Andre Galvao is one of the titans in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (read about him here.) The fightwear brand Kingz asked me to design the rashguard he would wear for the forthcoming Metamoris 4 event. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!

The story behind this concept began when Bruno, owner of Kingz, gave me an open brief. He told me to just design anything that would stand out. Heh, that's absolutely my perfect brief. Well, Galvao and his Atos branding is very openly religious so for me, the lion seemed to be an obvious choice for so many symbolic reasons. And not just religious, but historical and culturally, the lion fits in so well.

Early concept sketch


Hopefully you can see in the final product my intention to create a fierce intensity with the facial expression.

Bruno tells me that a retail version of this design will also be available for everyone to buy. It will feature the same lion but minus the sponsor logos. I'll post about it here and on my social media sites as soon as I know more. Below, Andre wearing the koi I designed for Kingz.



Metamoris 4 is on August 9th and the livestream tickets can be bought here.
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All week on my Facebook page I have been releasing these cool BJJ diet friendly recipe cards put together by the excellent Grappler Gourmet, aka, MacKenzie Arrington from New York.

I first met MacKenzie when he sent me an email in response to a competition prize thing I was running and I was intrigued by one of his emails in which he described what he did for a living. Fast forward to today and I came up with the idea of recipe cards for MacKenzie to show off his culinary expertise within a BJJ athlete friendly context. And here they are!

[At the end of the series of cards is a short interview with MacKenzie]



I had the pleasure of training and learning from some of the greats of the sport today at Roger Gracie Academy in London. Igor Gracie, Gregor Gracie and Andre Monteiro [<--click on their names to read about achievements.]



I designed some MMA or nogi style fight shorts with an evil bat drawing on them. I call them the Morcegão Fight Shorts. You can buy them here from my store.



You can read more about how I put together the artwork and design over on my art blog here.


I decided to design something that would appeal to my younger audience hence these sparring kittens. They are available through my store only - click here.

Here are more photos and information:-




Summary
Two different gi models from a Brazilian based brand. The 'BJJ Style' offers a sturdy mid-weight pearlweave with super comfortable pants, while the 'Sensei' is an ultra light pearl. Both are decorated with slightly garish skull graphics that may or may not be to your taste.

Information
KVRA Website
Cost: R 389 (BJJ Style)  R$ 299 (Sensei).
Roughly equivalent to: £103 and £79 respectively. Shipping cost not known.
For orders in the UK, the KVRA store will ship internationally. My contact in the UK is Luiz Riberio who runs London Fight Factory. He can be contacted here.

Disclosures
I have no personal or business connection with KVRA. All views expressed in this report are my own.



Summary
World Champion Lucas Lepri presents 24 guard passing techniques. These techniques apply to many popular guard positions such as the de la Riva guard, X-guard, spider guard and deep half guard. The production of this set is adequate though the slow-motion replays are tedious and the music annoying. Overall however, a very fine set of techniques from a master guard passer. The very specific nature of this set and the lack of conceptual explanation would mean this is of more use by intermediate to advanced players.


Information
Available from Digitsu website
Cost: $69.95
Length: 180 minutes over two discs
Techniques: 24 (12 per disc)
Language: English
Region code: all regions


Disclosures
I have no business or personal connection with this company.



Just a quick little something for my USA readers out there.

Here's a video showing how I created the artwork. It's my first attempt at a progress video. I intend to do more of these and post them up on my newly created YouTube Channel - which you can subscribe to if you like.





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Summary
Super soft, comfortable and snug fitting hooded top loaded with cool little details and an eye-catching design. One or two small little areas could see an improvement in my opinion, but overall, the Legal hoodie is an excellent leisure/casual wear item.

Information
Available from the Scramble website.
Price - normally £44.99, currently on sale (as of 29-June-2014) for £24.99

Disclosures
I have had numerous business and design collaborative projects with Scramble in the past. I have had no involvement with this product.



Summary
Generous sized and long lasting soap marketed at people who train sports. This bar was very pleasant smelling, long lasting and surprisingly foamy compared with many soaps I have tried before. The embedded 'seeds' didn't do much for me except feel a bit annoyingly scratchy but apart from that, a fantastic cleansing item with neat ziplock carry case.

Disclosures
I have no personal or business connections with this company. All views expressed in this report are my own opinion.



I met the owner of Progress Jiu Jitsu, a new UK based fightwear brand, at the Chelmsford Open and we got on really well. I asked James Tighe if he would be kind enough to spare some time for an interview. Here it is:-



Summary
Super comfortable, soft and well fitting rashguard featuring artwork by one of the icons of manga-style comic art, Terada.

Information
Available to buy here - Gawakoto store
Price - £34.99
Made in - China
Made from - 92% polyester, 8% ammonia-inn (not sure what the 'inn' means)

Disclosures
I have had previous business (design collaborative) relations with Gawakoto, I am good friends with the owner, this review is based on my own personal opinions of the product.

I am very sad to witness almost on a daily basis, many of my designs and products that have been faked and bootlegged. The photos here are from a particularly poor example and were sent to me by a friend who was contacted by a Pakistan based factory touting for business. The factory claimed to be official makers of my products. THIS IS NOT TRUE!
My suppliers would NEVER announce this, they don't need to because they are up to the eyeballs with orders from some of the biggest fightwear companies in the world. the companies that make my gear are in high demand and would never tout for business because they don't need to. If a company is aggressively touting for trade and showing samples that look dodgy...chances are that they ARE dodgy.

On a personal note, seeing my designs ripped off is heart breaking. I could write a very long rant about what it means to me but suffice to say it's a kick in the stomach and a mockery for all the long long hours I spend late into each and every night working my designs, running my brand and trying to produce original and authentic content.

These bogus t-shirts are printed so shoddily. Worse still, I designed the original as a charity fundraiser for survivors of rape and sexual violence. This is simply heartless.

It appears most of these rip off products base their printing on low resolution scans and direct prints from pictures featured in this very blog. In response to this, I will be removing a lot of previously unwatermarked content and re-uploading them fully watermarked. I am also considering closing down my RedBubble poster site as it too may be a source of clean artwork for scamsters to copy from.

My partners and I work incredibly hard trying to eke out a small living from fightwear designs. We're not big by any stretch of the imagination and you would be surprised just how little profit is generated. Bootleg products don't help. If you see something that might be dodgy, email me and I can usually confirm on sight. This does not apply to the many many retailers and vendors who represent my products on a legitimate basis.

I could rant on for hours! But I think I've written enough here to get things off my chest. Down with the scumbag pirates. SUPPORT ORIGINAL ARTISTS!

Thank you.


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Following from the trailer I posted about earlier, I'm very pleased to finally present the full length version of the Meerkatsu short film made for me by film maker Hannah Jell.

 

It's not too long but I hope in four minutes it reveals a snippet of my thought processes behind the things I draw and why I draw them in connection to BJJ.

My thanks to Hannah for all her hard work, able assistant Thanos for sound recording, plus those who took part in the film, including Tanya Tansiri, Kat Gibson, Casey Lee, Jack Burrell, Sophie Walters, Chris Hearn and everyone else in the film.

Enjoy!


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Summary
An ambitious debut effort from new brand Combat Skin, featuring artwork created by me. This gi is super ornate and blingy on the inside with more sedate graphic touches on the outside. There were one or two aspects I personally was not comfortable with, but overall, a solid gi.

Information
Website: http://combatskin.com/shop/gi/combat-warrior-gi-detail
Facebook
Price: $180

Disclosures
I was commissioned to provide artwork for this gi model. I was paid a fixed fee so I do not gain or benefit from sales. I had no contribution or say with production or materials. All the views in this report are my own opinion.



I have just added two new exciting t-shirts to my store, you can buy the Bow & Arrow t-shirt here, and the Ape Suave T-shirt here.

Here is a little more information about the designs:





I asked film maker Hannah Jell (website and Facebook page) to make a little documentary film to help promote my brand. The trailer is pretty neat, the final footage (which will be about five minutes long) should be out soon. Enjoy!




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Yoga, like the martial arts, is a practice that first originated a long long time ago. Both share a lot of similarities with respect to physical, mental and in some cases, spiritual well being. I wanted to know more about yoga so I hooked up with UK based instructor Jo Prakash.

Here are some thoughts about how yoga can help the grappler and some photos and videos of Jo showing cool yoga positions.



Roll Supreme are a new UK based fightwear and leisure brand. With sharp graphic and type led designs and a commitment to the growth of BJJ in the UK and abroad, I sat down for a quick chat with owner Jack Colvin to find out more...



Summary
The Killer Bee Kimono custom gi offer is the rare chance for fussy gi addicts like me to customise their own gi with near-perfect jacket and trouser dimensions. It is a fantastic idea that is backed up by superb quality of construction and ace customer service. A few minor quibble aside, this is a gi that I will cherish and enjoy wearing for a long time to come.

Information
Killer Bee website: http://www.killerbeegi.com/
See Part 1 of my Killer Bee Customer ordering process review.

Disclosures
I work with many different fightwear companies as a freelance designer. I have no business or personal connections with Killer Bee Kimonos. I bought this gi as a gift to myself with no expectation from the brand owner of a review. All views expressed are my own.




My Flying (fighting) Peacocks rashguard + grappling tights are available from my store (from 16th April 2014) here: www.meerkatsu.com

You can buy them individually or, if you want both, we’ll apply a 10% discount to the set - this promotion is for a limited time only.

Here is more information about the products:




Summary
A superbly constructed genuine hemp product, the Battlepack Mini hides a veritable Tardis-like amount of storage. This bag was not only able to store a mutlitude of everyday training items, it was also very comfortable and portable enough to wear on long journeys thanks to its convenient overall size and padded zones. The only drawback is the non-waterproof material and lack of included raincover (it has to be bought as an extra).


Information
I bought mine from Grapplers Delight for £69.99
It is also available from the main Datsusara website for $79.99

Disclosures
I work with a lot of fightwear brands as a freelance designer. I have never worked with Datsusara. All views expressed in this report are my own.



I made ten art prints of my Heavenly Wristlock artwork and posted them up on Ebay. Within two minutes all ten had sold out. Here is a breakdown of the costs, revenue and amount raised:-

I offered the prints for £75 plus shipping (£6 for UK buyers, £15 for International buyers).
TOTAL raised including shipping amounted to: £873

Deductions:
Cost of printing: £179.64
Cost of parcel tubes: £10.98
Paypal fees: £34.82
Ebay fees: £87.70
Cost of postage: £ 89.70

TOTAL COSTS: £402.84

So as you can see, the pure total raised from the sale minus costs (£470.16) was less than the £500 I wanted. So I made up the shortfall from my own money and donated it to Can Sonmez's Grapplethon account (see photo at top).

The Bristol Grapplethon in aid of Kinergy is held on 12th-13th April at 8 Aldermoor Way, Longwell Green, Bristol and rolling begins at 2pm. If you want to take part, there is still time to organise yourself. Visit the event Facebook page for further details.


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Summary
Limited edition art print of only 10
Size A2 (420mmx594mm)
Features Meerkatsu’s Heavenly Wristlock artwork.
Printed on 255gsm Somerset fine art paper using archival inks.
Each print signed and numbered by the artist.
Buy it now fee of £75 plus shipping - available via Ebay
All profits donated to Grapplethon 2014 in aid of Kinergy