So you've tried a class or two - have suffered the indignity of the "loaner" gi - and have now made the life-altering decision to join a jiu jitsu academy. Welcome to the party. But exactly what kind of training gear do you need?
Here's our "starter pack" list of key items for the beginner practitioner:
- Gis - Unless you've joined an academy or gym that only offers no-gi training, you'll need a gi. Actually, make that two... At least. Yes, gis can be expensive, but if you plan on training more than once every few days, you'll need a fresh, clean gi to wear while your other dries.
- Rash Guards - Even if you don't plan on trying no-gi - which is silly, you should at least try it - some academies require you to wear a rash guard under your gi, for sanitary reasons. If you do plan on doing no-gi, rash guards help keep you from getting mat burn, ringworm, or other mat-bourne illnesses. Again, at least two is advised.
- Grappling Shorts - For those open to no-gi training, especially if you're male, a couple of grappling shorts to pair with your rash guards is necessary... Unless you plan on rocking the rash guard/spats combo, which is cool, too.
- Compression Shorts/Spats - Regardless of whether you're going to train only gi, only no-gi, or plan on training both, compression shorts and/or spats is absolutely necessary. For gi training, you will want to wear something under your gi. Your training partners will thank you.
- Flip-flops - If someone hasn't already told you, you shouldn't walk around barefoot while you're off the mat. Between traveling from the locker room and back, and getting on and off for water breaks, you'll need something to slip your feet in and out of easily.
- Reusable Water Bottle - Unless you enjoy standing in line for the water fountain during water breaks or in between rolls, you'll want to have your own water nearby.
- Anti-Bacterial Soap - Whether you shower at the academy - if you're lucky enough to have one there - or you shower at home, you'll want a good anti-bacterial soap. You may have the cleanest academy in the world, but the fact is, you're rolling around in close contact with other people whose hygienic practices are not known to you.
- Nail Clippers - You should already have these, but it's not a bad idea to carry an extra set with you. With your busy life, and likely close-toed-shoe job, it's easy to forget about the last time you clipped your toenails. Don't risk scratching your training partner with your gnarly ogre feet.
- Gear Bag - Considering all of the above, you'll want a separate gear bag just for your jiu jitsu gear. This not only helps keep everything in one place (so you don't forget some crucial piece of attire while you're rushing out the door in the morning), but it also keeps that sweaty, pungent post-training smell from infecting the inside of your car on your way home.
Of course, as you continue on your jiu jitsu journey, you'll find you might need a number of other things, but these are the core things that every jiujiteiro should have.
Train on. Oss.