When you are starting out in BJJ it is important to figure out what other gear you might need. Really you don’t need much other than your gi and a some rash guards, but everyone wants to geek out when they start out a new hobby. Usually you will get a starter gi or kimono when you first sign up. I would pickup at least a 2nd gi in the same color for ease of doing laundry. You can see a list of our recommended gi’s here. If you are training 3 days a week you could pick up a 3rd gi. You will also get a belt as well, you have the option of buying your own belt outside of the academy. As an academy owner I have several belts on hand (even black belts forget their belt sometime), but I don’t think I ever had a spare belt before then.
Rash Guard or Compression Shirt
So gone are the days where you come to class without a shirt underneath. At competition you do go shirtless, but in class I recommend an athletic undershirt of compression shirt/rash guard. This is where you have a chance to go wild on designs. Bang for your buck I would go with a heat gear compression T-shirt from Under Armor for less than $25. Long sleeve vs short sleeve is a preference thing. I went with short sleeve for most of my career, but now I really like my long sleeve rash guards. I personally dig our rash guards that were made by Lean Athletics in Denver, Colorado.
Not everyone wears a mouth guard, I didn’t for the first 10 years of my BJJ journey, but then an elbow by another black belt knocked out a partial tooth and I was out $400 in dental work. I don’t think a mouth guard is necessary to start training, but I think they are a good investment. Don’t go for the boil and bites or even the $35 shock dr. Spend the $55 on a Gladiator Guard Pro. They come in a kit where you mix the two compounds together just like the expensive ones from the doctor’s office. Then you ship the kit back and you get the mouth guard sent to you. It is a fun process and I feel like you are making the bomb in Die Hard 3.
A Bag for you Gi
So you don’t really need a gi bag, if you know how to fold a gi. But I think it is easier to toss your stuff in a bag. Behold the best bag ever made for BJJ, the REI Mesh Co-op bag. This mesh bag allowed a used bag to breath, so it didn’t get gross. But it had a bottom on it, so it wouldn’t mess up the seat of your car. Look at those huge durable zippers! Unfortunately they stopped making these, or I should have bought a dozen. I still have mine after 10 years, but what happens when it finally bites the dust?
You could go go for a drawstring bag. Sometimes these come with the gi. Usually they are two small for my liking. You would have to perfectly fold a gi to get it to fit and if I am doing that much work, then I will just wrap my belt around it like that video above and all it good. There are some expensive Hayabusa backpacks, but I think you are going to run into the aeration issue. So when my bag falls apart I am going with style of drawstring backpack from 93 brand. Apparently this picture is it holding 2 A2 gi’s so you know it is big enough and the half mesh design is what I love about my REI duffle. I prefer a duffle to a backpack because it is easier to open, but desperate times. I am ordering one of these right away just to give you guys a better review of it!
Compression Shorts or Boxer Briefs
So to avoid injury for men, I would recommend skipping the boxers. Too much is loose and might get hit accidently. I wear my boxer briefs from Costco, but if you want to splurge on some under armor ones, that is fine as well. Some people like to wear full leg compression pants as well and that is fine, I don’t unless it is really cold out.
What? Isn’t that old man shampoo. Yes. So BJJ is a heavy contact sport and you can get different skin conditions from other humans. The main two are ringworm and various bacterial staph infections. Usually a good percentage of people have some form of staph and your immune system fights it off easily, so if you get a staph infection it is likely that you are run down, haven’t slept much, over trained. I think I have had 3 that I had to take antibiotics for so like once every 7 years and that is with a lot of competition and overtraining so it isn’t something I think the average person has to worry about if they just wash their gi, shower after training and their academy washes their mats. Ringworm is a little more tricky because it is a fungus, but dandruff shampoos like Selsun Blue are really good at fighting it off. So this has been a recommendation from wrestling coaches forever. I have trained in wrestling and BJJ for the last 24 years and have never gotten it, but I use Selsun Blue every night as a body wash and shampoo. So that is what I recommend if you are worried about it.
Tea Tree Oil
So if you are worried about staph infections and ringworm both of them usually start as a little pimple looking thing and then get worse from there. So if you have a pimple and you don’t know what it is from, throw some Tea Tree Oil from it. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal it will be good against ringworm and staph. Even proven effective vs MRSA. What if it is just a pimple? Still effective against those as well. So like one once of this stuff you can get from Walgreens and will last a lifetime. It is the main ingredient in Defense Soap and their foot washing stuff we use at our academy.