I've been talking a lot recently with Sub Guards, they are a UK based company that specialise in custom designed small print run rashguards, shorts, tights and patches. They printed the rashguards for several of my client designs.
Getting into the spirit of the American retail tradition of offering a discount over the Thanksgiving weekend - known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I'm offering 15% off all products except gift vouchers until 2nd December 2013.
Speaking of gift vouchers, check out the new addition to the store.
When you buy the gift certificate it asks you for an email address of the recipient. They will then receive a unique code which can be redeemed at checkout when they decide to purchase something at a later date.
BJJ fans will more than likely have come across a great regular podcast called Open Mat Radio. The show is broadcast weekly and has featured a number of high profile guests including Mauricio Gomes, Kurt Osiander, Henry Akins and many many others. It's a great way to become immersed in the words and thoughts of so many of the people notable in our sport. I chatted to Open Mat Radio's founder Paul Moran: -
Just spent a day photographing fights at the English BJJ Open over at the National Judo Centre in Dartford. As usual, it was a terrifically well run event with lots of insanely good action. The added bonus for me was to pick up the t-shirt I designed, test out my new camera and to watch my friends compete.
BJJ Community Help Raise over $20,000
for Filipino Victims of Typhoon Haiyan
22nd November 2013
. Braver & Stronger, a t-shirt
designed by three artists to raise money for the survivors of Typhoon
Yolanda/Haiyan in the Philippines, has raised over £12,200 ($20,000).
Typhoon Haiyan was one of the deadliest storms recorded.
Several thousand people lost their lives and over 13 million people were
displaced.* Artist Bong Abad, originally born in the Philippines, collaborated
with fellow fightwear artists Seymour Yang (Meerkatsu) and Matt Benyon
(Scramble) to design the Braver & Stronger t-shirt. It went on sale over
the 16-18 November 2013 via
www.gawakoto.co.uk store and BJJHQ.com. All profits would be donated to
relief aid organisation Disasters Emergency Committee and UNICEF.
During the short three-day pre-order period, over 1,500
t-shirts were ordered by people from all over the world raising over £12,200
($20,000) in profit.
Bong says: "Typhoon Haiyan has sparked the
"bayanihan" spirit (spirit of communal unity) with donations and
fundraisers from people worldwide. We are truly grateful to everyone who
supported our 'Braver and Stronger' tee project. Our efforts may just be a drop
in the ocean, but we hope it will make a difference.”
The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan will take many
years to repair. Donations can still be made to organisations including the Red
Cross, UNICEF, Save the Children and many others.
*Source: United Nations
UPDATE 1st Dec 2013
The full totals are as follows:
Donation via Gawakoto: £5,502 (approx $8,873 from 542 t-shirts) - donated to the DEC Typhoon Haiyan Appeal
Sales via BJJHQ: $12,120 (1,017 t-shirts) - donated to UNICEF Typhoon Haiyan Appeal
We received a bunch of emails and comments asking how much of the t-shirt money will be donated to the emergency relief fund. I wrote the passage below to explain how much we expect to raise and how the sums are split:
Sponsorship by a major brand might seem to be the pinnacle of BJJ lifestyle achievements. Sponsored athletes get a ton of free gear, appear in magazine advertising, videos and all sorts of cool publicity and some even get paid to travel the world and compete. Trying to earn that coveted spot as a sponsored athlete is not easy however but surprisingly, it’s not necessarily all about how many gold medals won and you don’t even have to be a black belt. Seymour Yang uncovers the dos and don’ts of how to get sponsorship in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The relationship between brand owner and athlete seems simple enough; brand owner wants exposure and the athlete who competes a lot can offer that exposure. The quest to become a sponsored athlete may not be an easy one but with the right approach, it is possible at least for a brand owner to take notice. Despite this, companies receive dozens and dozens of inept, badly written and even worse, wrongly addressed sponsorship requests every day. Let’s take a close look at the best approach to getting noticed by gear companies:
Graphic novel inspired BJJ gi features the original artwork of David Mack. The gi itself was refreshingly light and comfortable to wear with a great slim fit in A1. The sleeves were perfect for my longish arms too.
I am friends with Gawakoto owner Bong Abad and we have collaborated in several past t-shirt designs. I have had no involvement with this product. The views expressed here are my own.
Available to purchase in the UK here.
Also from MMA Warehouse in the USA.
Made in: Pakistan
Kat Gibson is a blue belt grappler under Carlson Gracie Team in London. She recently won double gold (gi and nogi) at the IBJJF London Open and gold at the British NoGi Open. A long time follower of my design work, Kat has kindly agreed to represent my brand. I spoke with her about juggling training with a busy academic career at Oxford University...
ADCC this year was held in Beijing, China, over the weekend. Tatami Fightwear had several of their sponsored athletes attending the event and asked me (at the last minute!) to design a special rashguard just for the fighters to use in Beijing. The result was this angry panda pictured above. Some of you may recognise the design from an earlier incarnation...
Super tough, thick and ultra heavy kimono built to last. The sleeves were sadly super short, much shorter than any other A1 gi I have reviewed. The weight was just too much for my personal preference however there were some quality touches to this gi model.
I have no personal or business relations with Rei gi. Roger Gracie himself is my own instructor's instructor and visits my academy to oversee gradings.
These Chinese White Tiger rashguards were designed by me on commission from Swedish fightwear company Kenka. As part of my deal with Kenka, I have been allocated a small batch of them for sale on my store - www.meerkatsu.com. They will go live 10th October 2013 at 9am.
Here are more photos and a little background about the concept:
My friend Tanya recently entered a grueling grappling contest in Germany called the German Kumite. She had to fight all the ladies in the event one after another, gi and nogi. The winner would be the person who won the most fights. Tanya fought seven other women and scored a full house of seven wins - all by submission, including an epic hour-long encounter. It's a quite staggering achievement given that Tanya only received her blue belt back in December 2012!
I spoke with Tanya who wanted to say a few words about her experiences at the Kumite event...
Raijin Fightwear are a new UK based fightwear brand run by two chaps (LOZ and Gully) that have been heavily promoting themselves via social media and stickers. Yes, stickers. They're very passionate about this, as you'll find out in this exclusive interview with the founders...
Tatami Fightwear recently released the next installment of my series of honey badger inspired BJJ gis. I love wearing it as it fits perfectly for me (size A1) but then I knew it would because it is based on the same cut as the Estilo and the Zero G gis from the Tatami Fightwear range. Here are some photos:
A sumptuously well thought out and well-fitting gi, the Secret Weapon features a number of lovely stylistic touches and was a joy to wear. And gasp! Here was an A1 gi that had sleeve lengths that were actually perfect (read: long) for me!
A new BJJ magazine arrived through my doorstep today. It's called Gi Freak and seeks to offer something a little different to the other jiu jitsu magazines currently on the market.
Although thin, it's actually jam packed with cool articles and photos. I like reading blogs but I generally have to make a conscious effort to sit down and plough through the blog list. Give me a choice between reading something on my computer or a hard copy magazine and I'll go for the mag every time.
Gi Freak is a bit like a blog - only one that has the very best bits on display - and in print media form! I am very impressed with the excellent design, photo editing and generally classy effort shown. Sorry tablet fans, but I just don't warm to digital only e-publications.
I wanted to find out more behind the scenes of Gi Freak so I chatted to the owner, Megan Williams:
Now that the summer is over here in the UK, I thought it was a good time to release a new hooded top design. Here it is! The Chimp and Cross Chokes.
The design is based on my cartoon interpretation of a chimpanzee. The chimp's arms are crossed in the vague formation of a cross choke (a popular and easy fundamental jiu jitsu gi submission). His hands also form that universal BJJ hand sign, the shaka.
Summary Cruz Combat are a US company that specialise in short-run custom fightwear. They are able to print any design using dye sublimation onto rashguards, fight shorts, vale tudo shorts and patches. I sampled their rashguard service using my own illustration of a 'Hell Sloth' (inspired by my instructor, who is nick-named the 'Sloth').