GASP Collab with Tony Sentmanat of Real World Tactical

(Little Haiti – Miami, Florida) There was no subtlety in Tony’s voice when he warned us that his home gym, The Knockout Zone, is in a rough neighborhood. Tony routinely does some of the craziest workouts I’ve ever seen, so it seemed fitting that the intensity he brings to training happens in unpolished environment like Little Haiti. Located 15 minutes east of Miami International Airport this is the kind of neighborhood where weakness gets exploited and you need a constant awareness of your surroundings. It was the perfect backdrop for our project.

Pic 2We pulled up to the gym and were instructed to park in the back for the safety of our vehicle. Tony greeted us with a hand shake and bro-hug. We circled the graffiti-covered building and were greeted like long lost family by Argentinian owner and Kick Boxing Champion Diego De Vera. Diego trains some of the toughest fighters in the world, and when anyone notable in the MMA world visits Miami, chances are they stop by to hit pads with Diego. Diego and Tony walked us through the gym, showing us the equipment and different training rooms. It was mid-morning and quiet in the gym. Diego gets to the gym at 5am to begin training his fighters, who then come back in the evening when they are joined by the fitness enthusiasts for some boot camp-style workouts. At the end of the tour we heard some stories about Tony and Diego’s longtime friendship, and it was obvious that a ton of mutual respect existed between these two men.

Pic 3We headed to Diego’s office, which includes a sound-proof room where him and his band like to practice. The décor seems appropriate, with stacks of speakers and guitars all over the walls, and a human skeleton hanging over the drum set. Diego left us to talk business with Tony. We had a lot to cover.

Pic 4Meetings with Tony are fun because once you give him a good prompt he just picks up his own momentum. He’s a strong-minded guy and passionate about what he does, so once he gets going he’ll slowly gets louder and louder as the ideas machine gun out of him. We start the conversation by talking about some functional fabrics we would like to investigate together. Tony has a few of his favorite training shirts that are made from a dry-fit, yet loose-fitting material. However, the look of most of the garments is a far-cry from the feel we try to create with GASP gear. It’s obvious there’s an opportunity for us all here to create some performance apparel that is tailored to fit athletic physiques; snug through the back, chest and shoulders but a bit looser through the mid-section. Something that performs well when it comes to moisture transportation and durability, but also has that signature GASP look to it. We tug and stretch a number of samples, and study the fit of some of his current wardrobe, finding lots of room for improvement and customization. We have stacks of notes to take back to our design team, and the real fun will come when Tony can get a hold of some prototypes and put them to the test.

Pic 5Next we move on to some new products that we felt might benefit from Tony’s feedback. A pair of mesh pants with a recently re-engineered fit are up first. Tony slips them on and can immediately tell where we made adjustments. The legs are straight, but not slim, so they have a comfortable fit without too much fabric around his legs to get in the way while training. He quickly notices that the waist band is different and appreciates the rise in the back. A few impromptu ass-to-grass squats and he knows why we did it. Our athletes are tired of their pants dipping in the back when they squat. With developed legs and glutes most athletic pants just aren’t cut to compensate for that amount of range of motion. Our recent innovations to GASP Denim come up in discussion, and we could not be more proud of the fit we developed. Tony tries on a few new pairs, and is blown away by one in particular that has some added stretch. They have a classic look, a fit engineered for athletic physiques, and the added stretch not only complements the fit but gives it a new level of comfort.

Pic 6Lastly, some sketches from our design team for a pair of tactical cargo pants hit the table. This is Tony’s home turf. With over 20 years wearing standard-issue cargo pants, Tony has a truckload of opinions about every element. What we’ve included that isn’t needed, what details we missed, and all the places we nailed it by adding reinforcements and custom-fit engineering. Tony knows what he’s talking about, and we value his opinion. It’s a proud moment. With Tony’s real-life training experience and GASP’s 30 year history creating custom products, we all know we can make some magic together.

We spend nearly 4 hours together at the Knockout Zone until Diego pops in with some Espresso everyone. The clothing discussions are done and now it’s time to train. Diego and his team have some big plans for Tony this afternoon, and we are prepared to capture all of it for an episode of the Life of Iron Series.

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