sakura: ornamental cherry tree indigenous to many Asian states including China, India, Japan, and Korea. ~ Wikipedia
The ‘Sakura’ women’s BJJ gi is one of two women’s kimono recently released by premium gi-maker Storm Kimonos. Storm has collaborated with Angelica Galvao to develop their new women’s line and they have brought a couple beautiful, feminine, sophisticated gi to the market. The Sakura is a crisp white gi accented with deep magenta pink patches and embroidery; this is a strong ‘big girls’ pink, rather than a powder puff or bubblegum pink. The construction is robust and the 550GSM jacket and ripstop trousers are kind to the skin while offering sturdy reinforcement at stress points. The Sakura is a competition-ready lighter weight gi and comes in at 1.4 kilos on my scales. The Sakura is a luxurious, well thought out premium gi and retails at $199.99.
This is one of the most feature-packed women’s gi I have encountered. Storm describes the Sakura:
Jacket is made of Ultra Comfortable 550 gsm Golden Jacquard Weave Fabric 100% Cotton Pant is made of exclusive 240 gsm STORM Breathe Tech Military Triple Weave CVC Ripstop Fabric Zero Warp collar Zero Hold Technology inside Sleeves High Definition Embroidered Detailing Hidden mouth guard pocket Anti-Microbial Treatment Steamed and Highly Pre Shrunk Anti-Odor
This concise summary really doesn’t do justice to the full extent of the gi’s features, which include:
- two small pockets for mouth guards, music players, ID or any number of small items particularly handy for keen competitors, one inside the trousers and one inside the jacket
- forearm lined with ripstop as part of ‘Zero Grip Technology’
- Storm branded taping reinforcing the jacket vents and trouser top
- triple stitched reinforcement with a matching pink fabric at trouser cuff, skirt hem, inner arm and sleeve cuff
- elaborate cherry blossom embroidery at right shoulder and left thigh
- embroidered Storm lightening logo patches to left shoulder, above jacket vents and lower right leg
- embroidered Storm patch and script to back of jacket
There’s been quite a bit of buzz among BJJ women over the Sakura and her sister gi, ‘Night Shade’, and having had the opportunity to see, feel and train in Storm’s women’s kimono, the hype is well-earned. While I appreciate there are a significant number of BJJ women that won’t touch a gi with pink, to me, the shade used here – a magenta, fushia, purply-pink – doesn’t have the infantile, girlie connotations some folk attach to more pastel pinks. This is, of course, a matter of personal taste, nevertheless, the styling choices are much more on the fierce and feminine end of the spectrum rather than the cute and saccharine. The cherry blossom embroidery is very well executed, unique and undeniably ‘classy’. The embroidered Storm lightening bolt logo patches combine with the floral elements to impart a tough edge add a ‘super heroine’ vibe.
This review is of the F3 and the Sakura has comparable dimensions to many other women’s cut gi. I can confidently report that this gi will accommodate a range of women’s shapes as my shape has changed dramatically over the last 17 weeks (and is due to continue this trend for the next 23 weeks), and yet this gi works with my new dimensions just fine; while I am normally a ‘V’ body shape, I’m more of an ‘O’, presently.(1) The overlap can accommodate a fuller chest and the trousers have space for a good amount of booty without pinching. The jacket has a more ‘traditional’ cut than some women’s gi, and while it has reduced bulk in the shoulders it isn’t tightly tailored and short cropped like the OTM ‘SupaStar’, Predator BJJ ‘Predadora’, or Black Eagle ‘Raptor’. In this respect, the Sakura reminds me of the cut of the Fenom ‘Lotus’ jacket and has a longer skirt and a more generous overlap than more fitted cuts. The Sakura is pre-shrunk and stays very close to its original dimensions even after a warm 60°C wash, losing just a centimetre from each sleeve and the jacket length and only 2cm from the trouser length; if this beauty fits like a glove before washing, she still will after a good scrub.
|Measurement||Pre-wash (CM)||Post-wash (CM)|
The Sakura is a comfortable gi and functional to train in. Though I’m not sparring at the moment, I was able to join in class’s side control drills to road test the kimono. The top fit snugly enough that it wasn’t flopping open and in the way, but with enough movement to feel unhindered when applying my ‘shoulder of justice’. Likewise, when transitioning hips and moving from bent or extended legs, the trousers worked with me rather than against me. The styling held up well to washing and no loose threads became apparent after a machine wash. Likewise, the strong pink used in the embroidery and taping is very colour-fast and neither bled onto the gi nor perceptibly faded after a warm wash.
The Sakura is a finely-crafted and highly detailed gi. While packed with features and beautiful finishing touches, Storm has managed to keep the overall look of the gi fresh and minimal rather than busy and fussy. This is an eye-catching gi that excels in its styling and boasts embroidery that is unique and outstanding. The attention to detail in terms of reinforcement and hard-wearing construction will appeal to regular competitors and consistent practitioners alike.
All reviews are based on independent observations. We have no formal qualifications, we are not sponsored by any company and we do not endorse any one brand. If you chose a gi based on this review, please let the manufacturer know that MegJitsu persuaded you. This will not benefit us financially, but can help us to get more gi to review. As always, thanks for reading.
Thank you to Storm Kimonos for supplying the gi. You can find them on Facebook
(1) For reference, I am 166cm/5’5″. My pre-pregnancy measurements are 60kgs/130lbs with bust, waist and hip measurements of 86.4cm/34″, 68.6cm/27″ and 91.4cm/36″. My current measurements (at 17 and a bit weeks) are 66kgs/145lbs with bust, ‘waist’ and hip measurements of 96.5cm/38″, 85cm/33″ and 98cm/38″. This review is of the F3.
1 Apr 2012 @ 10:10 pm
Great review, as always, Meg. The comparisons to other gi models helps to illustrate the fit and cut.
I’m guessing that it’s safe to assume that the ‘Night Shade’ should have a similar, if not identical cut. That’s the one I really have my eye on, and you’ve sold me. : )
2 Apr 2012 @ 6:16 am
Hey Sky, thanks so much for reading and commenting; nice to know I’m not ‘talking to a wall’ if you know what I mean 😀 Glad you found the comparisons helpful, don’t know why I haven’t done that more often and will try to associate a gi with a ‘family’ of tailoring in future.
I can’t confirm or deny that the Night Shade is the same cut, though I suspect it is; Storm are responsive on their Facebook Page, so you might want to ask them before you buy. Also, I understand that the flower embroidery along the knee may not be comp legal, so if that’s something that concerns you, I’d suggest investigating that too.
The close up shots of the Night Shade on the Storm site look HOT! Hope it works out for you.
2 Apr 2012 @ 8:03 pm
Congrats on your expectant happiness 🙂 And, thanks for posting the price in Yank dollars, saved me from googling the current exchange rate 😉 Probably because Storm is an American company, I’ll guess… but I’m thanking you anyways!
3 Apr 2012 @ 7:10 am
Thanks, Georgette 🙂 I’ll try to post prices in GBP and USD going forward (sometimes it is hard to find retailers in both places and so I often go with the one listed on the brand’s own site). Anyhow, is my pleasure!
3 Apr 2012 @ 3:59 am
Storm is a Chinese company, all their stuff are made in a sweatshop in China. At this price I ll buy made in USA.
Congrats on your pregnancy Meg !
3 Apr 2012 @ 7:20 am
Hi Deborah, thanks for your comment! The gi are manufactured in China, though I couldn’t comment on the labour conditions of the factory(ies) used; most of the gi I have worn are manufactured in Pakistan which has a similarly bad reputation on labour. I’ve asked around about ‘fair trade’ gi or gi manufactured in places with stronger labour protections, but not identified such a thing yet (due to the problematic nature of gi manufacture, a mate of mine only wears 2nd hand gi). If you know of a company that manufactures their gi with certified quality labour practices I would very much like to know about it!
Storm Kimonos is owned by parent company Aggressive Combatives Limited which is, in turn, owned by Dean Thompson and is registered in Hong Kong, which is about the extent of what I could find in a quick web search.
3 Apr 2012 @ 6:23 am
That is such a pretty gi but dang why is it so frickin expensive?! DX
3 Apr 2012 @ 7:28 am
Hi SL! It is in the premium price range and is at the same price point of other premium brands like Atama or Koral (and is less expensive than several of Storm’s men’s gi it is only fair to note). I’m not a rep for Storm so can’t address your question directly, but I can say that the reinforcing of the stress points and stitching is done to a very high standard and stands out in my experience of gi. I understand too, from discussions with other brands that embroidery can be expensive and there is an exceptional amount of that here. Happily, however, there are an increasing number of great brands that offer women’s gi so there are attractive and well-made options for a range of budgets 🙂
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13 Jun 2012 @ 6:27 am
I’d like to get this gi as a gift for my wife and I was wondering if you could help me choose the right gi size for her.
She’s around 165 cm and somewhere around 110-120 lbs (I'[m really not sure what to say as far as “shapes” go, heh). If I go by the chart, it would seem the F3 is the right size to go with, but I know how some gis turn out a bit baggy.
13 Jun 2012 @ 8:02 am
Hi AJ, thanks for reading and commenting. Your wife is a lucky lady having you searching for the right gi for her 😀
It is hard for me to judge or offer an opinion on another individual; I write the reviews in the hopes that folk can get an understanding of the fit of a gi based on descriptions of how I am built and how the gi fits compared to other manufacturers and draw conclusions based on their experience and body type.
That said, it sounds as if your wife is quite a bit slimmer than I am (130lbs pre-preggo and 145lbs 17 weeks preggo when the review was written). This review was of the F3, so I would suggest, even though she’s borderline on the height, she might be better off with an F2 which suits her weight range better (and should therefore avoid being too baggy or ill-fitting). You might check the size of her other gi (unless this is her first) and go from there. It is tricky as it could be a toss up between getting the best length and the best tailoring based on your wife’s height and weight.
If, in the worst case, the gi isn’t quite the right size, Storm does offer a return and exchange policy which you can see here http://www.stormkimonos.com/magento/index.php/customer-service.
Hope that helps. No matter what, she’ll love that you tried to get this for her.
28 Aug 2012 @ 6:52 pm
i was reading your comments and it was raised how the flowers on the knee may not be comp legal is this true as i am looking for a gi to compete in and have defo got my sights on sakura gi its amazing lol and im quiet a girlie girl so this gi would be fab… any ideas
thank u so much and congrats 🙂
1 Sep 2012 @ 11:30 am
Hey Kirsty, thanks very much for reading and for your comment. As I understand it, the embroidery on the thigh of the Sakura is comp-legal, though the embroidery on that runs along the knee of Storm’s Night Shade is not | http://www.stormkimonos.com/magento/index.php/techwear/kimonos/tattoo.html; the spokeswoman for the gi Angelica Galvao has competed in the Sakura. However, in my limited experience the rules and regs for these things can be unevenly and/or wrongly applied, so even if it were technically ‘legal’, you may come across someone who rules against it. I’d recommend digging into the regs that govern the comps you’re interested in before making a final decision.
21 Sep 2012 @ 2:27 pm
thank u for reply. i have ordered it today after finding a uk company and am very excited lol thank u very much for your help 🙂 x
29 Sep 2012 @ 8:50 am
Hope it is a great fit, kirsty. Wear it in good health!
19 Oct 2012 @ 6:23 am
I was curious if anyone knew how to get a hold of storm? I emaild, wrote them in facebook and no answer. I received a bad kimono and it started to fall apart after two time of wearing it. I really would like to just exchange it, but I can’t get a hold of anyone to do so. Any info would help.
20 Oct 2012 @ 12:33 pm
Hi Amber, really sorry to hear that. You’ve done the things that I would suggest. Perhaps there’s an address listed on their website that you could write to the old fashioned way? Good luck!
22 Jan 2013 @ 4:40 am
I just happened to be taking a look at this review and I saw your comment. These are issues that are usually easily resolved by our company if they haven’t been resolved already. I usually check our Official FB Fan Page for emails and have no trace of an email from you. Regardless, at this point you can send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org about your issue. Thanks.
23 Jan 2013 @ 3:19 pm
Thanks for chasing this up, Alex.
John - New York
31 Oct 2012 @ 2:15 pm
i had the same problem, i train out of Renzo Gracie academy in NY. me and 4 of my friends ordered Storm kimonos, and we all had problems ! very disappointing. I can tell you that Renzo is really embarrassed to support this brand, he even said he is not collaborating with Storm anymore because they never paid him ! Anyways, i bought a Shoyoroll and that was the best decision ever !
22 Jan 2013 @ 4:52 am
“Renzo is really embarrassed to support this brand, he even said he is not collaborating with Storm anymore because they never paid him.” Interesting comment, while Renzo Gracie NYC has gotten quite large over the years…most of the senior instructors and black belts and people actually in the business know that Renzo is a founder and partner in the company. You can ask John Danaher, Matt Serra and any one of the original Renzo students about the reputation and relationship of the company. Considering I speak to Renzo on the phone weekly since I started the company WITH HIM and usually spend time running around with him when I’m in NY, I’ll ask him about this “embarrassment”. Until then, I’d be happy to address your gi problems if you’re serious. You’re welcome to send me an email at email@example.com.
23 Jan 2013 @ 3:19 pm
Many thanks for feeding back on this, Alex.
31 Dec 2012 @ 3:23 pm
This gi is so beautiful!! How do the sleeves feel? Are they too big/wide at all? I’ve read that the men’s Storm gi’s have “stretchy” arms, which I would loathe.
2 Jan 2013 @ 5:28 pm
Hi Melissa, Thanks for reading. I haven’t noticed abnormal stretchiness in the arms; feel pretty standard to me. The width and length of the sleeves and cuffs work great for me and you can compare the measurements above to a gi that you like the fit of. Hope that helps 🙂
23 Jul 2014 @ 2:42 am
I am in live with this gi but I am having such a hard time with the sizing. I am 5’1″ and unfortunately fluctuate between 165-179 lbs. I blame this on my double D cup size my big but and full legs! However since there is such a large difference between my height and weight I’m especially perplexed about my sizing options. Any advice other than desperation trying to contact the company?
23 Jul 2014 @ 8:40 am
This is a perennial problem, for so many, isn’t it?! Gi aren’t cheap and one wears them so much, you really want to feel good in the cut. While I can’t tell you how the gi will fit you, I can tell you that it is a bit short in the legs (if you wear the trousers at your waist rather than your hips), so you could move up a size in height for a bit of a roomier cut without having really long trouser legs. I can also say, as in the review, that the cut is pretty generous, however it is all very subjective as what is generous on me may not be so on you (I’ve got an A cup and narrow hips) and you can have a look at my measurements at the bottom of the review and the gis measurements in the review and compare with yourself and your good fitting gi to make a judgment on what might work for you. Of course, if you try it on and it isn’t quite right, Sakura have a return policy that you can find at the foot of their site. Hope that helps!
24 Jul 2014 @ 6:54 am
Thank you so much that helps ill just order with my fingers crossed knowing if anything I can exchange for the right size :))))