One year ago I started taking judo much more seriously. My first step was to stop training in BJJ gis, or hybrid BJJ/judo gis and get a serious double weave piece of judo armour.
I've now owned the Fushida Icon gi for a year and it has seen four competitions and about 4 hours or more of practice a week. The heavy double weave fabric and reinforcement lead me to believe the gi was based on the famous Mizuno Eurocomp, however, Fushida has updated the gi with a modern cut and a soft interior. So far it has been a and it is a fantastic gi for a fantastic price, and the favourite in my gi rotation.
A judo gi is very much like a mans suit. It can be expensive and made of fine materials, but if it doesn't fit, it looks like shit. When you take solid beatings day in day out you need anything you can get to lift your confidence a bit, that's where a well-fitting judo gi comes in.
The fit and finish is very similar to the famous/infamous Mizuno Eurocomp. The Eurocomp was the gi which lead the way of making tighter, leaner, and rougher 'armour-like' gis a standard for international fighters in the 90s and early 2000's. The Fushida is not as rough as the Eurocomp, but certainly can be if you wash it a certain way.
The thing about Mizuno though, is they are notorious for short sleeves and long skirts. Fushida has taken the best aspect of a competitive gi and modernized the fit for today's competitor cutting the skirt to the right point and keeping the arms long enough for the corresponding size. Also, Fushida describes the fit as a “European” cut, which a leaner tighter fit for those with an athletic build (no more swimming in your gi). This is perfect for the long lean guys who have long-ish arms in relation to their chest and core size. The torso area is just right for judo as well, it doesn't billow out unnecessarily from the top of your belt, but isn't skin tight like a BJJ gi either. If you are a bit bigger in the stomach area than it might be tight, but even so, it's still a judo gi.
Measurements / Shrinking / Information
The gi does shrink but this is taken into account on Fushida's sizing charts. I found that after two hot washes
and two hot tumble drys that it did not shrink any further. You'll also notice the pants shrink a lot, but again, this is taken into account and they come very large. Once they shrink down, though, they fit much nicer. See the bottom of the page for size 4.5 chart.
Gi type: double weave judo gi
Made in: Pakistan
Price: $140 + shipping
Weight (sz 3.5): 4.9 lbs (2.2 kg) and the pants at 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg)
Total weight: 6 lbs (2.7 kg)
Gi Quality and Durability
The first thing you will notice about the gi when you get the package is its weight. It's fairly hefty with the gi top weighing in at 4.9 lbs (2.2 kg) and the pants at 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg). The second thing you will notice is the thickness and feel of the material. It's heavy and somewhat coarse but not sandpaper like, although you can get it rough if you wash it a certain way.
The skirt has an oversized vent so you can move around properly. Sometimes gis will have a short vent and a long skirt making it hard to move your legs. As you can see, after a year the Fushida label has some loose threads.
Once you take a look inside the gi you will start to get an appreciation for the craftsmanship. All the seams inside are taped for extra comfort and durability. The inside of the gi also features a brushed cotton feel, it feels almost like fleece when it's new, now that the gi is a year old it's not as fuzzy, but still softer than most gis.
The lapel is very thick and quite stiff. It's a bit heavy on the back of the neck but makes it hard to get a high collar grip. So far the lapel has held up very well, no signs of wear. It does take long to hang dry though because it doesn't have the rubber cores like a lot of BJJ gis will.
Extra reinforcement around the side vent.
So far the gi top is the best one I've had, I've only had a few double weaves (Mizuno Shiai, Mizuno Eurocomp). No major loose threads just yet except for very recently I've had some of the rice grain fabric loops start to come loose on the sleeve. I'm not actually sure how this happened either.
Pants on judo gis are, in general, are just absolute shit. It's a shame seeing as so much work goes into the quality of the gi top that the pants seem like some kind of afterthought.
Fushida pants though, are actually not bad, probably one of the best in the business at this price range. After a year they've held up really well, without even a stitch loose, and I spend 50% of my practices on the ground.
You can see all the extra reinforcements in right places, aaaaand 4 DRAWSTRING LOOPS!!!! This is a long way from the usual 1 in the middle.
Triple stitched cuffs and double ply cotton from the knee to the bottom of the pants. The pants are sort of like a khaki type of thickness, or maybe a bit thinner, but not quite the heavy denim like HCK pants.
I mentioned these points above, but once donning the gi you'll know what I'm talking about with the fleecy type of interior. This works quite well if you don't wear a rash guard, but it does wear out over time.
Because of the thickenss, and the tightness of the weave probably the next thing you will notice once you get going, is that the gi is hot! If you are not used to heavy double weave jackets you will know right away what I'm talking about.
The jacket has FIVE rows of stitching on the back, but the setsugi on any gi never bothers me. If the setsugi bothers you on lesser gis than this one will probably bug you a lot.
A lot of the guys in our club have either the beginner Fuji single weave, or a double weave Mizuno that has been softened over time, once you get used to this it's hard transition to fighting someone with the battle armour of a Fushida Icon gi. When you are wearing the gi you won't realize what it's doing for you until you fight someone else wearing the same thing… Any high grip, neutralized!
1 year later
I've had the gi for a year now and it is more or less the exact same as the day I bought it asides from some sweat stains in the neck area, and a few minor loose threads. The shrinkage stopped after the first two hot wash and drying cycles. The gi shows no real signs of wear, and I use it approximately 4 hours per week.
The Fushida gi is a crowd favourite at our dojo with more and more people ordering them. There is definitely a reason this trend exists and it's because Fushida offers a gi competitive with the top end names for a very fair price. I would not hesitate to buy another one, and in fact, I'm ordering a blue one very soon!