Gear Review: Keiko Raca Limited Edition Special Gi
The Importance of a Good Gi
I'll get to the actual product review in a second. First, I'd like to make a point about the importance of a good Gi.
When you first start to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you may not feel that you need to have an expensive Gi (also known as a Kimono) to train with. I felt this way when I started and as a result I bought a $50 dollar bargain Gi. Don't get me wrong, they get the job done, and if you were not planning on practicing traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (training and competing in the GI), I wouldn't recommend getting anything more than a bargain Gi. But, if like me, you intend to compete and train almost exclusively in the Gi, then I highly suggest dropping a bit more cash on one of higher quality.
The bargain Gi’s, while functional, is uncomfortable, untrue to size, shrink badly if you’re not careful when washing them, lose their color quickly and are not very durable. So if you are a serious Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner it is important to get a Gi that you will at least be comfortable in, seeing as you will be spending so much time in it.
Of all of the Gis that I have come across or tried myself, the Keiko Raca Limited Series Gi is one of the highest quality, and is very fairly priced to boot. The Gi I specifically own is the Navy blue version, and have been exclusively training in this gi for the last month I love it so much.
Keiko Raca is a Brazilian company (naturally) that according to their website: "was founded in 1989, focused on manufacturing sports wear. During many years Keiko Raça worked making garments for other sport brands like Mizuno, Sims, South to South, Tropical Brazil, Curtlo amongst other popular brands. In 1995, we started making garments with our own brand name "KEIKO RAÇA" and since then we have always been looking for new textile technology, aiming to offer the best performance, comfort and style".
- Very sharp looking Gi. Choose from Black, Blue, Navy Blue, White, Red and even Camo. I especilly like the off color trim on the sleeves and skirt.
- Very durable (this gi is made tough. It will handle any normal abuse thrown at it and then some)
- Gi felt very true to size. Shrank a tiny bit when I washed it (machine wash on cold, air dry) but this was actually a good thing as I am caught somewhat between sizes.
- Although this is a very durable and heavy duty Gi it still breaths fairly well. I normally wear a t-shirt or rashguard under my gi and it has not been too hot. (Although it is winter, and I live in Buffalo so we will see in the summer)
- The color has not dulled with multiple washes. This is a problem I have noticed with many other Gi's. They look great out of the bag, but once you wash them a hand full of times they become very dull looking.
- The durability that comes with this Gi means that you will have to break it in a bit. Right out of the bag it was a bit stiff, but after multiple uses it loosens up nicely.
- Sleeves have large openings. This can pose a problem as they are pretty easy to grab ahold of, although I haven't felt that it has made any real difference in my opponents ability to control me.
- I don't have enough money to get another. Sorry, its the only other con I could think off.
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Overall this is an extremely good choice for both the beginner and advanced level Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. The Gi is of the highest quality, extremely durable and very comfortable. Starting at only $157 on the official website, it is a very affordable Gi as well. It holds its own next to much more exspensive Gis that are over $200. With a number of colors to choose from and plenty of placement for personalized patches this Gi is a must have.
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