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Enson Inoue Spirit of Japan Gi

Overall
The Fit
Durability
The Cool Factor
Review by Seth Harris on January 15, 2013

I think even the patches have patches on this gi!

Overview

The Enson Inoue Spirit of Japan gi is a new limited edition product made by Tatami Fightwear.  It's based on the iconic gi that MMA fighter Enson Inoue wore in PRIDE. The gi is scheduled to come out by the end of Jan 2013 - if the gi gods bless us all of course. Tatami Fightwear sent me this gi just before the holidays as a gift, and I have been wearing it as my primary gi to every training class since.

I will come out and say that I like the gi, but as with anything there are pros and cons. This is going to be a balanced review so be sure to read it all to get the full scoop!

The Fit (I'm 5' 7" 170lbs)

I have to admit my heart sank a bit as I was opening the package and saw that Tatami had sent me an A2. I was afraid it would be another gi that I couldn't wear because the sleeves would be too long on my stumpy arms. So you can imagine my delight as I slipped it on and stretched out my arms for the first time. The sleeve length came down to just a tad past my wrist bones, I can live with that! Now because of this I may be a bit biased, but this is how an A2 should fit in my mind. I would go so far as to say that the fit of the Enson Inoue Spirit of Japan gi is it's biggest selling point for me. Lets break down the details of the jacket and the pants below.

Jacket

The jacket as mentioned above fits me really well. The sleeves come right down to my wrist bones when my arms are fully extended. The cut in the armpit area is really good as well and I found no flying squirrel issues while rolling. The chest area of the jacket is roomy, but not too roomy that I end up swimming in it. One thing I have noticed in other Tatami gi models is the skirt area right around where your hips are is a bit narrow for my body build. The jacket still closes up fine, but if you have wider hips you may notice this as well. The collar is nice and thick, but not overly stiff so this allows for a comfortable roll still.

The rashguard lining is a really nice touch. It adds to the design and look of the gi, but also the comfort. I don't feel the need to wear a shirt or rashguard when I wear this gi because the lining is so comfortable. I have absolutely no irritation after hours of rolling.

One thing to note about the rashguard linings in all of the gis that I have reviewed so far, is that once they become saturated with moisture they become clingy. This makes it difficult to take the gi on and off towards the end of class and after many rolls. Me being the seasons gear junkie that I am know enough now not to take the gi top off until I am done for the night, so I avoid the issue all together. I think companies could solve this by reducing the amount of slack between the gi and the rashguard lining itself. You will notice that in most of these gis you can grab the lining and pull it away from the gi quite a bit, now I know there needs to be some of this, but I'm saying the more you tighten this up the better. Again this is not specific to this gi, it's just something I have noticed with all of the gis I've worn with the rashguard lining built in.

Pants

No rip-stop here baby! Thick and durable, just how I like it...that's what she....NO! On a more serious note I have started to lean more towards non-rip-stop pants these days. Mostly for the comfort they provide in the knee area while rolling. If you have somewhat hard mats, rolling and passing guard can be brutal on people with knee trouble so any extra padding the gi can give me I'll take. The cut of these A2 pants are good. No baggy crotch issues and I'm not finding myself stepping on the bottoms of the pants at all. I'm happy to say that they did go with a rope drawstring setup so keeping your pants tied is much more user friendly than other options.

Spirit of japan size chart

  Before Washing After Washing
A 63" 63"
B 31" 31"
C 22.5" 22.5"
D 20.5" 20.5"
E 6" 6"
F 20" 20"
G 37" 36"
H 9" 9"
I 24" 23.5"

*A2 washed in cold and air dried

Durability

This gi is built like a tank. It's thick and heavy duty feeling. Because of this it won't be my first choice for a summer time gi, but it is perfect for the current winter season. The stitching in the seams is holding up nicely with no issues there so far. With the amount of patches on this gi I was amazed that all of them stayed on. The only durability issue that I have noticed so far is the Tatami Fightwear patch on the bottom of the lapel is starting to come off. I talked to Tatami about that and they said that was really rare. If it came off it wouldn't be the end of the world because it's so small and has nothing to do with the functionality of the product, but I figured I would mention it anyways for the people that care.

The Cool Factor

When you wear this gi you just can't help feeling like a badass! Until you get tapped by that 2 stripe blue belt of course. That always brings you back to reality quickly. If stickers on cars make them go faster, then patches on gis should increase your skill level. If this way of thinking was true, putting this gi on would make you Rickson Gracie!