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Review: Detales No Gi BJJ Women’s Submission Grappling Tights

Detales sent me a pair of their grappling tights, and I tested them over two nogi training sessions (including a washing in between).

The tights fit as tights should (tight, btw). A bit loose in the back waist, but that is typical for me & any pants. I was initially skeptical about the capri cut and if it would feel weird to have fabric on only part of my calf; it did for the first few minutes, but as soon as I warmed up, totally forgot about that. (On the other hand, the capri length meant I had to shave at least some. So, boo;)

I was also concerned about how all the exposed stitching would hold up between grappling and washing, but everything seems to still be in place. And all that designed stitching got several compliments from folks, too, so that’s a plus, as well.

A solid pair of tights from Detales.

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Q5 Labs products — a review

Q5 Labs is a supplement company run by a grappler. I was sent a sample pack from Q5 Combat and asked to review it.

Background on me: I’ve taken supplements of various kinds for the last 10 years or so. My dad has always been interested in health and fitness (I remember “health food cookies” as a kid; they tasted like sawdust with raisins mixed in. Not a fan.), and even more recently he and my brother ran a supplement franchise, so I’ve had ready access to supplements and the industry for a while now.

Whey Protein

When I was asked to do a review of the products, the first thing that stood out to me was “Grass Fed Whey Protein.” At that point, I was very interested. I generally follow a Paleo/Primal diet, and one of the big tenets there is to use grass-fed (or, on their natural diet) products, including grass-fed dairy. But most, if not all, protein powders on the market are from corn-fed cows. Bad for the cows, bad for you. So, meh. But the Q5 protein powder is produced from New Zealand grass-fed cows.

Also, most protein powders sold in the US are made from the cheapest protein powder possible and include many fillers to bulk it up even more and/or “improve” the flavor. (But all the extra stuff tastes terrible and generally does not mix well, leaving you with those nasty clumps that you have to swallow.) And that’s why I need 3 scoops (63g) of the cheap stuff to get 20g of protein. On the other hand, with a high-quality protein powder, just 1 scoop can net you more protein that that. One scoop (30g) of the Q5 whey protein is 21g of protein. And it mixes easily in minimal water & a shaker cup.

Finally, taste. I’m not a fan of chugging down things that don’t taste good, whether or not they’re good for me. However, that wasn’t a problem — I tried both the chocolate and the vanilla, and they were neither overpowering nor chalky. Just enough taste so you could taste some flavor and so it wasn’t bland, but not too much to turn up your taste buds.

Q5 has done all the right things with this protein powder.

Launch Fuel

Launch Fuel is a pre-workout drink mix. It’s not a big amount to mix, and it mixes easily and is easy to drink. (Already we’re way ahead of most pre-workout products! Usually one taste, and that’s it. Bleh.) Also, no caffeine, so good for taking before evening classes.

I had some before a Monday evening training session, which ended up including a whole lot of sparring. Now, I did take it almost right before class, so all the effects that I might have felt were occuring during the warmup, so I couldn’t distinguish between pre-workout drink fuzzies and general warming-up fuzzies. But, I did have a very good training session and, although I was tired by the end of the night, I still had the energy to keep going.

Now, because I’m not sure what was pre-workout fuzzies and what was general warming-up fuzzies, I can’t say for sure how well the product worked. Pre-workouts are one of those things I need to test multiple times under multiple conditions so I know if the results are there. But, based on the initial test, Launch Fuel is a good contender for a pre-workout trial.

Super Food mixes

I also had a sample each of Warrior Green and Warrior Purple. Both are powdered fruit/vegetable mixes. I’ve taken these sorts of things before as well, and in general I have found them to be the most foul supplements ever, even mixed in fruit juice. (Lemon Fish Oil is a close second. Just…blech.) So I admit I had a fair amount of trepidation when I mixed the first one up. (I even made my brother taste the first one first, because I was too scared to.)

And… these aren’t bad. Both were a little grainy after mixing in water, though that’s normal for these things, but not clumpy. Purple smells like beets (which I like) and tastes like strawberry/cranberry (I think it has none of those in there, lol, but that’s what I got from it). Green smells like instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal and tastes a bit, well, green (but not like grass, which most “green” mixes do). Now, I still wouldn’t want to drink them just because I’m thirsty, but these both are some of the best powdered fruit/vegetable mixes that I’ve had.


So there you have it, a short review of a sample pack of supplements from Q5 Labs.

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Book Review: “When the Fight Goes to the Ground”, Lori O’Connell

What is the most important thing to do when the fight goes to the ground? Get back up. That is the focus of When the Fight Goes to the Ground, by Lori O’Connell, a 5th-degree black belt in Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu — getting out of a bad position and standing back up as quickly as possible. This mantra is repeated as often as possible throughout the book, to drill in to your head that you must get back up.

In addition, one of the most important things in teaching self defense techniques is to use a small number of techniques in a small number of combinations — to keep everything as simple as possible — so that they can be easily remembered and drilled repeatedly. The book uses both familiar BJJ techniques like bridging and shrimping as well as a finite list of kicks and strikes (hint: lots of elbows. Also some biting. [!!]). These techniques are then applied to the different scenarios presented, starting from the simplest variation and progressing to more complex starting positions; the more complex starting positions are subverted back to the simplest variation so that the core principles of the escape are repeated again and again. Even the few knife and multiple-attacker scenarios toward the end use the same movements from earlier.

Emphasis is also given to the need to justify the use and amount of force. You do need to be able to explain why you did what you did, what actions or behavior prompted your response, and why the amount of force you used was reasonable. If you train in any martial art or self-defense tactics, you should be able to articulate your reasons.

The book also uses three body types for the demonstrations. Usually the pictures are of Lori beating up one of the guys, but occasionally when discussing challenges for different body types, the two guys (one, tall and lanky; the other, shorter and barrel-chested) demonstrate the technique.

The accompanying DVD walks through the same exercises as shown in the book, but now you can see the movements all together. The DVD is a nice addition, as it isn’t always easy to visualize a technique in motion based on still pictures.

Couple of notes:

  • Standing up after an escape technique is repeatedly emphasized, but no standing-up technique is shown (a point Slidey also mentioned in his review). The “technical stand up” is an actual technique with a purpose: protect your head, maintain eye contact/awareness, and stand with solid base while moving out of reach.
  • The submissions sections are much weaker than the rest of the book, especially if you have any BJJ training. However, one thing that was good here was the emphasis on escaping “early,” that is, before the submission is locked in; that’s good advice in sport BJJ, too. (Also, there was the idea of “tapping out” if someone were attacking you with a submission, in the hopes of getting them to let go entirely or of at least distracting them.)
  • The book ends rather abruptly after a short chapter on multiple attackers. I suppose I was looking for some sort of conclusion, reminder of safe training, advice for further training, and/or more discussion of law enforcement use, the latter of which the book mentioned several times but did not cover as thoroughly as it seemed to hint that it would.

Well, I was going to compliment the guys for their acting skills at looking like they were in extreme pain in the pictures, and then I saw this:

Oh. Ouch!

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Review: Manto Women’s “Sakura” Rashguard

I received the Manto Women’s “Sakura” Short-Sleeve Rashguard to review for martialartssupplies.com (BJJHQ). I reviewed a size Medium (women’s size). I’m 5’2″ and ~127 lbs.

The Good

I like the design, for one. It looks good when you wear it, and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it.*

For another, the fit is great. The neck is high and fits just right (not too tight, not too loose). The sleeves are not restrictive on my shoulders or under my arms. The rest of the rashguard fits snugly and does not ride up. It’s a little longer than most of my other rashguards, but that of course only helps to keep it in place. I’ve worn it both nogi and gi, and it does not budge, not even when my gi top was loose and sliding around everywhere; the rashguard stayed where I put it.

The Bad

Several seams unraveled to some degree. A clip & a dab of clear nail polish fix those, but still a little annoying to pull it on and notice new loose threads.

These are actually probably my fault as I insist on throwing all my rashguards in the washing machine and do not hand wash them as the directions say. But I do not understand why gear made for sweaty people has directions for hand washing. No sense it makes.

The Ugly

It’s white. Not just white, but a thin see-through white. In the picture above, you can read the logo on the girl’s shorts through the rashguard. The effect is more obvious in person; it hides nothing. And, of course, this is obviously exacerbated as soon as you start sweating. I resorted to wearing a second rashguard underneath (uncomfortable, hot, and the bottom rashguard always ended up riding up & bunching, though again the Sakura stayed where I put it) or finally wearing it underneath my gi.

(I have a white rashguard from Target that does not fit particularly well, but it is not see-through. So it is possible to make an opaque white rashguard. But this isn’t it.)

I do not do jiu-jitsu for the wet t-shirt contest effect.

Conclusion

Honestly, in my opinion the fact that it’s white and see-through is a deal-breaker. I repeat: I do not do jiu-jitsu for the wet t-shirt contest effect. I would like to see it in black/brown (the other color in the design), with the pink and white as the accents.

I want to like it because it nails the look and function aspects, but the see-through design choice makes me pause every single time I pull it out of my drawer, and I have to think about what I’m going to wear under it. I shouldn’t have to worry about decency in my BJJ gear.

As it is, it works well under a gi because it stays in place and is not restrictive. It would probably also work well during winter on those days when I wear two rashguards (yes, I do that when the academy is too cold).

*For the record, the compliments occurred when I was wearing something underneath.

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Review: Clinch Gear Performance Rash Guard in Silver

The Clinch Gear Performance Rash Guard in Silver was the BJJHQ Deal of the Day on June 21, 2011.

When BJJHQ offered to have me review this rash guard, silly me didn’t put 2 and 2 together and arrive at a rational number — that is, I didn’t recognize the name of the company as one that many of my teammates already wear. But when I started wearing it to class, I noticed all the other Clinch Gear surrounding me. So, there’s a whole academy vote in their direction, and I haven’t heard anything negative about their gear. (Also, the new team shorts we got are Clinch Gear as well. Yeah, I’m a quick one.)

Anyway, the rash guard arrived here in record time. It’s a size Small, seeing as how I’m also small: 5’2″ and ~125lbs. The Small fit me tight, without being baggy anywhere, whereas most company’s “small” is still too large for me.

The sleeves are longer on me than most of my other rash guards, though I’ve noticed that the sleeves of other Clinch Gear rash guards are long on my longer-limbed teammates. I thought that would be strange, and it was for all of 10 seconds, and then everything felt normal. The sleeves don’t ride up, either, and, though the sleeves do kind of bunch like on the mannequin below, I haven’t noticed any issues with function:

Sadly, I had another dumb moment in which I cut off the tag inside the shirt because it was tickling me. I didn’t save said tag, which of course had the fabric composition written on it. *le sigh* Well, it feels thicker than my normal rash guards, which are probably 100% polyester. (Yay, cheap Target shirts!) I worried at first about it being too hot but have found that not to be the case at all. I’ve worn the shirt for both gi and nogi and have not noticed any problems in the overheating department; in fact, I think I do better in this rash guard than the cheapie ones.

Most of my other rash guards — again being the cheap women’s workout ones from Wal-Mart and Target — have V-necks. This one has a regular neckline. Again, for the first few moments, my neck was confused, but it has since adjusted. Now I don’t even notice it.

I don’t tuck my shirts in when I roll (and I guess I never even thought of it until I read Meg’s Manto rash guard review), but I have noticed that most of my shirts ride up high under my gi, so I end up with lots of fabric clumped together and have to pick it out and straighten it up to remove the uncomfortable “inner tube” effect. This rash guard, though, doesn’t do that; it stays in place under my gi. (+1000!)

I did glance at the tag before I threw it away, and the one thing I do remember is the first “Care” step: hand wash. Um, no. If my gear can’t take a beating in the washing machine, then it won’t last long around here. So I’ve been tossing this shirt in the washer and even in the dryer, and so far it’s held up fine. No noticeable shrinkage, no fading (though, how do you tell if gray fades? *hmmm*), no other fabric issues, and no stitching issues. (Our new team rash guards [of unknown manufacturing origin], on the other hand, are already starting to unravel on the inside. Mine is, and someone else pointed it out on his after just 1 day rolling in it.) The Clinch Gear logo on the front and back, however, are already peeling off. The printing on the side panels (sublimated?) are fine. (I can’t recall, at the moment, if anyone else with a CG rash guard at the academy has had the same problem with the logos coming off.)

Overall impression: a very good rash guard. I find myself reaching for it over the cheapie ones now because it’s much more comfortable and stays on better. The Small fits tiny little me without riding up or bunching all around.

Disclaimer: What’s in it for me? I got a free shirt that has turned in to my new favorite rashguard.

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