Shopping List For BJJ Beginners
What Every New Jiu-Jitsu Practitioner Needs To Buy...
So, you made the decision, and you started training at your local jiu-jitsu academy. Thus far, you have most likely have been showing up in basketball shorts, and a t-shirt (check our unique designed ANTI JIU JITSU or TShirt test). Maybe the school or a friend/training partner have been hooking you up with a loaner gi or just a gi top. But, you are thinking that you like this jiu-jitsu thing, and it's time to get a shiny new gi, and some other gear to make your life a bit easier at the gym.
Welcome to a new journey in life. For best results, you will need a few items...
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A Gi is the most essential thing to get when you first start jiu-jitsu. It is a required component to the sport, and is essential for gi oriented training sessions. At first, you do not need a special weave, rashguard lined, fancy color gi. You need a basic weave, blue or white beginner gi that will hold up overtime. There are a ton of companies on the market, with hundreds of options to choose from. Below a few suggestions that I have come to find to like most.
- Buy a gi from your academy. This helps out the academy, and guarantees that your gi will meet all their requirements (color, patches, etc.). Also, it usually has the gym logo incorporated into it, which make you feel like you are part of the team now.
- Fuji Basic Gi. This is the first gi I had, and if I didn't lose weight, I would still be using it. They are tanks, and can hold up to at least 2-3 years of heavy training. Around $90, which is a great price, they will last you quite a while.
- Sanabul Essentials V2 Gi. These gi are great, and at $60 or less, are extremely affordable.
Another essential to have when you start. It is imperative to buy a new pair (Don't use your old birkenstocks from the back of the closet), and only use them at the gym. All dirt and nasties fall to the ground. With no sandals, your feet picks those up, and carries them to the mats. I like a nice pair of solid, cushion-less (soft sandals tend to get wet, and hold foul smells and bacteria), plastic sandals. They do not need to be expensive. Here are few suggestions:
- Old Navy Flip Flops. If you have an Old Navy near you, in the summer, they have these on sale for like $1 a pair. Normally, they are $3. They are all plastic, in-expensive, and work great.
- Under Armour Men's Locker Room Slides. These are what I, and a lot of others at my academy use. They are all plastic, have great ventilation, and are very comfortable. They are around $20, but are a great option if you do not like between-the-toe sandals.
- Hygiene Products (Soaps, Detergent, Nail Care Products, Skin Care Products)
Maybe the most important item on this list. Get a good antibacterial soap for the shower, Clothes detergent to properly wash your gear, a nice set of nail care products, a good bottle of lotion made for skin care, and a branded BJJ stainless steel tumbler. These are essential to keep yourself clean, safe, and on the mats. Most of these items above should not be unfamiliar to you, but they are essential when your are training jiu-jitsu.
- Compression Shorts
These may not be 100% essential for gi training, but are a must for no-gi training. Compression shorts keep “everything” held in place, and prevent any wardrobe malfunctions if your shorts decide to move in funny ways. They can also prevent chafing, and work to keep you cool on hotter days in the gym. Here are my suggestions:
- Under Armour Compression Shorts. These are the top of the line. I have had 3 pairs for over 5 years, and they are still like new. They are $25-30 a piece, but they hold up great.
- Neleus Men’s Compression Shorts. I found these on Amazon, at 1/3 of the price of Under Armour. I have had 3 pairs for a year or so, and they have held up well.
Not Entirely Essential, But Will Need In Time
T-shirts are fine to wear to train in, but eventually you should invest in a nice rashguard or two for your training. They cover extremely well, while being form-fitting, which prevents any fingers or toes from being caught up in cloth while training. They also keep you cool and dry while you train. Here are my suggestions:
- Sanabul Essentials Short Sleeve Rashguard. Again, Sanabul makes great, inexpensive BJJ gear. These are great for beginners, and are under $20. They also have a long sleeve option for added coverage.
- Gameness Rashguards. Great rashguards for all levels. Medium priced, but great, and have a high quality that will last.
- No Gi Shorts
While our basketball mesh shorts will work just fine for a time, the time will come to upgrade to some real grappling shorts. These will be shorts without pockets or zippers, and are typically made with a slight stretch, to allow better movement while you train. Here are a few to look at.
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- Sanabul Essentials Training Shorts. I am not a spokesman for Sanabul, they just make good, inexpensive gear for beginners. These shorts are $20 a pair, are subtle in design, and will last.
- Phalanx Grappling Shorts. These folks make absolutely amazing BJJ products, including their shorts. They are comfortable, durable, and stylish. They are on the expensive side at $50-60 a pair, but will last and last, and are well worth the money.
- Gear Bag
Sure, we can fumble into the gym with our arms full of gear, or we can get a nice bag. A nice bag keeps you organized, keep everything contained, and makes transport of items a lot easier. Here are my suggestions:
- Datsusara Gear Bag Pro. This is what I use now, after cycling through two or three bags over the years. This bag sizes allows me to take a gi (A4), a change of clothes, my shoes, sandals, and miscellaneous items back and forth from the gym. The zippers are all metal and very durable. There are tons of pockets for all your items. It is also made of hemp, which helps fight against bacterial growth. At $150, it is on the expensive side, but in my opinion, well worth it.
- Adidas Defender III Duffel Bag. Many people I train with use these, and seem to love them. They are good sizes, durable, and at $40, cannot be beat.
Non-Essential, But Nice To Have...
This is an item that has many facets to it, from size to material. For me, finding one I liked took me some time, as there are so many options and variations. I like to have one because I do not like to waste plastic by grabbing a small bottle, and it saves me cash over time. $1 for a water each training session adds up quickly, when you can spend $40 and get a super nice water bottle that will last for years.
- HydroFlask. This is what I have been using for some time now. It keep water cold, for pretty much ever. It is all stainless steel, and very easy to clean. I like the 32oz model, as it gives me enough water for all training sessions. $40 for the 32oz model isn't super cheap, but this thing will last forever.
- Igloo 1/2gal Jug. I have used this in the past, and they are great. All plastic, easy to clean. Pour spout for sharing water if you want. Holds plenty of water. For $14, you can't really beat it.
Safety is paramount in any endeavor, and jiu-jitsu is no different. The first piece of safety you may require is a mouthguard. They not only protect your teeth, but also assist with preventing head injury. Some people choose to wear them, and some do not. The choice is yours. Below are a few suggestions.
- Shock Doctor Mouth Guard. These are top of the line for any buy ready, self moldable mouth guards. They are easy to work with, and provide way better protection than the cheap boil and bite options.
- Custom Mouth Guard. Custom mouth guards are like night and day from the moldable ones you can buy. They fit extremely well, allow you to breath well, and even talk a lot better. They are pricey, but are quoted at being 1000% better than the alternatives.
- A Second Gi
While not essential, and second (or third) gi is very nice to have. We forget to wash a gi the night before class, then we either have to hurry to clean it, or have to miss class. If you begin to train more than twice a week, a second gi may be essential for your training. My recommendations here are the same as above.
You can spend as much as you see fit on gear in this sport. $400 for one gi is not uncommon today, unfortunately. It all depends on what you are after. Buying the essentials listed above will run you about $150, and can keep you covered for years to come. Everything I list can be purchased for a little over $300, and will keep you set in all aspects for many years.
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