If you’re reading this article then you’ve made a life changing decision and taken the first step towards a new beginning! Starting something new can be uncomfortable if not intimidating. Jiu Jitsu is no exception. However, there are a few things you can do to equip yourself for a positive first experience.

What to Wear

Jiu Jitsu is trained both with the gi (kimono) and without it. Training BJJ without a gi is called Nogi Jiu Jitsu or Submission Grappling. Training BJJ in the gi is just called Jiu Jitsu or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) where the use of the gi is implicit.

While most Jiu Jitsu academies teach and train Jiu Jitsu both with and without the gi, some schools specialize in - or are completely exclusive with - one format or the other. Either way, wearing standard athletic clothes to your first class is usually a safe bet. Most academies offer loaner gis at no additional expense for new comers, so even if you show up for a gi class wearing normal athletic attire you should be fine.

If you wear shorts, it’s best to avoid shorts with pockets or zippers. Fingers and toes can catch in pockets. Zippers can hurt your training partners or tear up the mats. Women and girls are generally not allowed to wear spaghetti straps, tank tops, or crop tops. Compression wear is highly preferred over loose fitting garments since loose clothes are much easier to rip during training. Even so, a normal t-shirt and basketball shorts or leggings should at least get you through your first class.

Eventually you will want to equip yourself with proper grappling gear. Gaidama offers the highest quality grappling board shorts, spats, rashguards, and gis on the market for men, women, and girls. All of our products are engineered from the ground up for function, fit, and design to provide the optimal grappling experience.

Regarding footwear, it’s best to wear flip flops or slides to BJJ. You may need to get on and off the mats quickly to grab a drink of water or go to the bathroom. Shoes that you can easily get in and out of will come in clutch!

What to Bring

Jiu Jitsu is a thirsty sport! Definitely bring a full water bottle. Some academies have drinking fountains but some do not. You’re going to want to have your own hydration during class and afterwards.

In addition, you may want to eventually invest in a mouthguard. While the dental accident in grappling sports is rare, it’s something that can be avoided altogether with proper equipment. Many dentists offices can create custom sports mouthguards from a mould of your teeth, offering you full protection with a perfect fit. Cheaper alternatives are available online, but a custom piece from a dentist’s office offers the most comfortable and breathable option if your budget allows.

What to Expect

Expect to be uncomfortable at first! But also expect to discover that at the end of class you’ve been having a blast and can’t wait to come back for more. You’re definitely going to have fun. A quality BJJ academy should offer a welcoming, supportive, and challenging environment in which anyone can come to put in work. Get ready to sweat - a lot - and make a ton of new friends.

Later you’ll look back and only wonder why it took you so long to give Jiu Jitsu a shot!

August 08, 2023 — Kendall Vernon