White, Blue or Black
560g/m2 single weave
Attention to details
Scratchy seam tape
Not enough knee protection
Unnecessary reinforcement for the arms (making the gi heavier)
Muae JSCA is a fairly new gi company that started in 2012 and it’s based in Korea. “Muae” means “free the mind from all the temptation, anguish and fear”and JSCA stands for Jiujitsu, Soul, Culture and Art.
Their official website is http://www.muaejsca.com/ but looks like it is still being built, as the store, product list and sections are not completed. You’ll do better by checking their facebook profile since it’s frequently updated and they take orders from there.
Their first gi was called ONIWAKA MARU which is the name of a young monk warrior. On the inside of the gi you’ll see the printing of that warrior fighting a huge monster carp.
Saitō no Musashibō Benkei (西塔の武蔵坊弁慶, 1155–1189), popularly called Benkei, was a Japanese warrior monk (sōhei) who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune. He is commonly depicted as a man of great strength and loyalty, and a popular subject of Japanese folklore.
Stories about Benkei’s birth vary considerably. One tells how his father was the head of a temple shrine who had raped his mother, the daughter of a blacksmith. Another sees him as the offspring of a temple god. Many give him the attributes of a demon, a monster child with wild hair and long teeth. In his youth Benkei may have been called Oniwaka (鬼若?)—”demon/ogre child”, and there are many famous Ukiyo-e works themed on ‘Oniwakamaru’ and his adventures.During his life he is said to have defeated 200 men in each battle he was personally involved in.
He joined the cloister at an early age and travelled widely among the monasteries of Japan. During this period, the Buddhist monasteries of Japan were important centres of administration and culture, but also military powers in their own right. Like many other monks, Benkei was probably trained in the use of the naginata. At the age of seventeen, he was said to have been over two metres (6.6 feet) tall. At this point, he left the Buddhist monastery and became a yamabushi, a member of a sect of mountain monks who were recognisable by their black caps. Japanese prints often show Benkei wearing this cap.
Benkei is said to have posted himself at Gojō Bridge in Kyoto, where he disarmed every passing swordsman, eventually collecting 999 swords. On his 1000th duel, Benkei was defeated by Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a son of the warlord Minamoto no Yoshitomo. Henceforth, he became a retainer of Yoshitsune and fought with him in the Genpei War against the Taira clan. Yoshitsune is credited with most of the Minamoto clan’s successes against the Taira, especially the final naval battle of Dannoura. After their ultimate triumph, however, Yoshitsune’s elder brother Minamoto no Yoritomo turned against him.
During the two year ordeal that followed, Benkei accompanied Yoshitsune as an outlaw. In the end, they were encircled in the castle of Koromogawa no tate. As Yoshitsune retired to the inner keep of the castle to commit ritual suicide (seppuku) on his own, Benkei fought on at the bridge in front of the main gate to protect Yoshitsune. It is said that the soldiers were afraid to traverse the bridge to confront him, and all that did met swift death at the hands of the gigantic man killing in excess of 300 fully trained soldiers . Long after the battle should have been over, the soldiers noticed that the arrow-riddled, wound-covered Benkei was standing still. When the soldiers dared to cross the bridge and look more closely, the giant fell to the ground, having died in a standing position. This is known as the “Standing Death of Benkei” (弁慶の立往生, Benkei no Tachi Ōjō).
** Oniwakamaru is youth name of Benkei. Our design is motivated by story about him. When Oniwakamaru was vagabond, he visited on village. there was a big monster carp who slaughter people. Oniwakamaru kills the monster carp.
Art printed on the inside of the jacket has been done before by several brands, however, they typically use a rash guard type of material to print the art. Muae JSCA decided to print straight on the gi fabric. The first thing I thought was, the colors are going to fade, and it’ll look bad. I was only half wrong. The color DOES fade away, but it looks GREAT. The art ended up with an Asian drawing look which is amazing. Check out the Oniwakamaru after 10 washes:
Style / Design
The Furinkasan has several design details that makes this gi a piece of art. The trousers, on the other hand, are pretty plain. Of course, nothing’s wrong with that, I actually prefer it to be this way, because some gis have embroidery and patches on the trousers and they tend to be in the way when you’re practicing.
But there’s nothing plain about the jacket. On the shoulders, the Furinkazan have the rounded Muae logo on both sides. I would have preferred it to be on only one side but this trend seems to be the standard now for the new brands. Now for something that you’ll not find in any other gi: Muae JSCA added several embroided japanese kanjis to the outside of the jacket, as if they were circling your neck. I fell in love with the design since they first showed it a couple of months ago, and now that I have it on my hands, I can assure you it was extremely well executed. The quality of the embroidery is excellent and the visual is great!
The kanji represents the Furinkasan which was taken from chapter 7 in the book, Art of War where it’s explained the attributes of a great warrior:
疾 如 風 (Move as swift as a wind)
徐 如 林 (Stay as silent as forest)
侵 掠 如 火 (Attack as fierce as fire)
不 動 如 山 (Undefeatable defense like a mountain)
And those japanese kanjis are embroidered all around the gi jacket
I have to make a disclaimer here: The Furinkasan is very famous and can be seen in several places. I had it embroided on my black belt when I got it 2 years ago. It was done in Japan, at the Kodokan,(I’ll write a review about it one day.) So, the whole philosophy behind the Furinkazan has always been something that interested me. When I saw that Muae JSCA was going to make a gi based on it I was really excited.
As a fun fact: You’ll also find the Furinkazan on the belt of Ryu from Street Fighter and on a sign of his stage on the game Street Fighter II. I don’t have to tell you that I’m a big fan of him considering the name of this website.
Check out his belt.
Above is Ryu’s Stage with the sign. If you’ve seen this before you’re older than 20 🙂
Also, on the back of the jacket you’ll see a Muae JSCA logo which is very unintrusive to the design of the kanjis since there’s no background and just some red/blue embroidery. Great attention to details.
And for the main feature of the gi: On the inside of the jacket you’ll find a HUGE print of a traditional japanese painting featuring the samurai Takeda Shingen.
Takeda Shingen (originally known as Takeda Harunobu) was born in 1521. He was the eldest son of Takeda Nobutora, the ruler of Kai, a strategic province in the center of Japan’s main island.
Shingen’s home life was remarkably troubled and mired in politics. Over the years, Shingen exiled, imprisoned, or executed several close family members, including his father, his guardian, his cousin and his son.
In his military career, Shingen showed himself to be outstanding. He was admired by his adversaries as well as his followers. A common Japanese military trend during Shingen’s life was the construction of great castles. Shingen resisted this trend, preferring instead to perfect a flexible and highly mobile military force. Shingen’s military accomplishments included:
The campaigns to expand Takeda control into the neighboring province of Shinano
Shingen’s epic rivalry with Uesugi Kenshin, leader of the neighboring province of Echigo
The ability to forestall the military juggernaut of the combined forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga
In addition to his successful military endeavors, Takeda Shingen is well remembered for his sound civil administration and public works. His governance methods were so successful that they were later adopted by the Togugawa Shogunate. Some of the highlights of his rule included:
Gaining popular support and respect by applying criminal and civil law firmly and fairly; a novelty during an error when a provincial lord’s authority was absolute and potentially arbitrary.
Taxing his constituents based on innovative rate assessment and collection methods.
Completing one of the greatest civil engineering efforts of the 16th century by damming the Fuji River.
One characteristic that set Shingen Takeda apart from his rivals was that he was a master of branding. He chose Shingen, meaning compassionate eye, for his formal name in 1551 when he took Buddhist vows. His name choice, proclaimed Shingen’s ability to see all sides of an issue and to act fairly in the interest of all parties. While the formal name captured the domestic side of his persona, Shingen was also known by the unofficial nickname “The Tiger of Kai”. This branding was more appropriate for the image he wished to convey to his adversaries in neighboring provinces.
The Takeda logo, known as the “Takeda Bishi” consisted of four diamonds combined into one large diamond. It was a simple and powerful design which stands up well even by modern notions of graphic design.
A slogan was paired with the logo. It was used to represent both the Takeda military as a whole and also to personify Shingen himself.
疾 如 風 (Move as swift as a wind)
徐 如 林 (Stay as silent as forest)
侵 掠 如 火 (Attack as fierce as fire)
不 動 如 山 (Undefeatable defense like a mountain)
When applying the slogan to himself, Shingen would append a paraphrase of the legendary quote from Buddha, by adding:
Under heaven and earth, I alone am feared.
As a politician, Shingen realized the dangers presented when religious sects gained political power and then vied for dominance over other sects or civil authority. Conversely, he understood the value of religion as a moral force that assisted in keeping his subjects’ behavior within social norms. These concepts are depicted in some of Shingen’s laws:
The Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhist sects are forbidden to engage in religious controversy within Takeda territory. If anyone encourages in religious controversies, both the priests and their parishioners involved will be punished.
First, pay due reverence to the Shinto gods and the Buddha. When your thoughts are in accord with the Buddha’s, you will gain more power. If your leadership over others issues from your self-serving thoughts, this will become evident and your efforts will be doomed. Next, devote yourselves to the study of Zen. Zen has no hidden teaching. It simply calls people to think seriously about birth-and-death.
In 1573, one of Takeda’s armies had laid siege to Noda Castle in Mikawa. This fortress was defended by the forces of Togugawa Ieyasu, an ally of Oda Nobunaga. Shingen diligently followed the intelligence reports of the siege with the intent of determining the rate of deterioration the besieged defenders. The intelligence made mention of a lone flute player who could be heard playing within the castle walls every evening. According to tradition, Shingen reasoned that he could determine the moral level of the defenders by assessing the quality of the flute music!
In 1573, Shingen made a personal visit to the battlefield. In the evening and under cover of darkness, Shingen approached the fortress wall to listen to the enemy flute music. Somehow, the presence of Shingen’s entourage attracted the attention of the castle defenders. A sniper’s bullet mortally wounded Shingen and he died within a few days.
While on his deathbed, Shingen called for one of his most able warriors to raise the Takeda battle flag on the bridge leading to Kyoto, as if he was advancing on the capital. Shingen then collapsed and soon died. Instead of a traditional death poem, Shingen had chosen an epitaph derived from Zen literature.
It is largely left to her own natural bodily perfection, and she has no special need to resort to artificial coloring and powdering to look beautiful.
This metaphorical verse is a lesson that the true nature of things is best grasped intuitively and directly. Subjective analysis and discriminating thought only create distractions and do no add to true understanding.
Word of his wounding and subsequent death was suppressed until 1575 so as not to give an advantage to Togugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga.
After his death, Shingen was succeeded by Takeda Katsuyori, a fourth son from a lesser wife. While he had a record as a skilled individual warrior and able battlefield commander, Katsuyori lacked his father’s strategic insight and executive management capabilities in the areas of both civil administration and military affairs.
Katsuyori guided the Takeda army to destruction in 1575 at battle of Nagashino. Acting against the unanimous advice of what was arguably the best general staff in feudal Japan, Katsuyori orderd an ill-fated, all out, frontal attack against the armies of Oda Nobunaga. The battle resulted in a huge number of Takeda casualties and the Takeda clan ceased to be a significant power. Katsuyori continued to rule the clan until 1581 when beset by rebellion and invasion, Katsuyori killed himself. Within a year, the Takeda lands were under the control of other clans.
Ok, you have seen jacket with printing on the inside before, but I garantee you that you haven’t seen anything like what Muae JSCA is doing. They decided to print the art directly on the jacket and after a couple of washes it gives it a old painting feel and an amazing look. The colors are great, the art is very beautiful and the execution of putting all together is done very well. I wouldn’t change a single thing on the design of the gi.
These are the official specs for the Furinkazan:
- 560 gsm Single Weave jacket
- 320 gsm twill pants
- Quality custom embroideries
- Contrast cord drawstring
The Jacket quality is excellent. It does have a very solid build and it’s very strong. At the same time, this is a very light gi and super comfortable to wear. I have the feeling that if they had chosen ripstop pants, that are more comfortable and lighter than cotton, we would have one of the lighter gis I’ve reviewed so far. Check out the charts:
|Shoyoroll Rio Koi||Shoyoroll Brasileiro||Tatami Estilo 3.0||Muae Furinkazan||Ezekiel Sode||Xguard Series IV|
*All gis are on size A1
The embroidery of the gi is top quality and you will not find loose threads or bad stitching. All the logos are well done and the huge panel on the inside of the jacket is really a work of art. In almost all parts of the gi jacket and pants there are 2 or 4 rows of stitches that are very good for reinforcement.
The bad part is the pants that are not ripstop (my personal preference) and the knee area is not strongly reinforced and long enough. I don’t think the pants are going to rip apart easily, but I’d like to see something better, like what Shoyoroll did with the Brasileiro or the Tatami Estilo 3.0. Even though, they are still good pants. It has double stitching on the top and a 4 loop system for the drawstring which is very good. The drawstring is rope and fabric. A detail, which I feel was looked over, is the tip of the drawstring.
On the cuff of the pants the Furinkazan have 4 rows of stitches with a MUAE JSCA ribbon on the last one. Very strong and solid.
As of today I stand: 72.5Kg – 160lb / 5’6 feet – 1.69m
The Furinkazan fits very well. However, it fits a little on the small size. The pants are perfect for me, but the jacket is smaller than the usual A1. From sleeve to sleeve (A) there’s only 149cm which is only one cm smaller than the Mizuno Yusho II size 2. The lapel height (B) is the smallest we’ve seen so far and is very close to being too small. It’s actually a problem because when you raise your arms the bottom of the jacket comes above your belt very easily.
The overall fit is very good and reminds me a little of the Shoyorolls after washing it.
*All measures were taken with the Gi spread wide open on the floor
|**||NEW||After 5 washes*|
|**||NEW||After 5 washes*|
*Always washing on COLD/TAP water and NEVER using the dryer (hang dry in the shade)
TOTAL OVERALL SHRINKAGE: < 1%
I can tell you that if you typically wear A1s and they fit perfectly on you, go up a size. A1 are often a bigger size for me so I was lucky that this one ended up being a nice fit, if not a little smaller than I would like. So word of advice: Get a bigger size than what you normally wear and carefully try to shrink it. I wouldn’t be able to compete with this one because of how short the sleeves are. For training the fit is working out ok.
This gi is very comfortable overall. The jacket has a pearlweave fabric that is very strong and comfortable and the pants are made of cotton. A concern of mine was if the art inside the jacket would somehow be uncomfortable but you don’t even notice that it’s there until you take the jacket off. A really good job from Muae JSCA.
I did however find a little detail that immediately caught my attention which is the MUAE JSCA’s ribbon. It is located on the cuff of the pants and the inside of the sleeves. It’s a very nice and beautiful detail but the stitching that holds the ribbon also scratches your skin. As you know my favorite sleeve is from the Ezekiel Sode Guruma Jime gi and I base all my sleeves reviews on it and this one is not as comfortable as the Ezekiel’s.
They also decided to reinforce the sleeves of the jacket with a ripstop material. It’s very comfortable but it does add an unnecessary weight and thickness to the gi jacket.
This is a limited edition of only 400 gis so keep that in mind when considering the $229.99 price tag. It’s almost SOLD OUT. I could only find the sizes A1 and A3 in stock at the Martial Arts Supply store. (I’m writing this on May 28th, 2013)
I really think that if you like the style and are looking for a beautiful and unique gi this is a good deal. I wouldn’t recommend this gi if this is your first or your only one. For me, this gi is very special and expensive, and I do not make it part of my weekly rotation for regular daily practice.
|Shoyoroll Rio Koi||Shoyoroll Brasileiro||Tatami Estilo 3.0||Muae Furinkazan|
|Jacket||Light weight Lite Tech Weave||Light weight Pearl Weave||Pearl Weave||560gsm Single Weave|
|Jacket details||Custom art woven lining inner taping||Rasta Inner Lining and Taping||Patches on the Lapel and back||Inside art printed on the jacket|
|Pants||Twill Cotton Pants with Gold Weave Gusset||Lightweight Rip Stop Cotton||14oz Canvas||320 gsm cotton|
|Pants details||Custom art woven inner taping||Rasta Inner Lining and Taping||Patches on the sides||No details|
|Sale Method||Limited number (Sold out in 15min)||Unlimited number 2 hour window for pre-order||Tatami website or BJJHQ on sale||Only 400 Limited Edition|
To get one go to the MUAE Facebook page and send them a message. The Furinkazan is available on White, Blue and Black
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