WHAT TO WEAR TO FIRST NO GI BJJ
What Equipment Do I need to Train Jiu-Jitsu?
You are thinking about training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)? Assuming you researched which BJJ gym you want to try and you have contacted them. Most gyms will tell you to wear a t-shirt and a pair of board shorts, shorts with no metal rivets or buttons. Surprisingly, you do not really need much equipment or protective gear when first trying it out, other than what I just mentioned. A groin protector is not required but may be recommended, for obvious reasons; you may need or want a mouthguard. I know many people that train without a mouth guard, however, it is recommended as sometimes incidental contact occurs during training and jiu-jitsu is considered a contact sport.
I recommend trying out BJJ for about a week before purchasing a membership or any gear that I will talk about further in this blog. Most gyms will not charge you for the first week as it is a trial period; they may even let you use one of their “loaner” gis or kimonos to use while trying BJJ.
Whatever the case may be, try it out and see if you like it first. I bet you will like it, which leads us to “What Equipment Do I need to Train Jiu-Jitsu?” There are two distinct types of jiu-jitsu on the market, there is “Gi” (with a gi or kimono) and “No-Gi” (without a gi, rolling with grappling shorts, or if you prefer spats (tights), and a grappling shirt called a rash guard).
A Gi or Kimono
You will need a gi or kimono, they are basically the same. They are designed for the rigors of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. They are not the same as other martial arts uniforms that you may see Karate and Taekwondo practitioners wearing. BJJ gis and kimonos are made with a fabric that will not rip easily and the material feels a lot thicker. They may look the same but they are not! Anyway, you will need a Gi or Kimono. A decent starter gi will run you approximately one hundred bucks ($100).
Before you buy a Gi make sure you know what size you wear. This can be easily done by looking up the manufacturer’s sizing chart online. As an example, I am 6’3 and I weigh 225 pounds, my gi size is usually A4 (depending on the manufacturer). I always check the manufacturer's sizing chart before making the purchase. Just as a heads up, check with your gym to see what colors are authorized, many gyms only allow blue and white gis. Just a heads up, some gyms may want you to buy their gi with their patches already sewn onto it.
A groin protector
As previously mentioned, you may want a groin protector (athletic supporter and cup). Please note, many tournaments do not allow groin protectors as it is believed that it gives one an advantage.
There are many new styles and cup supporter systems on the market that are very comfortable to wear. If you decide that you want to that protection while training, a decent groin protector will run you approximately twenty-five bucks ($25). These new systems are nothing like your Dad’s old athletic supporter and cup! PROTECT YOUR STUFF!
Grappling and fight shorts are worn for no-gi jiu jitsu. There are many styles to choose from. You can opt for the board short style or you can opt for the Vale Tudo / compression short style. I have seen many people just wear their gi pants when rolling no-gi. It is personal preference, and it’s up to you. If you are just starting, don’t go crazy buying a bunch of gear, save your money for the gear that you will NEED.
A rash guard is a compression shirt that is designed to protect your skin from fabric burns and mat burns while rolling. They can be worn under your gi or worn while rolling no-gi. They may not be something you NEED, per se, but it is something you will WANT! If you look through various BJJ stores on the internet you will see many really cool rash guards that may fit your style. Buyer beware, they can run from 20 bucks all the way up to eighty bucks ($20- $80).
If you are just started training and don’t have a lot of cash, pass on the expensive gear for now. Buy inexpensive gear at first, save your money. Many guys and gals roll with a t-shirt under their gi and board shorts and a t-shirt while rolling no-gi for the first month while trying out jiu-jitsu.
However, rash guards are very nice to have while rolling!!!!
If you are the kind of guy who is GANGSTER and doesn’t mind rolling “bare-chested”, first check with your professor at your gym to see if it is discouraged or if he or she has a gym policy against it. If they don’t, GO FOR IT!
Spats are basically compression tights or pants specifically designed for jiu-jitsu and rolling. They can be worn under your gi pants or worn in no-gi. Some guys and gals wear them under fight shorts, while others only wear them while rolling no-gi.
Like rash guards, they are a “WANT,” if you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of cash.
Again, look through various BJJ stores on the internet, there are some really cool spats that may fit your style. I have found that spats are a little pricey!
Beware, they can run from fifty bucks all the way up to one hundred bucks ($50- $100).
Mouthguards are relatively inexpensive, they can be bought at your local sports retailer. The one I wear is very inexpensive; I think I bought it for five bucks ($5). It is the kind that you boil in water and then bite down on to fit. There are many different types and styles to choose from.
Some guys and gals don’t like wearing a mouthguard when rolling… do so at your own risk!
A mouthguard is recommended when rolling, check with your professor at your gym to see if he or she has a gym policy on wearing one while rolling.
Protect those fangs! You only have one set!
A touch of cauliflower ear will cause you to seek out Jiu-Jitsu headgear. I am sure you have seen cauliflower ear and I am sure you don’t want it! Jiu-Jitsu headgear is basically the same headgear that wrestlers wear that prevents trauma to the ears which often results in cauliflower ear and disfiguration. Nowadays, they sell really nice sets; they are low profile, soft and comfortable. Headgear may be worth an investment after you start rolling regularly. You don’t want to be walking around with smashed up satellite dishes on the side of your dome!
Gear bags come in all shapes in sizes. A good gear bag can range anywhere from $25 to $100. Think about one thing when you go to buy your gear bag, what are you going to carry in your gear bag? Ask your rolling partners about their gear bags and get opinions, also read reviews before purchases. Again, you may not need a gear bag to start training.
You will find the jiu-jitsu community to be a very friendly and supportive. Give it a try, you will love it!!