So what do you need for jiu jitsu?
These are some items that I’ve used for years for my own personal jiu jitsu training. I can recommend each of these products confidently and some of which with years of experience using them. If I don’t have first hand experience with these products, my brothers or wife have used them in their own jiu jitsu training.
I’ve also included pics of myself using these very products as unnecessary references when possible.
These items are not the most commonly recommended ones but nonetheless, are some that I have come to really appreciate over my years of training.
If you are looking for reviews and recommendations on nogi gear and bjj gi’s we will be putting out future posts soon:
In this post items will be broken down into three categories:
- Strongly Recommended Products
- Best Products to Keep in Your Gym Bag
- Nice to Have Products
I’m not recommending to go out and buy all these before your first day of training, but these are some items which will likely make your jiu jitsu training easier.
You may even find them to be necessary over time. Without further delay lets get into to * slap bump or insert any other awkward handshake combination*
Quick Note – this post contains affiliate links to amazon.
If you happen to buy one of the linked products I may receive a small commission from your purchase, and I humbly thank you.
With that being said, I strongly stand behind these linked products. They have helped me immensely in my bjj training so hopefully they will help you as well.
Quick follow up note – I can guarantee these funds will go directly into fueling my Count Chocula cereal addiction.
Strongly Recommended Products
This first product is a no brainer. I thought I was cool and was sparring hard with no mouth guard until I got smacked in the mouth and tasted what I thought was sand? It ended up being part of my chipped tooth.
So to fight back against a toothless future I strongly recommend a mouth guard.
Recommendation:I have gone through several mouth guards throughout my years of training bjj. After trying several, the ones I stuck with the longest until I inevitably lose them or accidentally throw them away are mouth guards from Venom.
Flip flops are a must for bjj solely because you will be stepping on and off the mats frequently and don’t do what I did and try to wear vans slip-ons for the first couple weeks.
You don’t want to know how quickly slip-ons become smelly, miniature swamps – it took two weeks okay then they were unwearable.
Description:This description section probably isn’t needed right?
The only real recommendation is to get a larger and solid water bottle. For years, I used to have to bring two or more smaller water bottles especially if I was taking multiple classes in a row, then finally upgraded to a larger water bottle.
I know they are pricey but:
- they last
- are spill proof
- hold a massive amount of water
- are easy to clean (dish washer safe)
I have been using my Yeti Rambler for over a year now, but it’s totally your call – I would just make sure that any water bottle you buy is reusable and holds a good amount of water.
I’m sure you have seen wrestlers wearing head gear of some sort since it is usually required in high school and collegiate wrestling. You may also see the rare jiu jitsu practitioner wear them at bjj.
Head gear comes in handy especially if your ears start to get sensitive and if they start to evolve into the their final cauliflower form.
So if you do want to avoid cauliflower ears (but really, we all secretly want cauliflower ears…shh) this is the head gear model that I’ve used comfortably for quite some time.
I know its bad ass to wear one of the plastic head gear sets that wrestlers used to wear in the early 90’s, but I’m passed going for style over functionality especially when it comes to bjj training.
I’ve found these softer ones to be the most comfortable and provide the best cushion for when my ears start to bother me.
Description:In jiu jitsu you spend a lot of your time kneeling or putting pressure on your knees. This may eventually lead to soreness or sensitivity when on your knees. Impact to your knees will also happen quite a bit if you begin to wrestle more or start your sparring rounds from a standing position.
I never suffered a bad knee injury, but I did notice that my one knee is a bit sore especially after the more intense classes.
When this happens I’ll usually slap on the old knee guard for the next day or two of classes.
Recommendation:So I’ve went through a bunch of different knee guards that came highly rated on amazon. Some were too constrictive and were a bit uncomfortable when my knee would bend. Eventually, I ended up borrowing my wife’s (pink) one and found it to be the most comfortable and easiest to train in.
Description:Wrist guards may come in handy for the same reason a knee guard might. You put a lot of
pressure on your hands and wrists in training just like your knees. If your wrists are a little sensitive from playing Halo II on the first xbox for way too many hours like mine are – a wrist guard may be the best bet
Recommendation:These wrist compression guards are simple and comfortable.
They are also very affordable. If you are just looking for a little support around your wrists without too much tightness or constriction these are the best bet.
Pro tip***If you are looking to wear one of those calorie tracking watches like an apple watch or a fit bit, I’ve found the best way to keep them protected and not get in the way during live sparring is by wearing this wrist guard over it.
It stays covered by the wrist guard and provides a bit more padding to it if you really want to track your exercise during bjj.
Description: Just like knee and wrist guards, ankles sometimes take a bit of a beating in bjj, especially, if you are sparring with some heavy ankle lockers (I can’t emphasis how important it is to tap early – especially in the training room).
If your ankles eventually become one of your pain points, below is a solid ankle guard that I’ve used for several months or whenever my ankles get jacked up.
Recommendation:My preference with all of these wrist, knee, and ankle guards is support while not constricting me too much so I usually go with some type of compression sleeve.
I want to be able to move a bit while giving these joints a bit more cushion. So here is an ankle guard that I’ve found that does just that.
I know it may see that bjj is quite dangerous judging from how many “guards” you need, but small bumps, bruises, and soreness is normal in every sport.
That’s why I recommend an adjustable ice pack that you can wrap around any sore part of your body.
While the positive effects of icing an injury may not be as effective as it once seemed from my own personal experience icing a sore muscle or joint for a day or two along with light activity has really helped me recovery quickly.
This is an ice pack that I’ve used over the last couple months that is adjustable and can be placed securely on nearly any spot on your body that needs it by using several Velcro straps
Best Products to Keep in your Bag
Obviously, I should start off this section with a bjj bag.
A suitable choice would be a spacious bag that can accommodate all the essential equipment, including a gi, rash guard, spats, mouthguard, water bottle, and hygiene products if you plan to shower at the gym.
Look for a bag with multiple compartments and pockets, which will help you keep your belongings organized and separate clean items from used gear.
If you’re looking to avoid ring worm and a plethora of other infections that can occur from the close contact training of bjj – I can’t recommend an affordable and effective set of body wipes.
Currently, I live ~1 hour from the bjj gym I train at so after training I used to get into my car all sweaty and give all the bacteria a good amount of time to get comfy on my skin before I got in and showered.
I’ve gotten ring worm several times but since using body wipes immediately after training I have not any ring worm or any other infection on my skin.
I’ve used these wipes for the past year – they smell great and are very affordable. I have it set on my subscribe and save on amazon so I get a new bunch of wipes every 2.5 months just when I need them
I know, I know yet another common injury in bjj, but there may come a time when you jam your finger or toes on the mat or bend them in a certain way that they shouldn’t bend.
So finger tape can be used to tape your finger or toes together in a way that will safe guard them from being used or having further damage while they heel (queue image of the guy who spends 20 minutes before class taping every portion of their skin from the top of their thumb to the start of their forearm).
We will be putting out a future review of several different finger tapes that I’ve used over the years, and how to properly use them but for now below is my favorite one.
Here is my favorite finger tape from Gold BJJ.
I prefer a thinner tape to provide better control on coverage, but if you’re in the market for it I can’t recommend this brand enough.
Liquid Bandage (New skin)
So I often will use new skin or some other version in combination with finger tape.
New skin acts as a wound sealant that goes on clear and dries up. It avoids the issue of a band-aid falling off during training.
So my recommendation again is with any small cut or scrape on your hands or feet cover it first with new skin and then wrap it with finger tape.
Really any similar product can be used to do the job, but here is one that I keep in my bag, and have used quite a bit for any small cuts.
Band-aids get a bit of a bad rap in bjj solely because there’s always someone who shows up wearing a band-aid then at the end of class it will be lying somewhere in the middle of the mat with no one willing to claim it.
So my recommendation is to use a combination of new skin and finger tape for any small exposed wounds on your hands or feet – it just stays on better and providers better protection.
Band-aids can be used on other hidden parts of your body beneath your clothing that won’t be as exposed during bjj training and less likely to fall off.
I’ve tried a couple different band-aids but these flex fabric ones are where its at – they just stay on longer.
Following the same theme of bjj being extremely dangerous, its good to keep some sort of pain medication on hand like Tylenol or Advil.
Again, I live quite a bit away from my gym so if I get a small sprain or a neck tweak I’m always happy I have some pain meds in my bag that I can pop and take before I head back home.
Any of your preferred pains meds will do – prob not going to throw an affiliate link in here cause I’m sure if you’re an adult you already have your preferred choice of pain medication.
So if you’re like me and you immediately get your contact lens knocked out in the first roll of class, you already know you need to keep spare contacts in your bag.
I keep spare contacts in my along with an old pair of eyeglasses.
If you don’t wear contact lenses or glasses good for you now you have more space for sour gummy bears – inarguably (…not sure if that’s a word) the best post training treat.
Don’t really have recommended best product for contact lenses or glasses this is just a free tip y’all welcome
Following along the same theme of eye care, there may be times when you get something in your eye during training or when someone drips sweat directly into your eye when they are on mount.
For occasions like this, you need some eye drops in your life.
If you’re like me and you blast the AC all the way to and from the gym so much that your eyes get dried out, eye drops come in clutch as well.
I’ve tried a couple different eyes drops. Like others, these ones provide immediate relief, but unlike others I feel like they just moisturize longer. So my go to is the eye drops from Systane.
Other Hygiene Products
If you are planning on showering in your gym locker room immediately after class, below is my favorite brand of body soap.
I’ve tried a bunch of soaps that were supposed to be made for jiu jitsu. I’ve found that some of them are too harsh on my skin and some just seem like they aren’t worth the cost.
I’ve tried several different soaps such as Art of Sport, Submission Soap, and Dr. Bronner’s.
The one that I felt smelt the best and was of the highest quality were the ones from Arm Bar Soap company.
Unfortunately, these aren’t on amazon, but if you keep an eye out on bjjhq they will often have arm bar soap bundles that you can get for a much cheaper price. Whenever I see these on bjjhq I’ll usually buy a couple.
Nice to Have Products
BJJ Instructional DVDs
If you’ve spent any amount of time on my blog you’ll quickly find out that I’m a massive fan of bjj instructionals.
They just seem to suit my learning style best. I prefer to learn at my own structured paste and bjj instructions let me do just that.
If you are interested in finding out the best way to learn from instructions – here is my full guide based upon dozens of hours of me listening to John Danaher drone on and using interesting* metaphors.
Between me and my brothers we have probably spent somewhere in the $2k range on instructionals on bjj fanatics. More recently, I have also become a fan of the instructionals found on jiu jitsu x too.
Just like the recommendation above, a journal would be something to consider if it fits your learning style.
Many bjj practitioners will use a journal to take notes from the techniques they learned in class or notes from their live sparring rounds. I’ve also used my journal extensively to take notes while watching a bjj instructional.
If you’re into taking notes, any journal will do. My personal preference is a lined journal in the medium size range (usually 5×8 inches) like this one.
Here is a link to the my current journal on amazon:
This one definitely belongs in this “nice to have” category. If you find yourself getting really into bjj like me and you have siblings or a partner who trains I can’t recommend getting some mats enough.
There are some that are actually pretty affordable, but for me I ended up going floor pads.
I’ve found these to be the most affordable and comfortable. Plus I’ve found that unless you keep your dog and/or cat off your grappling mats you’ll be surprised how quickly holes are made in them.
The mats my brother originally purchased for our basement ending up getting holes in them quite quickly from our overly energetic dog and nephew.
For the reasons mentioned above, I recommend going with floor mats for your home instead of grappling or martial arts mats.
They last longer, provide the same amount of padding, and are more affordable.
These are the ones I still use to this day in my home gym and for my home jiu jitsu training (see image of my dog happy as a clam on them and not a hole to be seen).
Here is a link to my recommended mats (note – go with the extra thick for the most support)
I was hesitant to put this on this list, but since more and more people are training at home a grappling dummy definitely has some benefits.
When gyms were closed back in 2019, I tried to make my own grappling dummy by stuffing my gi’s with clothes and using rubber bands – it stayed together for about 2 berimbolos before it fell apart.
So if you’re in the market for a grappling dummy and enjoy training solo at home, here is a solid option that stays together and doesn’t look like the scare crow from the Wizard of Oz.
Here is a link to the grappling dummy on amazon:
A pso-right is a more intense version of a foam roller. I’ve used several foam rollers, but I’ve found that I needed something that can provide a bit more targeted pressure to certain muscles.
The pso-rite was able to really dig into the tight spots in my thighs, back and glutes.
Here is a link to the pso-rite.
If you’re into foam rollers and similar products, the pso-rite will be perfect for you and for assisting in your jiu jitsu rehab efforts.
You can find the Pso-right on amazon here:
Massage guns have become popular of the last couple of years. They don’t really provide as much pressure as say a Pso-right, but can definitely be used as percussive therapy on really any part of your body.
Also if you don’t want to massage your partner, you can just use a massage gun which does all the work for you without making your hands tired while also avoiding all of the intimacy that a real massage provides.
I’ve tried a couple different massage guns (for some reason several relatives really thought that a massage gun would make the perfect holiday gift for me).
This is the one that I’ve come to prefer, and that I have used the longest.
Here is a link to the massage gun on amazon:
While I strongly recommend working out with weights for all the numerous benefits to your bjj (bullet proofing your joints/tendons, getting strong/bigger, increasing muscle endurace), if you don’t have access to a gym with weights, training bands are another good option.
While they can be used for resistance training, I’ve found I used them most for warming up before training.
Books – BJJ or Fitness Related
Embarking on a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey requires more than just physical training; gaining knowledge through books can greatly enhance your understanding of the art.
Books may cover technical aspects, mindset, and inspiring stories from accomplished practitioners. A well-rounded BJJ library should contain both instructional guides and biographical narratives.
Related: to see our
Instructional books offer detailed breakdowns and illustrations of techniques to supplement your training. Some exceptional titles to consider are:
- “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique” by Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie
- “Jiu-Jitsu University” by Saulo Ribeiro
- “Mastering the 21 Immutable Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” by Paulo Guillobel
Biographical narratives, like the following examples, offer insights into the lives of accomplished practitioners, their mentality, and the factors that led to their success:
- “The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotter” by Christian Graugart
- “Champion’s Mindset. My Journey on and off the Mats” by Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes
- “Wristlocks from Everywhere” by Travis Stevens
Keeping with the self rehab theme I’m also a big fan of fitness related books, this is the holy grail of self-rehab books for weightlifting and bjj, and really any sports injury you may come across.
Read More: Click Here to see the best books for BJJ
Say you don’t have health insurance, but your shoulder hurts more that you can ignore when bench pressing – this is your book, or say you tweaked your hip at bjj now whenever you squat you hear a slight clicking along with pain at the top of your thigh – this again should be your go to book.
Here is a link to the book on amazon:
If you’re a big gi player, customizing your gi with patches like bumper stickers on an old honda civic may be one of your favorite ways to express yourself. Almost every big bjj brand sells patches plus you can also represent your school.
When choosing patches for your gi, consider the following factors:
- Placement: Make sure your patches are placed according to the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) guidelines, especially if you plan to compete. Areas like the upper arms, upper legs, chest, and back are typically allowed for patch placement.
- Quality: Opt for high-quality patches made from durable materials; these will withstand the rigors of BJJ training and competitions while maintaining their visual appeal.
- Design: Take some time to select designs that reflect your personality, allegiances, and principles. Many BJJ academies, brands, and popular grapplers offer patches with unique artwork that can enhance the appearance of your gi.
- Attachment method: There are different methods for attaching patches to your gi, including sewing, using adhesive, or using Velcro. Sewing is generally the most secure method, while Velcro allows for easy removal and switching between different patches.
It’s essential to keep regulations in mind when customizing your gi with patches, especially if you plan to compete. Research the specific competition’s guidelines before adding patches to your gi and make sure they’re securely attached to avoid distractions and penalties.
A key element to consider while training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the importance of proper nutrition. I always try to keep a couple snakcs in my bag (my current favorites are organic fruit snacks).
Examples of wholesome options include fruits like bananas, apples, and berries or other sports bars.
Proper hydration should also not be overlooked, as maintaining optimal fluid levels is vital for both performance and overall health. In addition to water, incorporating electrolyte-rich beverages such as coconut water or electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks can further help maintain hydration levels throughout grueling training sessions. I try to always keep a bottle of gatorade on hand for post bjj training too.
Other Related Questions to What You Need for BJJ
What Should I Avoid Wearing in BJJ?
Loose or baggy clothing, such as casual T-shirts and workout shorts, should be avoided, as they can easily get tangled or caught during techniques, posing a risk to all practitioners involved.
Side note: It’s also essential to ensure all clothing is clean and odor-free to maintain proper hygiene on the mats. You don’t want to be known as the smelly kid in classe
Also, refrain from wearing any jewelry or accessories such as rings, bracelets, or earrings, as they can cause injuries or damage during training.
Likewise, avoid wearing any clothing with zippers, buttons, or other protruding elements, as they can scratch or scrape your partners during close-contact techniques.
Keep in mind that it’s preferable to wear specific BJJ gear, such as a gi, rash guard, or grappling shorts, to ensure optimal safety during training.
Finally, once more, personal hygiene is of utmost importance in BJJ.
- Trim your nails regularly
- tie up long hair
- take a shower before and after class
A Note on Cleaning Your Equipment
Maintaining cleanliness of your equipment is crucial for personal hygiene, the lifespan of your gear, and the health and safety of your training partners.
1. It is essential to wash your gi, rash guard, spats, and other training attire after each session to prevent bacterial growth and unpleasant odors.
2. Aside from washing your attire, it is equally important to sanitize your mouthguard and protective gear regularly.
For mouthguards, soaking them in a dental cleaning solution after each use can help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of illness.
3. Also, regularly wiping down your protective gear, such as headgear and knee pads, with a sanitizing wipe can help prevent the spread of germs.
Other components of your equipment, such as your water bottle and gym bag, should also be cleaned frequently. Make sure to empty your bag after each session and regularly clean it using a gentle detergent and warm water.
Note: Avoid machine-washing your bag, as this may damage the material and fixtures.
Can I Rent BJJ Gear as a Beginner?
Some BJJ schools is that they may offer the option to rent or borrow gear for your first few classes. This
Keep in mind, however, that not all gyms provide rental or loaner gear, so it’s essential to check with your local BJJ academy in advance.
Some academies may also offer BJJ starter kits for purchase, including a gi, belt, and rash guard, which can be an affordable and convenient option for beginners.
Side note: If you really enjoy bjj and think you will be sticking with it, investing in your own gear will eventually become necessary. We recommend buying quality gear once as opposed to replacing poorly made gear several times
What is the Difference Between Jiu-Jitsu and Other Martial Arts?
Jiu-Jitsu stands out from other martial arts primarily because of its emphasis on ground fighting and grappling techniques – techniques that can be perform safely and effectively by anyone regardless of their weight, age, sex, or leve of ahtleticism.
What makes bjj so effective is that you can practice these techniques on fully resisting partners at virtually full strength with a very little chance of injury (unlike other martial arts like striking based ones)
While other martial arts focus on striking, such as Karate, Taekwondo, and Muay Thai, or incorporate a mix alongside grappling, like Judo, Jiu-Jitsu is deeply rooted in leveraging an opponent’s strength and momentum against them – regardless of size.r.
The advantage of this approach is the development of dexterity and proficiency rather than prioritizing force.
Should I Try BJJ?
BJJ offers numerous benefits, including physical fitness, self-confidence, and improved mental focus, making it suitable for a variety of individuals.
Again, it accommodates people of different age groups, body types, and fitness levels, ensuring accessibility for all.
To determine if BJJ is the right martial art for you, consider your personal fitness goals, your desire for self-improvement, and the potential social connections you will form with like-minded individuals. Keep in mind that BJJ is a long-term commitment that involves continuous learning and growth.
While we think that bjj is the ideal martial art, always choose the martial art that interests you most and that you can stick with long term.
Is BJJ Best for Self-Defense?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is widely recognized as one of the most effective and secure forms of self-defense.
Since you are practicing these techniques on fully resisting opponents during live sparring – you know they work.
Unlike other martial arts that rely more on striking techniques, BJJ emphasizes both technical knowledge and practical application, making it highly useful in real-life situations. BJJ teaches essential self-defense strategies such as maintaining a safe distance from attackers, protecting oneself from harm, and incapacitating opponents without causing excessive harm.
What to Expect in Your First BJJ Class?
For your initial class, make sure to arrive prepared with the right gear, such as a gi, rash guard, mouth guard, and athletic tape. It’s also crucial to follow proper gym etiquette, which includes maintaining personal hygiene, being punctual, and demonstrating a respectful and positive attitude.
What’s the Average BJJ Class Like?
1. A typical BJJ class begins with a warm-up session that includes exercises like jogging, stretches, and functional movements designed to prepare the body for the training ahead.
The warm-up usually lasts about 15 minutes and ensures students are ready for the technical portion of the class.
2. Following the warm-up, the instructor will demonstrate and teach various techniques, often focused on specific positions and situations. This portion of the class typically lasts for 30-45 minutes and allows students to practice the techniques under the watchful guidance of the instructor. Common components of the technical instruction include takedowns, submissions, sweeps, and escapes. Throughout this portion of the class, students work with partners to drill the techniques, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the movements.
3. The final segment of a BJJ class consists of “rolling,” or live sparring, during which students put the techniques they’ve learned into practice. Rolling starts with students paired up and engaging in positional sparring, where they aim to apply what they’ve learned during the technical portion. Over time, the intensity increases, and students work on improving their overall BJJ game through live sparring. This hands-on experience allows students to develop their skills, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and build resilience and adaptability in real-time grappling situations.
How to Find a Good BJJ Gym?
I strongly recommend spending a lot of time finding and choosing a good bjj gym. Do not dive into a contract or join a jiu jitsu gym that rubs you the wrong way. The teachers, gym management and instructions should at the very least all be friendly, kind, and helpful.
Some questions to ask yourself before choosing a bjj gym are:
- is it competition focused?
- how many members does it have
- is it gi or nogi focused or both?
- how many high level practitioners train there?
- is the lineage of the head instructor legitimate
- are they only jiu jitsu focus or do they offer other classes
- travel distance from your home to the gym
- cost of membership
- are certain jiu jitsu belts only allowed to roll with others of the same belt
- does the class schedule work with your own personal schedule
- what is the gym culture like
How Much Does BJJ Usually Cost?
On average, the monthly fee for a gym membership ranges from $100 to $200.
Keep in mind that schools in larger cities and those with renowned instructors may charge higher fees. For example, in major metropolitan areas like New York City, its not uncommon for fees to reach up to $250 per month and beyond. In my gym in San Diego, I currently pay $150 a month.
Final Note on BJJ Products
Hopefully, you’ve gained some insight on some helpful and some nice to have products to help you along your bjj training.
These are all products that I have personally used and will continue to use for quite a long time.
In reality, BJJ really doesn’t require too much so if you’re using not having these items as an excuse not to start thats no good amigo.
If you have a t-shirt and shorts you can realistically jump into almost any no gi class, but if you’re looking to add to your bjj experience over time these are some things that I’ve found extremely helpful and have made my bjj training all the better.
Thanks for reading and catch you in the next one – Zack