What to Wear to Jiu jitsu
Joining a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy is always a daunting prospect, especially for novice students. Unless a student has researched BJJ extensively they will be unsure of what to expect when they walk in the doors. A BJJ academy is unlike any other Martial Arts schools, as it appeals to a wider community of people. BJJ practitioners are among the most nurturing, and inspiring Martial Artists in the whole fight community.
What this article covers:
BJJ schools have a winning atmosphere, and students will thrive from the culture of humility, integrity, hard work, and camaraderie. Building relationships, and becoming better people are the core values of a BJJ academy, and that's even above becoming a good fighter. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about community engagement, as they strive to build cultural diversity, as well as help people break through barriers that may hinder their chance at success, or happiness.
THE FIRST APPROACH
Starting a combat sport like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu takes a lot of courage, and pride. Some people may feel like they are already tough when they first begin training, so to swallow their pride, and allow a trainer to teach them how to fight properly, is extremely brave. Other students may be scared of confrontations, so walking into an academy to try and change the pattern is very courageous. Half the battle is actually getting there in the first place, as a lot of people say they want to start training, but never actually show up. Once a decision is made to begin the journey through BJJ, students must figure out what they can, and can't wear to training. It's obviously not logical to come to training in a pair of jeans, so students will need to make sure they are wearing comfortable clothing. Generally a t-shirt, and a pair of pocketless shorts is fine for a students first few sessions, but it won't take long before they realise a t-shirt is not that comfortable, and is easily wrecked. Hindsight is a glorious concept, and if a potential student knew what is a rash guard bjj, they would consider wearing one. Rash guards are not only used for grappling, but swimming, and cycling too, and wearing one to their first BJJ sessions will serve them well. A rash guard offers a lot of protection when it comes to high intensity training, as the garment won't twist, and stretch like a t-shirt will.
Most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies have their own change rooms, and students will be able to wear whatever they want to training. Once they get to training they are free to change out of their clothes into more appropriate grappling attire. It is not a good idea to come straight from work to training, unless the students academy has its own shower. All students must come to training clean, and ready to train without the risk of spreading germs, or bacteria. New students can get away with wearing normal civilian clothes on the mat, as long as there are no buttons, zips, or pockets. In most cases simple, and comfortable sporting apparel is the best way to prepare for a BJJ training session. Most academies have loan Gi's that students can borrow, so as long as they come to training clean, and ready to go, there should be something for them to wear during the training session.
BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU UNIFORMS
There are two separate uniforms in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as one is more traditional, and the other is becoming more popular in the modern era. Traditionally BJJ practitioners would wear a uniform called a BJJ Gi. The Gi consists of a heavy cotton jacket, and sturdy cotton pants that come with reinforced stitching in all of the high profile areas. There are many different types of Gi's, and knowing what colour gi for bjj beginner is crucial if the student wants to compete. In today's era, Gi manufacturers have created many different types of Gi apparel. The single weave is an extremely lightweight fabric that is perfect for beginners, the more experienced grapplers will stay away from the single weave, as it can stretch and rip easier. The double weave is a much more durable choice in Gi, and is usually worn by higher level grapplers, the only downside is how much does a bjj gi weigh, and the double weave can weigh up to, or even more than 2.5 kilograms.
As the evolution of Gi manufacturing has improved, many technologies have been added into the Gi apparel. Air flow technology gives the garment more breathability, making the Gi cooler in the hotter months, and less suffocating to wear. Many of the new styles of Gi apparel have been antimicrobial, and antifungal tested, which will help the wearer stay safer from risks of bacteria infections. The Gold weave, and the Pearl weave are two highly popular styles of Gi, as they both combine elements of the single, and the double weave fabric, making these Gi's lighter, and more comfortable to wear, with the high quality of a more durable Gi. The Aero weave is not too dissimilar to the Pearl weave, as it too is light and durable, with the added features of a more breathable Gi, due to the diamond formation of the weave, which allows a high element of air flow.
Nowadays BJJ practitioners will ponder how many bjj gi's should i own, and while some students only have one or two, others will collect an ensemble of Gi's. An avid collector of Gi's will have a range of different colours, different weave patterns, and many customised, and signature Gi's. Nowadays Gi manufacturers like Hayabusa, Hyperfly, Tatami, and Venom will offer an extensive range of fully customised, and high quality Gi's that many world class grapplers will wear. The Gi uniform is a highly recognised, and respected piece of equipment used by BJJ athletes. After time a Gi will become an extension of an athlete, as they will use the lapels to neutralise, and attack their opponents necks. Gi fighting is a formidable style of grappling that has seen some of the world's best grapplers take centre stage, and showcase their extraordinary skills.
The second uniform that BJJ practitioners will wear is during the No Gi divisions. The rise of international No Gi has been increasingly popular due to events like the ADCC, Who's Number One, Fight 2 Win, and the Eddie Bravo Invitational. Many international stars like Gordon Ryan, Felipe Pena, Andre Galvao, Kaynan Duarte, and Craig Jones, have lit up the stage with their extensive No Gi grappling skills. Many of these high level athletes have been international icons for BJJ apparel companies, with many of them also opting to wear their own fully customised brands. The No Gi uniform consists of compression pants, and shorts over the top, with a rash guard to cover the torso. Athletes can also choose to wear short sleeve, or long sleeve rash guards, as well as opt to not wear compression pants at all, and just where the shorts. In some events like the ADCC, athletes are even allowed to compete without a rash guard wearing just shorts, just like in Mixed Martial Arts. When an athlete wears the No Gi uniform it is illegal for their opponent to grab hold of the fabric at any time during a match, doing so will result in penalties, and possible disqualifications, giving the art of No Gi a completely different feel to Gi Jiu Jitsu.
All Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies will make their own club apparel. This will usually include club Gi's that have the club logo embroidered onto the back, and rash guards that have sublimated club logos. Some students will ask what size rash guard should I get bjj, and all rash guards should fit tightly around their torso. Usually academies will go even further by adding different styles of t-shirts, hooded jumpers, and jackets, and even hats. Most students will stockpile a range of club apparel, as they often like to represent their academies. This means that most of these students will wear their club merchandise to, and from training, and this is great for marketing, and for each student to feel like they belong within their own academy. Club apparel is great for students to wear, as when they are out in public other people will see the club logo, which in turn could make them become curious enough to look up the website. This is extremely important for the growth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as the community of members are always looking to increase the population of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEANING BJJ GEAR
To touch on the aspect of cleaning, and hygiene probably doesn't get spoken about enough. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and germs, as infections like staph, and ringworm can have significant implications to a BJJ school. All academies will clean their BJJ mats substantially with disinfectant, and bleach, so they can kill off any unwanted, and nasty germs, and odours. This is the first defense against the spread of different kinds of infections. The second defense against the spread of bacteria, and germs is a student's own personal hygiene, and how they clean their BJJ gear. It is extremely important to display personal hygiene, and this can be done by students showering before they come to training, and keeping their fingers, and toenails trimmed and filed. Bacteria usually hides underneath a person's fingernails, so it is important to keep them sterile. Another important aspect of stopping the spread of germs, is for students to wear shoes while they are off of the mats, as a student that walks barefoot on the ground will transfer dirt, germs, and bacteria back onto the mats.
Another crucial element in stopping the spawning of any types of nasty infections is for a student to rigorously clean their BJJ gear. This includes the Gi, the belt, and all No Gi BJJ gear. Some students will not wash their belt because they think the belt has significant powers, this is a ridiculous notion, as the only thing a belt carries is dirt, blood and sweat. Students must learn how to wash bjj gi for the first time, and after a while they will become experts. The first important tip; is to wash the Gi straight away, as no good can come from leaving a Gi to sit there in its own filth overnight. All Gi's must be washed in cold water, or they will certainly shrink, and it is fine to use normal washing powder, or liquid. To make the Gi smell better, and feel softer, a student can add fabric softener to the machine wash. Another important tip is to hang a Gi out to dry in a shaded spot, so it doesn't fade, or stiffen. Putting a Gi in the dryer is a bad idea, as it will also shrink the Gi.
The last important tip for students is to learn is how to fold bjj gi, as this will determine how comfortable the Gi is to wear. Once a Gi is taken out of the washing machine, students can give it a shake before hanging it up to dry, as this will help the Gi hold its shape. Once the Gi is dry, and ready to be stored away a student has two options. The first option is to hang the Gi up on a storage rack, or they can fold the Gi to put away on a shelf. Either option is okay, and students should remember that taking care of their Gi is sacred, so they must treat it with care. Leaving a Gi crumpled up in the corner of their room will cause the Gi to lose shape and stiffen. Folding a Gi is a great option, because it just gives the Gi a nice feel, and it also means it can be packed into a sports bag for when the student trains, or competes. At the end of the day having a neat bunch of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu apparel will only make a student feel comfortable, and more confident in how they represent their academy.
If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking:
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- How to Shrink BJJ Gi
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- Are There Belts in No Gi BJJ?
- Gi vs No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu