The Black Eagle brand has been making waves in the UK Jiu-Jitsu community lately, and they’ve reached across the pond now with the Predator model BJJ gi.
We received a Predator A3 a couple of months ago and used the occasion to try out our unofficial new gi testing methodology, which basically consists of asking a few different guys to take it for a spin, abuse the heck out of it, and report back. We’ll get back to the results of the beat down in a minute, but first the details on the gi.
The Predator comes with an extremely lightweight pearl weave jacket. The lapels are ripstop. The jacket compares most closely to a competition 350 I have but feels a bit lighter and softer. It is just a little heavier than a ripstop jacket. The stitching and embroidery are all very neat and tight, no wandering seams or loose threads. The jacket is extremely well constructed, and although the fabric feels a little soft, it doesn’t stretch nearly as much as other jackets I have rolled in that have a soft feel. The design is nice as long as you like the color combination of the blue and red. It has a simple patch along the front lapel, embroidered eagle and brand along the top of the shoulders, and embroidered Predator name along the bottom rear of the skirt. The website indicates they will embroider your name on the jacket, but I didn’t check out the details on that.
The pants are ripstop, but they don’t have that waxy cheese grater feeling that some ripstop pants have. They are moderately soft and very comfortable with a fully gusseted crotch of the same material as the pants. They have 6 belt loops, which is very nice, and although this was a prototype unit and the manufacture missed a row of reinforcing along the top of the loops (since corrected in production) we never had a problem with the loops coming loose. The design is simple with some contrasting belt loops and rope drawstring, along with some nice patches.
We tested the gi with a few different body types, and the fit is very nice for stocky guys, especially if you have large shoulders and need a little extra room under the arm. The body of the jacket may be a little baggy if you are very slim and prefer a tight fitting jacket. The arms run just a bit longer than on similar sized jackets. Overall the fit is generous, our test model was an A3 and I would say that if you are on the fence between and A3 and A4 you should be fine with an A3, even if you are thick in the shoulders, chest or waist. Our tall slim tester thought the arms were fine lengthwise but the jacket was a little loose, while our stockier testers both liked the jacket fit.
The Predator showed very little shrinkage. Even after almost a month of abuse we see no signs of wear and no areas of concern for durability. You can purchase the Black Eagle Predator directly from their website for £79.99 ($132 at the time of writing) which is a good value for the quality of the gi. Shipping to the US is only about $16 and inside the UK it’s £4.90.
You can see more pictures in the gallery.