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More resistant fabric for martial art practitioners
14
Jul '10
Wool may just become the darling of the martial arts world, being incorporated into the heart of a revolutionary new fabric that combats the comfort drawbacks of traditional fighting attire. The traditional martial arts gi (uniform) is made from a double-woven cotton cloth.

While this withstands the repeated stress of grabbing and throwing, it fails miserably from a comfort perspective. Heavy and stiff to wear, it also absorbs moisture to become wet against the skin and is slow to dry.

So Dunedin-based company Gimono called on AgResearch's Textiles team to work with it to develop a new high performance gi fabric alternative. Over three years of research and development, Dr Surinder Tandon led the AgResearch team in testing fabric options for mechanical strength (burst and tear strength), dimensional stability in use and washing (stretch and recovery, shrinkage), surface friction (to allow grabbing) and moisture management.

They've triumphed in engineering a lightweight wool/polyester knit fabric, with a wool layer next to the skin that offers softness, thermal regulation as well as breathability for moisture management, and an outer layer strong enough to take the strains of martial arts activities stipulating requirements to be met by uniforms for competition. Gimono co-founder Lavinia Calvert says the new patent-pending fabric is initially aimed at mainstream martial arts practitioners who are serious about their sport, but not necessarily competing.

“We're going for the grassroots level because we believe that's where the change is going to take effect. We hope the Gimono fabric will revolutionise the category and show there is a technically advanced alternative to heavy, double weave cotton, and that people will be able to improve their performance and increase their enjoyment in the sport,” she says.

Lavinia says it's been fantastic to collaborate with AgResearch in developing the fabric. “Marrying a market-driven, commercial requirement with AgResearch's science, expertise and technology has been critical in achieving what we set out to do.

“We are a classic case of a small Kiwi company with an innovative idea going into a premium export market, and we have been able to tap into this fantastic world-class resource on our doorstep and come out with a very unique, commercial product.”

Gimono Limited

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