SEA MMA Gear Guide

Gameness 2010 Pearl Weave Gi Review

Introduction

Gameness produces a wide variety of gis, and was one of the brand names I kept hearing when looking for quality yet affordable gis. In particular, I’d heard a number of positive reviews regarding their Pearl gis, so I took the plunge and got one for myself.

Official Specs:

  • Ultra light weight
  • Rubber collar
  • Fast drying
  • Extra durable

Aesthetics

Right off the bat, you can see that this is a simple, no frills gi in terms of aesthetics. It features a large “Gameness Competition Team” patch down the left side of the chest, but that’s about it in terms of eye-catching patches or embroidery. The rest of it are nondescript Gameness linings at the bottom of the skirt and inside the sleeve, as well as the shoulder patches. There’s nothing on the back and the gi pants is completely devoid of patches or embroidery.

This makes it a great gi if you want something clean and basic for training. As it’s sewn on, the front patch can be easily removed if you so desire. Personally, I got this because I wanted to ‘Pimp my Gi’, but never got around to it.

Besides the classic white, this gi also comes in blue and black variants. While white is easier to maintain during washing since it doesn’t have any colour to bleed, they also turn yellow and pick up stains or dust marks quite easily. Mine has a couple of interesting black marks that probably rubbed off the mats.

Form & Fit

All gi manufacturers provide a sizing chart, and it's always good to refer to them even if you've bought gis before, just in case theirs is a little different. Here's the official chart from Gameness, with a little metric conversion from me.

Height
Weight
Gi Size
Gi Weight
5'2-5'6 (~157-168cm)
110-135 lbs (~50-61kg)
A1
3.8 lbs (~1.7kg)
5'7-5'9 (~170-175cm)
140-165 lbs (~64-75kg)
A2
4.0 lbs (~1.8kg)
5'10-6' (~178-183cm)
167-200 lbs (~76-91kg)
A3
4.6 lbs (~2.1kg)
6'1-6'3 (~185-191cm)
205-245 lbs (~93-111kg)
A4
4.8 lbs (~2.2kg)
> 6'4 (~193cm)
> 245 lbs (~111kg)
A5
5.0 lbs (~2.3kg)

Given my vital stats of 169cm, 62kg, I'm right smack in the middle of limboland. Using my academy gi as a reference, which ran a little baggy at A1, I went for an A1 with the Gameness as well. I'm risking that it might run a little small, but I'd rather have short sleeves and pant legs any day unless I'm competing.

Fortunately for me, the A1 Gameness was slightly long out of the bag, and shrunk to just the perfect length after several washes. The sleeves touch my wrists when my hands are at the side, while the gi pants barely reaches my ankles.

For most part, the cutting of the gi top is slightly loose without feeling baggy, so the gi doesn't feel tight or restrictive, while at the same time it stays in place once I have the belt on. The only slight annoyance is below the armpits, where it's a little too baggy for me, and makes me feel like a chicken flapping my wings sometimes.

The gi top uses a Pearl weave, and the gi itself is very light and thin. However, the material is a little stiff and rough, you can see this in the creases and folds it takes on after washing. That said, it's still not as bad as some of the Koral and Atamas that I've had scratching my face during rolling. I always wear a rashguard inside, so the feel of the material against my own skin is not a big factor on my list.

The gi pants is ripstop canvas and again fits me well. It is roomy without being baggy. Again, with leggings I hardly feel the canvas material, though some may not like the feel of ripstop against their skin.

For those who like numbers and measurements, here are a few quick figures after many washes in the table below. The measurements are made with the gi pressed flat against the floor.

Gi Top
Sleeve to Sleeve
171cm
Chest width
52cm
Gi length (collar to skirt)
73cm
Arm width (at armpits)
25cm
Cuff width (at sleeves)
15cm
Gi Pants
Pant width
48cm
Pant length
91cm
Cuff width (at leg)
21cm

Functionality

This was my first gi outside of the academy gi, and the first thing I noticed while rolling in it was how light it was. I barely felt it while doing warm-ups, and it was a lot cooler as well. I especially love the ripstop gi pants, which was much lighter and did not absorb moisture like the traditional cotton pants. I did not feel weighed down on the legs and could move a lot more freely when playing open guard.

As with most of the newer gis, the drawstring for the gi pants uses a thick cord, making it much easier to tighten. My old academy pants had a flat cotton drawstring, which consequently got stuck very often, probably due to friction and stiffness, requiring inhuman strength to pull and tighten. However, I would have expected at least three if not four front loops, instead of two.

The length of the gi top is good, and the bottom of the skirt seldom ever comes out of the belt unless someone is aggressively opening my gi. I have never needed to untie my belt to adjust the gi with this uniform. The gi comes with a rubber collar, and is slightly thinner compared to my other gis. However, I don't really find this an issue as I am fortunate enough to avoid most collar chokes or grips on my collar.

For a lightweight gi, it's a pretty durable as well. I've rolled with it for several months on almost every alternate day, and it has not shown any rips or tears. All I can spot is a loose thread at the back of the gi top and some frayed threads on the gi top.

The sleeves of the gi top is double stitched with a Gameness tape for reinforcement, and there's also some reinforcement at the armpit seam and the split seam at the bottom of the skirt. The gi pants has an extra layer at the knee area and all the seams are triple stitched.

As for its fast drying properties, the gi does live up to its claims. The first time I washed this was in the night, and I hung it up indoors to dry. By morning, it was ready for training. Great if you train frequently like me.

Affordability

Officially, the Gameness Pearl gi retails for US $139 (SGD $180) on their website, although you might be able to get cheaper offers from other online retailers, especially those selling the older pre-2010 models. With gis though, shipping is always costly due to weight and size, so be prepared to fork out a hefty amount for it.

There's a sweet spot for combined shipping if you're planning to order a few with friends. You'll have to experiment with the quantities as it varies from retailer to retailer. I'd suggest Budovideos as a good place to start.

If you're lucky enough to find this at a local store, this gi is definitely worth considering for their lightweight and durability. Compared to other lightweight gis in the same category, Gameness fairs as one of the more affordable brands without sacrificing quality.

If you're unable to find it locally though, you might want to do some math with regard to what's available locally, and figure out what is the most cost effective option. An affordable gi might quickly become expensive because of shipping, and it might be more value for money to simply invest in a higher end gi that's a couple dollars more and available in your neighbourhood.

Conclusion

The Gameness Pearl gi is a great no frills gi to get if you're looking for something to train in our warmer SEA weather, as well as a perfect base template for your latest gi pimping experiment. If you only plan to invest in one gi, it dries fast enough that you can use it for regular frequent training.

Disclaimer
All comments in the review are my own personal opinion. Prices provided in brackets are merely for reference and are based on exchange rates at the time of writing.

If you like this review and found it helpful, please post a comment or let the company or retailer know too. Should you decide to purchase them online, you might want to consult the online buying guide for advice.

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