Ronin Imperial and Tatatmi Tank double weave review!

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment Reviews' started by Bolopunch21, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Bolopunch21

    Bolopunch21 Orange Belt

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    The Battle of the Heavyweights!​

    This gi review offers readers an exploration into the latest double weaves to hit the BJJ gi market. Double weaves generally offer bjj players a few distinct advantages. The thicker gi material made various grips more difficult, and the abrasive texture of the weave left many an opponents' face or fingers bloody and achy. More than just more GSM of the weave, the double weave gis featured extra industrial-strength reinforcements to hold the uniform together. This meant a shelf-life eons beyond what one could expect from a single, pearl, or ripstop gi.

    For years, the Howard Combat Kimonos were notorious for their heavy weight, durability, and iron collars. These gis became the gold standard for the heavy, durable gi. Much like the Carhartt brand work coats, HCKs were the epitome of utilitarianism: functional as a piece of equipment.
    The reputations of HCK's comp double weave, comp single weave, and the Haley's Comet-esque Absolute conjure memories of broken fingernails, failed collar chokes, and numerous arthritic medications. This review will compare the Ronin Imperial, and the Tatami Tank, the most recent model double weave gis.

    Each section will feature bullet points to quickly summarize, and some will be followed by a lengthier and more thorough discussion. I hope you enjoy!


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    HCK COMPETITION SINGLE: size 5
    From the HCK website: Made from 20 oz. traditional weave fabric that is incredibly soft, flexible and airy.
    [20 oz. converted to grams, for gsm, is about 566 gsm. Anyone that has trained in an HCK knows that they feel much heavier than the stated gsm. The standard single on the old website was listed as 16 oz weight (453 gsm), and most definitely felt heavier than other brands' 450 gsm gis.]



    THE IMPERIAL BY RONIN BRAND: size A1L
    Introducing the Imperial Gi by Ronin Brand. This is the heaviest true double weave Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Kimono in the industry that Japan has produced.

    The jacket is composed of a 890 GSM Poly/cotton material that is pre-shrunk (will still shrink 1-1.5" if you tried to). This is a one piece material gi and does not have the judo setsugi seam going down the middle. The interior is lined with a ultra soft brushed material for extra comfort. All major stress areas are standard reinforced.

    The pants are made from a ultra soft 11oz. poly/cotton material. Six belt loops are offered with durable stretchy rope string.



    THE TANK by TATAMI FIGHTWEAR: size A2
    The Tank is a 950GSM Double Weave Jiu-Jitsu Gi, for those guys and gals who mean business. Made from a traditional Double Weave material, the Tank is build to last the test of time
    The Tank is a 950GSM Double Weave Jiu-Jitsu Gi, for those guys and gals who mean business. Made from a traditional Double Weave material, the Tank is build to last the test of time. Made on the same pattern as our best selling Estilo range the Tank is designed to fit like a modern BJJ cut but with a traditional feel.
    The Tank comes with some serious reinforcements on the inside of the Gi including a canvas trim across the main seam area and across the top half of the lapel.
    For added comfort we have brushed the interior of the jacket to make the Tank feel smooth when rolling.
    Make no mistake The Tank is one serious piece of BJJ kit
    Features include
    - 950GSM Double Weave Jacket
    - 14oz Canvas Pants
    - Estilo Cut
    - Contrast Army Green belt loops, draw cord and side vents.
    - Free Drawstring Bag






    Cut/fit: All three fit my build well. I'm 5'6”, 155 lbs, athletic build.

    Ronin: Most snug of the three for my build, narrow but IBJJF legal sleeves. Trousers are average width, not slim fitted.

    Tatami: more narrow than the HCK but slightly baggier than the Ronin in the sleeves and jacket width.

    HCK: the baggiest of the three, in the armpits, sleeves, skirt length, and trouser legs.


    Tatami on top of the HCK.
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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  2. Bolopunch21

    Bolopunch21 Orange Belt

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    Ronin on top of Tatami


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    Design: (the websites have much better pics than I could take with my camera.)

    Ronin: super sharp embroidery on the jacket lapel, shoulders, hip, and upper back. Only small brand label on pants.

    Tatami: military-themed(?) star featured on every embroidered graphic, minimal but distinct.

    HCK:
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  3. Bolopunch21

    Bolopunch21 Orange Belt

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    Durability
    Ronin: feels like it will last forever, stands up to repeated machine-drying sessions with no wear after 2 months.

    Tatami: no signs of wear: broken stitches, popped weave grains, or tears along the collar. Solid gi!

    HCK: proven to outlast most US occupations.



    Construction: this is what separates the lighter weaves from the doubles.

    Ronin: stiffest collar, canvas tape over heavily reinforced seams, impeccable stitching (made in JAPAN!)

    Tatami: widest collar, super wide canvas tape over the heavy seams on the jacket, very few stitching flaws.

    HCK: thick collar (stiffer than, the Tatami, thicker than the Ronin); seam tape everywhere, even down the entire length of the sleeve seam; excellent stitching.



    Collar:

    *Ronin is the stiffest

    *Tatami is the widest, quickest drying

    All three have thick, hefty collars. The Tank has a firm EVA collar, while the Imperial and the HCK feature the traditional fabric core collars. One advantage to an EVA foam collar is quicker drying times, sometimes as quick as an overnight drip hang, as the dense fabric core collars can sometimes take almost two days to dry, depending of room temp and humidity levels. The collar features a thick tape reinforcement that is typical of high end judo gis. Despite not having the collar tape of the Tatami and the HCK, the Ronin collar is still the stiffest. Gripping the collar of any of these gis is not fun.



    HCK, infamous for its stiff collars, is actually thinner than the Tank, and less stiff than the Imperial! The HCK collar can be folded in half, albeit with a great effort and finger strength. The Imperial collar requires a much greater effort to be folded. The Tanks's collar requires the least amount of effort to collar-fold amongst the three double weaves, but to be clear, it is still the toughest EVA collar I've ever gripped. (Sidenote: is there a collar that is literally impossible to fold? Yes! In my experience there were a few: the HCK absolute, the Kagi Sportarmor, and the Toraki Gold judo gi)


    Left to right: HCK, Ronin, Tatami

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    Ronin: standard reinforced seams, many covered in strips of seam tape.


    Tatami: probably the most heavily reinforced cuffs I've ever seen: 7 rows of stitching over a wide canvas seam tape, compared to the three rows of stitching on the Ronin and HCK. This same wide strip of reinforcement covers the V-shaped opening on the skirt, the entire skirt edge, and the doubled layer of weave on the upper part of the gi.

    HCK: enough canvas reinforcements to piece together another set of pants! The HCK does differ from the other two in that it has a two-piece construction, sometimes referred to as setsugi stitching down the middle of the back of the gi jacket. This seam is wide and the folded layers of jacket weave are flat and covered with tape, so that the guard player feels no discomfort on their spine whatsoever.

    Left to right: Tatami, Ronin, HCK.
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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  4. Bolopunch21

    Bolopunch21 Orange Belt

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    Trousers: all three feature a second layer of fabric that reaches all the way to the end of the cuff. In my experience, pants that had the layer of knee reinforcement stop around the shin have been prone to ripping along the seam.

    Ronin pants are the lightest and most comfy, have 6 belt loops, and a stretchy spongy cord for a drawstring.

    Tatami pants are stiffer and heavier than the Ronin, have four green belt loops, and a green stretchy spongy drawstring cord.

    HCK trousers are heavy denim, tough. But only one belt loop, and the flat drawstring that often gets stuck, making pulling the waist tight at the beginning of training, and loosening up the trousers at the end of training, almost impossible. This is easily fixed with a replacement cord. *(the latest HCK gis have elastic waist and drawstrings, which I have no experience using.)

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    Left to right: Ronin,HCK, Tatami
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    So what's the bottom line? Who wins?

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    All three gis perform well under the grueling pulls and tugs of vicious grappling opponents. All three were built to last, with no consideration to making weight before pre-comp weigh-ins with the gi. All three are simple in aesthetic design, preferring subtle yet stylishly distinct embroidered embellishments. The HCK has stood the test of time, as countless bjj elders can confirm.

    Ronin Brand's Imperial gi continues the decades long tradition of solid martial arts training gear. Only within the last few years has this New York-based brand ventured into the world of bjj gis, and has shown a pronounced evolution in style and design, featuring artwork in previous gis by artists like Meerkatsu a.k.a. Seymour Yang, and John Smalls. The double weave Imperial is the first, and possible only, model of their gis to be made in Japan.

    The Tatami Tank is an excellent and bold effort to capture the mystique of the heavy double weave during an era when the tide of gi preference is towards lighter, flashy gis. Tatami has consistently put out high quality training gear and casual apparel with fresh designs from renowned artists like Meerkatsu.


    If I had my choice of only one, I would undoubtedly choose the made in Japan Ronin. Save some money and spoil yourself, you deserve it. The comfort and the quality that thus far remains unmatched by other countries pushes the Ronin Imperial over the top. I've had my share of Japanese-made gis: Isami double, RDVWW/ Isami, Lutador Kimonos, Yamato Sakura double weave, and now Ronin. There is no guarantee that Ronin will continue to make the Imperial gi out of Japan, which adds a level of rarity, in my opinion.


    Thankfully, I am not forced to make that choice so I will happily be keeping all three in my collection. Good training. Peace.






    *The choice of the HCK comp single for this review is simply because the comp double and absolute(heavier double) are no longer available through howardliu.com.
     
  5. jct

    jct White Belt

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    Thanks for the in depth review, though I could've used it earlier as I just ordered the Tatami tank yesterday lol. At least your review doesn't make me regret buying it.

    I used an amazon gift card and the ronin isn't available there as far as I know, otherwise I might have second thoughts.

    How many pounds are the gis? Mostly interested in the tatami and ronin since HCK has a different model for the comp single and I actually had the model you reviewed along with the comp double.

    What kind of shrinkage did you get with the tatami if you tried to shrink it at all? I'm on the smaller side of the size chart and asked them about this and they said that it can be shrunk quite a bit due to being a double weave.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Bolopunch21

    Bolopunch21 Orange Belt

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    I could never get a consistently accurate weight measurement on my digital scale. I figured since they were all different sizes it wouldn't be a fair comparison.

    I didn't notice any shrinkage in either Tatami or Ronin. I washed cold and only machine dried the Ronin.
     
  7. ironwolf

    ironwolf Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    That Tatami tank looks awesome, I really like Tatami Gi's and I ususally train in an Estillo 4.0. The Tank may be the next Gi I buy as Im not really into the modern ultra light flashy stuff.
     
  8. nodferatu

    nodferatu Drilling in the south

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    Great review/comparison!
     
  9. fighting.spirit

    fighting.spirit Yellow Belt

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    It's pretty big when you first get it (fits more like a judo gi), but it will shrink all over if you machine dry.
     

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