Monday, September 28, 2015

Thinking about reffing...

So... I've been a purple belt about a year, training mostly on since September 2008. I have reffed some in-house tournament matches, and I've probably watched at least 500 IBJJF matches from the score table, and maybe that many or more again as a ring coordinator. I feel like I'm finally ready to (eep!) referee some matches at a "real" tournament.

I know the point system, and for sure I'll be reading and rereading the tournament's policies and rules so I know what subs are legal and illegal at what belt level, etc.  I am comfortable predicting the direction of a fight, both physical and strategic, so I think I can keep competitors safe. The only things I'm scared of, besides making a mistake generally, are the moments where you're challenged about your scoring and you have to remember what all was happening in the match and what points you gave.

What are your thoughts on purple belts reffing?

Have you refereed? advice? suggestions?

Thank you!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Please donate gis and cash to Moldova's oldest BJJ team!!!

Hi Everyone from Bobby McMasters!

My organization, Pride Moldova is currently running a gi drive to help benefit Team Burlacu BJJ, Moldova's oldest BJJ team. If you happen to have a new or used gi that is still in good shape (i.e. still has 2-3 years left in it with no rips or thin material) please think about donating it! In 2011 the gi drive was a great success.  We can really help this small community grow if we do it again!  The gis can be sent directly to the beneficiaries (which is more optimal for us) or if you don't have the postage you can send them to me. Here are the addresses, respectively:

Birlea Alexandru
s. Burlacu, r. Cahul
Republica Moldova

Activities Department
c/o Tip O' Texas RV Resort
101 Sioux Rd
Pharr, TX 78577

I know what you're thinking: "That first address is crazy. It doesn't even have a street name or number or zip code!" Trust me, I've received literally dozens of packages of BJJ material at that address without any issues. It is a small village in the middle of nowhere so they don't have street names. But, again, if you are unable to or uncomfortable sending your donated gi to that address, go ahead and send it to the second one.

Here's a little background on the team: Burlacu BJJ was started in 2006. Burlacu BJJ's current head instructor, Alexandru Birlea, was only 16 at the time, but has stepped up and has carried the team ever since. Alexandru is an avid competitor and currently holds the rank of purple belt under Tudor Mihaita of Bucharest, Romania. Alexandru also puts on Moldova's longest-running tournament, the "Burlacu Open" as well as the "Moldova Cup," both of which are held annually. Since 2006, Team Burlacu has recently expanded to include a developing gym in nearby Cahul, Moldova (pictured, posing with 2.5 gis!). Burlacu BJJ was featured in the short documentary, "Uncharted Territory: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Republic of Moldova".

If you'd like to help out but don't have a spare gi, we could always use some extra cash to help pay for postage and to go toward various other initiatives we have coming up. All you have to do is go to our website, and click the donate button! 100% of proceeds go directly to benefiting the fighters since we are a 100% volunteer-run organization.

Please reach out and help however you are able!  And contact Georgette at georgettejitsu (at) if you'd like a poster to hang at your academy to help promote this gi drive!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Guest review by Matt Corley (Jiu Jitsu Magazine): the Lanky FG gi


I’m starting this review with a slight tangent.  I started reviewing gis almost 5 years ago.  The main reason that I began reviewing is that it took entirely too much effort for me to find a gi that actually fit. 

At 6’4” and 200 pounds very few gis fit me correctly.  A3s came down to my forearms and A4s were big enough to cover two people.  Jiu jitsu is hard enough when you’re just starting.  Having a gi that fits like a muumuu wasn’t helping.  I knew I wasn’t the only one having this problem so I started to research companies that made gis with different cuts to review.

Five years later I rarely write gi reviews.  To be perfectly honest, I hate to do them.  They’re tedious work and take quite a bit of time to do correctly.  I’ll let you in on another secret.  The only thing that I really care about for my gis is fit.  That’s it.  I’m perfectly happy with a plain gi that fits great.  I’ll wear a gi with patches and embroidery all over it too.  Everything else is secondary and other than cut (and material) most gis are manufactured the same way (usually in the same plant).  Speaking of manufacturing, I haven’t seen a poorly produced gi in a very long time, the competition is too stiff.  Companies that make crappy gis go out of business quickly.

If you’re still reading you’re probably wondering why the hell am I reviewing a gi if I hate doing it so much?  Simple, I’ve wanted a Lanky gi since they first came out over 2 years ago. 

When they came onto the market they focused exclusively on athletes that are long and lean.  A few others had tall/slim sizes but no one build their brand around those athletes.  At the time of this review they have 17 different sizes for their gis.  The even have 2 different versions for each size of the tall/slim gi.  When I saw a Facebook post requesting testers I asked if I could be included and was fortunate enough that John chose me to test their new PRO 550 v2 in black (they also have blue and white).


The jacket of the PRO 550 v2 is constructed of 550g pearl weave with pants constructed of 10oz ripstop.  Knee reinforcements that start at the upper thigh and continue to the cuffs. 

The pearl weave is very rough on the exterior of the jacket, similar to the sandpaper-eque weaves of older Atamas.  I had no discomfort wearing the gi, though I do wear a rashguard.  There’s been a trend towards lighter and lighter gis and the heavier weight of the jacket was a welcome change.  The gi wasn’t noticeably hot during summer rolling even while wearing a rashguard under the jacket.

 I mentioned earlier that virtually all jiu jitsu gis are well made and the PRO 550 v2 maintains that level of quality.  The stitches are straight, even and tight throughout the jacket and pants.  Grey contrast stitching is used, red is use strategically as a design element, stress points have triple stitching and seam tape improves comfort.

The lapel is covered in ripstop to make grip breaks easier.  There are 6 loops on the pants for the cord drawstring.

Speaking of drawstings.  The drawstring is probably the shortest one that I’ve ever used.  It’s long enough to get the job done but I wonder if it might come out of the pants in wash (hasn’t
happened yet).


Out of the box the pants fit me very well and the jacket was just a little bit too long, which is exactly what I requested.  When life permits I train twice a day and the only way I can keep in clean is by putting them in the dryer (on low heat) after washing them.  At the time these pics were taken I’ve worn the gi at least a dozen times.  If the gi is clean and dry I wear it.  I have 20+ hours of mat time while wearing it.

The gi fits me very, very well and will stay in my gi rotation.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use this as my competition gi if I ever compete again.  It’s worth mentioning that the sizing chart is comprehensive and accurate.  If you’re not sure what size to get start there and be sure to contact John directly if you have any questions.

Wrap Up

It can be a real challenge for leaner athletes to find a gi that fits well enough to be suitable for competition training.  John over at Lanky recognized this need a few years ago and has stepped into the niche very nicely.  The Pro 550 v2 is heavy enough to stand up to a lot of abuse, will last for a long time and fits as well as any competition gi that I’ve ever worn.  The Pro 550 v2 has been a staple in my rotation for the last few months and it’s not going anywhere.  At $150, available in black, blue and white, the Pro 550 v2 is competitively priced within the market.  The next time that you’re in the market for a new gi be sure to check out their website, Facebook and Twitter for sales.

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Many thanks to Matt Corley-- writer at Jiu Jitsu Magazine-- for his guest post reviewing the Lanky FG gi!