"Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

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"Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Jun 2012 15:19

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These gloves are available through Corsair's Wares

These gloves have been designed for use in the practice of kali, an art that involves striking the opponent with rattan sticks. In a similar fashion to people engaged in the practice of certain disciplines within historical fencing, practitioners of kali need protection for their fingers, hands and wrists. This review will look at the suitability of these gloves for use as protective gear in the pursuit of historical fencing.

In the Academy of Historical Arts we use these gloves as the standard "loaner gloves" for new students when practicing longsword, sword and buckler, and various forms of staff work. They are relatively cheap compared to many versions of lacrosse gloves and it is easy to buy several pairs of gloves at once. Although they do not provide the same amount of cover in some places across the hand as some of the lacrosse gloves, they are well padded *all* across the hand; lacrosse gloves often have gaps or openings in places that don't matter in lacrosse but that are hit on an unfortunately regular basis in historical fencing. This is one of the best things about these gloves: although the padding is not all that thick, is does provide a good layer of protection, and this padding extends all over the back of the hands and fingers, along the outsides of the pinkies, index fingers and thumbs, and all over the wrist. It is difficult to find a gap in the padding, especially with a weapon with a thicker blade such as one of the synthetic swords.

Although the padding is not very thick, this is also an advantage. Because the gloves are not as bulky as some of the lacrosse gloves, students tend to receive fewer "hits" or "slices" on the hand; certainly there are fewer opportunities for a blade to lever over a crossguard and to snag a bulkily padded thumb, something which happens regularly with bigger gloves. The padding is adequate to protect the hand against anything that is likely to happen in a reasonably controlled fight with synthetic or wooden swords. They will not stand up to full contact or an irresponsible level of contact, they should of course be used with due common sense. However, as entry level gloves for someone who simply needs something to give the hands some protection in the early stages of learning historical fencing, these are superb.

One other benefit with regard to the padding is that while the padding on the fingers does not overlap and there are small gaps over the knuckles, the knuckles are staggered. This makes them unlike lacrosse gloves where there is a clear channel running across all four knuckles, where an unlucky strike can land on all four fingers. An unlucky strike landing on the knuckles of these gloves might land in one of the gaps but will also land on two or three pieces of padding on the other knuckles; while not ideal (gaps can never be ideal), they are less of a problem in this regard than many of the lacrosse gloves in general use at the moment.

Mobility is also good in these gloves. When the gloves come out of the packet they are very stiff and rather uncomfortable but after a few hours of use they soften up nicely and fit the hand quite comfortably. The wrist can rotate easily, enough to make the gloves useful for practicing with sabres, and the thumb is free to do what it needs to do (for example, changing grip on the weapon, or thumbing the blade as per many of the longsword illustrations).

In terms of grip, they offer a very good grip of the weapon. There is a circular opening in the palm to allow the skin to contact the weapon and so grip is not compromised by a layer of thick material between hand and sword.

In terms of construction and durability, we have had some pairs of these gloves in the Academy for almost two years now, used on pretty much a weekly basis, and they are still holding up perfectly well. The stitching is good, the leather is hardwearing, the padding stands up to repeated use and hits.

To put things into perspective, comparing these gloves to Ensifers is like comparing a Hanwei practical line sword to a maestro line sword made by Albion. The Albion sword is clearly going to be better; the Ensifer gloves are clearly much better; but these gloves do not cost €200. They cost around £30 plus a few pounds for shipping. They are not the best solution, but they are a good option for someone looking for a cheap and cheerful pair of gloves for controlled work with synthetic or wooden swords (or even with steel swords if the control is present). For outfitting a club with "loaner gloves", our Academy buys these every time.

Co-incidentally, Corsair's Wares (the retail division of our charitable organisation) has a trade account with Blitz Sport and is a reseller of items such as these gloves. At the time of posting this review, I believe we are one of the cheapest sources for these gloves. If you would like to make a purchase of these gloves while supporting a young British enterprise and also a charitable organisation, please take a look at our online store.
Last edited by KeithFarrell on 16 Nov 2012 12:50, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby krumphau » 26 Jun 2012 15:51

Yes to all of the above, however I found even the large size to be far too small... but for the cost as starter kit or if you have tiny hands they're fine.
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby Raphael » 26 Jun 2012 18:45

Thanks a lot for this review! I will pass it on to the other members of my club, but I think we'll soon be ordering a dozen of these :) How much do you charge for shipping?
As for the size however, I have tried on Medium size, and they were too short for the fingers but perfectly fitting for the rest of the hand, so I fear Large or Xtra Large sizes would be too wide... Is the wrist band straight enough to solve the problem? I don't think the length of the fingers to be so much of a problem, but then I haven't tried to use them in combat...
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby scalawag » 26 Jun 2012 21:39

I concur with Raphael on the sizing, I have short fat hands and the gloves fit me perfectly :) setting that aside I think they are completely useless for backsword. They inhibit rotational movement of the wrist and I have to literately force my hand into the basket (David Rawlings Synthetic basket hilt).
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Jun 2012 23:01

Raphael wrote:Thanks a lot for this review! I will pass it on to the other members of my club, but I think we'll soon be ordering a dozen of these :) How much do you charge for shipping?


I will PM you about this in just a moment :) if you are buying a dozen or so gloves then I can be very generous with our shipping terms!


Raphael wrote:As for the size however, I have tried on Medium size, and they were too short for the fingers but perfectly fitting for the rest of the hand, so I fear Large or Xtra Large sizes would be too wide... Is the wrist band straight enough to solve the problem? I don't think the length of the fingers to be so much of a problem, but then I haven't tried to use them in combat...


The wrist band can be tightened (or loosened) on them, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "straight enough". What are you thinking about for a solution?


scalawag wrote:I concur with Raphael on the sizing, I have short fat hands and the gloves fit me perfectly :) setting that aside I think they are completely useless for backsword. They inhibit rotational movement of the wrist and I have to literately force my hand into the basket (David Rawlings Synthetic basket hilt).


Some of our members with smaller hands manage to fit the gloves into the Rawlings synthetic baskets. I personally find that they work quite well with the Hanwei Hutton sabres, and have never found rotation to be an issue with them. Admittedly I don't use them very often!
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby Raphael » 26 Jun 2012 23:36

KeithFarrell wrote:
Raphael wrote:As for the size however, I have tried on Medium size, and they were too short for the fingers but perfectly fitting for the rest of the hand, so I fear Large or Xtra Large sizes would be too wide... Is the wrist band straight enough to solve the problem? I don't think the length of the fingers to be so much of a problem, but then I haven't tried to use them in combat...


The wrist band can be tightened (or loosened) on them, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "straight enough". What are you thinking about for a solution?


Yeah, didn't know how to explain it clearly, sorry ^^" I'm not even sure I could be clear in French either actually...
My problem -- shared with, I think, at least a third of my group's members -- is that I have long fingers but thin hands. So the Medium size fits perfectly the hand itself, but is slightly too short for the fingers. But if I take a larger glove, I fear that it will be too loose for the hand itself, while being perfect for my finger length. So I wondered if the wrist band could be tightened enough to prevent the glove from being too loose around the hand.
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby Jose_Pereira » 28 Jun 2012 19:56

I might give kali glooves a try one of this days.
I currently use roller hockey gloves:

Image

They offer great hand protection and very good mobility, but have two problems. First, wrist protection is non existent, secound, they are a PITA to put on and off.

I absulutely HATE very bulky glooves, so the search for the perfect hand protection is an hard one...
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby scalawag » 03 Jul 2012 20:24

Jose_Pereira wrote:I might give kali glooves a try one of this days.
I currently use roller hockey gloves:

Image

They offer great hand protection and very good mobility, but have two problems. First, wrist protection is non existent, secound, they are a PITA to put on and off.

I absulutely HATE very bulky glooves, so the search for the perfect hand protection is an hard one...



These street hockey gloves look a bit better:

http://www.sportsauthority.com/product/ ... Id=3113443
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby Jose_Pereira » 04 Jul 2012 09:55

They look ok, but hand protection does not seem to be in the same league
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby Raphael » 17 Jul 2012 12:33

I have ordered a few pairs of the Kali gloves for my group, and we have begun training with them.
We all find them quite good. They're a bit stiff, as we haven't trained a lot with them yet, but they offer a really great protection ; there are only a few flaws in the protection, at the very tip of the thumb and at its very basis -- but getting hit there is really bad luck, and the more exposed parts of the hand are very well protected. Despite their being still stiff, they're flexible enough to use Liechtenauer's techniques -- I had no problem doing some zwerchaus in our sparring session, though I first feared the gloves would be too stiff. Even some delicate techniques that ask for a good hand mobility can be performed with these gloves, which is of course really great. Even the wrist is rather free, as the strap is not necessarily super-tight.

As for the size, we all chose M sizes. We had some fears that it would be too small at first, but it wasn't justified. The fingers are a bit short, but they can move nevertheless, and L sizes would have been too wide for our palms. But then we all have rather slender hands, so this may not be right for everybody.

The order was made through Corsair Wares, and I must say we are very pleased with how it went. The order was made on Friday, the package left the Warehouse on Monday, and it arrived in Paris in perfect condition on Thursday.

All in all, I have really no reason to complain of either the gloves in themselves or the level of service, and can only recommend them to anyone who wants rather good hand protection without spending an infamous amount of money on Ensifer or high-quality Lacrosse gloves.
Also, sorry for the clumsiness of my sentences, I'm not at my best today ^^"
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Re: "Kali Gloves" from Blitz Sport

Postby KeithFarrell » 17 Jul 2012 13:19

Thanks for the positive review Raphael, I'm glad we could help :D
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