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kikoolol
12/11/2009 10:26am,
http://www.bullshido.net/images/news/mizuno-shiai-judogi.jpgI'm at school right now, between two finals, and I decided to write a review of my new gi to pass the time. Why the hell not?

Mizuno has decided to phase out its Ichiban competition line and replace it by the Shiai model. Now, I have no experience with the Ichiban. I have heard it's a stiff, but ample, Japanese-cut judogi, whereas the Eurocomp is the model most people who like to be dressed in armors will choose, with it's stiff material and lapel, and tight European-cut.

Most judoka know that a competition gi, if they pay thought to such matters, should be tight-fitting and stiff, to provide an aid in gripfighting. Such gis are harder to grip, in theory. It's probably true that wearing a tight gi or a softer gi won't really be an issue in the long run and that it's your judo that matters. But since 90% of the competition WILL be wearing medieval armors, one should equalise the playing field and wear one too.

This is where the Shiai is like a red-headed stepchild. Shiai means "competition". Just by the name, one would expect a ultra-stiff judogi, with a barely legal setsugi and lapels so stiff your opponents cry when they grip you. It is NOT the case.

In fact, the Shiai's material is soft. It reminds me of an old teddy bear. The lapels are almost single-weave judogi grade. If you order a Shiai thinking it's another Eurocomp, you will be sorely dissapointed. However, the Shiai's softness is not really a bad thing. I own a Fushida Icon and grew a little tired of the "rah rah I am heavy and stiff" kind of judogi. Fully knowing what I got into, I then ordered a Shiai. White, because I'm a silly purist.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Sure, my opponents no longer cried when they had to grip my judogi. And sure, it was easier to get a grip on. However, I personally did not see much difference between wearing a stiff, tight gi and wearing a soft, large one like the Shiai. Since it was now a question of comfort, the Shiai wins and that's what I wear to practice. Your mileage may vary.

Durability

It's a Mizuno judogi. I've had it for a few months now and no wear is visible, but that is to be expected. The Shiai is made in China and I hear Mizuno's quality has dropped since they started producing most of their line in China. However the Shiai largely suffices and seems on par with other mid-range judogi regarding durability as far as I am concerned.

Flexibility/Mobility

As I said, this is not an armor. It's very easy to move in. The material is very, very soft, in fact it is softer and lighter than the Kano, Mizuno's medium-weight model. I did not really like that at first, being used to armors, but I largely prefer the soft, supple material the Shiai puts on my body now.

Ease of Use

Put pants on. Put jacket on. Cross lapels. Tie obi.

The Shiai is a preshrunk model. Only the sleeves will shrink just a little. Therefore the size you get is the size you will keep. There is no shrinking to get a better fit.

Material/Production Quality

My Shiai does not seem to have common stuff in lower-quality judogi like missing stitches or wild thread. Even though it is made in China it does seem to be reasonably well made.

Protection

Not a stiff armor. Easy to grip. I've said this all in the preamble.

Miscellaneous

It's a very nice change of pace from armors. Borrow or otherwise try one. It's pretty nice and it'll feel like you're hugging an old teddy bear.

The Shiai, with it's softness, is good for practice and kata. For competition it's not stiff, so most competitors won't like it, but one can get used to it.

Try not to miss your armors too much, boys.

Phrost
12/11/2009 10:48am,
Great review, thanks.

Ming Loyalist
12/11/2009 10:53am,
i would mention that the shiai is one of the few judogis that will pass the new IJF requirements (however unless you compete on an international level, it's not likely to be an issue competing with an older gi.) also the eurocomp has been discontinued, so for those who want to keep using a eurocomp, the time to buy one is drawing to a close (watch for clearance sales.)

i have a eurocomp and love it, and may pick up another before they are all gone.

kikoolol
12/11/2009 3:33pm,
This man speaks the truth.

I wasn't sure if the Eurocomp was phased out or not so I decided not to mention it so I did not induce others in error, in the hope that someone would catch on and point it out.

It is really quite a event to see one of the defining judogi die. The Eurocomp is/was an extremely popular model, and I'm not sure the Shiai will please everyone in the armored crowd.

theotherserge
12/11/2009 3:56pm,
The discontinuation of the Eurocomp (I own two) is further proof that the IJF has gone totally ghey.

Thanks for the writeup, I was wondering about the new line.

Ming Loyalist
12/11/2009 3:56pm,
i will link to the most knowledgeable person i know of, vin from judoforum.com who said in this post: http://judoforum.com/index.php?showtopic=42213&pid=531577&mode=threaded&show=&st=#entry531577


The Eurocomp is still legal, and probably will be legal until IJF says it is illegal. But that is only for IJF sanctioned tournaments. i.e. International and points tournaments. The weight of the uniform rules probably will not affect the local and regional tournaments. The same held truth for the Dax Moskito. You can still see a lot of people completes in the Dax or some very old Eurocomp and Adidas Champion. As long as the sleeves are long enough and wide enough you will probably be alright.

The next question is how long are the manufacturers going to continue to make the current model. The Eurocomp has already been discontinued. Once we sell off the current inventory there will be no more Eurocomp.

dontwalkdontrun
12/16/2009 12:28pm,
Good review. I have a eurocomp and the armor description is deserved. I have had it for a few years and it has frayed a little on the collar. The only complaint I have about it is that I am tall and lean, 6 feet and around 170lbs, and the size 6 top was huge. After a couple tournaments where my opponents pulled it over my head, like a hockey fight or Beavis and Butthead used to, I had my mom tailor it a little. She used drape thread and her industrial grade sewing machine and put two seams in the back. The adjustment is obvious and technically illegal, but I rarely compete anymore and then only at small tourneys. The collar is retarded and its good for a laugh when you work with a white belt who doesn't have the judo death grip yet. I never noticed a big advantage when I wore it and it wasn't worth the $200. At some point in the future I would like to buy one of those gis off the internet that you measure your arms and legs and send them the measurements so its a custom fit.

kikoolol
1/11/2010 2:47pm,
Update.

If you are competing in IJF events (most of us don't), the fact that the Shiai complies to the new IJF judogi rules is no longer sufficient, thus it is kind of a moot point.

Starting 2011, every gi will have to be independantly tested by laboratories contracted by the IJF (the gi maker pays) and the only gi that will be authorised are gi that sport the new "IJF Approved!" logo that the IJF is more than happy to provide to gi makers, at a token price. Such logos will be found both on the jacket and the pants, but also on the belt.

If that weren't enough, the IJF charges gi makers 50,000$ for the privilege of putting the logo on their gi.

Therefore if you're competing at an elite level, expect to have to redo your gi wardrobe when 2011 looms. For the mere mortals like you and me, expect at the very least a raise in gi prices.

The official musings can be found at http://judoforum.com/index.php?showtopic=42871