Great, Uncommon, But Useful Items To Keep In Your BJJ Bag
We are all familiar with the items that need to have for BJJ training.
Gi, training shorts, rash guard, sandals, mouthguard, water bottle, compression wear, and a change of clothes for after. Those are the basic items we need for a day on the mats. But, there are a few other items that I have come across over the years, that have been a great addition to my everyday BJJ training bag. Below is a list of the items I keep in my bag, along with the normal, essential items.
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This isn't so much for you, as it is for your training partners. BJJ is a close contact sport. And, for me personally, I am not a huge fan of smelling bad breath. Keep a small box of mints in your bag, and keep your mouth fresh. We put large emphasis on keeping our body and training gear clean, but we do not focus on black belt level bad breath when we train! It is one of those things that people will not notice, or comment on, but they unconsciously appreciate. Pop a mint in a few minutes before getting on the mats. People will appreciate it, even if they do not mention it. Also, I do not suggest chewing gum while on the mats. It is a choking hazard, and there is a risk of losing it. One of your training partners would not appreciate you dropping a piece of gum on their gi/hair/face while you are rolling with them.
These are very useful item, that will keep you and your equipment clean and sanitary. Keep a package of these in our bag to clean your sandals, or any other equipment you use while you are training. Also, if you happen to bleed on the mat, these are very handy for cleaning up said blood, while disinfecting the area. They have many uses, and if you have them, you will find more and more uses for them. For me, I like to have the “fit in your car cup holder” size package in the bag. The large packages are too bulky, and the soft packages tend to dry out over time.
Instant Ice Pack
This is one thing that I picked up, and wasn't sure that I was going to use. I was wrong. I have used more than a handful over the last couple years. They can really help with a sudden injury on the mats. I have used these quite a few times at tournaments for my teammates, as there may not be ice available, and you are usually stuck at the tournament area for most of the day. Also, most places we train do not have ice readily available, so having these can be great when an unexpected injury happens.
Nail Hygiene Kit
Keeping your nails trimmed and clean is IMPERATIVE when you are training BJJ. Long nails have the uncanny ability of open wounds on the skin. These open wounds are susceptible to allowing bacteria into our body, which can lead to skin infections and in turn, time off the mat. Be diligent about keeping your nails clipped. And yes, we all forget to cut our nails from time to time. We get to class, and we then notice that our nails are too long, and risk injuring someone. Keeping a small set of nail clippers, and a nail file is all we need to make sure our nails are always trimmed and clean. It is a cheap investment (around $10), and a very small addition to our bag that can keep ourselves and others safe on the mats. And, as a side note, be sure to cut your nails in a bathroom. We do not want nail clippings flying around our training areas.
Small First Aid Kit
This is a simple one, that can go a long way. Most gyms should have first aid supplies in the gym (Really, all should, but I digress). But, some do not, and do not allow that to stop you from bringing your own, and keeping yourself safe and comfortable. Your bag first aid kit does not need to be one of those 1000 pieces ones that are the size of a novel. It just needs to be something small, that can help you nurse an injury until you can get home. Mine is a quart sized ziploc bag. It has 4-5 fabric bandages, 4-5 gauze pads, a tube of triple antibiotic ointment, an ACE bandage, hand sanitizer, 4-5 cotton swabs, and a roll of sports tape. It's not much, but it covers me when something happens.
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Towel, of any size
This can be a small hand towel, or a whole, full sized beach towel. Whichever you prefer. This is useful to wipe yourself down in between rounds, or just when excess sweat begins to make its way off your body, and onto the mats. If you are a big sweater, then maybe a bigger towel is what you need. If you do not sweat a lot, then maybe you just need a hand towel. Keeping sweat at bay keeps your training a bit more sanitary, and can help prevent slipping injuries from excess sweat on the mats, and on your body. A towel can also be useful if you begin to bleed a lot from a larger injury. AND, be sure to wash this towel after every training sessions. Please do not let it sit in your gym bag all summer!
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These are just a few extra items I keep around when I train. I have used them all on many occasions. I hope its gets you thinking about some other items you can add to your bag that will make your training more safe and comfortable!
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