Dokebi Bros. Interview . . .
Dokebi Bros. is a Korean inspired Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle brand with sophisticated designs and superior quality. We, as avid Jiu-Jitsu players ourselves, have made it our mission to provide standout merchandise for a standout martial art such as Jiu Jitsu.
Dokebi Bros. kimonos/clothing is emerging from the many brands that are coming out these days in the Jiu Jitsu world, but they’re doing things a little bit differently. Instead of going with the trend of contrast stitching and company hits all over the gi, they’re going back to the way it was and released a kimono that is function over fashion.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a bit of style to the gi but it’s not over the top. A simple and sturdy kimono is what they were aiming for. Did they do it? You can check out the BJJ Legends review of the Balance kimono from Dokebi Bros HERE and find out for yourself.
I wanted to get to know the owners behind the Dokebi and find a little bit of info about the duo. What exactly is a “Dokebi” and what makes their company stand out the most in a sea of gi’s that are flooding the market.
Hello guys, would you mind telling us a little about yourselves?
P: Hi, my name is Paul and I trained BJJ for 3 and a half years. I am a blue belt under Renzo Gracie and currently train at Akxe BJJ Austria.
J:Hi, my name is Jusuf, i am a blue belt under Orlando Neto Machado from Akxe BJJ Austria in Vienna and have been training for about 5 years, competing regularly in Central and Eastern Europe.
What got you two started in Jiu Jitsu?
P: Watching pride on Korean television exposed me to MMA and Jiu Jitsu, after taking some “MMA” classes I really got into the grappling aspect and to this day I only do Jiu-Jitsu and a bit of wrestling.
J: I started watching some mma highlights. I was a big Shogun Rua fan. Through Google I found out that I just missed his seminar in Munich. I went to the Jiu-Jitsu school where he was doing the seminar, signed up and got hooked with BJJ.
Why did you guys decide to start up your own company?
P: I studied graphic design and I was always interested in designing my own gear. I only needed someone who shared the same vision.
J: Being creative, drawing and designing was always one of my biggest passions (besides BJJ of course). It was just a matter of time before I had to start connecting them.
Your kimonos are made in Korea, how did you go about the decision to get your products made there?
P: We are a Korean brand, so it made sense to make our main products here. Korea also has a long tradition in martial arts products manufacturing.
J: Basically what Paul said plus the gis we produce in Korea ended up being far better in quality than the ones we produced in other countries. We are also trying to avoid sweatshop labor and we would like to give our customers an alternative to it.
What is a Dokebi?
In old Korean folktales, dokebi (도깨비) is a mythical being. Dokebis are considered harmless but nevertheless mischievous, playing pranks on people or challenging wayward travellers to a grappling match for the right to pass.
The Dokebis’ free-spirited attitude reflects what we believe is the essence of the bjj lifestyle. This is why we chose the Dokebi to represent our brand.
What does the Dokebi mean to you two, as a person/Jiu Jitsu practitioner?
J: What we value about the Dokebi is its free-spirited attitude. Not being bound by rules. That’s what we love about our sport, it is more progressive and evolving than other traditional martial arts. The idea of Dokebi Bros. came about after mat time in the gym and not in some corporate office. We are still students of the art first. However one of the main traits of the Dokebi is also its honest nature. Regarding business we are always ethical and loyal to our customers and partners.
Would you consider yourselves Dokebi, mischievous and challenging by passers to grappling matches?
P: Haha sometimes. I will not get into the details.
J: We (usually) don’t attack bypassing tourists if that’s what you mean, but if you are in Vienna, Austria for a visit, stop by our academy. We promise we will let you continue your safe passage.
Your first offering is called “Balance”, what is the meaning of the name for you?
J: Balance for us means duality. Jiu-Jitsu on the one hand is the gentle art but also a fighting sport. Two opposing elements harmonizing together making the sport what it is today. This philosophy applies to the ‘Balance’ model: It’s a martial arts uniform made for competition and training however the design still exudes calmness and composure.
Given all the companies that are sprouting up every day and using the same format for their kimonos, why did you choose the clean and simpler design?
P: I have the feeling that some Gis out there have too many patches, and unnecessary features that it kind of puts the whole purpose of the Gi in question. Sure, a gi should look cool but you shouldn’t look like a walking billboard wearing it.
Will your black Balance kimono have yellow stitching or just yellow logos like in the technique of the month video?
P: It will have black stitiching, but future models will probably have colored stitching
What inspires your designs when making products for Dokebi Bros?
P: Its always a combination of things. We are inspired by korean symbols, traditional and modern Asian art as well as contemporary and classical Western design elements.
Do you have any favorite brands that you look at and use for inspirations?
J: Yes, not getting inspired would be impossible with that many brands and designs out there. However, I think we succeeded in having our own unique and distinguished style.
Your shirt that is coming out has some unique color ways and is very “retroish” you could say, are you a fan of past time period fashion?
P:Yes, the retro/vintage look was Jusuf’s idea and im a fan of it as well. Our designs are a combination of retro and the modern. Jiu Jitsu is also, in a way, a combination of the old and new.
J: You could say I am also a fan of vintage varsity clothing. In my opinion it works really well with some items we have and fits nicely with BJJ.
If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
P: I really like the time we are living in now, but if it had to be another time i would say the future, where BJJ will be an olympic discipline. By that time, Metamoris gains its independence as a sovereign nation with Ralek Gracie ruling as supreme Emperor.
J: I agree with Paul, if I wouldn’t live in this time period I wouldn’t have met all my friends I have now. I would have loved to experience the training and the fights of the old school Carlson Gracie Team firsthand but think I would rather live in the future where BJJ will be more developed in Germany so I would have started at an earlier age.
Is that another Dokebi on the front of your rash guards that are coming out?
P: Yes, it is a more traditional dokebi look based on stone carvings.
Will you have rash guards that are long sleeve as well as short sleeve?
J: This version of the ranked rashguards will only feature short sleeves. Outside of the ranked rashguard project there is also a long sleeve model planned.
Do you plan on releasing a full line of products? (Shorts, belts, patches, stickers, etc.)
P: Of course! And products that would surprise some people!
In your opinion, what sets you apart from all the brands that are out right now?
1. The combination of retro and modern.
2. We don’t embrace the “tough guy” image.
3. The Korean design aspect. We advertise the fact we are a Korean brand. Some Korean brands don’t do that.
Give me three words that describes Dokebi Bros.
JiuJitsu for everybody
What can we expect from the company next?
J: If all works as planned, some big names might get attached to our products in the near future.
Any final words to the readers of Grapplers Review?
P&J: Thanks for the interest in us, and keep on supporting!