CTRL Industries: Rook II
This review of the CTRL Industries Rook II is done by Lloyd Cubacub!!! Lloyd has become a good partner with us and we’re super glad to have him on the team!!!
Hafa Adai! CTRL Industries is a relatively a newcomer on the BJJ scene in comparison to other main stream companies such as Koral, Keico Raca, or Atama. However, in seeing their products sported in various BJJ tournaments and other events today, it is really hard to tell.
The Rook was one of CTRL Industries‘ first gi releases (the Carioca 1.0 being the very first). With the success of the gi, the Rook set the launch of CTRL Industries as a major player in the BJJ market. “I would say it was very successful. The Rook seemed to have established us as a contender in the gi game. Before that, we didn’t really see Chess used as a theme on a gi. It was a very obvious choice but up until that point hadn’t been done yet.” as said by CTRL Industries Founder Blayne Barlow.
As with many successful initial ventures the demand for a sequel is expected… which brings us to CTRL’s recent release, the ROOK II.
Let’s find out if this kimono will live up to the reputation and success garnered by its predecessor…
I never had the chance to own the original Rook. I was well aware however, of its popularity when the it was first released. The original Rook was not a limited edition release such as CTRL Industries’ The Knight and Groundsquad; but, it was constantly sold out on Budovidoes.com and the CTRL Industries website (ctrlindustries.bigcartel.com).
The original Rook was only available in Black (w/ Grey contrast stitching) colorway. With the Rook II, CTRL Industries allows the consumer the option of choosing between a black or white version of the kimono. For this review I will examine the white version of the Rook II.
- 1PC. 450 gr. High-Tech Weave Jacket
- White with grey contrast stitching and black trim
- Chess inspired inner shoulder print and inner lining
- Custom CTRL Rook II outer lining
- Black logos
- Black side trim accents
The bag that the gi comes in is a shoulder sling type. There are a few aspects about the gi top that stood out most with the Rook II in comparison to CTRL’s previous releases. The first and most obvious is the type of weave used. Most CTRL Industries gi tops are made with a 420gr -550gr pearl weave or gold weave. The original Rook had 550gr pearl jacket. However for the Rook II CTRL decided to use a new high-tech weave.
Most gi companies that I am familiar with use the pearl weave. It is sturdy and do not loose shape throughout the grueling wars endured in the gym. The last time I have seen a gi with a comparable weave to this one, was Shoyoroll’s 2012 IBJJF Worlds release of the Comp Lite XII (see exhibit 1: for an up close photo comparison of the high tech weave).
Another thing about the jacket that caught my attention is the brightness and color of it straight out of the bag. This may be the brightest white gi I have ever seen! Initially I thought that it may have been the grey contrast stitching and black trimmings that made the it appear really white. However, as I placed the gi next to a new and unopened SYR Black Skies and Grypp Styles Premier , the Rook II, still was significantly brighter than both.
- 10oz. Rip Stop Cotton Pants
- White with Grey Stitching
- 4 Loop drawstring
- High-Tech Weave Gusset
The pants are made of rip-stop cotton and are very similar to CTRL Industries’ previous releases. One significant difference however, is that the Rook II pants has a gusset made of the same high-tech weave material as the jacket… and although the jacket had a few aspects that differentiated itself from having this type of weave, I did not see or feel anything different with the pants having this type of gusset. It felt and preformed like what I expected from any type of CTRL pants: put simply, perfection!
Rolling Performance & Fit
I’ve always had an appreciation for CTRL Industries made kimonos. From the first CTRL gi I owned (The Knight) to their latest Grypps Styles venture, CTRL Industries gis just have that fit and look I admire.
With that said, I can understand CTRL’s mindset in trying to be more innovative and going in the direction of the high-tech weave for the Rook II’s gi top. Most BJJ kimonos companies are currently producing gis with a pearl or gold weave jacket. It is rare to find one similar to a high-tech weave.
As exciting as the new weave is, I did find pros and cons. Please see below:
Pros – The gi top is soft and comfortable. It is more than likely the softest jacket I’ve ever rolled in. The top is also very light which makes it easier for me to roll out of bad situations during live sparring. I am not a fan of heavy weighing gis (such as Lucky, Bad Boy, Reversal, etc.), I feel that the added weight from sweat the gis absorbs makes it too heavy and slows down my mobility in scrambling situation. This which make the Rook II as far as weight is concern right down my alley.
Cons – The jacket seems easier to grab than most other gis during live sparring. Many of my teammates who have commented about how sleek the gi looks before rolling, would also express how easy it is to grab a hold of the gi after the round ends. I also did noticed how much harder it is to break my opponent’s grips once they’ve gotten hold of me.
As with the weave and material Shoyoroll used for their Comp Lite XII; I noticed that the Rook II ‘s gi top with the high-tech weave was a bit more stretchier than other tops that are pearl woven.
Being that this was the time I’ve experienced a stretchy problem with a CTRL Industries kimono. I decided to run the jacket through a stress and stretch test to find out how are the jacket would give. In doing so, I hung the gi top through two pull-up rings and asked five of my teammates (weight ranging from 150lbs to 200lbs.) to each complete 100 pull ups. Grips were placed on both the lapels and sleeves. (see exhibit 2 and exhibit 3)
After the test I put the jacket through, I expected it to be completely wrecked, stretched out, with possible tears. However, to my surprise it did not stretch anymore than it initially did during rolling. The jacket remained intact and keeping its shape and integrity. There were no loose threads, rips, or tears. Although this is not my favorite CTRL gi, a lot can be said about the quality of the gi.
The Rook II is a beautiful gi! It has all the qualities one can expect from a CTRL Industries manufactured kimono: and, although there were some aspects of the gi that were different and new to me (weave of jacket), I can appreciate their idea of not being stale and trying out new things, rather than producing the same gi over and over again (only changing minor details such as color, contrast stitching etc)as other BJJ companies do.
The original Rook placed CTRL Industries on the main stream BJJ map. It was the predecessor to all the successful gis they have made. With the Rook II, CTRL has yet again produced another high quality kimono setting the bar high for future CTRL gis to reach.
At a price point of $169 (before shipping) the Rook II is still considered a mid-tier priced kimono for how much BJJ gis are selling in today’s market. Off the top of my head, I can mention about five gis priced higher than the Rook II, but feel that the consumer will get equal or more value is they selected this gi. Based on this review and my two others done on CTRL gis, I cannot wait for what CTRL Industries has planned for the future…maybe a Rook III? We’ll just have to wait and see…OSSS!!!
CTRL industries Rook