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Do You Wear a Cup in BJJ
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Do You Wear a Cup in BJJ

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The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been synonymous with other stylings of Martial Arts like MMA. The evolution of BJJ headed in the direction of high intensity grappling, after Royce Gracie dominated the UFC on the world stage. The notoriety that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu received through his pure grappling skill in the face of boxers, kickboxers, and wrestlers, was astronomical. The result saw the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu being adopted into Mixed Martial Arts all over the world. Many high profile fighters began adding elements of BJJ into their fighting repertoires, as the need for submission skill became evident. This was due to the constant evolution of high profile, and dynamic events that began incorporating different forms of striking. This has resulted in the necessity for athletes to wear many different kinds of protective gear. 

What this article covers:

In both training, and competition athletes have utilised equipment like mouth guards, groin protection, ear guards, knee guards, wrist guards, and ankle guards, and this is how they can minimise any damage they may receive, especially while they are training. Some of this protective equipment is deemed illegal to wear during IBJJF competition matches, so students need to do their research. These days Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become more of a hybrid version of Jiu Jitsu, combined with elements of Judo, Sambo, and Wrestling. The dynamic movements, and high impact that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu embodies, can force athletes to wear many forms of protective gear. Mouth guards are the non negotiable, as athletes will receive many facial injuries due to not wearing mouth protection. Other protective equipment like ear guards, and groin cups are not as necessary, as they are illegal in competition but still have merit to be used in training sessions. Some athletes like to cover all of their bases, and make sure they can secure longevity training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, by providing themselves with adequate safety equipment.

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should i wear a cup for bjj

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HOW CAN GROIN PROTECTION HELP AN ATHLETE 

The whole point of an athletic cup is so that an athlete can protect their groin region. Athletes have been well known to cop knocks to their vital areas, during many different high intensity combat sports. Wearing an athletic cup can help absorb any impact an athlete may endure, including accidental knees or punches, high intensity impacts like takedowns, and grinding pressure received during guard passing movements. Protecting the groin region is extremely important to a male athlete, as they can suffer from extremely serious injuries like testicular fractures, testicular ruptures, and twisting of the testicle region. Receiving blows to those vital areas can be quite unpleasant, and can halt an athlete dead in their tracks. Athletes may consider what to wear to jiu jitsu training, as groin protection may be heavily considered by an athlete, even though it is illegal to wear in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition, according to the IBJJF regulations. The repercussions of receiving groin injuries can be devastating, as knocks to these sensative areas may cause severe pain, swelling of the testicle region, and can even have adverse effects deep inside the body of an athlete, which can cause severe cases of extreme nausea. This is why some athletes will weigh up whether they should be wearing an athletic cup, at least during training sessions. 

During the early years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu many of the Gracie members were forced to wear protective groin equipment, and this was due to the fact that most of their Jiu Jitsu bouts incorporated striking to some degree. Vale Tudo was a huge part of Brazil's national culture, as members of the Gracie clan would fight against Luta Livre, and professional Wrestlers alike. Even though members of the Gracie clan would fight wearing their Gi's, they would also discuss what to wear under jiu jitsu gi, and even though they would not always wear a rash guard, groin protection was extremely important at the time. Many of their fights would end in bloody turmoil, as fights would not always have good sportsmanship between the fighters. This breeded the need for members to wear protection like cups, and mouth guards, so they could defend themself extensively during their fights. This evolution has moved up into Mixed Martial Arts, as well as other organisations like Eddie Bravo's Combat Jiu Jitsu, where students will use strikes against each other, whilst on the ground.

DOES A STUDENT HAVE TO WEAR AN ATHLETIC CUP IN BJJ COMPETITION 

Wearing groin protection in training can help students avoid many serious injuries, but there are also other implications that suggest they shouldn't wear them at all. There is a reason why the IBJJF have outlawed any use of athletic cups inside their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. An athletic cup is made from a hard plastic, which can be detrimental to an opponent if a student was to wear one. Imagine a student wearing an athletic cup, and then taking their opponents back, they could be using some serious pressure, which in turn could cause internal injuries towards their opponent. This can also happen while a student is mounting their opponent, as the cup could be used to drive into their ribcage like a spike, causing rib fractures, or various internal damage. 

There is also a definitive advantage for students wearing athletic cups when they are executing submissions like arm bars, or knee bars, as the cup will act like a vulcrim, giving the student a grater leverage advantage. This can result in serious injuries towards their opponent, and therefore is deemed completely illegal in all IBJJF competition matches. Some athletes may wear these cups in training, and even though they may feel like they are protecting themselves, it will have a diverse effect on many of their training partner's inside the gym. What students may find is that wearing a cup could also pinch into their vital areas, while their opponent attempts to transition out of the guard, and into various control positions. The smart move would be to simply not wear one at all, and just use precaution, and try and avoid any unwanted, and unnecessary blows to the groin region.

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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT GROIN PROTECTION BEFORE PURCHASE 

There are many aspects to consider when buying groin protection, as this is remarkably similar to what size rash guard should i get bjj, in the fact that being comfortable is ultimately the number one concern. Students will need to weigh up the pros, and the cons about all of their protective equipment, in terms of comfort, durability, size, affordability, and breathability. When it comes to athletic cups there are two main different versions, the first one being a sole cup that can be placed in between two pairs of undergarments. The second one is a groin cup that is connected to a jockstrap that athletes will simply slip on like underwear. Choosing the right equipment for an athlete comes down to the individual preference, as some athletes may be more comfortable in a jockstrap compared to a solitary athletic cup. 

A good athletic cup will be well ventilated, otherwise it can cause significant chaffing issues for a student. Another important aspect is durability, as the cup needs to be able to withstand multiple impacts, and this is the whole point of the protective equipment. Another significant aspect is the comfort level, as any uncomfortable athletic cups will just move around too much, and cause more issues then solutions for an athlete. Affordability is another huge concern, as no athlete wants to pay through the nose for a piece of equipment they may only be wearing for a short period of time. This is because most athletes that choose to wear an athletic cup during training, will only do so in their first few lessons of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as they will soon realise that wearing a cup can become more of a hindrance then helpful. This will ultimately lead to a student choosing not to wear one at all, and just bracing for impact using their natural instincts.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEANING EQUIPMENT 

Personal hygiene is extremely important in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, especially when it comes to cleaning any BJJ gear. Just like learning how to wash bjj gi for the first time, washing any jockstraps, or groin protection is equally important. Just like the Gi can hold in bacteria, groin protection will also hold in germs, and bacteria which is filtered in from the sweat of an athlete. If an athletic cup goes unwashed for a period of time, it can cause a formidable odour to resonate from the equipment, as well as build up significant bacterias like fungi, and other unwanted infection spreaders. Cleaning all protective gear is important, as no athlete wants to be the cause of a staph, or ringworm outbreak. Washing an athletic cup is as simple as letting it soak in a bucket of water, and disinfectant, and then hanging it out to dry. This process literally will only take a few minutes, and due to the hard plastic nature of the equipment, it will dry rapidly, or it can even be wiped dry by an athlete. This is an important process for students, so that an athletic cup does not cause problems that doesn't need to be there in the first place.

Cleaning equipment doesn't just stop at protective gear, as the most important equipment that needs cleaning is the Gi. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely intense Martial Art, as an athlete will sweat, and bleed. The Gi is the main victim to all of the bodily fluids that may fall from an athlete, and this means it needs to be cleaned after every training session. If a student does not wash their Gi regularly then the risk of spreading infections like staph, and ringworm become imminent. It is also important to clean a student's mouth guard, as this can become covered in blood, and bacteria if left untreated, and unwashed. A good tip is to leave a mouth guard to soak in a solution, this will ensure a clean, and sterile mouth guard.

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OTHER IMPORTANT EQUIPMENT USED IN BJJ

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be an extremely dynamic, and energetic combat sport, where students can receive multiple impacts during their competition fights, and training sessions. This is one of the main reasons why students will contemplate wearing protective groin wear during training sessions, even though they realise it is probably more beneficial to go without, they may still decde to be cautious. There are other necessary pieces of equipment, that need to be worn during Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, and competition fights. Mouth guards are a vital piece of equipment that all combat athletes will need to wear. Protecting an athletes teeth is crucial, not just for their good looks, and their good smiles, but also for sustaining a longevity of health. Receiving dental injuries can be quite costly, and dangerous to an athlete's health, as well as disheartening to their confidence, as they move forward from their injury. A mouth guard will protect many impacts that can happen in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as stop the lacerations that can regularly happen during a BJJ fight. Mouth guards will also help protect an athlete's jawline, as quite often an impact on the teeth can filter down into the jawbone.

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do you wear a cup in jiu jitsu

Students will often wonder how many bjj gi's should i own, as owning just one is not enough. Athletes may receive injuries like abrasions, or lacerations that can cause the athlete to bleed profusely into their Gi, this means a student should always have a backup Gi to wear, just in case of this type of circumstance. It is important that all students carry medication like ibuprofen, or paracetamol, and strapping tape, so they can properly treat any knocks, bruises, or cuts they may receive during training. In training students may opt to wear different braces that protect the knee, wrist, elbow, or ankle. Due to the IBJJF regulations many of these protective braces are not legal to wear in competition, instead an athlete must use a lighter strapping tape to wrap up any injuries they may have. This is due to the nature of the bulkiness of each brace, as just like an athletic cup, they can cause significant injuries to an opponent. 

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