Two women-owned apparel brands, Distant Klash and Fenom Kimonos, partnered up to bring you a limited edition women’s gi design for this holiday shopping season. Distant Klash was founded in 2016 by Kelly Kusumoto, a Bay area native, 2008 California HS Women’s Wrestling State Champion and an artist. We loved her wrestling inspired minimalist style designs so much that we approached her with the idea of designing a gi. Kelly was very happy to collaborate with us and the final product is outstanding.
The collaboration gi jacket is made of 550 gsm pearl weave plus fabric and has beautiful, blue and white embroidery on both sleeves, lapel, back and front. Pants are made of soft, brushed canvas and feature over-sized embroidery on the right thigh. The gi has blue contrast stitching, decorative tape inside the jacket and comes with a custom nylon drawstring cord. This is a limited edition gi: a perfect gift for someone special who loves neutral colors and cute, comic inspired design. We asked Distant Klash owner and creator Kelly Kusumoto to talk a little bit about her art, wrestling, and how her company came about. Read below and happy shopping!
Why wrestling? What attracted you to wrestling? Do you have any other athletes in your immediate family?
Growing up, my mom put me in a variety of sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, gymnastics and swimming. But at the time I saw sports mainly as an activity and not so much as a passion. While I was in middle school I began training in a Japanese form of karate called Shorinji Kempo and quickly became excited by it. It was fun, but more importantly it felt like I could communicate with someone very directly without actually having to use words.
However, one issue that I had while doing Shorinji was finding sparring partners. Older members found me too forceful and kids my age would avoid me for the same reason. At the end of the year they would hold a ceremony where they gave awards and recognition to people who had improved and had done well throughout the year. As a little joke they gave a an award for “Most Aggressive Sparring”. I was super excited to be positively acknowledged for being strong. It was a very proud moment for me.
When I reached high school a friend who was on the wrestling team encouraged me to join. At first I wasn’t very receptive of the idea, but eventually I decided to do it. I saw it mostly as a way to expand upon the martial arts I knew at that time, like learning new words in a language.
My first practice was during the summer after freshman year and I found myself in a very new environment. There were a lot of things I had to adjust to. I was thrown into a world where I was pushing my conditioning and strength training to an extreme. I had to learn how to handle being in an environment where all my training partners were boys. Perhaps the most difficult part was just being around people who did not know me and did not want to wrestle a girl. I found myself feeling a bit isolated and lost. Despite those challenges I stayed focused on the training and I felt that this was the environment I could learn to thrive in. It gave me a chance to fully express my aggressive energy without any restrictions.
In terms of having athletes in the family, my dad’s side of the family practiced judo but I was never taught any. Instead, my dad loved to roughhouse with me as his way of interacting and playing with me. I feel that as a result of those play sessions I began to associate the idea of fun with activities that were very physical.
You became a state champion in California. How did you achieve it? What is life like for a wrestler?
As a student athlete my practices would go until early evening. I did not get home until 6 or 6:30. By the time I got home and washed up, there were only a few hours left to eat, do homework and prepare for the next day. Even simple things like staying awake during class was difficult because I was so exhausted from practice.
The greatest impact wrestling left on me was how to control my diet. Growing up I knew that junk food was bad, but I did not really care about my health. With wrestling I began to refrain from eating junk food. I quickly learned that it was not practical to eat before practice unless I was okay feeling sick and sluggish during practice. I just started to be more careful about what I ate and how frequently. Often times I struggled to eat enough calories because it felt like I was burning more than what I could actually consume.
On a weekly basis practice was after school for three hours, five days a week. Once the season got going there would be a tournament every Saturday. In my first few years of wrestling I was so bad that I would try to do extra drills at night. I was quite desperate to improve so I also practiced visualizing to try to perfect the moves I had learned.
I think what added to my desperation was being the only girl on the team. I wrestled with boys exclusively so I did not have a sense of how my skill level measured against girls. In my first year I went to a few tournaments at the JV level with boys and barely won any matches. I decided that during off season I would hit the gym to become physically stronger.
By junior and senior year I was beginning to feel more even with the boys and I was slowly gaining some confidence. During my senior year I decided to go to more girl tournament and after having wrestled with boys for so long I found myself doing very well in the girls’ division. I placed 1st in almost all of them.
At the girls’ state tournament I was very nervous and did not perform as well as I usually did. I could not pin anyone and was feeling really anxious. By the time I made it to the finals I was really getting nervous. I got caught in a head and arm throw and was very close to getting pinned. The realization that I might lose snapped me back into a better head space and I ended up winning the finals.
Do you still go to your old high school to coach kids?
I used to coach only at my high school but I have expanded my reach to go to any high school with female wrestlers. If they ask me to come and help, I will do anything I can to make time for them. I feel like I can relate to the struggles that these girls are going through because of my experience as a girl wrestler. I understand their frustrations and do my best to lead by example. I know that it is also very comforting for them because sometimes it is difficult to discuss gender specific issues with a male coach.
In college you decided to quit wrestling and focus on graphic design. What prompted that decision?
During my childhood I drew a lot and wanted to purse art in college. However, I was also excited about wrestling and wanted to see how far I could take it. I finally landed on the decision to go wrestle on a woman’s team at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky and pursue an Arts degree there.
However, within a few months I was starting to feel very unsatisfied with both the wrestling and the art program. The wrestling program had a lot of problems but simply put, I did not like the coaching. I did not feel challenged and was starting to get very homesick. To make matters worse, the art program was also very weak. It felt like a high school program and I could see that this was not the right path for me.
I wanted to get out of Kentucky as soon as possible so I left after my first semester. I came back completely broken. I felt like I had disappointed a lot of people and did not know where to go next. I ended up going to a community college where my coach was teaching at. I was able to wrestle under him for one more season. Once again I was wrestling among all boys. Wrestling in college was even more difficult than high school but it was a great experience that washed away all the bad memories from the Cumberlands. I decided to let wrestling go and just focus on art. I got my associates degree and transferred to an art college in San Francisco.
Talk a little bit about your brand. How did you develop such a cool minimalist style? Where did the name come from?
During my time in school I learned how to design logos. Logo design is really different from traditional illustration in that everything is purely symbolic. The goal is to create a design that conveys a lot of information using as few lines and shapes as possible. I got the hang of this pretty quickly and really loved the impact and strength of a clean minimalist design.
I made the first DK design of the two boys in a wrestling stance several years after I graduated college. It actually took me a while to figure out how to draw it because it is very difficult to simplify human movements. As I was drawing it, I began to realize why there were so few wrestling designs that were available. It is really hard because it requires making a lot of design choices for the size and placement of each body part.
However once I was done I was very excited and so relieved. I felt like I was able to accurately depict who I was. All this time I had been going back and forth between my identity as an artist who likes cute things, and as a wrestler who loved to be tough. It almost felt like I was living a double life but now the two worlds could merge together
At this point in my life I had graduated college and I was no longer a part of any wrestling team. I still had a lot of nostalgia lingering from my wrestling days. I think many alumni wrestlers like myself struggle with a lack of identity when they no longer have the time or place to wrestle. The wrestler inside of us never really goes away, so the name Distant Klash was born as a reflection of what wrestling means to me now: a fight from the past, a “distant clash”.
I want it also to represent the younger generation who work hard and train for their next fight. I always feel honored when I am allowed to be a part of their journey to becoming the best wrestler they can be. For them, their wrestling career is still alive and strong and their future is a soon to be “distant clash”.
What are you plans for DK future?
Although DK currently focuses on martial arts, I would love to expand out to other sports. Wrestling is my favorite sport but I have a deep appreciation for all types of movement whether it be in dance, sports or any other physical endeavor. Movement is one of many ways people express themselves and I want to create art that allows people to see that.
Even personally speaking, the wrestling designs I made have allowed me to share my passion for wrestling in a way that overrides any preconceived ideas they may hold. When I tell them that I wrestle, I can tell them what it is really like and how it has positively impacted me. It may seem like a small change but I definitely feel much more confident when I can openly express who I am. I want to be able to extend this feeling to other athletes who may also be in the same predicament.
We are happy to announce that this holiday shopping season we are offering a layaway option. Our layaway plan allows customers to make a small deposit and pay the remainder in 2 installments before December 20th which allows us to ship the product out just in time for Christmas. We are releasing new women’s BJJ gi designs starting this weekend and not everyone is able to purchase the gi of their choice immediately. In many occasions customers have to wait for the next payday and by that time the desired size may already be sold out. The layaway plan secures the wanted color and size and it is completely interest free. However, there is a cancellation fee of $15.00 if full payment is not made by the deadline. Please contact us if you are interested and happy shopping!
When we started making women’s gis in 2009, the production was limited to only three sizes: A1, A2 and A3. Over the years we have added more options including curvy and tall sizes. The addition of A2Tall, A2Curvy and A4 have made A3 practically obsolete. With great sadness we are discontinuing our current A3 size. However, A3 is not completely disappearing; we are replacing it with a brand new A3Short size. Based on customer feedback, there is a need for a size A3 width but not so much for the length. A3Short is made for someone in A2Curvy and A4 height bracket (5’6”-5’8”) but A3 weight bracket (175-195 lbs). If A2Curvy pants are a little too snug but A4 are a tad baggy then A3Short will be the perfect size for you. Happy shopping!
Brag & Win January gi giveaway winner is Courtney P. from Canada, and Jiu-Jitsu Gypsies fourth anniversary open mat raffle winner is Carolyn N. from Florida. Courtney is a black belt and the organizer of WTF-Women Who Fight, a women’s jiu-jitsu group dedicated to the growth of BJJ in Eastern Canada. Carolyn describes herself as a broke college kid, and a brand new white belt who has been using hand-me-down gis. This is her first brand new gi. We are very happy for both ladies and we hope the new gis spark joy!
Dallas photographer, Maryna Matorina, captured this fantastic Fenom action shot at IBJJF Austin Open and we absolutely love it. It represents jiu-jitsu at its finest: staying calm and collected while applying a submission in a nerve-wrecking situation. Tournaments are some of the most stressful events for kids and adults alike: butterflies in stomach, adrenaline pumping, teammates and instructor watching, opponent’s team yelling. At times it feels like a total blur; time is frozen and there seems to be serious miscommunication between the brain and the body. The brain goes blank and your game plan that you drilled for months has left the building. Even though it is a popular belief that there is no losing in BJJ, only learning, it feels great to submit your opponent while serene and rocking a gorgeous gi. Congratulations!
Our newest women’s gi jacket is made of premium, pre-shrunk, brushed pearl weave fabric. Pants are made of pre-shrunk, super soft cotton drill fabric. The gi has oversized, immaculate tropical flowers embroidery on the pants, trademark F, and smaller tropical flowers accent on sleeves. If you are in between sizes, we recommend to go with a smaller size; it is not a shrink to fit gi. The gi retails at a very affordable 115.00 dollars, and as always, mix and match in regular, tall, and curvy sizes are available. Enjoy the endless summer vibes, and happy shopping!
We have been testing out a new women’s gi size in the past couple of months. A0 Tall size is a hybrid size between A0 and A1. It is perfect for someone tall and slim, someone in A0 weight, 85-120 pounds, and A1 height, 5’2” – 5’5”, bracket. If regular A0 is too short on you, and regular A1 is too wide then A0 Tall is an ideal choice. A0 Tall joins our other very popular tall sizes, A1T and A2T, and after minor tweaks we will make it permanent in our product line. At this time we offer the new size in black pearl weave, navy pearl weave, white bamboo, and white premium pearl weave in Mandala and Tropical Flowers designs.
We asked one of our customers to give us feedback on the new size. Amber is 5’4”, 117 lbs, and this is what she said,
‘I absolutely love my navy blue pearl weave Fenom gi. Being 5’4 and rooster weight has made it very difficult to find a kimono that fits properly. A0 Tall length is spot on, the arms are fitted properly so my opponent doesn’t have extra material to grab, the chest is slender and gives me a shaped look instead of a blue block like most. I have washed the gi for a couple of months now and the color has not faded! That is saying a lot for a navy blue. I don’t notice any excessive shrinkage either. Usually a gi that starts out at a good length ends up shrinking too much to pass competition regulation. I cannot say enough amazing things about this cut and really feel that Fenom succeeded exceptionally well in making a kimono that fits my body type.’
It’s time! Our annual women’s gi sale is happening this Friday from 6am to 6pm CST or until we are sold out. Let’s empty the warehouse! Happy shopping!
*Quantities are limited, no rain checks. Please limit two gis per person domestically, three gis per person internationally, no reselling. Please inquire about sizing before purchase to avoid returns. Please allow extra 2-3 days of processing and shipping time.
How do you remove makeup stains from a gi is a frequent question in a women’s BJJ Facebook forum. When this question is asked, very few helpful answers are posted, instead the topic gets steered to an ugly lane of shaming women who wear makeup in training. An angry back and forth between makeup wearers and non-wearers leads nowhere because both sides seem to have valid points. Gis are expensive and the possibility of a permanent stain is unpleasant enough to make some women refuse training with a woman who wears makeup. Women who wear makeup do so because it makes them feel better about themselves and/or have no time to remove it as they come straight from the office to the gym.
Are gis really stained forever if you rub foundation and mascara on it. Can you remove the stain and what is the most efficient way? We wanted to find out the answer and put an end to the subject.
TEST #1 Dawn dishwashing liquid, cold water and washing by hand
First, our tester put on a good amount of concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer, contouring product, illuminator and some mascara. The gi got a good rub on the tester’s face like you would in training, in sidecontrol. We diluted about 2 tablespoons of Dawn in a cup of cold water and washed the stain with the mixture by hand. The stain came out very easily.
TEST #2 ALL detergent, cold water and washing by hand
In the second test the tester was wearing the same amount of makeup as in test number 1 but this time we diluted 2-3 tablespoons of ALL laundry detergent in cold water. We did not go out of our way to buy this particular detergent; we used products that were already at home. The stain came out as fast as in test number 1, almost effortlessly.
TEST #3 Dawn dishwashing liquid plus ALL detergent, cold water and washing by hand
Since the first two tests were so easy, we added more makeup: heavier coating of foundation, extra contour product and black mascara. We used equal amounts (2 tablespoons) of Dawn and ALL detergent which we diluted in cold water and washed the spot by hand. It took a few minutes longer than the previous tests and we had to scrub the stain with a kitchen sponge and it did disappear.
TEST #4 ALL detergent, cold water and washing machine
We applied an extra heavy coat of makeup on the tester’s face, rubbed the gi on it hard and let it sit for a while. We also added more makeup directly onto the gi and then proceeded to wash the gi with ALL Stainlifters detergent, in cold water, normal cycle in the washing machine. We did not pre-treat the stain and the gi came out beautifully clean.
The conclusion: Every method removed stains equally well. No second round of washing or pre-treatment was required. No baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and no special GI detergents are needed. Makeup stains on a gi are not permanent and the stain removal process is nothing special. It’s actually harder to get blood stains out than makeup. So, next time someone complains about makeup, please show them this blog post. Happy training!
Check out Gi Care 101 for all other stain related questions.
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?