July 16, 2012

Gi Review: Honey Badger by Tatami

Tenacious.  Focused.  Unstoppable.  Determined.  All these words have been used to describe one of the most feared animals on earth; Mellivora capensis or more commonly referred to as the African Honey Badger.  A member of the marten family the Honey Badger seems the perfect mascot in which to invoke the spirit of combat in the form of a kimono, thick impenetrable skin (seriously, they say a machete cannot hack through it!!!); a winner take all attitude (yes, they literally eat cobra's for breakfast!); and a wicked mount game to boot!  Tatami Fight Wear has done just that with their Honey Badger Limited Release which can be purchased from MMA Outlet as well.  
















Teaming up with Seymour Yang (the evil genius behind Meerkatsu blog) as the graphic designer, Tatami has released their first limited edition gi and I must say it is not only stylish but quite functional.  Seymour has some of the most creative designs in all of the BJJ merch kingdom, breathing a much needed sigh of sensibility and fun into an industry dominated by snarling pit bull's, and skulls being strangely penetrated with swords!  Clean with its lines the Honey Badger embroidered patches on the back, right leg cuff, and sleeves pop with contrast as the purple, burnt orange, and red highlights bounce off the black gi.

The embroidery is top notch on the Tatami Honey Badger with tight stitching that has not popped loose one single thread in the 4 weeks I have been wearing it.  Double and triple stitched seams ensure this competition weight gi will hold up to the rigors and abuse of daily training.  Stitch tape lines the inside cuff's, and though I am usually not a fan of this (gets itchy and irritating on most gi's) Tatami has a very thin line of it that has no rough edges and wears quite comfortably.    All stress points are reinforced extremely well and so far after numerous rolls in the Honey Badger it has exhibited absolutely zero signs of wear and tear.

  I wear an A-4 and it weighed in just over 4 pounds for me which I consider lightweight, yet the overall feel and demeanor (if a kimono can have such a thing) is that of a heavier weighted gi as the Honey Badger reports in with a 475 GSM Hybrid Weave jacket accompanied by 8oz cotton twill pants.  Tatami mentions the Honey Badger is 100% IBJJF certified, but this is my one major critique of the gi... the cut of the jacket.

I must admit I am a tall, lanky A-4 whom usually has some room to swim in the typical cuts of kimono jackets.  I will attest to the fact that the Honey Badger does NOT shrink much at all!  I live in Seattle, Washington where grapplers should be very mindful of mold and mildew, so I typically dry my gi's 60-75% in the dryer.  Even after numerous washes the Honey Badger did not shrink more then a 1/2 inch! This is not a bad thing by any means, but keep this in mind if you are banking on a certain size "shrinking to fit" as with many other companies out there.

The sleeve cuffs are much too wide and are not IBJJF legal on this model.  I found a bit too much swim in the jacket as well especially under the arms.  Overall the 100% cotton kimono jacket breathes very well with a thick enough collar to provide a sturdy grip without the overheating / claustrophobic feel some lapel's offer.  Two pulls will get the skirt free to use fro choke and the cut slides pretty smoothly out from under the belt.

The pants are hands down some of the most comfortable, best fitting pants I have run across in the past 6 years of buying BJJ kimono's!  Extremely light (8oz) cotton twill ensures these pants ride and breathe easily on the mat, and they certainly deliver.  A perfect cut for a tall, long legged A-4 where the pants do not bunch or climb even when extremely sweaty, and Tatami has (smartly) used cord as a drawstring which I love.  Again next to zero shrinkage with the pants as well even when dried most of the way.

Tatami is a relatively new British company whose motto is "it's a way of life" and I certainly think they are conveying that attitude in their BJJ kimono's.  The limited edition Honey Badger comes in at just under $170 where Americans can purchase from MMA Outlet (or click the banner to your <------- left).
Overall I think the Tatami Honey Badger is a decent buy with a stylish design, a pair of the best pants on the market, and though the jacket is a bit big it is a durable kimono that will last well past it's modest asking price.

Jake B.

(No Honey Badgers were choked nor heel hooked during this review!)




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