Koral gi are some of my favourite. A couple of folks, men and women, have asked my opinion on how Koral wear and hold-up. I have found my Koral to be hard-wearing and comfortable, and I would pass on a few tips regarding how the different lines (Classic versus MKM) fit and how to reinvigorate a worn gi.
Koral FeaturesI have four Koral gi: two blue Classic (A1); a red MKM (A1); and a white MKM (A0). The Classic gi are tough and good for everyday training, however, as they have a slightly heavier weave than the MKM they can be difficult to dry (if, as many of us here in Britain, you air dry your clothes). I prefer the slightly lighter weave of the MKM series, and while the gi top’s fabric is slightly lighter than for the Classic, the collar is equivalently robust. The MKM’s weave is a bit softer and more pleasant to wear and it dries much more quickly.
Koral FitThe MKM are cut more generously than the Classic and you may find that you need one size down from your Classic size. I’m 163cm and 60kgs and, according to Koral’s site, I should fit the A1 in both the Classic and MKM ranges. It is worth noting that I am rather lean (this is a nice way of saying I’m a bit deficient in the TnA area), so you more blessed ladies should take this review with a grain of salt. I first bought a Classic cut gi and as the A1 fitted me as I’d like it to, when it came time to get the red MKM I opted for the same size. I do find it is a bit loose and I much prefer the fit of my white MKM (A0). In particular, I find the trousers to be too baggy; they end up very gathered to the back of the waist and I prefer the mid-calf length of the A0 MKM trousers.
Similarly, while not entirely obvious from the photos included here, the MKM A1 top gathers and gaps quite a bit and is much longer (the bottom coming level with my palms rather than with the tops of my wrists as with the A1 Classic and A0 MKM). I find this very bothersome and a little spar can leave my red gi totally bedraggled, loose and begging to be used against me, while it is easier to keep the other two tops under control; for this reason I don’t compete in the red gi (not to mention formal regs state that only white, blue and black are allowable, though I’ve seen red, beige and camo gi at British comps). While, for me, the smaller MKM has worked well, team mates who are between sizes have had trouble with ripping out the backs of their trousers when going for the smaller size, which is worth considering.
I wash my gi after every training session and while there has been significant fading to the blue (and I’ve noticed the same with team mates’ black gi), the red colour has held up well. Koral pre-shrink their gi and while I’ve had to wash some of my gi on a very hot (90C) wash to remove mildew smell (particularly the slower drying Classic), I haven’t noticed any shrinkage.
Coloured gi fade pretty easily, but they can be dyed back to their original glory. I’ve used Dylon’s Ocean Blue dye on one of my Classic gi, and it looks like new. The patches are not cotton, so they don’t take the dye and come through largely unscathed (a few washes seem to get the little bit of residue clean from the patches). It is a great way of giving your worn gi a new lease on life and several members of my club have dyed their gi with good results (the idea for dying gi was actually a team mate’s, not my own).
The choice of gi is ultimately down to personal choice, and Koral’s gi may not be for you, but I can heartily recommend the Koral range of gi and say that Koral is the choice of most of my team mates who, as far as I know, have no reason to complain about the Koral’s ability to stand-up to regular training.