If you don't know the name Maeda Brand, then you've probably been living under a rock. In fact, this isn't the first time we've blogged about Maeda Brand. Their Akashio and Red Label gis recently made our shortlist of jiu jitsu gear reviews. Needless to say: we're fans of this California-based company.
While Maeda Brand has been around for several years now, they've really only started to make an impact in the jiu jitsu gi and gear industry in the last two years. If you know your jiu jitsu history - and you should... shame on you if you don't! - you'll know that the brand derives its name from Maeda Mitsuyo, the Japanese judoka who made his way to Brazil in 1914, where he eventually came to teach the art of judo to members of the Gracie family, who themselves are credited with the creation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Essentially, without Maeda Mitsuyo, there'd be no BJJ... Mind. Blown.
So, back to the brand. Its motto is "tradition within", which we love because it speaks not only to the brand's inspiration - Maeda - but also alludes to its aesthetic. Maeda likes to keep their designs classy and timeless, yet at the same time, they also cater to today's jiu jitsu practitioner with modern cuts and high-tech materials.
Their Akashio Jiu Jitus Gi, for example, is the perfect example of this seamless meshing of traditional and modern. The Akashio features a 100% cotton jacket, made from 480 GSM Pearl Weave Plus - which is a tighter, stronger weave than a standard pearl weave - and mid-weight 10 oz drill cotton pants. Both the jacket and pants have a tailored, competition-style cut, which fits slightly more snug than an old school gi, and helps deter your opponents from getting, and maintaining, a solid grip. The outside of the gi is simple and understated, featuring gold contrast stitching and custom-designed woven patches. The inside of the jacket is where all the excitement is: lined with fully sublimated Cool Max fabric, which is designed to keep you cool and dry during training, it depicts a slightly modified ancient Japanese artwork, featuring a Samurai in the midst of intense battle on the beach. Blood red accent details nod to the gi's name; "akashio" means "red tide" in Japanese.
While this might be - hands down - one of our favorite gis in the warehouse, that's not the only great gi that Maeda Brand makes. Their entire gi lineup is pretty top-notch. In fact, the Red Label is probably the best "basic" gi on the market today (in our opinion). And they recently began dabbling in the no-gi market, putting out some great rashguards, shorts and spats, both for men and for women.
If you haven't checked out Maeda Brand... now's probably a good time.
Train on... Oss.