Female BJJ Black Belts

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We have started a project to map out female BJJ black belts in the U.S., state by state. This database is for the women’s jiu-jitsu community as a free resource for anyone who wants to find a gym with an active female black belt practicioner or an instructor.

So far we found about 160 ladies through friends, IBJJF rankings and social media. There are probably another 30-40 black belts whom we somehow missed.

If you can help us complete the project, we would greatly appreciate it. Check out the black belt list and if you see a name that is missing the year of promotion, instructor’s name or current location, and you can help us correct it, please do. If you know of a female black belt who is not mentioned, please comment and we can add her. Thank you and happy training!

Nine Years of Fenom Women’s Gi Designs

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Here is the collection of womens and girls jiu-jitsu gis we have produced over the past nine years. Every year some designs retire and new ones are added; some stay in production for years, others stay for a few months. Which one is our favorite? We like them all for different reasons but the very first batch from 2009 is a wee bit more special than all others. Which designs do you like the best and how many Fenoms do you own?

Gi Weaves 102: Single Weave Gi and Double Weave Gi Mystery

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Our article, Gi Weaves 101, has become one of the most viewed blog post and continues to be a great resource for anyone in the market for a new women’s BJJ gi. Since we get a lot of questions about single weave and double weave gis, we decided  to do a write-up about new fabrics we are using; what single weave and double weave fabrics are, and how to tell the difference between those two.

SASHIKO WEAVE or RICE GRAIN WEAVE is the most commonly misnamed fabric by jiu-jitsu bloggers and gi reviewers. A great deal of sources call it a single weave. Sashiko weave can be single or double weave. As a matter of fact, any fabric can be single or double weave, depending on if there is only one layer of fabric or if there are two layers of fabric that are interconnected. In a single weave fabric a set of weft (horizontal yarn) and a set of warp (vertical yarn) are interlaced together in different patterns. The pattern of the warp and weft is called the weave of the fabric. In a double weave, a fabric should contain two detectable weave structures, two layers, which are connected to one another in some way. Below are some photos to illustrate the difference between single and double weave.

 

Sashiko weave has been used for judo gis for decades, it’s readily available and much more reasonably priced than pearl weave. It can be light weight 350-550 gsm single weave to 750-950 gsm double weave,  the options are endless. A lot of jiu-jitsu gis in sashiko weave are in light weight category, very affordable and considered a good starter gi. However, cheaper gis shrink quite a bit, so sizing can be tricky.

More expensive double weave gis have controlled shrinkage due to extensive pre-treatment but those are not common in BJJ scene. Double weave gi sleeves are very difficult to grab, they are thick and rigid. The whole gi set weighs twice as much as a single weave gi. Most BJJ hobbyists don’t ever experience a double weave gi unless they cross train at a judo dojo and get their grips on an International Judo Federation approved competition gi. So, if you are buying a jiu-jitsu gi and the description is 350-550 gsm weave (pearl or any others), you are getting a single weave gi. 

CHESS WEAVE combines plain weave with Sashiko weave to form a chess board look. Plain weave is the most common and basic weave where weft yarn passes over and under warp yarn alternately. Chess weave fabric feels softer than pearl weave but not as soft as crystal weave. It feels light-weight and does not stretch out excessively. It is a great addition to any gi collection if you are getting bored with pearl weave. Colored gis in chess weave will look more textured and dramatic after a while as the raised squares fade at a different rate than the flat squares. This is not better than any other fabric; it simply has a captivating look.

DIAMOND WEAVE or diamond pattern Sashiko weave fabric is widely used in judo and is not new in the market. It is mostly used for the skirt part of the judo gi but can be made into a BJJ gi. The lightweight but sturdy plain weave or twill weave is combined with diamond pattern in Sashiko weave. Sashiko yarn direction is horizontal which makes the fabric stronger to withstand the stretching and pulling. The fabric feels light and airy, does not shrink excessively and is comfortable on skin. It has a unique textured look that should become popular in jiu-jitsu because of its affordability and availability.

Canvas or Cotton Duck is a popular fabric choise for workwear, tote bags, beach umbrellas, awnings and is the base for the best oil paintings. It is a plain woven fabric that is sturdy, dense and extremely durable. Cotton duck or duck is the correct name for the fabric but people outside of textile industry call it canvas. Canvasespecially heavy-duty canvas, is not a popular choice for gi pants. The fabric is very stiff and full length, double layer reinforcement makes the pants twice as heavy as rip stop pants. The pants will last for years if you have the patience to wear them and put up with the stiff, slightly uncomfortable fabric. Canvas will soften up a little over time but it will never be as comfortable as cotton drill. Customers have very strong feelings about these pants; they are serious nail rippers, you cannot get a grip without hurting your hands.

Brushed canvas looks just like canvas but feels like cotton drill. The  fabric has been treated and brushed on both sides so the stiffness you experience with canvas has been eliminated. The best way to describe the feel of this fabric is to think of a flannel shirt, it’s that comfy. Of all the fabric choices for pants, this has to be our new favorite. Brushed canvas is comfortable but does not stretch out as much as cotton drill, very soft yet sturdy and there is no unexpected shrinkage. So far it has been very well received by customers and we hope to add more brushed canvas pants in different colors to our product line.

No matter what fabric you prefer, it is important to take good care of your gi . Read more about gi care and stain removal here.

Black Pearl Weave Gi

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One of our all time favorite gi designs, black pearl weave with red tulips, has had a great two and a half year run in production and this month we are sending it to a well-earned retirement. The replacement is a lighter weight monochromatic black pearl weave gi.

This is a gi for someone who needs a break from colorful embroidery but still prefers a branded, quality women’s bjj uniform with plenty of size options. It is a simple, clean design with our trademarked F on the sleeves and Fenom in graceful calligraphy on pants. Direct embroidery is barely visible and will show more as the gi fades over time.

We made this gi in sizes A0-A5, including our standard talls and curvies but also in A2 curvy jacket which is becoming one of the most sought after sizes. A2 curvy jacket is a half-size between A2 and A3. It is perfect for a woman who is in A1 or A2 height bracket, wears DD cup or larger bra, needs extra chest coverage and feels that regular A2 is tad bit tight in the armpits or too open in the front. Gi jackets are made of standard 550 gsm pearl weave and pants are light-weight ripstop with flat drawstring. Black round custom cord is included for no extra charge.

Model wears A1T gi.

Black Friday Sale

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And the tradition continues! This Friday for 12 hours all women’s gis are on sale for $75.00. Every color, every design, every size.* Happy shopping!

*Quantities are limited, no rain checks. Please limit two gis per person domestically, three gis per person internationally. Please inquire about sizing before purchase to avoid returns. Please allow extra 2-3 days of processing and shipping time.

Women Only BJJ Camp in Estonia

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Estonian BJJ Girls group, spearheaded by Laura Mallene, is organizing its very first women only BJJ camp in Tallinn, Estonia at the end of April.  The number of ladies taking up BJJ in this tiny county has grown exponentially in the past few years and they have displayed outstanding results at international tournaments. The camp welcomes jiu-jitsu women from any team and at any experience level for a fun weekend of learning, sharing and friendly rolls.

Helin and Liisi

  • Camp instructors are: Purple belt, Liisi Vaht, who is the highest ranking local female and 3D Treening women’s class instructor. She is 2017 IBJJF European Championship feather weight bronze medalist and 2017 Nordic Open gold medalist.
  • Purple belt, Helin Paara, who has been training BJJ since 2003 and took home gold medals at 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships and 2016 Finnish Female Fight Cup absolute weight class in purple/brown/black belt divison.
  • Blue belt, Kadri Vilba, who is the 2017 national champion in women’s wrestling and also an active MMA and BJJ competitor.

Don’t underestimate the skills of these ladies; Helin and Liisi have a very unique style cultivated by SBG Estonia head coach Priit Mihkelson. He is the innovator of Grillkana position and has spent years on developing his open guard game. Due to high demand, Priit Mihkelson will be teaching at the women’s camp as well. His teaching style is very detail oriented and highly entertaining at the same time.

The camp costs 15.00 euros for one day and 25.00 euros for two days. Travel from Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania is relatively short and inexpensive and for budget conscious travellers, the gym, Korrus 3, is offering overnight stay for a minimum donation of 5.00 euros. Don’t miss it; it’s a quaint place to visit and learn jiu-jitsu.

More info about the camp on Estonian BJJ Girls FB page.

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