The gorgeous and talented Miss Kat Neville has recently posed the tantalising question, ‘What do you want for 99% off?’ She’s asked this in the form of a good old fashioned competition sponsored by BView, where folk submit entries on why on Earth they deserve 99% off anything up to a total value of £500. What do *I* want for 99% off 500 samolians? Ass-kicking tools, obviously!
If BView-Santa could bring me anything this year, it would be twelve square meters of rubber-love: the universe owes me 434 squids worth of gym-matting! Oh, yes, if grace is upon me in 2009, I’ll be BV-lessed with a BV-eautiful BV-ounty of Soft Floor’s large multi-purpose gym mats. With 12 square meters of this tough stuff I can mat one half of my basement; it is split into workshop and gym areas. The no stick surface would make work with free weights safer AND, most importantly, I would finally have the matted area I require to give my husband the grappling smack-down that’s been in the post for some time. Muahahahah! Not only could I unleash my full Gracie Barra power on my husband’s arrogant caboose, I could start introducing my personal training martial arts and conditioning client to ground work; I’m on a mission to make this grrl fierce before she’s back to uni in the autumn.
So, come on people, when you’re deciding who is the most worthy candidate for 99% off, remember, female wrestling is h-o-t, HOT!
I mentioned in a previous post the possibility of refreshing a worn Koral gi with a bit of Dylon magic. I had great success dying an old Koral Classic blue kimono; two packets of Dylon’s ‘Ocean Blue’ returned it to its original glory. During this process, I noticed that Dylon has recently changed its directions; I’ve used Dylon over the years to refresh curtains, duvets and things. While, previously, users were advised to dye the fabric at 40 degrees and then wash at the hottest temperature the fabric could handle, current directions suggest dying and post-dying washing be undertaken at 40 degrees. I stuck to the old directions and washed my gi at 90 degrees to ensure all extra dye was removed. Further, as described in the earlier post, the gi’s patches are not cotton, so come through unscathed. Being pleased with the results, I decided to attempt dying my oldest gi (also a Koral Classic blue), black. Again I used two packets of Dylon (‘Velvet Black’) and this took nicely to the cotton of the gi, however, the stitching is not cotton and so does not accept the dye. An attempt to colour in the stitching lines with black permanent marker (pen stated that it could be used on cloth) was only marginally successful: those areas of the gi that suffer a lot of friction during training, such as the trouser’s knees, lost the marker after the first training session. While the blue stitching looks okay and certainly this gi, nearly 4 years old, was in need of some sprucing up, I am investigating purpose-made cloth-marker solutions that might withstand training (comments welcome!).
It is worth noting that Dylon’s directions state that while going from a lighter to a darker colour should not require any lightening of the fabric prior to dying, if going from a darker colour to a lighter shade, then colour-mixing rules apply. Thus, a team mate’s attempt to change a black gi into a blue gi (without first bleaching the fabric) resulted in a navy blue kimono.
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.
I 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.
The 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.