly all out already. But let me take this opportunity to discuss the design and background anyway...


Meerkatsu Art: Raspberry Ape v2

I teamed up with super talented comic artist Bong Abad , of Gawakoto fame, to create this sequel to the original Raspberry Ape t-shirt (...

6 Dec 2012



Xmas is soon upon us, which means we have to buy lots of presents for people we see only once a year and then slap our foreheads as we watch those same gifts displayed at half the price not one week after. Hey ho, that's life I guess. So assuming you actually get a choice of stuff you want, here's part one of my Xmas gift suggestions guide. This first part is a blatant attempt to persuade you to buy stuff produced or designed by me. Well you can't say I'm being subtle. So read on if you don't mind me doing my sales pitch...

Xmas Gift Ideas #1 (biased version)

Xmas is soon upon us, which means we have to buy lots of presents for people we see only once a year and then slap our foreheads as ...

4 Dec 2012

of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Oliver Shah is a tightly edited and stirring assembly of BJJ footage that will guarantee to send shivers down your spine. Enjoy!




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A Brief History...

of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Oliver Shah is a tightly edited and stirring assembly of BJJ footage that will guarantee to send shivers down your...

27 Nov 2012

I compiled pictures of all the tee designs I have completed and have been produced in 2012. It's very nice to look back at work sometimes and appreciate the memories making them. Thanks to everyone who has hired me to draw stuff and to the fantastic peeps who have bought and worn my designs. The year is not over yet and there may still be one or two more additions to this 2012 set.

From left to right and top to bottom, the designs are:


  • Rickson Gracie - UK seminar tee
  • Spider Guard tee collaboration with Grapplers Delight
  • 8th Day Jiu Jitsu tee - a redesign I did for BJJHQ
  • Octoman - for Competidor
  • Irish BJJ Championships tee - I did this for the UK Premier BJJ Championships
  • Hanuman - Danielle West signature tee for Scramble
  • Naginata girl - for Aesthetic
  • Kong v Zilla - for the London BJJ Open tournament at SENI
  • Monkey King - for Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine
  • Daruma - for Oss Clothing
  • Man Drill To Win - for BJJHQ
  • Kabuki masks - for Meningitis Grapplethon
  • OK! tiger - for OK! Kimonos
  • Miyao signature tee - for Oss Clothing
  • Dragon - for Oss Clothing
  • Pony Club Grappling Gear tee
  • Katanapus - for Strike Fightwear
  • Gentle Omoplata - for Tap Cancer Out in collaboration with Scramble
  • X-Guard fighters - for X-Guard Brand
  • Red Dragon - for Strike Fightwear
  • Gentle Art - for Arte Suave
  • Koala - for Modern Flow
  • Tengu - for my own Meerkatsu store
  • Monkey Tames the Unicorn - for my own Meerkatsu store
  • Gentle art - for my own Meerkatsu store



I'll compile a piclist of rashguard and gi designs for 2012 at some point soon also.

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All my t-shirt designs for 2012 (so far)

I compiled pictures of all the tee designs I have completed and have been produced in 2012. It's very nice to look back at work someti...

24 Nov 2012


Summary
Drop dead gorgeous debut offering from new UK gi company, the Aurora shines while its sister model, the Alpha comes a very close second in terms of looks, fit, feel and comfort.

Disclosure
I have previously designed a t-shirt for this company. The views expressed in this review remain my own and I aim to report as impartially as I can.



Gi Review: Aurora and Alpha gis by Aesthetic

Summary Drop dead gorgeous debut offering from new UK gi company, the Aurora shines while its sister model, the Alpha comes a very close...

21 Nov 2012




This hoodie is so luxurious and warm, I've worn mine everyday since it first arrived. I should really wash it at some point.

I wrote a bit about the design on my art blog here.

Happy shopping!


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Meerkatsu Brand: Heavenly Lions hoodie

This hoodie is so luxurious and warm, I've worn mine everyday since it first arrived. I should really wash it at some point. I ...

14 Nov 2012


I was asked by the people who run Rickson Gracie UK Academy to design a t-shirt for Rickson's UK seminar. When Helio was teaching his students, he often assigned an animal persona and nickname - Rickson's was the bear. Why? Well as Pedro Sauer explains in the video below, it was because of Rickson's immense pressure and ability to 'take the air out of your lungs'.




Actually Pedro also goes on to explain that Helio printed some t-shirts in honour of these nicknames, but sadly there doesn't appear to be any photos of these designs. I would love to see them!


I have asked if Rickson could sign a few posters and t-shirts too so once I get them in my hands I'll figure out what I should do with them. Maybe offer them as a prize or something.

It's a great honour for me to have someone as legendary in the sport of jiu jitsu as Rickson happily wearing one of my designs. Huge thanks to the guys at Rickson Gracie UK Academy for giving me the opportunity.


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Meerkatsu Art: Rickson Gracie T-shirt

I was asked by the people who run Rickson Gracie UK Academy to design a t-shirt for Rickson's UK seminar. When Helio was teaching his...

10 Nov 2012



David 'The Rock' Jacobs is a highly decorated BJJ black belt from the USA. He is an instructor at the Fairfax BJJ Academy in Virginia.

He will be here in the UK teaching a seminar on November 24th at Mill Hill BJJ Academy in London. I  figured it would be a nice opportunity for me to re-print the interview I did with him for Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine last year.

Interview: David Jacobs

David 'The Rock' Jacobs is a highly decorated BJJ black belt from the USA. He is an instructor at the Fairfax BJJ Academy in Vi...

8 Nov 2012


My Karasu Tengu (crow demon) t-shirt design is now available in the Meerkatsu Store. It comes in two colours - light blue and graphite graphite grey and we'll be making sizes from small to XX-large. Here is a little more information about the art and the concept behind it...


Meerkatsu Art: Tengu T-shirt

My Karasu Tengu (crow demon) t-shirt design is now available in the Meerkatsu Store. It comes in two colours - light blue and graphite g...

5 Nov 2012


Today I was very honoured to be promoted to brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by my instructor Nick Brooks and his instructor Roger Gracie. I was promoted alongside a good bunch of my team mates at the Mill Hill BJJ winter grading.

It's very weird to be wearing a different coloured belt. I've been a purple belt for such a while that I can't mentally prepare for a whole new way of playing the game. Brown belt rules allow for all manner of leg submissions that are not allowed at lower grades. Of course Nick and a couple others at the academy have been getting me used to these for the past six months. He describes brown belt as being like a completely new martial art: Once the lower limb submissions are introduced, BJJ players have to completely change their game and learn things afresh. It's just another reminder that while the colour belt you wear might indicate some level of proficiency, the truth is, there's so, so much more out there to learn.


I would like to give a huge thank you to my instructor Nick for dedicating his whole life to teaching and coaching and helping us all grow in the sport. I also wish to thank my good buddies at Mill Hill BJJ. It's so very true that being in a good academy is very much like being part of a large family.

So, onwards and upwards. And my first task ahead is to investigate options for purchasing a custom hand made brown belt...any ideas?


My good buddy Chris Hearn who was promoted to black belt!

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Faixa Marrom!

Today I was very honoured to be promoted to brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by my instructor Nick Brooks and his instructor Roger Graci...

28 Oct 2012



Summary
A good, sturdy, smart and tastefully designed debut gi offering from Oss Clothing. The gi in size A1 fitted me very well and performed comfortably throughout training. Unusually shiny trousers as well!


Disclosures
I have been commissioned by Oss Clothing in the past on a freelance basis, I have had no input into this product.

Introduction
Oss Clothing have been operating for around a year. They started out with a range of attractive Japanese inspired t-shirts (including some that were designed by me) and have now moved on to their first gi uniform offering that they state has taken them 9 months to develop. Although a new company, the owner has been involved with BJJ for a long time (in 2006 he founded Purebred USA - Enson Inuoe's own clothing brand) so I would expect this to be a well developed product.


Gi Review: Oss Kimono v1.0B

Summary A good, sturdy, smart and tastefully designed debut gi offering from Oss Clothing. The gi in size A1 fitted me very well and pe...

27 Oct 2012

Here is something for Halloween/Day of the Dead season. Feel free to use it for your desktop wallpaper - it is sized 4:3 (1600 x 1200).



Meerkatsu Art: Lady Jiu Jitsu

Here is something for Halloween/Day of the Dead season. Feel free to use it for your desktop wallpaper - it is sized 4:3 (1600 x 1200). ...

23 Oct 2012



On Sunday, I had the privilege of being the official photographer at the IBJJF European No Gi Championships. It's the first time the IBJJF have run such an event and they chose the Crystal Palace National Arena sports hall in south London as the venue. In actual fact, the whole weekend was an IBJJF festival of jiu jitsu, Saturday being dedicated to the IBJJF London Open gi event and Sunday being the nogi. It's clear that the IBJJF are expanding their rosta of worldwide tournaments and also expanding the opportunities for players to fight gi and no gi. I took a ton of photos and saw a ton of brilliant matches...


Tournament: IBJJF European No Gi 2012

On Sunday, I had the privilege of being the official photographer at the IBJJF European No Gi Championships. It's the first time the...

19 Oct 2012


Summary
Bright, attractive and very well constructed rashguard top and fight shorts from new Polish brand. The fit of both items was very good (size small each) and I was very impressed with the sturdiness of the shorts - which were reinforced copiously throughout.

Disclosures
I have no business or personal connection with Ground Game other than with this review. I do know the artist behind the illustrations.

Available from
Website: http://groundgameshop.com/
Rashguard priced at: 44 Euros
Shorts prices at: 49 Euros


Gear Review: Ground Game 'Samurai Shadows' Rashguard and Shorts

Summary Bright, attractive and very well constructed rashguard top and fight shorts from new Polish brand. The fit of both items was ver...

15 Oct 2012



Yesterday (Sunday) there were two very inspirational and landmark events that took place. The first was Felix Baumgartner's amazing freefall skydive from  39 kilometres up in the sky. I watched it live on the internet and gasped as Felix took that step forward and just, kinda, dropped down towards the barely visible terra firma far below. An amazing physical achievement and I cheered as Felix landed so effortlessly on both feet.

Speaking of physical achievements, last night's other landmark event was the inaugural Metamoris Pro BJJ Invitational - a tournament to showcase the best of the best current BJJ fighters in a 20 minute, no points, submission only contest. The line-up was a dream come true for us grappling fans. The fights were high in drama, at times displayed jaw dropping technique, with a few surprises along the way and even a little humour too.

Caio Terra managed to pull out a superb display of patient attacking jiu jitsu to overcome Jeff Glover's defence first tactics. Glover seemed to goad Caio with his 'come and get me' attitude. Caio looked frustrated at points but never let up. Once he freed Glover's arm the armbar was a done deal. Well done Caio!

Rafael Lovato Junior was imperious against Kayron Gracie. The former's superior size, strength and conditioning paid off with a brilliant key lock/kimura.

Next up was a battle royale between Kron Gracie and Otavio Souza. My money was on Otavio (the current World Champion) and for the majority of the match, Otavio pretty much had Kron in control with his double sleeve grips. But after 10,12,14 minutes, Otavio was visibly tiring and Kron finally secured a submission with a majestic display of technique and timing. wow! The result here vindicated the idea of a longer no points rule set.

On paper, the next match, Andre Galvao versus Ryron Gracie, seemed like an odd match-up. Andre being the current 'most awesome fighter today' title holder and Ryron being, that really nice guy who smiles a lot from Gracie University. By his own admission, Ryron is simply not interested in competing. Some people might suggest this would indicate a lack of fighting ability and pretty much assumed Galvao would win. Those critics were to be proved wrong as Ryron displayed a textbook performance of defence, evasion and re-positioning that is the hallmark of the Helio and Rorion Gracie philosophy of jiu jitsu. It ended a draw. Ryron had proved what he wanted to prove. Galvao seemed to hint at sour grapes in his post match speech. Regardless, it was a very interesting fight and I think it helped raise the esteem of Ryron in many people's eyes. It certainly did mine.

After ADCC in Nottingham last year, my estimation of Dean Lister is sky high. Honestly, I felt before the match if anyone out there could submit XandeRibeiro at nogi, it would be Dean. But props to Xande, he showed what a master tactician and technician he is. At around the 3/4 mark Xande got Dean's arm free and cranked on what seemed like a match-winning armbar. Dean blinked, impassive, moved and then escaped to a roar from the crowd. What the hell damnation unbreakable alloy is Dean made of? It was an extraordinary moment as the whole audience and thousands of viewers online gasped and yelled HOLY MOLY! A draw seemed the right result, both were amazing.

And so on to the top of the bill. Roger Gracie verses Marcus Almeida 'Buchecha'. Roger needs no introduction such is his stature and unmatchable dominance in the game over the past ten years. Buchecha is the current world champion and the new kid on the block. This match promised fireworks. And it did not disappoint. Although it ended a draw, it seemed as if Buchecha 'won' by simply showing us that Roger was human after all. The armbar he caught Roger with, and in which by some miracle or sheer force of will Roger escaped from, was wonderfully executed. As were the several sweeps he executed on Roger. It was really weird to watch - Roger simply does not get moved around like that, ever. It wasn't all one way, there were moments of vintage Roger - pass, mount, try to choke...but it was not to be. Roger gassed early, a consequence of his short illness preventing him from training a few days prior to the event. No excuses though, Buchecha was the man on fire.
After the fight, Buchecha was humble and utterly in awe of having fought one of his BJJ heroes. Roger was similarly respectful, suggesting he was not done yet as a BJJ gi fighter, but acknowledged the rise of a new potential superstar. A great fight.

The whole event was a wonderful and exciting showcase of jiu jitsu grappling. The standard was so incredibly high and the format so well devised that I can forgive the biased commentary from Rener Gracie and the relentless plugging for Gracie University. I already cannot wait for Metamoris II next year.

[Photo credit: Budo Dave's Instagram feed]
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Super Sunday - Metamoris and skydiving records

Yesterday (Sunday) there were two very inspirational and landmark events that took place. The first was Felix Baumgartner's amazin...

11 Oct 2012


Summary
A hugely ambitious and sumptuously illustrated uniform with a built-in rashguard lining. The overly short sleeves and trousers did not allow me to get the most out of this gi and colour leakage was unfortunate.

Disclosures
I have no business connections with Gawakoto or Art Junkie.
*This review is for a pre-production prototype, final model may differ from this sample.*

Gi Review: Gawakoto 'Save The Earth' x Art Junkie Gi

Summary A hugely ambitious and sumptuously illustrated uniform with a built-in rashguard lining. The overly short sleeves and trousers d...

9 Oct 2012

London Real is a video podcast hosted by Nicolas Gregoriades and Brian Rose. Each episode talks at length with a London based personality about their life, their views and experiences. It's a real interesting talk show and reminds me a lot of my youth when I would listen to talk radio late into the night instead of working on my school homework.

This week's episode is with Roger Gracie. As you may all know, Roger will fight Marcus Almeida 'Buchecha' on October 14th in a submission only superfight at the rather interestingly titled, Metamoris Event. Enjoy this interview and let's wish Roger all the best in his big fight:





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Roger Gracie Interview on London Real

London Real is a video podcast hosted by Nicolas Gregoriades and Brian Rose. Each episode talks at length with a London based personality ab...

8 Oct 2012



Hey gang, I was interviewed by martial arts website Into The Fire (ITF). You can read it here:
http://intothefire.org.uk/meerkatsu-jiu-jitsu-design
ITF is run by Fergus Dullaghan who is a seriously good judoka (commonwealth silver medallist). Fergus also trains BJJ and writes articles for various martial arts magazine.
Thanks for the interview Fergus!



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Interviewed by Into The Fire

Hey gang, I was interviewed by martial arts website Into The Fire (ITF). You can read it here: http://intothefire.org.uk/meerkatsu-jiu-...

24 Sep 2012



We did it! Over the past weekend, 30-40 of us at Gracie Barra Bristol managed to roll over a 24 hour period and in the process, raised funds for Meningitis UK.


Grapplethon Completed - Rolling BJJ over 24 hours!

We did it! Over the past weekend, 30-40 of us at Gracie Barra Bristol managed to roll over a 24 hour period and in the process, raised f...

19 Sep 2012



It's finally here - my very own e-store. After several months of planning and tedious production, web building, domain name hassling and working out payment and shipping complexities for both myself and my partners, the Meerkatsu Store is finally here.

http://store.meerkatsu.com

So let's have a look at what my launch offerings are...


Meerkatsu Store

It's finally here - my very own e-store. After several months of planning and tedious production, web building, domain name hassling...

16 Sep 2012


Summary
Outstanding sub $100 BJJ gi offers great value for money and then some. The attention paid to the details that matter - quality materials and copious reinforcements as well as good cut and fit - ensure that this is a great gi for everyday use.

Disclosures
I have no personal or business relations with Fuji, this review represents my own opinion.


Introduction
Ever since I first began reviewing gis a few years ago, the one brand that has kept cropping up in forums and comments is the Fuji gi. I have to be honest, I did not really take much notice of the chorus of over-enthusiastic supporters. My feeling was that such a plain gi pitched at the bottom end of the market could not be as amazing as their wearers would seem to suggest. When I was approached by Hatashita Sports asking which of their gi range I would like to review, I saw this as my chance to test out their most basic model to see if all the hype was true.


Measurements and other details

Size data for an A1 gi in centimetres brand new versus x3 washes at 40 degrees:
A: 162 / 160
B: 74 / 73
C: 53 / 53
D: 16 / 15.5
E: 53 / 51
F: 96 / 94
G: 21 / 21

Weight data in Kg:
Jacket: 1.2
Trousers: 0.5

Materials: singleweave jacket, cotton drill trousers, comes with free patches.

Manufactured in: Pakistan

Price: $89 from Hatashita Sports and other MMA/Fightwear stores.

Size discussion
Sleeve length on this gi is at the upper end of of the A1 spectrum. At 160cm long in wingspan it is equivalent to other longish brands such as the Tatami Estilo and the Ronin Brand Insignia. Other brands can have much shorter wingspans, the bottom end of the scale for example would include the Atama Mundial (150cm). Most brands tend to fall somewhere in the middle.

Jacket length and width fits in with most other gi brands while the trouser length, at 94cm long, would appear to be in the median of most brands (some A1 trousers reach as long as 100cm, others can be as short as 85cm)

Weighing 1.7Kg in total, this would be considered a tad heavier than most A1 gis.

Shrinkage would be expected on this fabric (singleweave) but the measurements show a surprisingly minimal degree of shrinkage after three warm washes.


Jacket
The Fuji All Around gi jacket is a basic judo-style single weave fabric. Unlike other single weaves I have reviewed in the past, it didn't shrink as much as I thought it would. The first noticeable aspect when one wears this gi is that it feels very soft and comfortable to wear, a good start.


The collar thickness is good but it does feel less stiff than other gi brands. Some folk prefer collars/lapels that are very stiff, others prefer a more pliable collar. The Fuji is very pliable.

The Fuji carries minimal decoration, a simple logo embroidered on the left sleeve and one at the top of the back, just under the neckline. Fuji supplies extra gi patches (not photographed).


Reinforcement on this gi is outstanding. The cuffs for example are taped with a strip of twill cotton and triple stitched into position. The softness of the material avoids the scratchy effect that some woven cuff tape can produce.


The interior of the gi jacket features reinforcing twill tape that covers each seam. This is something most other gi models omit.


More reinforcing tape is applied to the side vents and base jacket hem.



Trousers
The trousers are made from fairly stiff 'karate' style drill cotton. The fabric reminds me a lot of the recently reviewed pants from the Scramble Wave gi.


The Fuji trousers are held up with a basic flat cotton tie. I found these really annoying to tie together and annoying to pull apart since the cord tended to get stuck within its hem, doubly so once it got wet with sweat. However, once tied, they stayed tied. I do prefer rope string however. Just two belt loops would seem sparse compared to a lot of other BJJ gi models, however it did not seem to present any problems during rolling.


The pants feature a double layer covering the knee and extending all the way to the ankle. This in my opinion is ideal. Many brands have a double layer that stops just below the knee. Fine when the person is standing up but useless when down on the ground and actually on their knees. The Fuji coverage ensures the knees have a double layer covering them in any position.


The ankle base is simply tucked over and triple stitched.


The interior gusset panel features little triangular patches of cotton fabric acting as reinforcements over the weak zones. This would seem to be the minimum required to ensure durability however I wonder if more manufacturers might want to add tape to cover the main seams down the trouser length - much like  as found in the Scramble Wave gi.


Rolling performance, fit and comfort.
I rolled in this gi over a four week period. The single weave fabric is very soft and comfortable so it feels great the moment I put it on. This contrasts with many pearlweave fabric gis, that start off pretty stiff and only soften over time. One of the other immediate aspects that I really liked about this gi is the fit. I'm a short and light person (170cm tall, 58Kg) but I have long arms for my weight/height so many A1 gis end up being too small for me and yet A2 is too big a leap in size. The Fuji All Around gi fits me perfectly in all areas.


I love the way this gi hangs off my body, it just feels right when I wear and, added to the confidence that it is amply reinforced, I'm pretty sure it will last a long time.


Conclusions
I'm seriously impressed with the Fuji All Around gi. At this price range I would expect cost-cutting and inferior materials. The opposite appears to be true. It is made to very high standards, fits great, feels comfy to roll in and the great price makes this an absolute bargain in my opinion. If I'm gonna quibble, then the trousers could do with a rope drawstring instead of the flat tie and the seams running down the inside of the trousers might want reinforcing too, though considering the low price base, it's not something I would consider a deal breaker. At the end of the day, the All Around gi is a fantastic everyday training gi for beginner and pro alike.






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Gi Review: Fuji All-Around BJJ Uniform

Summary Outstanding sub $100 BJJ gi offers great value for money and then some. The attention paid to the details that matter - quality ...

9 Sep 2012

Long time readers of this blog may know that I publish a regular series call My Favourite Photographs. It's a look at some of the photography pros who work the BJJ scene offering powerful visuals for all of us to enjoy.

William Burkhardt is a French photographer living and working in Brazil. His work via BJJPix.com has been lighting up print and web BJJ media for a while now with his stunning imagery.

You can find out more about William in an interview he did for Pulling Guard Zine. He also has a regularly updated Facebook page here.

I love William's strong sense of drama. In many of his images, he makes daring post processing techniques in Photoshop. I say daring because William places a ton of contrast, high pass, vignetting etc in his images, framing each image and adding to the sense of action. It's a bold technique but he pulls it off with aplomb, blurring the lines between photo reportage and artistry.

Here are William's favourite BJJ images he has taken and a little commentary from him about each one. Enjoy!

"On this photo, Rodolfo Vieira was comemorating his absolute title at Worlds 2011. This photo featured in Tatame magazine in a full page."
This is a picture I took at the Abu-Dhabi Trial in Gramado, my first big tournament. I asked Dudu, the journalist at Tatame to get me a credential and he was nice enough to get me one. I didn't have the appropriate gear, I was missing a zoom lens but I managed to get some good shot. I got them up side down and those are the kind of shots I'm waiting for when I shoot. Those are the shots that satisify me.

I took that shot at an event called High Fight Rock, that took place in Goiânia, where I spent my first two years in Brazil.

This photo is from Brasileiro 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. I talked to the girl on the right before her fight and she told me she had entered the heavy weight division even though she is light feather weight. I managed to take that shot where it looks like she actually is throwing down her heavier opponent. She managed to score 3 points from pass but ended up losing her fight on points.

I got this shot at my first MMA event, Shooto 18 in Brasília. I got many good shots like this one. It really got me pumped.

That's a photo of Sérgio Moraes throwing down Nivaldo Oliveira during the final of the Brasileiro 2011. I had this photo framed poster sized at my appartement.
This is another cool photo I took at Jungle Fight recently.

Good luck to William in his BJJ and photographic career.


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My Favourite Photographs: William Burkhardt from BJJPix.com

Long time readers of this blog may know that I publish a regular series call My Favourite Photographs . It's a look at some of the photo...

 

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