Some Kenpoist gi’s are viewed as being pretty generic.
They’re usually black or white and occasionally there is a rebel that wears what we call salt & pepper (black top and white bottom or vice versa). To be honest what sets Kenpoists apart from other systems isn’t the gi, it’s what’s on the gi. Kenpoist gi’s are usually covered in patches, ranging from variations of Kenpo crests, dojo’s they’re affiliated with or distinguished patches earned in study or competition.
Me in my Kenpo gi and patches.
At our Dojo, we are only permitted to wear black or white.
There’s never really been an issue with this policy.
I own black and white gi’s, some covered in Kenpo regalia and some blank. A part of me has always been secretly jealous of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gis. You see them everywhere; in every color imaginable and some with beautiful embroidering.
Come on, who doesn't want a pink gi?
I was slightly perplexed and alarmed when Elite Sport asked me to try out their Elite Sports Ultra Lite BJJ Gi. I have never studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and didn’t know what to think of a BJJ gi. The fact that it was Blue was even more bewildering.
I knew next to nothing about BJJ gis.
Before I agreed to testing the gi, I consulted my good friend Jason Bennett a 4th Degree Black belt in American Kenpo and Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
After looking over the gi link, Sifu Bennett told me,
“I have separate gi’s for Kenpo and BJJ because of the weight. Nice gi though, it will last a long time. Try it.”
If I had any hurtle to overcome it was wearing a gi too heavy that would restrict my movement.
I hoped that with it being an Ultra Lite, it wouldn’t make that big of a difference. My Sifu concurred and gave me permission to wear the gi regularly on the mat for one week to test it in sparring, group technique classes and forms.
This is what I concluded.
My gi was durable and reinforced and moved fine my stand up and striking in sparring class. However, due to the inseam of the pants, there was a loss of height in my kicks. Which forced me to focus on my upper body and handwork.
My son & I after sparring in my Elite Sports BJJ gi.
The truth is, wearing the gi during sparring was an eye opener. I’m not going to be wearing a karate gi every minute. I might be in jeans, cut off shorts or even a mini skirt… and THEY could limit my kicking ability as well. An attacker on the street isn’t going to care. Sparring outside of my comfort zone reminded me of that.
If you are a karate practitioner and plan on trying out a BJJ gi there’s one other thing you should be prepared for…
Your fellow peers grabbing you.
There’s something about the weave of the fabric and the thickness of the seems that makes you just want to grab, hold on and possible either throw or shake a person wearing a BJJ gi.
I know this because that is exactly what all my friends wanted to do to me.
During technique class, we practice our techniques on each other by mock attacking one another. Usually this is based off punches and kicks. Suddenly, everyone had this uncontrollable urge to no longer punch or kick me but rather grab and drag me.
As I travel and speak with different Martial Artists from different systems, the easiest topic of discussion has been work out gear.
I was surprised and slightly guarded when I was approached by Elite Sport who wanted to sponsor me and have me test their gear.
I was hesitant, but they encouraged me to just try the equipment and the clothing, urging me to let the results speak for themselves.
So I found myself on their website trying to pick out what items I would try. As I looked through the rash guards, gloves and bags it suddenly dawned on me that I might know what these items are but I had no idea how to determine the quality of any gear.
With the popularity in Martial Arts, especially MMA, on the rise there are many new brands and distributors popping up.
While some consumers might be inclined to choose the first cool looking piece of gear they find, there’s much more to it than that.
Gear is meant to protect students while also helping to enhance their training or performance. It is therefore crucial to pay to the attention to detail that goes into the gear. These details are what attract not just customers but reviews from customers.
Elite Sports has been pleased with their customer response and maintain,
“The response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive, which is a huge source of pride for our design team and the company as a whole.”
So I selected my items and waited for them to arrive in the mail. Yet I still questioned why gear would be such a necessity?
It’s because of these potential injuries that Elite Sports stresses,
“Wearing no training equipment at all is a huge risk.”
I don’t train at an MMA gym but my main aspiration for gear was to find gear, whether it was a pair of gloves, shorts or even a gi that would be good quality and a comfortable fit.
I just hoped my rash guard made me look this awesome.
I had a feeling I’d have the same problem with this rash guard.
But it stayed put.
I faintly heard the hallelujah chorus in the background.
While this might not sound like a big deal, its little things like this I don’t have to worry about when training. Elite Sports explains, that when they make a set of gloves or a rash guard, it’s meant to be suitable for use; whether your goal is to go pro, live a healthier lifestyle or gaining valuable self-defense skills.
“Embrace The Pain. At the end of the day, the gear you train in isn’t going to turn you into a superhuman. You have to put in the hours at the gym. What we mean by that is strive to be the best and let the growing pains shape you.
When you visit the Elite Sports website you can clearly see their passion for what they do. Consumers can see the lives and careers of their sponsored fighters on Team Elite. Their website shows a unique page for each member of Team Elite to showcase their story.
The future is shaping up for Elite Sports...
To stay up with their latest news and merchandise be sure to follow them on their social media. Also watch Kenpo Girl’s social media for my photos and videos of me testing their products.
Jesalyn Mae Harper
Hello my name is Jesalyn. I'm a divorced single mom and a karate addict...
I am currently a 1st Brown belt in American Kenpo and a Junior Instructor at Double Dragon Kenpo Karate under JR Diaz, I am part of the Parker/Planas Lineage and study Karbaroan Eskrima with JR Diaz, under Guro Ed Planas
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