Review: Tatami Nova Basic BJJ Gi

( Também disponível em Português! )

Those who know my opinion on gis know that I am not interested in any BJJ gi above €75/£65/US$100 unless it's either tailored to my size or mixed and matched from several size options outside the usual A1/A2/A3 sizes. So, as soon as Tatami came out with the Nova Basic BJJ Gi, I was already liking it. It was understated and plain (I don't like flashy/pimped gis) and it wasn't expensive. It was made of gold weave which I'm not a big fan of since it tends to shrink unevenly, but I could live with that if I was to buy one.
Then, Tatami came out with the current, improved version with a different weave they named "High Tech Weave Jacket" and my interest spiked and I wondered how good it was and how it compared with some of the other offers in the same features/price-range.

The wondering comes to an end now when I not only review the gi on its own but also compare it to the Tuff Lightweight Kimono.

According to Tatami themselves, the Nova Basic BJJ GI comes with the following features and benefits:
- 425gsm single piece unique High Tech Weave Jacket
- Rubberised collar to prevent sweat and bacteria absorption.
- New Tatami Fightwear arm embroidery
- Triple stitched across all stress points
- Lightweight 8oz cotton twill pants, double reinforced knee padding and triple stitched across all stress points.
- Rope drawstring as opposed to the traditional twill which allows for tighter fastening of the pants, and more comfort when training.

. First thoughts:

Ok, this thing is light. I've tried some very light gis, but this is lighter and I can tell right off the bag.

What Tatami chose to call High Tech Weave actually looks like a marriage between traditional Judo diamond weave and regular pearl/single weave. Of course this is lighter and finer than the lightest Judo single weaves usually are (Fushida's only lighter gsm judogi jacket is at 350gsm and is the kids model, and their next gi is the beginners model and already weighs in at 470gsm so you get the picture). Anyway, there should be nothing wrong with that per se: both diamond weave and single weave have withstood the test of time and no one questions their quality and durability. Hopefully there's no reason an hybrid of sorts should be any different.
Whatever one calls the jacket's weave, it is very comfortable and light (both more comfortable and lighter than previous single-weaves I've tried) – so far so good.

It is also more than adequately reinforced on all usual stress points which include the mandatory taped hem on the sleeve cuffs.

The collar is pretty neutral. Not too thick, not too thin, not too hard and not too soft.
One thing I did notice was that my jacket's left lapel is shorter than the right one so it sits a bit oddly when I'm ajusting it after I tie my belt and that extra 2cm may make it more difficult to get some nifty own-lapel-chokes going.

The trousers are on the light side but do not feel too flimsy. They are adequately reinforced from mid thigh height to mid lower leg with an extra layer of cotton twill.
I liked:
- Rope drawstring which is much better than the flat twill alternative;
- Crotch height stands a bit higher than other gi's and there's less unneeded cloth in that area which gets rid of unnecessary bagginess.
- Taped hem on the leg cuffs, something that not all makers include (and even less on budget gis) and although not strictly mandatory is still a very nice extra reinforcement to have.

Did not like:
- Only two cord loops (which seems to be something of a rule on budget gis) which allows the nice rope drawstring to annoyingly ride up the waist every once in a while. I'll add one extra loop on each side myself soon to improve this. I'm just handy like that! (not really, but my mum is – hah.)

. Shrinkage:

As one can see from the table I did not wash the gi a single time on hot cycle. When I first tried the gi it fitted me well enough and I thought I wouldn't risk a 30ºC while seeing if it would shrink after a cold wash, and it did almost enough for my needs.
After a second cold wash there was virtually no shrinking except for measure 'A', so it's safe to say it should not shrink anymore as long as it's washed cold and hang dried.
Buyers washing on hot should expect a higher percentage of shrinking so beware.

On the left, the lapel issue is visible.

. Judo:

So, let's say you do BJJ but you also do Judo. It's high summer and the place where you train Judo is usually hot to begin with but in those crazy temperature days it gets impossible.
Judogi are always heavy and hot unless they're really flimsy and cheap and usually rip after one of those colleagues of yours that has pliers for hands gets hold on your lapel. So that's a no no, of course. But wait, you do have your jiu-jitsu gi! They're light and they've certainly withstood everything your BJJ friends threw (or pulled) at it. You look at your Nova Basic, the Nova Basic looks at you, the world stops for a second, your heart skips a beat and you wonder if...

And you wonder wisely. Yes, I have tested the Tatami Nova Basic BJJ Gi in a Judo class - two classes in a row actually - and yes, it survived just fine! Of course, the 990gsm double weaves everyone was wearing were harder to grip and this was quite easy to, but then while they were complaining "damn, this is place is hot like hell" I was replying "yeah, I guess" and recalling that I hadn't felt hot once during class... just thirsty. Maybe that's something Tatami could work on next, a gi that keeps you hydrated. Yes, I'm being silly.

I won't recommend you make a habit out of it, but for the occasional class where the temperature is through the roof or you're just coming from a BJJ class anyway, the Nova Basic should hold up just fine.

. Compared to the contender, the Tuff Lightweight Kimono:

Tuff's gi now features cheap ripstop pants instead of cotton twill which for me is a deal breaker;
Tatami's jacket is more comfortable but according to Tatami "the weave is not as dense as pearl weave and can tend to lose its shape slightly". Pearl weave is essentially the same as single weave, which is Tuff's weave.
Tatami's pants have much less unneeded cloth in the crotch area, so they not only fit better, one drags less flapping twill around.
Not exactly gi related but something I must point out: dealing with Tatami was professional-like and there were no issues to speak of. Can't say the same regarding the several times I contacted Tuff in the past. This may not seem important for some but one of these days you'll be ordering a gi expecting to have it within a week tops and you'll still be sending emails by then because of some delay and then you'll receive a gi that may have different specs that you were not aware of and then you'll know why this point actually does matter a good deal.

. In conclusion:

Tatami's Nova Basic while being a budget gi still offers good quality with some nice details usually not available on such price ranges. Despite some things I'd like to see improved (two extra cord loops and even lapel lengths) this would still be my budget gi of choice right now given today's landscape.

. Disclaimer:
I am not endorsed by Tatami and these opinions are my own, unbiased, uncensored and they apply only to the product I tested.

. Mais:
Lê esta análise em Português aqui.


Anonymous said...

how would you rate it next to a gi like fuji single weave its around that price

André said...

I couldn't say since I've never even saw a Fuji in person. If they exist here in Portugal they're very rare.

As far as I can tell, gis on this price range and with these characteristics are very similar to each other. I'd set them apart on finishing touches and costumer service (as well as what other people say about them of course).

BreakingGuard BJJ Gi Shop said...

This is a really professional in-depth review. It's great to hear the perspective of someone who loves judo and BJJ.

André said...

Thanks! If you need anything reviewed like this in both English and Portuguese let me know ;)

Mark Tery said...

Everyone is familiar with it and no need to explain it deeply and Gi means clothing So we can say that gameness gii is the clothes used to wear while taking training Bjj.

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