BJJ Gear Guide – Everything you need to start BJJ.
Kitting yourself out for your first BJJ class can be an exciting and sometimes daunting task. Our BJJ Gear guide will help you choose the right gear, be it for Jiu-Jitsu in the GI, No GI or both.
BJJ in the GI
To train BJJ in the GI (sometimes called a Kimono) you will need as a minimum a GI (Jacket and trousers) and a belt. Some people will also wear a rashguard under their GI top, but this is optional at most clubs.
There are various types of GIs and most are suited for the rigours of daily training. Make sure to buy a GI that is made for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. GIs made for other martial arts will not be suitable. Thin GIs like those used for striking arts like Karate will be too thin and won’t last 5 minutes in a BJJ class and thicker GIs like those used for Judo although strong enough will be too baggy for BJJ resulting in you being dominated with the grips during sparring. A GI designed specifically for BJJ will be strong enough for the rigours of daily training and have a fit that will minimise the chance of being gripped and controlled.
A BJJ GI comes as a set of jacket and trousers. In most cases, the belt must be bought separately but some of our GIs (Bravura, Valente and Classic) come with a free white belt.
One of the most common questions we get asked is “what colour GIs can I train in?” Jiu jitsu GI come in a variety of colours including white, blue, black, navy, red, grey, red, yellow, orange and camouflage. Most clubs will allow any GI colour to be worn but some don’t so it’s best to speak to your instructor if you are in any doubt before buying your GI. As a rule of thumb, most beginners tend to stick to white, black and blue as these are the traditional colours and are also legal colours for IBJJF tournaments. Another common question we get asked is “what size GI do I need?” For more information on sizing, see our guide on Choosing the right BJJ GI size.
You may notice that a BJJ belt looks a bit different to those used in other martial arts. Most noticeable is the black or red bar running along one end of the belt which is known as the rank bar. On white, blue, purple and brown belts the rank bar is black and on the black belts, it is red.
Between belts, some clubs give out what is known as stripes or tags to show progress. There is a maximum of 4 tags given for each belt (white to brown belt) and it’s these tags/stripes that are put on your rank bar. Some like to have them stitched on and others just use electrical tape.
Most belts are made from standard canvas cotton but some companies, us included also make them from GI weave material. Canvas cotton belts are generally cheaper and have a lighter and stiffer feel to them whereas the GI material belts cost more and are normally heavier, thicker and much better quality.
You will need the same size belt as your GI size. The belt might seem long at first, but they are meant to be wrapped around your body twice and then tied at the front. There are many ways to tie your belt which we won’t go in to in this guide but there are plenty of other resources online that cover this.
No GI BJJ
For training NO GI BJJ you will need a rashguard and a pair of BJJ Shorts. Some people also wear spats (a type of leggings) under or instead of their shorts. Starting out in your first lesson a pair of shorts and t-shirt will suffice but eventually, you will want a proper pair of grappling shorts and rashguard as they are more durable allow a greater range of movement.
No GI Shorts
BJJ shorts sometimes known as grappling shorts are designed specifically for No GI BJJ and they are usually made from a lightweight durable material that will stand up to the rough and tumble of being grappled with and gripped. Our shorts feature a 3-way waist fastening system that comprises of a rope waist tie and 2-point Velcro system which helps to keep them nice and secure. Most shorts also feature a stretchy crotch area which allows for greater movement when rolling.
Rashguards are important for Jiu-Jitsu and grappling in general because they limit skin on skin contact with your partner when drilling and sparring. This is important for several reasons. The first reason is that no one wants someone else’s sweaty chest in their face when being mounted or when stuck in side control, Yuck! And the second and most important reason is that it limits the chances of mat born diseases like ringworm and staph being spread between people when in close contact.
Spats or leggings as they are sometimes known can be worn on their own or under a pair of shorts. They can also be worn under a GI which can be a lifesaver in the winter if your gym is as cold as ours is. They are made from the same material as rashguards and fit very tight/closely to the body.
IBJJF NO-GI UNIFORM
If you are looking to compete in an IBJJF NO-GI tournament then you would need IBJJF approved kit. Namely a rank rashguard, a pair of shorts and or some spats. The rank rashguard needs to represent your belt rank and the shorts and spats need to be predominantly black. We offer a full range of IBJJ approved rashguards, shorts and spats. For more information on the IBJJF No GI requirements check out their website.
The reason that you need one of these should be self-explanatory. No one wants to lose any teeth.
Flip Flops / Sliders
You will quickly learn the phrase no shoes on the mat! You roll around on the mat so the last thing you want is someone else walking on it with their shoes. Don’t be that guy. You are likely to get extra press-ups or smashed by some of the higher belts for doing it. Most people wear flip flops off the mat and leave them beside the mat when training.
Additional information or advice
If you have a question or need any advice, you can contact us on the following email, and we will be happy to help: [email protected]