Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: 93 Brand Made in America Ranked Rashguard

The guys over at were kind enough to toss me one of these pimpin' 93 Brand rashguards to take a look at and I took it for a spin over the weekend.

The first thing I noticed was that the purple color was paler than I expected. It was almost a pastel purple instead of the brighter purple I was expecting. That's going to come down to a personal preference thing, I don't mind the paler colors and the overall effect is good, but if you are looking for a vibrant purple rank rashguard then you'll probably want to skip over this one for something with a little more pop.

If color isn't your primary concern though there's a lot to love about this thing. The construction is REALLY sturdy. There are super heavy duty seams on it, which at first I thought would be irritating, but became un-noticeable the second I put it on, and the fabric is much sturdier than my regular under armor rashguards without being as hot as my heavy duty rashguard. It breathed well, kept the sweat off of me, and was nice and cool.
There is one small item about the workmanship, there was a bundle of loose threads still on one seam where the seam had been completed but not trimmed. I snipped them off with some scissors before I put it on and didn't have any trouble with it, but it is something that they should probably do in manufacturing.
You can see the threads there, but you can also see how heavy the stitching is. Very very sturdy.

The fit was excellent. I got a small, of course, and it was nice and snug as I expected, but it also was long enough everywhere, which I sometimes have problems with because of my slightly odd torso dimensions. The best thing about it was that it's the first rashguard I've had that didn't ride up, at all. I pulled it down and tucked it under my shorts like I always do and expected to have to stop and retuck it after every couple of rolls, but it never budged. It stayed below my waist the entire session.

Now, there are some additional claims that I can't really verify yet, but this thing is supposedly made of a fabric that is anti-bacterial, AND anti-odor. I'll have to revisit this review in a few months and update on the status of the rashguards odor after several months of normal wear.

This is honestly the only rashguard I've ever put on that I feel like is worth the 60$ they are asking for it. My next most expensive rashguard that I own is my heavy duty winter rashguard that I paid 35$ for and the fabric on the 93 is definitely far higher quality.

I definitely give this a 9 out of 10. I would give it a full 10 if the purple were a little more vibrant and a little less easter candy, but the workmanship and fit are outstanding.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

USG Grapplemania 2012 Writeup

This writeup is a little bit late because of my hectic schedule since the return, but here it is at last.

We left out friday morning and cruised up to Henderson, NC. The drive wasn't bad and we arrived at the venue in plenty of time to weigh-in. I hit 149 fully dressed, though I did have to empty my pockets and take off my sweater. There was a middle school basketball game going on in the gym so we went out to dinner with the USG crew before returning to roll out the mats and setup tables and stuff.

The next morning we arrived at around 10:15 and I got changed, then we had a 10:45 rules meeting and I was once again on the mats by 11. I was the first match of the day with Richard and that kicked things off.

Once again his deep halfguard game proved to be too much for me and he was able to consistently prevent me from scoring by maintaining the quarter guard and keeping my foot trapped until he was able to sweep.

My second no-gi match was against his team-mate German who ALSO has a wicked halfguard game, even MORE wicked. He was able to take my back and lock on a choke with my arm trapped, but I had to tap to the straight armlock from having my arm trapped so tightly before the choke was even finished. The kid is just wicked. He went on to win a bunch of medals, including the purple belt absolute division. Richard didn't hit the button on my camera, so I didn't get the match with German on film, but he whooped me good.

After that I had no more no-gi matches so I went to work a table for a couple of hours, then it was on to the Gi matches.

These are in no particular order. I THINK that they are in the order that they happened, but I'm not entirely sure.

This is Richard AGAIN with his halfguard and AGAIN I am unable to free my foot on several occasions when I could have taken over the match and won. We are fairly evenly matched in every position except halfguard where he enjoys a distinct advantage and is able to keep the matches there consistently. He outpoints me again in this one.

Watch him do it again. He's incredibly good at getting that underhook and immediately getting up onto his side, something that I struggle with from the same positions. Again he outpoints me.

This match is me up against Bagels who is hilarious and a blast to hang out with, but is also a complete monster to roll against. Stylistically I match up better against him than Richard or German just because he's a lot more dynamic which gives me more openings and chances to generate options. We ended up in 50/50 guard and I was actually up on advantages when he got that second ankle lock and was able to crank it down. His footlocks are extremely nasty. You'll notice that we seem to be having random discussions during the match, not sure if you can hear them but he tried to armbar me out of the 50/50 and I made fun of him for watching Keenen Cornelius youtube videos, then we were both trying to go for the same 50/50 counter which we found out later is illegal because it counts as a 'cloverleaf' attack and not a straight ankle lock.
All in all this was the most fun roll I had of the day and I look forward to going up against Bagels again in the future.

This guy was kind of big. I tried to pull a sweep and it didn't work, after which I got smooshed until he could lock on the Kimura for the finish.

This is me up against German in the Gi. Dude is SLICK. He got on top off of an opportunity generated by a berimbolo attempt and then setup a really smoothly executed collar choke. He went on to defeat Bagels in the Purple Belt absolute division.

Another match with Richard, at this point I was doing slightly stupid things trying to get past his deep half and he capitalized and finished me via kimura. No fun.

I think this match was actually before the match with Bagels. I'm really disappointed in myself when I watch this one. It's probably the only match that I look at and think 'WTF was I doing?!'. I seriously look like a whitebelt with my headhugging from halfguard bottom. I was sure I was going to be able to come out the back against the choke he had on me, then I adjusted slightly and started to tunnel so I had to tap.

So that's 9 matches, 9 losses. Not my finest tournament, but I acquired about 30 minutes of solid footage of my halfguard top and bottom game for me to analyze and work on which is what I'm currently doing. I really need to establish a stronger game plan from halfguard because I don't really have one now. I don't like deep half because I get kimuraed to hell and back almost every time I try to play it in the gym, but I'm going to revisit it with some tips I picked up watching Richard play it and see how it works out for me. Hopefully by March I'll have a halfguard game worthy of my belt rank to bust out at Wake Forest.

The tournament was completed and the places was cleaned up and the the truck loaded by about 6 pm. Once again everything ran incredibly smoothly. There were a handful of injuries (One nasty looking knee injury that turned out to be ok in the end) but nothing major. The rings ran smoothly, the officiating was great, and everyone was friendly as usual.

There was one strange incident where a guy got double-legged, cried out in pain and curled up on the mat like he had broken a rib or something, then when the medic went over to the ring he suddenly popped up like nothing happened and continued the match. No idea what that was about. Next up is Wake Forest on March 2nd.