BJJ Gear You Need to get Started
If you stick with BJJ long enough, you’ll realize that you spend nearly as much time doing laundry and organizing your workout gear as you do actually training. It is not necessary for you to purchase every item on the following list when you first start BJJ, but you will likely find that each component becomes necessary as time goes on.
Laundry Wash Bag
Mobile Hygiene Bag
When choosing a gym bag, you will want something that is easy to wipe down, has many pockets, and you can sling over your shoulder. If you acquire enough gear, you’ll eventually want a bag with separate places to put your Gi, flip-flops, water bottle, towel, and hygiene bag.
Additionally, you will want a separate laundry wash bag to place your Gi into after class. Not only will this help you keep your main gym bag clean, but it will also make it easier to wash your Gi. If you have an agitator in your washing machine, a laundry wash bag will also keep your belt, Gi pant drawstrings, or rashguard from getting wrapped up in the agitator.
Wrestling Shoes (Optional)
Flip-flops are critical for every BJJ practitioner to own. When you enter the gym, there will be a point when you need to remove your shoes. This might be right at the entrance, or it might be before you walk to the changing room. Most gyms will post some kind of sign to indicate where you should remove your shoes. If you’re unsure, ask the front desk or a member who appears to know what they are doing.
You choosing a pair of flip-flops, pick a brand that is comfortable and will last you a long time. This pair of flip-flops should probably only be used at the gym, and you will want to take them with you to every class. Ideally, you have a gym bag that allows you to easily slip your flip-flops into a side pocket. By bringing them to every class, you can freely walk around the changing room, bathroom, and any other floored areas without picking up bacteria on your feet and bringing it onto the mat.
If you wrestled in high school or college and prefer to use wrestling shoes, check with a gym employee before wearing them onto the mats. Some gyms will allow them and some will not, but you will likely find that most MMA-focused gyms will allow them. Even if you weren’t a wrestler, you may consider trying out wrestling shoes if you have issues with your toes. Some people’s feet, toes, or ankles get easily injured, and wrestling shoes can be a great way to stabilize that area. You can also try wrapping these areas in tape as an alternative to shoes.
Even if you drink a lot of water during the day, BJJ is probably going to make you thirsty. It can be a very physically intensive sport, and many people like to take sips throughout class--especially when you’re wearing your Gi on a hot day. Regardless of whether you sip on water throughout the class or chug a bottle afterward, you’re probably going to want to have a reusable water bottle that you keep in your gym bag.
Ideally, you want to shower as soon as possible after class with soap and hot water. Hopefully, you were able to find a gym with on-site showers. If your gym does indeed have showers, you will want to put together a hygiene bag that you can keep in your gym bag. Find a hygiene bag that will fit multiple shower materials, but if you’re having trouble fitting everything in, visit the travel section of your local department store for smaller items.
Most people don’t brush, floss, or use mouthwash before class, but don’t let that keep you from practicing good oral hygiene. Even if you brush and floss in the morning, your breath is probably going to smell pretty bad by the time you attend the evening class. Even if it doesn’t smell that bad, you will be in very close proximity with your fellow grapplers, and they will notice. If you don’t have the opportunity to brush before class, it won’t be the end of the world, but it is a nice thing you can do for your training partners if you have time.
BJJ Uniform: Gi
A quality Gi can run you a couple hundred dollars so it might take you a while to put together a few sets. Affordable versions are easy to find online, and you should probably opt for the less expensive option if you are just starting out. A good Gi will last you many years before it starts to wear out or rip. Eventually, you will want to invest in a quality set. Additionally, wear a pair of compression shorts under the pants, as there’s nothing worse than wearing underwear that constantly rides up or bunches. You may also want to wear a rashguard under the jacket, and each gym will have differing opinions on whether that is necessary or not.
BJJ Uniform: No Gi
No Gi uniforms can be a lot of fun to put together, because you can find leggings, boardshorts, and rashguards in many different colors and patterns. If you want inspiration, do a search in Google Images for “10th planet bjj” to see just how slick you can end up looking. Additionally, you can put together a very affordable No Gi wardrobe by buying off-brand or from the clearance section. Starting out in No Gi can be a very affordable way to start training, as you won’t need to purchase expensive Gi’s. If you find a gym that offers No Gi classes, start there in case you end up deciding BJJ isn’t for you.