For David Spitz, hard work and a lot of research are second nature. He’s a lawyer by day and the founder of the American Gi Company at night. Therefore, doing what many said was impossible became a reality for the Santa Cruz, Calif. native.

Spitz, who has been training on and off since 2003 and hopes to one day earn his black belt, came up with the idea for a 100% made in America gi after he and a friend noticed the true production origin of what they had believed to be American-made products.

“The idea, or inspiration behind it was simply, I was rolling with my buddy who had a Shoyoroll gi; I had a Lucky gi,” Spitz told The MMA Corner. “Two of the best gi’s on the market—California companies—and (I) noticed that my Lucky was from Pakistan, and when he got his Shoyoroll and looked at the tags and it said Pakistan. I thought why are these alleged American companies importing from Pakistan?”

David Spitz

With that simple thought and the fact that, as Spitz explained, “About a year ago, Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. Pakistan isn’t really one of our friendlier allies,” the American Gi Company was born.

After realizing that the majority of the most popular brands of gi’s were manufactured in Pakistan, the research began. Spitz began contacting the companies directly and was astounded to find out that no one was making a completely American-made gi.

“I thought to myself, ‘if all gi’s came from Brazil I’d have no problem, and I probably wouldn’t be in this market, everyone would want a Brazilian gi.’ A few are from Japan, again I thought, ‘Okay, that’s respectable.’ But the majority of the trendiest brands that everybody wants, and resells: Pakistan,” said Spitz. “I thought, ‘is anyone making one in America?’ The answer was no, and not only was it no, it was no and it can’t be done. It can’t be made here; it’s not cost-effective to produce a gi here; it’s impossible.”

It’s in a lawyer’s nature to prove people wrong. Tell a lawyer something can’t be done and watch how fast they find a way to do it. Spitz has had to be thorough in seeing his idea come to fruition, so the process couldn’t move too fast.

“We produce most of the world’s cotton, weaving is a 3,000 year old art and it’s mostly automated, so labor costs can’t be that bad, we don’t have to pay someone to hand do all of this stuff, why can’t we make it here?” Spitz recalled asking himself. “It just really infuriated me that all of these companies were telling me that it was impossible to make not even a quality product, just a product here in any sort of price range. I started doing research on American companies that make textiles, and I figured it could be done.”

The decision to invest the time, money and research into making the world’s first American-made gi wasn’t about the quality of other gi’s on the market. In fact, Spitz is quick to point out some of his competition’s attributes.

Prototype of the American Gi (David Spitz)

“Shoyoroll makes a more tailored gi and is innovative. Lucky, I believe, is the first company to use bamboo instead of cotton,” Spitz acknowledged of the attributes of his rivals’ products. “This doesn’t change the fact the gi’s are from Pakistan and not made in America. These are companies that I respect, as they have done a lot for the sport. I just got really sick of people telling me that in America, where we produce all of this stuff, that we have to send our cotton to Pakistan to have it produced.”

However, at the end of the day, it’s about more than proving people wrong. America’s economy is the worst that it’s been in years. The unemployment rate is through the roof. The country that is producing the majority of the gi’s on the market was harboring America’s most-wanted man for who really knows how long.

It’s about more than just a gi.  It’s about America being the land of opportunity and about one man giving back to the country that has given us so much.

About The Author

Paige Berger

Relatively new to the sport of MMA, Paige is a life long athlete. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a pioneer member of the women's ice hockey program. She also excelled in softball and soccer before deciding to focus on hockey. Born and raised in New York, she is an avid Yankees fan. Currently residing in Las Vegas, a move she made after falling in love with MMA while training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., she is currently studying public relations and advertising at UNLV.

  • Matt Love

    Looking forward checking this gi out. Any idea on a price range and release date?

  • Paige Berger

    Hey Matt, there will be a second part to this article in a couple of weeks. I believe the price point is going to be around $200, though I’m not 100% sure. As far as release date, I’m hearing late 2012 – but that stuff can always change when you’re dealing with the first release of a product. Follow @americangico on twitter for the latest news.