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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

08 October 2010

Gi Review - Tatami Zero G

The Zero G is one of several (relatively) inexpensive BJJ gis from the UK, currently coming in at £57. I saw a lot of other people wearing the Zero G at Gracie Barra Birmingham, whereas I’d previously been a lot more familiar with Black Eagle, apparently the beginner gi of choice at the Roger Gracie Academy (at least when I was there).

The Zero G is light, comfortable and not too expensive. I’ve been rolling in it for a few months now, and I’ve been happy with the gi so far. The material doesn’t feel too stiff, and it isn’t overly abrasive on the inside. You also get a blue drawstring bag included in the price, which is a nice touch: naturally that has ‘Zero G’ in big letters down the side.

There are three main drawbacks: first, the cut is rather square, and despite some shrinking, I still find that the A2 jacket is a bit baggy, with the sleeves also a bit long for my liking (I’m 5’7 and 65kg). Secondly, I’m not too sure about the rope drawstring, which feels looser and less secure than the flattened cotton strip I’m used to.

However, having paid close attention to it during sparring, it didn’t come loose, and unlike the flattened strip, I wasn’t retying it several times during the lesson. It also seems to be less prone to the problem I have with all my other gi trousers, where one side of the strip (normally the right) gradually ends up much longer than the other, requiring some tiresome pulling and pushing to try and equalise the two lengths.

The third problem is that the Zero G is doused in patches, making me feel like a walking billboard. It isn’t much of a problem though, as to remove the patches is a simple matter. You can either use a seam-ripper (I think that’s what they’re called), or like me you can just use nail-scissors. Digging underneath a part of the patch, cut a few strands, until you can pull up an edge. That then enables you to methodically chop your way through the rest of the threads, which are now clear to see: most likely you’ll be able to rip it free at points, but I’d assume that is more risky.

I don’t like to spend a lot of money when I’m buying a gi, so £57 is about as much as I’m willing to fork out. For me (and I babble about this more in an article from a while back), it is a functional piece of equipment, not a fashion statement. Hence why I’m most likely going to be sticking with basic, cheap judogi (like the one from Black Eagle) and budget gis for the foreseeable future.

Having said that, I am tempted by the super lightweight ripstop gis, as that would ideal for the US training trip I’ve been wanting to make for some time now. Something like the new Grab and Pull should pack up tight, weigh little and dry fast, none of which is true of my other gis. The Fushida Mantis might fit the bill too (there’s a review of their impressive customer services here), though that only has ripstop trousers, so I’m not sure how quick the jacket dries. Howard was wearing one at RGA Wycombe, so I’ll check with him.

Speaking of Meerkatsu, Seymour has already done a very comprehensive review of the Zero G, which you can check out here. He compares it against several other similarly priced British brands, so if like me you don’t like to empty out your wallet for a load of cotton, Seymour tells you everything you need to know about buying a gi (also be sure to check out his excellent article on the topic).

To finish, here's a promotional video Tatami did for the gi, with BJJ School instructor Eamonn (who I had a chance to train with last year):


  1. Nice one. For something as personal as gi fit, it's always important to get as many reviews of the gi out there, so nice to read your own thoughts on the Zero G. For me, the A1 Zero G jacket is perfect, but the trousers are too short. Their subsequent models (navy pearlweave and Estilo gis) have addressed this problem and are both excellent.

    Handy for others to know that the patches come off easily too. For me, I like the Zero G patches, especially nice on the black gi version. But at least you have the option to take them off if you want.

    Wait for my Storm review - the patches look like they don't come off easily and there are a heck of a lot of them!

  2. Thanks, and yeah, I noticed the patch on the Fushida Mantis gi Howard was wearing had tougher stitching on the jacket patch, so would presumably be harder to remove. However, he also said that you can ask them to leave it off the jacket (although he did, and they still put it on, so meh).

    Another thing that tempts me about the Fushida is the $75 (Canadian dollars) cost, which currently works out at £57. My brother-in-law is Canadian, so if I decided to pick one up in the future, I should hopefully be able to get him to bring one back for me. :)

    But that does of course depend on the drying time, which along with weight and bulk would be my main concerns for a travelling gi.

  3. I feel the same way about spending a lot of money on a fancy gi. I've never had the opportunity to roll in a lightweight, rip-stop gi. So I guess I don't know what I'm missing. In this case, I am hoping ignorance is bliss and a few extra dollars in my bank account! ;)

  4. I wouldn't normally consider them, as they're basically good for three things: competition (nope, don't do that), hot weather (I live in England, so nope) and travel. That last one is what tempts me.

    The Grab & Pull Seymour reviewed is £85, which isn't terrible, but still more than I'd normally spend. Nevertheless, works out way cheaper than American alternatives, given that the shipping is going to be much less (for people in the US, the Ground Control one appears to be quite reasonably priced, last time I looked).

    However, I'm not in any rush, as I've no idea when I'll actually have the money and time for the US "go train with bloggers" trip I've been talking about for ages. So, hopefully some affordable ripstop options will come out in the next year or two.

  5. Slidey, don't you own a Padilla & Sons? How do you like that gi? It's one of my faves.

    I just picked up a Zero-G. I like Seymour am a fan of the patches on the black version. That jacket also fits me well, but I have to agree that the pants are too short. I took them to my sewing machine, let them out all the way and stitched bias tape around the bottom hem to give myself an extra inch. I also forcibly shrunk the jacket in the dryer and now it fits perfectly. The gi is very comfortable, so it was worth the time to make the adjustments IMO.

  6. I do indeed, two of them (reviews here). The gold weave A2 is my favourite gi, and fits me great.

    Come to think of it, Padilla put out a lightweight gi a while back, but I don't think it was ripstop (which I'm keen on because I'm assuming they dry super fast, compared to cotton).

  7. Yeah, I actually bought the lightweight. It's a great gi. I'll have to give the gold weave a try.

  8. Nice post slidyfoot. I am actually looking for a simple plain gi, and stumbled across your blog. Very informative. I might check out the grab and pull one as well. Thanks a ton man!

  9. No probs, Cuong: be sure to check out Seymour's gi reviews on Meerkatsu, as he's a lot better at them than me. ;)

    For a plain gi, the Padilla is a pretty good option, and I've also heard HCK and Sirius are plain, cheap and decent: should be able to find them on Budovideos.

    Are there any Australian gi suppliers, out of interest? I guess shipping must be a pain over to Australasia.

  10. There are no australian suppliers out here man. I have owned a Padilla and Sons, however I donated it when I was in Brazil. It was definitely a nice gi.

    I hear some bad things about the HCK ones though, as they are for 'big guys' if you know what I mean. It def was a pain to ship to Australia, but I have to look around more. Thanks you heaps for the help. I've always wanted to comment on one of your posts, but got the courage to now! hehe

  11. Hah - dude, I love getting comments, so feel free! ;D