Earlier this year we got word that a new Jiu Jitsu gi was going to be designed, produced and mass marketed by rising BJJ gi company Black Eagle, the buzz centered around a new , limited edition gi for the Brazilian Jiu Jitu market. The design team at Black Eagle focused extensively on the fabric , design, cut and manufacture process over simple badges and a cookie cutter kimono. If attention to detail is what people notice on this gi, it would come as no surprise it would become noticed. The Raptor gi as a limited edition Kimono is the goal of Black Eagle, to maintain exclusivity while providing a robust gi.
If you are a betting person and you gamble on the new Raptor Gi by Black Eagle you will most definitely come out a winner. As cliche as it may sound , the photos do NOT do this gi justice , it can’t be anymore true than what it is in this review ( additional photos can be found here ). Although Black Eagle are an established company specializing in Jiu Jitsu and grappling inspired fightwear, make no mistake about them they absolutely know what they are doing, and if there was any doubt at all, you can rest assured they got it right, bulls eye , on target with the Raptor gi.
Black Eagle is offering the Raptor gi for only a limited time and a limited quantity, we were fortunate enough to be on a very short list of recipients of the prototype before production to review, and are we glad they allowed us to review the Raptor. Total sales of the Raptor will be available to only 500 lucky grapplers. But it isn’t 500 each of men and women’s gi, it is 500 Kimonos total!
We decided to take the Raptor out for a spin , but before we dive into the training aspect of the review , we would like to touch a little bit on the other details of the gi.
First and foremost , as stated previously , we notice the little things, the attention to detail , the way products are packaged, shipped, sent and lastly followed up. Black Eagle by now is known for their outstanding customer service and CEO of Black Eagle Steve Turner has put his heart and soul into providing a service second to none along with unique and awe inspiring apparel and martial art uniforms.
And with that observation we get into the review.
The Limited Edition Raptor gi comes in 3 different color schemes. Black with red trim , white with black trim, and white with purple trim. The cut and design meets IBJJF rules and regulations, although after January 1st 2012, the black will no longer be within the rules, so Black Eagle is considering substituting the black for a different color. ( As of August 12th 2011 we got word from IBJJF that black is no longer banned. )
We received the black with red trim and as always the packaging is standard heavy duty thick plastic wrapping and if you didn’t know any better you would have thought a bundle of cash was wrapped up in the package. The standard rate of shipping to anywhere in the United States by Black Eagle is $15 USD , a bargain considering the shipping and customs involved in sending a package from England.
The Gi top
Right off the bat after removing the wrapping plastic it is immediately evident that the fabric of choice for the Raptor is of a high quality, high caliber stout. Made as a Pearl Weave the black and red trim gi sports the logos throughout the entire fabric, and as Black Eagle stated the giant eagle on the back is optional.
With the black gi the red stitching throughout brings out the Raptor and Black Eagle logos , with the giant eagle on the back, as a standout , screaming the words ” Uma forma de viver, um desejo de vencer” which loosely translates in Portuguese as ” A way of life , a desire to win ” .
The sleeves feature the Raptor logo and smaller Black Eagle company insignia along both sides. The cut is as close as possible to IBJJF , but in our opinion the sleeves felt somewhat long, although the rest of the jacket was about as perfect as any jacket can get.
As tough a gi top as any other gi, the Raptor cut leaves no room for grips from your opponent , and the collar thick with material makes for difficulty applying chokes. The familiar label by Black Eagle is stitched into the front lapel and the inside back as well. Dyed using a color fast process , Black Eagle guarantees a reduction in fading over the life of the gi.
A new and fresh concept coming from the Raptor is the rash guard liner stitched directly into the gi top. Protection from the scratchiness of the top in recent years has been a trend in the grappling world, although IBJJF prohibits wearing of rash guards under the gi during competitions, the Raptor finds a solution to that problem by stitching the rash guard directly into the gi. One detail we did notice about the rash guard liner is while sweating , the liner did become sticky and mildly troublesome when removing the gi after an hour long Jiu Jitsu session. The solution to the scratchy problem far outweighs the material sticking to the skin when becoming perspirated.
Preshrunk material is an important aspect when choosing a Jiu Jitsu gi, it assures you the best possible fit over the life of the Kimono without the need for shrinking or the feeling of being strangled by your own uniform. The pants are made of 100% cotton with reinforced knees , standard in Jiu Jitsu Kimonos, but the standout is the fabric of the pants. Upon initial observation they feel more of like a denim material than cotton , the fabric is incredibly strong and fit surprisingly well. Black Eagle decided to go with canvas type pants over ripstop material and we can clearly see why . The difference is night and day, ripstop although strong in its own right , has a lighter feel to it, which is why lightweight gi’s are so popular in todays market, but a beefier , stronger version of Kimono pants are on the rise .
We touched a little bit on the training aspect of the Kimono earlier and now we would like to give our initial thoughts on the rolling aspect of the gi.
Upon initial bowing in we were immediately confronted by the other students at the academy asking ” What kind of gi is that ? ” , touching and feeling , ” ooohhhiiinngg ” and ” aaaahhhing ” it was no surprise that kind of reaction was waiting for us when we arrived. Evidently Black Eagle has thought long and hard about the design and gaining this type of reaction to the fruits of their labor seems to be the goal in marketing the Raptor. Rolling in the gi was becoming counterproductive since the majority of the time spent was having someone wanting to know more about the gi and asking questions. Although by the end of the session , a great workout and training was the end result. Not surprisingly the gi held up just fine and we were able to finish off the night rolling around successfully.
Being a huge fan of the rash guard liner one thing we did notice was the way it stuck to the skin after sweat was introduced. Seemingly similar to the way a fruit roll-up is removed is the conclusion we came up with when trying to take the gi top off. But the flip side to that was no scratchiness was felt at all during our training session.
Among the other Jiu Jitsu gi’s we have had the pleasure of reviewing, this happens to be our favorite. The reason being is the innovative idea the rash guard liner brings and the pants material . Even though a perfect gi is almost non-existant,due in part to different strokes, the Raptor by Black Eagle comes about as close to the idea as any Jiu Jitsu Kimono can.
Observing the overall feel , the design looks almost like a work of art , painfully we debated over whether or not to roll around in the gi and add sweat and blood to a gi that to us was more than a Jiu Jitsu uniform.
But the consensus here was, that was the sole purpose of reviewing a gi, to use it for what it was meant for. Overall the Raptor by Black Eagle was designed to be a unique one-of-a-kind gi , for the seasoned Jiu Jitsu veteran or the Jiu Jitsu player who wants to make a statement, it holds nothing back.
We would like to thank Steve Turner of Black Eagle for allowing us to review an incredible gi.
To pre-order your Raptor Special Edition Kimono from Black Eagle click the link Black-Eagle/RaptorSpecialEditionKimono
Ordering ends when August ends, so order now for guaranteed delivery by November.
-IBJJF regulated cut
-tough Pearl Weave
-Rash guard liner
-Rash guard liner can get sticky under certain condition
-Sleeve length extended too far
– May be too flashy for some grapplers
Overall a great gi and tough enough to go up against any other Kimono in it’s class.