Goodbye, Old Friend

Rags Gi jiu-jitsu
Professor Marcus Nevel, me, and my Old Friend in 2002 at Gracie Humaita in Rio.

How could I have known that I would meet you during my visit to train jiu-jitsu in Rio? It seems one cannot predict when someone as special as you comes into one’s life: a loyal companion who would experience all my highs and lows, my injuries and victories for the following five years.

We met back in 2002 during on my first trip to Rio de Janeiro. Breno brought FightWorks Podcast cohost Dan and I to his friend Malibu’s Rags FightShop and the minute I took you from the rack and tried you on in the fitting room, I sensed we would be together quite a long time.

Sure, the patch on the back of you was silly. The image of an Incredible Hulk wearing a gi and BJJ black belt while breaking out of prison was ridiculous. But no one is perfect, and hey, it’s the little quirks about us that make us special.

And when I brought you back to the United States, I knew no one else would be wearing anything like you. You were unique.

I have seen photos online where folks are standing next to a closet full of hanging gis. I’ve never been able to make lots of shallow acquaintances like that. No, cultivating a few serious relationships like ours has always fit me. Yes, I know I have that Atama I’ve used as my backup gi. But you know you have always been my favorite.

I knew nothing lasts forever. But I tried to avoid the inevitable. I took precautions to keep you safe and healthy!

Despite the flack I caught for insisting on air-drying you, I never subjected you to the dryer!

Alas, as they say, “time waits for no gi”. There were signs your end was on the horizon. With really no fabric covering your collar at all anymore, the rigid material underneath was exposed as if you’d been held up to a power sander.

And two weeks ago a bullet-sized hole appeared in the end of your right sleeve after training with the very tough folks at Relson Gracie Austin. In denial, I pretended it was not there.

For a larger, sadder view of my Old Friend, click here.

And last week, the death blow: a gaping six inch slit appeared in your right shoulder when an enormous black belt was crushing me during open mat.

So it’s time, Old Friend. Being too attached to say goodbye for good, I will probably put you away in the back of some closet somewhere, where you’ll stay until my fiancee comes across you and throws you out when I’m not around sometime. It’s probably better that way.

If any of you out there have recommendations on gi jackets, let me know in the comments below! (For when I am able to move on! Too soon now! *sob* *sob* )

11 Replies to “Goodbye, Old Friend”

  1. Padilla & Sons are my favourite (speaking of which, would be very interesting to hear you do an interview with Joe Padilla): the awesome review over on Smash Pass tells you exactly why. High quality but at a reasonable price (they start at $70 ).

    There’s also Black Eagle, but then that’s a bit pointless if you’re not in the UK, as one of their big advantages is reduced shipping costs, which obviously doesn’t apply outside of the British Isles. 😉

  2. Caleb you bastard. When I started reading this I thought we had lost an elder Gracie or something. I appreciate that you love your gi and all but DAMN!

    Now, as for a new one…I was looking at getting the Atama gold weave but then I started looking at the Mundial after seeing the recommendations here. It looks like the Mundial uses the gold weave material (in the #5 anyway, carioca weave in the #7) but has a slightly different skirt and no seam in the back making it more comfortable (at least from what I read.) I really like the gold weave material. I remember rolling with a couple of guys in class and talking to them about how nice their gi’s felt as I was choking them out…er…well, you know what I mean. I’m definitely leaning this way but I’m not allowed to buy myself anything right now as it’s too close to Xmas. All that means is that the wife will probably be asking me, “what’s this A3, A4, A5 thing for sizes?” in a few weeks. 😉

  3. Damn, now after reading that review for the Padilla & Sons gi that looks like the way to go?! Very similar to the Atama and almost half price! Ah, the decisions we face.

  4. i might sound like a spoiled jerk but, Scotty’s Lucky Gi’s are the only way to go!
    tried others (Koral, gameness) but i hate feeling all this baggy extra material under the arms and seat… feels like i am wearing pajamas.

    nope… its Lucky Gi everyday!

  5. Hi Caleb, I know the feeling off departing with a gi. I have a favorite gi pants that I love training in and what I actually did was I had to purchase patches to salvage them. I look like a walking billboard but it keep my pants for tearing up beyond usage. In anycase, my friend I think your gi top is done. I would keep it as a reminder of all the hardwork you put in to get your brownbelt!! Also, I would make it a good example to all the white belts that ask how long will it take to get to a black belt. You can say when your gi looks like this, then will talk – LOL.. Take Care Dion Fighters Garage – Arlington,VA

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