What Gear Do You Need For BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art developed in Brazil that emphasizes ground combat techniques. It’s recent boom in popularity has reached deep into the fitness community and ensnared a few celebrities. Witcher and Superman star Henry Cavill practices BJJ.

Keanu Reeves owes a few of his John Wick stunts to his BJJ training. Tom Hardy, Wesley Snipes, Scarlett Johansson, and Margot Robbie are just a few on a growing list of actors who use BJJ to show off in fight choreography. 

If you’re practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, at some point, you’ll be the one tossed on the floor. With all that movement and time spent on the ground, some equipment is essential for BJJ.

Essential Gear You Need for BJJ

Let’s go over the gear you must have to get started in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Gi or Kimono

A BJJ gi or kimono is an outer garment worn as the traditional uniform of BJJ. While the striking look is part of it, the gi is an essential part of the movement.

Some grappling techniques make use of your opponent’s or sparring partner’s clothing.

don’t miss the Best bjj Gis


Your belt marks your rank. In rank order, the belt colors for BJJ are white, blue, purple, brown, and black. Don’t worry about red and black, red and white, and red. Most BJJ practitioners won’t reach those levels of expertise in a lifetime.

White is for beginners and the belt is often included when you buy your first Gi. It can take on average ten years or more to progress from white to black.

Don’t miss our article about how long it takes to get a BJJ black belt for more detailed information about the BJJ black belt journey.

Gear You Need for No-Gi BJJ

No-gi BJJ is when you participate in BJJ without wearing a gi or kimono. Rolling tends to be faster, and you can’t rely that much on certain grips you find in the gi.

Another difference is that some kimono submissions are not available, or they’re executed differently. You might go for the no-gi look at least once a week in most schools. 


When you roll a lot, you sweat a lot. Your gi can avoid sweat damage when you wear a rashguard underneath your gi. The rashguard can also prevent friction and protect your skin.

During no-gi class, your rashguard also protects your skin from mat burn and the overall discomfort the friction from the mat puts on your skin.

For these reasons, your rashguard constitutes an essential piece of equipment for both the gi and no-gi class.

BJJ Spats

Spats are rashguards for your lower half. They add a layer between your uniform trousers and your sweat. If you’ve ever worn leggings or thermal underwear, you know the feeling. Wearing two bottom layers isn’t comfortable for everyone, so test it out before wearing for an entire training session.

Look for material that is moisture-wicking and lightweight.

No-Gi BJJ Short

You need an unimpeded range of motion and comfort to complete your dynamic grapples and throws. When you’re out of uniform, look for shorts that aren’t baggy and have a secure waistband.

IBJJF No-Gi Uniform

IBJJF No Gi Uniform

When not wearing the traditional gi uniform, IBJJF has requirements for alternative clothing, including proper skin coverage and appropriate colors. Pairing a rash guard with a no-gi BJJ short is best.

Equipment Do You Need for Jiu-Jitsu Rolling

Rolling is one the things that make BJJ so much fun. What would be a class without rolling? We all know BJJ training is for the most part safe when we take precautions. However, it’s still a rough combat sport and it requires extra safeguards.


Mouthguards prevent oral injuries and are necessary for contact sports. There are three types:

  • Stock.
  • Boil and bite.
  • custom. 

Stock mouthguards are the cheapest and are available in pre-made sizes. Boil and bite are mid-range for price. You boil the mold and then bite to form the fit. It has limited customizability. Custom mouthguards are the most expensive because they are custom-made for comfort, fit, and protection.

Boil and bite are the best option for most people training combat sports. They offer the best value for your money, while offering a decent level of confort while you roll.

Groin Guard

A groin guard or a jock protects your groin. Extra protection in that particular area is never a bad idea. It is less common in BJJ but prevalent in most striking focus contact sports.

If you decide to get a groin guard aim for protection that also prioritizes wearability. You need to be comfortable and shielded. 

Extra Gear You Might Want When Training BJJ

There’s no such thing as too careful when you’re training to knock someone off their feet. None of these are necessary to practice BJJ, but they’ll make your life easier.

Ear Protection/ BJJ Headgear

Cauliflower ear is not fun. For some grapplers is a sign of pride and dedication to the grappling arts. However, some people like BJJ as a hobby to stay in good shape, and wouldn’t want to walk around with damaged ears.

If you would like to protect your ears you can avoid damage by wearing ear protectors or grappling headgear. They might not be pretty, but at least your ears will be safe.

Keep in mind that you can only use headgear while training. It’s not possible to wear headgear if you enroll in a competition. But that should be ok as most of the damage to your ears comes from training and putting pressure over your training partner’s body. 

BJJ Knee Pads

You might be grappling on mats, but after some time, even padded surfaces can wear down your knees. You can save yourself from bruises and better preserve your joints by wearing knee protection.

Wrestling knee pads, or pads for basketball or volleyball, are your best bet for movement. When looking for BJJ knee pads aim for non-slip and durable, traits that should be at the top of your list.

Flip Flops / Sandals

There are no shoes allowed on the mat. Rather than have your instructor shoot you a glare, remove the risk by wearing flip-flops or sandals. No one wants dirty shoe prints on your training space.

The goal is to find something lightweight, comfortable, and easy to kick off. Some gyms might also have some sandals around, but it is always best to have your own.

BJJ Finger Tape

The constant grappling can impact your joints, mainly your finger joints. Finger tape fortifies your grip and protects swollen joints from further injury.

When buying for BJJ finger tape look for something sweat-resistant and with an extra firm hold that won’t leave sticky glue on your skin.

Taping your fingers could be a game-changer. Especially with your gi training sessions, the extra finger support makes your grips feel stronger and safer.  

Water Bottle

You’ll be performing several techniques and sweating, which means you should hydrate. Rolling while dehydrated will harm your performance. An insulated water bottle keeps liquids cool for up to 24 hours and come handy in the late rounds of your training sessions.


Even when covering all the basics of protection, you will experience some bumps and bruises. CBD oil is a natural product that can help you relax your muscles, improve your sleep quality, and also offer anti-inflammatory benefits

The proper nutrition, sleep, rest, and some CBD oil can do wonderful things for your recovery speed after hard rolling sessions. At the end of the day, you can only get better at Jiu-Jitsu training consistently. 

Achieving faster recovery intervals is a priceless ability any dedicated martial artist needs to master sooner rather than later to stay consistent with the training schedule. 

BJJ Gi And No-Gi Basic Gear Checklist

  • Gi or Kimono
  • Belt
  • Rashguard
  • Spats
  • BJJ/MMA Shorts
  • Mouthguard
  • BJJ Finger Tape
  • Sandals
  • Water Bottle

Final Word On Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gear

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art for every age and every weight class. While it is highly physical, there is a focus on mental strength. You learn how to control your opponents with leverage and position, it’s an equal playing field for defensive tactics.

The right gear will get you started, but it’s the focus on skill and determination that makes BJJ one of the best martial art for self-defense.

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