Sartorially conscious gentlemen of the jiu-jitsu world, you have new reason to rejoice: leading women’s jiu-jitsu gear line Gaidama – known for high-quality construction, comfort, and unique, fashion-forward design – recently launched its first ever men’s line.


Gaidama was originally born from founder Kendall Vernon’s personal frustrations with the then-gaping hole in the jiu-jitsu gear market for female athletes. Vernon, ever practical, decided to launch her own jiu-jitsu gear company – one that would provide female grapplers with an array of fashionable, comfortable jiu-jitsu apparel that, most importantly of all, actually fit a range of women’s bodies.


It wasn’t until Vernon’s husband, a fellow jiu-jitsu athlete – along with some of her favorite male training partners – expressed playful jealousy over the quality and variety of Gaidama gear, that Vernon considered making men’s clothing as well.


[The men] saw the level of quality and attention to detail that we were bringing to the women’s market and wanted in on it,” explains Vernon, who was immediately inspired.


Since then, Gaidama has created men’s rashguards, board shorts, and more. As for design choices, the boys aren’t limited to plain old black tops and shorts either (though that’s also an option for the ninja look-inclined gentlemen!). Breathtaking artwear collections for men like the Miyamoto Musashi set are adorned in original illustration details, boasting the same painstaking attention to detail, form, and function that have become the hallmark of Gaidama’s original women’s line.


Though some women have expressed anxiety that the launch of a men’s line might detract from Gaidama’s attention to their female customer base, Vernon is quick to emphasize the brand’s ongoing dedication to producing quality gear for female grapplers.


We’ve seen a couple women get defensive about the fact that we started making men’s gear, and even express fear that this meant the end of Gaidama’s attention to women,” she admits. “To those women, I’d like to say this: I see you… but I’m not abandoning you. I’m still female, and I’m still in charge, and we’re still going to make the best women’s jiu-jitsu gear on the planet.”


Does this mean that Gaidama is pivoting toward eventually becoming a fully coed brand? Yes and no. In some ways, according to Vernon, the true spirit behind Gaidama has always been inclusive of all genders. “One of my favorite parts about Gaidama is that we’ve always been about bringing people together, even when we were only selling women’s gear,” says Vernon. “Every event we’ve ever hosted since the very beginning – including our Epic Open Mat events, which have historically exclusively highlighted the women of our sport – has been open to all: men, women, kids, everyone.”


Because of this, we’ve seen firsthand the incredible level of support that the male grappling community reserves for women in jiu-jitsu. Both women and men came to these events from all over the country to honor Gaidama’s incredible female athletes and get a chance to roll with them. It’s not our mission to segregate or separate – we want to infuse, empower, and work together to build something more integrated, supportive, and inclusive.”


Ultimately, Vernon envisions Gaidama as a community wherein grapplers of all genders, shapes, and sizes feel welcome. “Gaidama is not a ‘girls’ club,’” says Vernon. “It’s an everyone club. It’s a grind, a vision, a mission, a community, and a party – and everyone is invited.”

April 26, 2024 — Andrea Tang