Whether it’s day to day life, or a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo, survival without preparation is almost impossible. As a BJJ enthusiast, if you don’t carry the right gear with yourself, you’ll probably fail to reach your true potential. There’s no need to worry, however, because we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will guide you with all the equipment you need to get started in BJJ.
The BJJ Gi is the most fundamental equipment you will need to get started in Jiu Jitsu. The Gi or traditional Kimono attire has been used for centuries by masters of the sport, including the Gracies, therefore, it has great historical and cultural significance in BJJ.
Whether you are training in the gym or taking part in tournaments, you will likely face grappling with opponents who are fully clothed in Gis.
BJJ is not only about strength. In fact, a solid technique trumps strength any day of the week. In Gi grappling, the cloth can be used to apply a range of gripping and pulling techniques. To control your opponent, you will need to grab a solid hold of their Gi. The most common gripping technique is making a pocket in your opponent’s Gi using your four fingers, with your thumb as an anchor. It’s called the four-finger grip.
The common gripping points on Gis are the sleeves, pants and collars. Sleeves have two places which are commonly grabbed during matches, the area close to the wrist and the area just above the elbow.
Gripping the pants allows you to control your opponent’s legs. As with sleeves, gripping the ends of the pants is very popular, but you can also create pockets at knee level, using the four-finger approach. Collar grips are very interesting, because not only do they allow control, but also openings for chokes. The only key difference between collar grips and the other two techniques is that you can put your fingers inside the collar. The four-finger method is again the most popular when grabbing collars.
Training in the Gi comes with a lot of benefits. It greatly enhances upper body strength, as constant gripping of sleeves, collars and pants strengthens muscles, ligaments and tendons of hands, forearms, upper arms and back. The Gi also promotes a technical and methodical approach to fighting. This is because the Gi adds weight and creates friction between combatants, which reduces speed and explosiveness. The Gi also creates better defensive awareness as escapes are much harder due to added weight and friction.
The Gi also teaches commitment to the art you’re practicing day in and day out in the dojo. Commitment is the foundation to success in BJJ, and in life. A uniform, such as a Gi, isn’t just a piece of clothing. It’s a mental and physical preparation tool, and showcases a person’s commitment to the cause. Moreover, when you invest your time and money in the sport, you will automatically feel compelled to give your 100 percent.
The BJJ Gi comes in different types of weaves. The most common one is the Single Weave Cotton, which is used by many entry level practitioners mainly due to its cheap price. However, it is not very durable. Gold Weave is another popular option due to its thickness and durability, but it does tend to shrink quite a lot, which is one of its major drawbacks. Pearl Weave Gi is the most popular option these days, as it’s a lot cheaper than its Gold counterpart, but a lot more durable, and it hardly shrinks.
If you are looking for reasonable Gi, be sure to drop by our collection of pearl weave Gis.
If you have purchased your BJJ Gi, the next thing you will need is a belt. If you are a beginner, you will begin your journey with a white belt, but your belt will keep changing colours as your rank grows.
While belt colors and rankings vary for each age group, here’s a general summary of each stage as it follows.
White Belt: This is where your BJJ journey begins. As a white belt, the key is to learn to defend yourself and survive through adversity. It can take a practitioner anywhere from several months to a couple of years before they jump up the ladder.
Blue Belt: A blue belt signifies that practitioners now have a basic understanding of the Jiu Jitsu rules and positions. They have spent enough time on the mats, and are now considered serious learners. Blue belts are required to train at this rank for 2 years.
Purple Belt: This is when things start to get serious. A purple belt has a solid understanding of Jiu Jitsu fundamentals. At this rank, BJJ practitioners usually just fill in the gaps for 1.5 years before moving forward, of course, depending on the performance.
Brown Belt: Once practitioners reach this level, it is assumed that they can pull off submissions and have an understanding of the art almost as well as black belts. A couple more years of hard work can lead to every BJJ students’ ultimate dream; a black belt.
Black Belt: For most people, this is the end of the road, but for others, it’s a major step towards their bigger goals. Black belts have a full understanding of BJJ positions and techniques. However, getting a black belt doesn’t necessarily mean you have mastered the sport. The grind continues because it’s an ever-evolving sport.
Most BJJ belts are made with cotton, Vali offers one here.
When BJJ beginners purchase the Gi, they sometimes make the mistake of wearing a simple T-Shirt or Tank Top under it. While T-Shirts and Tank Tops might seem fine, they don’t protect you from harmful bacteria on the mats and sweat rashes, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Which is why you cannot go without a rash guard, as they protect you from cuts, scrapes and rashes.
Rash guards also keep your muscles warm and body dry, ensuring maximum output and performance. They provide you the comfort and flexibility you need to enhance your BJJ technique.
The Rash Guards are essential and are more common in No-Gi Jiu Jitsu—it’s unlikely your training partners will be comfortable with you training shirtless. Although they aren’t required when training with a gi, they are certainly recommended.
Not all rash guards are made equal, and therefore, it is very important that you purchase the right one. If you’re looking for a rash guard that provides good value for your money, have a look here.
Typically rash guards are complemented by grappling shorts, making for the perfect segway to the next item.
No-Gi Grappling Shorts
When it comes to No-Gi BJJ, or any other grappling sports, shorts are designed to keep you comfortable on the mat. In BJJ, movement is the key to getting superior control and staying ahead of the curve. A good pair of shorts allows you to move around with supreme ease.
Regular shorts may have zippers or metal accessories that could hurt you or your opponents while you’re rolling, but Grappling Shorts are made with athlete safety in mind. Another major advantage of Grappling Shorts is that they don’t slide off easily and come with waistbands that keep the shorts in place.
Grappling shorts are also more durable than regular ones, and can last for more than two years, despite constant wear and tear. An important factor to consider when buying Grappling Shorts is the material they are made with. Always go for shorts made with a durable material such as polyester, coupled with moisture wicking technology. This will dry out the sweat faster.
Shorts that stand the test of time and are able to go the distance are not hard to come by, if you look in the right places.
Compression Shorts & Spats
Like Rash Guards, Compression Shorts & Spats also protect your skin from bacteria and skin infections. They also keep muscles, tendons and ligaments warm and protected from injuries. Compression Shorts also help reduce strain on the groin area and aid recovery in case of groin, hamstring or quadricep strain by providing support and compression. Compression bottoms are often used with both the Gi and Grappling Shorts.
Groin shots are excruciatingly painful, because your groin area has an incredibly high number of sensory nerve endings, which is why any type of touch can cause some major feels. If you want to avoid unbearable impacts to the groin, you should keep a solid Groin cup in your kit bag.
And if you are training with the aim of competing professionally, you should get used to Groin Guards, because you won’t be allowed to compete without them. Groin Guards are never 100 percent safe however, as you would still feel some discomfort when you get hit, but the impact and the possibility of a gruesome injury will be a lot less. Most BJJ athletes are resistant to dealing with the inconvenience of wearing a cup, but a single injury is enough to make someone reconsider.
Jiu Jitsu is known as ‘the gentle art’ for a reason, because unlike boxing and MMA, it isn’t very harsh on the human body. However, accidents do happen, and prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, a Mouth Guard is another key item you should have in your kit bag.
Not only do Mouth Guards protect your teeth and gums, but they also protect your jaw by absorbing the majority of the impact. Moreover, a Mouth Guard will reduce the risk of tongue bites, which are very painful, and may develop a sore that can last for days. Accidental elbows and headbutts are also very common in BJJ, so if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars fixing your teeth, you should buy a solid Mouth Guard.
Mouth Guards aren’t very expensive either, so it’s best to buy one. Here’s an excellent option .
Grappling puts a lot of strain on your knees, and constant wear and tear can easily lead to injuries. Therefore, it is extremely essential to keep them protected with Knee Pads.
Knee Pads offer a number of benefits. They minimize the impact hours and hours of grappling can have on your knee cap, provide protection to knee ligaments, and protect you on surfaces that might cause external injuries or bruises to your knees. Other than that, Knee Pads improve stability and can help you go for the takedowns without fear.
Knee Pads also come in handy if you have returned to training after a knee injury, and are reluctant to give your 100 percent during grappling exchanges. They are a great confidence booster.
Are you willing to buy all the necessary equipment for Jiu Jitsu? Excellent! But where are you going to fit all this gear? A good quality training bag is exactly what you need. You have already spent your hard earned money on your gear, so it’s not wise to keep it unorganized, and at worst, unprotected.
The quality of the bag is the most important thing you should look out for when buying one. A durable bag is highly recommended, and a good-quality fabric will last longer and keep your accessories protected. Bags made with nylon and polyester are considered the most durable.
There are also a few other things you should watch out for when buying a bag. Firstly, the bag should be spacious and light weight, as it will give you more space to carry your stuff, without being super heavy. Secondly, you should choose a bag with a decent amount of air circulation, which will dry out the moisture in your gear fast.
If you’ve spent some time in a grappling or wrestling dojo, you might have seen many people with weird ear deformities, known as the Cauliflower Ear. These deformities are a result of blunt trauma and injuries caused during grappling exchanges.
Ear injuries are very common in contact sports. If you want to prevent them, or protect the already existing ones from getting worse, buying an Ear Guard is your best bet.
Ankles play a crucial role in BJJ to maintain balance, and provide support from your feet to your hip, and since it’s all in the hips, keeping ankles stable is essential for victory. Ankle Guards reduce the risk of injuries, but they’re also a great way to rehabilitate from an ankle injury. Ankles Supports stabilize ankles and ward off muscle weakness by enabling weight management on the affected area.
Ankle Supports are also used post-workout for pain management. Providing your bones, muscles and ligaments time to recover after a hard training session is as important as spending time on the mats.
Ankle Supports also minimize the risk of bone separation.
Grappling Socks are exactly what they sound like, a pair of socks, but with a special design and purpose. As discussed before in the article, grappling dojos are notorious for skin diseases. Unlike the other parts of the body, which are usually protected with Rash Guards and Compressed Pants, feet often get ignored, but they are just as vulnerable to skin infections as other body parts. Grappling socks protect feet from skin infections.
These socks also provide a better gripping surface and stability, even on wet and slippery mats, protecting your ankles and knees from injuries, and other twists and sprains. Socks made with Lycra, Neoprene and Spandex are among the best choices in the market, as they are very durable and comfortable.
So far in this article, we have covered essentially all the equipment you need to get started in BJJ, but there are still a few handy accessories you must keep with you for a thoroughly satisfying experience.
Soap: If you have made it this far, you are already well aware of the risks of skin infections, like ring worms and Staph. Skin conditions can be really annoying to deal with, so it is recommended that you clean yourself immediately after your training session. An everyday soap can easily do the job for you. However, BJJ practitioners specifically use soaps which contain tea tree oil, as tea tree oil has antifungal properties and protects against all sorts of skin infections.
You can either choose a bar soap, or a body wash. That’s totally up to you.
Finger tape: BJJ isn’t a violent sport, but it does take a toll on your body, mainly your fingers. It’s nearly impossible to train without finger tape if you have spent some years on the mat. Arthritis is a real problem in Jiu Jitsu and a good tape is a great way to deal with it.
Why does BJJ affect fingers? Simply because there’s a lot of gripping, both in Gi and No-Gi contests. However, the damage is far worse in Gi grappling because there’s a lot more cloth available to grab. Every part of the Gi is quite literally up for grabs, and given the fact that Gis are quite sturdy, they can crack and snap fingers.
Water bottle: The importance of staying hydrated, not just in the gym, but in everyday life, can not be emphasized enough. Water is life, but it’s a lot more crucial when you’re spending all your energies on the mats. Water regulates your body temperature and keeps your joints lubricated. You can not perform at the highest level if you’re not properly hydrated.
Given that you sweat a lot during training, it’s crucial to quickly rehydrate. Therefore, a water bottle is a great addition to your gear. Click here to get your Nista Water Bottle, which uses double wall vacuum insulation to maintain the temperature of your drink for hours.
By now, you already have an idea about all the equipment you need to get started in BJJ. Jiu Jitsu is an excellent way to keep your body in shape, and protect yourself against all sorts of unpleasant threats. So, what are you waiting for? Get rolling.
Thanks for reading.
Until the next one,