Updated: Nov 10, 2021
After you make the decision to start training BJJ, one of the first things you'll need to do is buy some equipment. There are three types of equipment you'll need to get: a gi uniform, a no-gi uniform, and safety gear:
A Jiu-Jitsu gi (sometimes called a kimono) is the most important piece of equipment you'll have during your BJJ journey. It's thicker than a Karate gi and is made up of a jacket, pants, and a belt. There are a ton of styles and brands, so your first time buying a gi can be overwhelming. Below are Five recommendations to make your first gi purchase easier:
Find someone at the gym with a similar build and ask them what gi brands they like. Chances are they already know what brands fit their body type best. Start your search with these brands.
When in doubt, go with a white gi. Different gyms and different competitions have varying rules on gi colors. All allow white gis.
Buy a white belt when you buy your gi. Most gis don't come with a belt, so you'll need to buy one separately.
Buy your first gi from Rollmore. They'll let you use a gi for 60 days and if it doesn't fit you well, you can return it.
Expect your gi to arrive larger than expected. Try it on and if it's too big, wash it with hot water and/or dry it with high heat to shrink it. Shrinking also has the added benefit of strengthening the fabric.
The no-gi uniform consists of a rashguard and grappling board shorts. Optionally, some athletes choose to wear leggings to reduce the slipperiness of their legs when sparring.
Rashguards can be short or long sleeve, with long sleeves reducing slipperiness on the lower arms.
Grappling board shorts don't have pockets, because it's easy to get your fingers and toes caught in them, and don't have zippers or buttons, because they scratch and puncture the mat.
Here is Coach Chris Chi modeling his Fuji Shorts and #freebritney long sleeve rashguard.
Chipped teeth don't happen often, but when they do they're expensive to fix and you look funny until they are. Don't run the risk of chipped teeth — buy a sports mouth guard. They are under $20 on Amazon and usually come with a $10K+ dental warranty. Seriously, buy a mouth guard.
If your nails are untrimmed or sharp, you run the risk of accidentally cutting your teammates with them. If your nails get long, they can get caught on the gi and pulled up — it's as awful as it sounds. Buy an extra nail clipper and throw it in your gym bag. That way, if you notice your nails are getting longer you can trim them before you get on the mat.
One of the ways we protect ourselves from skin infections, like ring worm, is to only step on the mat with clean feet. The floor is dirty, but the mat is clean (we sanitize it after every class). Step out of your shoes and into your flip-flops — Step out of your flip-flops and onto the mat. Keep your teammates safe by not letting your feet touch the floor.
There are two reasons bleach is important:
It kills any bacteria and fungi growing on your gear
It gets rid of funky smells
You should wash all of your gear after each training session and use a small amount of bleach when you do. Don't reuse your gear without washing and don't let it sit in your gear bag overnight. This includes kneepads, belts, etc. Bleaching will slightly shorten the life of your gear, but I think this is a small price to pay to keep your teammates free from skin infections and to ensure you aren't the smelly kid in class that no one wants to train with.