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Supporting A Significant Other In Training


So your spouse, or significant other has decided they want to start training Jiu Jitsu?  You are here because you want some guidance on how to be supportive, but also what you can expect from this journey, right?  Good for you! Having a supportive spouse in anything is important, but having one who supports your training is both incredible for the practitioner and also imperative to the continuation of the training, or maybe even the relationship… 

Let’s start with the basics on what to expect.  You should not only expect but encourage your significant other to train as much as possible, decide on a schedule that works for both of you and then stick to it.  Doing this will remove any guilt or resentment in the long run and help you both to feel positive about the experience and make it something that is easier to enjoy for the long haul.  

You should expect there to be a fair amount of start up costs.  Here’s the thing, while you don’t need a ton of gear to get started in training Jiu Jitsu, you do need a decent Gi, and some No Gi gear like shorts and a rash guard.  No one likes standing out, so the days of showing up in basketball shorts and a t-shirt need to be short lived once they have decided to train.

If you want to take your support to the next level, surprise them with some academy branded gear, or perhaps gear from BJJ Fanatics.  If you are unsure on size, you can always ask the instructor, however in my experience most of the men’s gear runs pretty true to size, I wear an extra large t shirt, and I tend to wear the same size rash guard.   The same goes for the shorts. Gi’s on the other hand can be a little tricky, so I’ll include a guide on how to buy gear so that you have a reference (scroll to the end of the article for the “Gi Buying Guide”. For reference I am 5 foot 9 inches tall and about 190 pounds and wear and A3 Gi.

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Now is where the support really comes into play.  There will come a night, not long after he’s started training (or she) when they come home with that first stripe.  Make a big deal about it. Getting that first stripe is HUGE, it shows commitment and should be celebrated. While each stripe is important and should be celebrated, something about the very first one is just extra special and should be treated as such.  

Continuing along the same lines, provided they stick with training long enough, there will at some point be a belt promotion in your future.  Show up. Go to the academy and cheer them on, show your support, show your pride, be supportive and happy and proud and all of the things you should be for your significant other who just achieved a new rank.  Each belt is important, but you should know that more people quit after getting their blue belt than at any other point in training. Now that you know that, after your significant other get’s their blue belt it becomes your job to keep pushing them out the door to go train and making sure they make it to purple belt.  

Next, and this might seem silly, but ask them to show you a few moves, without hurting you and in a playful way of course.  Showing this level of interest will go a long way and not only help them feel supported but likely strengthen the relationship as well.  Plus you just never know how that’s going to go, it might turn into a frequent thing in your house, or heck, you might like it so much you join them on the mats to train as well.  

So they want to compete and you don’t know if you should go or not?  Go. Even if they don’t want you to go, go anyway. Don’t expect this to be a couples thing, it’s not, this is a team thing and they need to be able to focus on their team mates and on their own personal warm up and preparation, however, it will mean a lot to them that you were there, so show up.  You don’t need to weigh in if they lose, just remind them how proud you are that they put them selves out there and tested their skills. Win or lose, competing is an incredible experience that comes as a result of your love for this sport. Embrace it.  

Finally, let them tell you about it.  Make an effort to learn a few little things like the names of a few top competitors in the sport, or learning a little about the techniques, things along these lines.  This is the stuff that takes your support to the next level. People like to talk to people about the things that interest them, show a little interest and let the conversation begin.  Even if you hate it, make an effort and let them tell you about how they got smashed on the mats that night, or maybe how they dominated that night. A little secret, we all have good days and bad days and sometimes they don’t always balance, so if there’s a string of tough training days, make sure to show a little extra support.  

I hope this has been helpful in preparing you to be supportive of your significant other who is starting to train and given you some ideas on how you can support this dream of theirs.  Remember, a little effort goes a long way. As a final thought, don’t forget that birthday and holiday shopping got a lot easier now.  check out BJJ Fanatics for gift ideas for any holiday, video instructionals, gear, you name it, they can deliver.  

As promised below is a Gi buying guide to help you understand what you are looking for and how to purchase the right thing, without disrespecting the academy. 

Gi buying Guide:

The Gi is the uniform that many martials arts require and consists of a jacket, pants (typically drawstring) and a belt.  Not all Gi’s are created equally. A karate Gi is made of a much thinner material than a Jiu Jitsu Gi because in karate they do not have the need for the sturdy grip that we require in Jiu Jitsu.  Grabbing a karate Gi like a Jiu Jitsu Gi would likely result in the Gi tearing. This is important information, especially if you are simply looking online and trying to reasonable with the amount of money you are spending. 

Now that you know not to buy anything tilted “Gi” online, and to look for Jiu Jitsu or BJJ specific Gi’s let’s talk about brand.  When it comes to the brand of Gi you should always check with your academy, they may sell their own in house Gi’s, and if so, this process just got a lot easier for you.  If you are not fortunate enough for this to be your situation, you will have to embark on the journey of finding a brand you like. 

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It’s always best to try before you buy when possible, especially the jacket in my opinion.  There can be a rather large difference in size between brands, so you’ll want to have an idea of what feels right for you.  Typically for Adults the sizes are A1-6 (females replace the A with F) with the smaller number being the smaller size. Some brands have half sizes, for example A2.5.  If you are really struggling to decide which size to buy this can be a great alternative solution. 

When it comes to choosing the brand you should look for the brand with a track record of being reliable in the sport and also comes in the size that you are looking for.  You should also consider any team affiliations when making this decision. Ultimately, I would recommend asking your instructor for any limitations on which brands you are allowed to have in the academy, and also if there are any that they would recommend for you to look at. 

You need to take into consideration that many academies are rather particular about the color of your Gi.  Some academies only allow white Gi’s while others allow only white and blue for students and still other are less strict but do not allow two tone or unmatched Gi’s as well as the yellow and red Gi’s that are available these days.  Again, simply ask your instructor about the guidelines and make sure to adhere to them. If the academy only allows the instructors to wear black Gi’s, don’t go out and buy a black Gi and expect to wear it to class, that would be considered disrespectful and that is not how you want to start this journey.  

Finally, remember that Gi’s will shrink if you wash them in warm or hot water, and or if you dry them.  This can be great news or terrible news depending on how tight the Gi fits. Just keep in mind that you can shrink a Gi down by at least 1 full size I would say by washing it in warm or hot water and then putting it in the dryer.  If you need to shrink it I would recommend that you check it often to ensure it is not getting too small. Remember you want the sleeves to come down below your wrists not half way between your wrist and your elbow. The same principle applies when measuring the pants, you want the balance between capri’s and dragging on the ground. 

There is certainly a lot that goes into buying your first Gi.  I would end this by saying more money does not always equal better quality product so do your research and make sure you buy something that is going to fit you the way you want.  Believe it or not you can get “fitted” Gi’s that have more of a slim fit style to them, if that’s your style.  


Whether you are just starting or you have a Black Belt, having great gear can make training better. BJJFANATICS has a great collection of gear that is sure to get you on the mats in no time without breaking the bank! Check it out.



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