So you’ve heard about the latest fitness craze—something called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (jiu jitsu from hereon)—and you want to get in on it. That’s great! I think jiu jitsu (along with judo) changed my life and I think it will change yours too. It doesn’t matter how old or physically (un)able you are, I think everyone can benefit from jiu jitsu. But before starting your quest to learn jiu jitsu, there are some things you will need first. I have compiled a list of equipment you will need for jiu jitsu. All of these items can be had on Amazon.
The gi, or kimino, is the most important item you need for jiu jitsu (unless you are doing no-gi). You will first need to get a gi that fits you and a white belt that goes along with it. As far as gis go, Fuji has some cheap but durable jiu jitsu gis for sale. In terms of size, here is size chart for typical gi sizes:
Here is the thing you need to know about gis, they shrink when you wash—but not by much (unless you put them in the dryer). So if you are in between two sizes, choose the larger size. Additionally, having a bigger gi will make you a better jiu jitsu player because it will allow your opponent more opportunities to grab you, thereby increasing your defensive abilities. If you are going to get a Fuji gi, The gi will typically come with a white belt. If the white belt is too short when it comes in, I recommend getting a separate white belt on Amazon.
In terms of color, I recommend a black or blue gi because white gis get stained too quickly.
And remember, do your class a favor and wash your gi weekly. Ringworm is preventable.
Long Sleeve Rash Guard
The rash guard is extremely important to wear because you are going to sweating a lot. You will either wear the rash guard underneath your jiu jitsu gi or you will be wearing the rash guard by itself when you are doing no-gi grappling. Either way, you will need a rash guard. Hayabusa has some great durable rash guard. They are a bit more expensive than other ones, but you do get what you pay for. Hayabusa rash guards will last you awhile. On the cheaper end, you can get something from O’Neill that will do the job, although it is not made specifically with jiu jitsu or MMA in mind.
Fight shorts, or MMA shorts, are excellent shorts to wear when you are grappling. They use velcro, are light weight, and soak up sweat. Your shorts will dry quick and never have that musty smell after a session. You can get these shorts anywhere from $30-$70 depending on the brand. Fuji and Hayabasa have some great ones.
If you plan on keeping your teeth, you will need a mouth guard. Although accidents involving the mouth are rare, they do happen enough to consider wearing a mouth guard when grappling. You can get a mouth guard from Shock Doctor for under $10. If you are getting a mouth guard, you should also get a mouth guard holder, which Shock Doctor has.
Grappling Ear Protectors
Cauliflower ears comes from a lot time spent live grappling. If you plan on being just a causal bjj player who only goes to class a couple of times a week but doesn’t participate in the live grappling sessions, you probably don’t need this. But if you do plan on grappling live, you will probably want ear protectors. That is, if you do not want to get cauliflower ears as a result of grappling. The ones from Cliff Keen are pretty decent but any of them will do the job just as well.
Wrestling Knee Pads
You will probably want wrestling knee pads if your jiu jitsu school focuses a lot on stand up grappling and takedowns. The knee pads will protect your knees on impact with the ground. If your jiu jitsu school doesn’t focus too much on stand up grappling or takedowns, you probably can get away without having knee pads. I use knee pads from ASICS.
There you have it, the equipment you should have when starting jiu jitsu. The last two items (ear protectors and wrestling knee pads) aren’t absolutely necessary depending on your preference. However, the first few items are must-have equipment if you want to take jiu jitsu. Good luck!