Black Eagle Special Edition “Raptor” Gi Review
Black Eagle is a martial arts supply company located in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2005, Black Eagle began producing uniforms and equipment for a wide variety of mainstream martial arts. With the help of some experienced designers and testers, Black Eagle has been pumping out some amazing BJJ Gis and No-Gi gear, but none of their products have been as anticipated as the new Special Edition Raptor Gi! Read on for my full review.
It wasn’t until after a few weeks of training in a pre-production sample of this gi that I found out the interesting story behind it’s inception. My friend and fellow blogger across the pond, Seymour Yang of Meerkatsu.com , who is an authority on gi reviews, was given the task of designing a gi for Black Eagle from the ground up. Besides knowing a lot about BJJ and gis, Seymour is an amazing artist/graphic designer.
This jacket is like a luxury vehicle, there is no doubt about that. The Honda Accord is a fine vehicle , but step into the driver’s seat of a Mercedes and you’ll realize that there is no comparison between the two….especially in terms of style and comfort. This gi jacket was so comfortable that I joked with my wife that I was going to wear it out to dinner that night. The tapered cut was almost perfect for me and there is a rash guard lining throughout the inside of the jacket which is a really nice edition.
The pre-production sample I received from Black Eagle was a Gold Weave material which was extremely soft and comfortable but shrunk a bit after a few washes. The final production gi will be made of Pear Weave material that won’t be as soft, but should have minimal if any shrinkage, in fact, Black Eagle is guaranteeing that with proper care, the gi will never shrink out of fit. Although I will miss the softness of the Gold Weave (I know, I’m such a priss) the Pearl Weave is probably the right call for this gi.
Rash Guard Lining:
Although there are a handful of gis on the market sporting rash guard lining on the inside, this is my first time owning and training in one. I must say that it felt a little odd at first but I quickly became a big fan of it. The lining also has a beautiful metallic print of an eagle with the Portuguese words Uma forma de viver, um desejo de vencer, which, translated to English means- a way of life, a desire to win. The same words are also visible on the scroll that the Eagle is holding on the back of the jacket.
My only gripe with the lining, which was also noted by Seymour in his review, was that it extends all the way to the bottom of the sleeve which can be pulled out when your opponent is grabbing your sleeve. I think it’s just a matter of time before the lining becomes torn in this area. A good solution would be to stop the lining at the elbow or mid-forearm to prevent any accidents.
The embroidered designs on the shoulders and back of the gi are beautiful and full of detail but Black Eagle is also offering the option to have your Raptor delivered with no embroidery on the back in case you want a little less bling or you need your academy’s patch on the back.
The collar on this gi is covered in a Rip Stop fabric which adds a little contrast and should add some durability to it. The thickness is just about right as well….not too thick and not to thin and is also quick drying.
The pants are made from heavy duty 12oz. canvas cotton and feel absolutely bullet proof. Besides the beautiful contrast stitching and embroidered logo, you will notice six….yes six loops for the drawstring…overkill you may say? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. With six belt loops and a sturdy flat drawstring, thee pants aren’t going anywhere. The reinforcements are where they should be and the cut is tapered but allows for a comfortable range of motion when training.
Price and Ordering:
This Special Edition Gi is priced at 99 British Pound Sterling which converted to US Dollars, is about $163 and although shipping form the UK is generally very pricey, the owner of Black Eagle has capped the shipping at $15 for up to two gi’s for US customers.
Black Eagle is currently taking pre-orders for the Raptor which is to be delivered to customers in November. Please note that the only way to ensure you get one of these gis is to pre-order and pre-pay on their website- Black Eagle Special Edition Raptor Gi. Once the pre-orders are finished, this gi will never be made again.
The Raptor is offered in three color models: black gi with red and white styling, white gi with purple and lilac styling and finally, white gi with black and light grey styling. All of the gis meet current IBJJF regulations and are completely acceptable for competition.
If you are looking for an ultra-light gi, this is not for you. If you are looking for a plain, cheap gi, this is not for you. If you want to spoil yourself and train in ultimate comfort and look good whether winning or losing, this gi is for you! Furthermore, unlike many “Special Edition” and “Limited Edition” gis out there, once pre-orders are finished, Black Eagle will not be making any more of these gis.
This isn’t the cheapest gi out there, nor is it the most expensive, but the quality is definitely in line with the price and I highly recommend adding one of these beauties to your collection. Please also check out all of the other great BJJ products that Black Eagle is making here.
Special thanks to Steve at Black Eagle for the opportunity to review this fantastic gi. A big thank you also to Seymour Yang of Meerkatsu, for not only helping me connect with Steve for this opportunity but also for the use of his photos for this review. Please check out his review of the Raptor as well on his blog at Meerkatsu.com.
Thanks for reading!