Many people think that all the gear you need for BJJ is a gi or a rashguard and shorts and you’re good to go. This is not entirely true. While those are the basics of our sport, there are other items that would be helpful in your jiu-jitsu journey.
BJJ is a contact sport, and anyone that has been training long enough knows what it means. Often we come out with some small cuts or bruises. While most of the time these are minor injuries, there will always be that occasional collision with a spazzy partner that will inadvertently elbow, knee, or head-butt you in the face. Sometimes these hits will be strong enough to not only cut you, but damage your teeth as well.
A mouth guard is an easy answer to this problem. Consider it as a type of insurance. To some, it may constrict their breathing as they get used to it. This will also be another thing you have to remember to bring to the gym and wash from time to time. But unlike cuts that heal, a broken or knocked out tooth doesn’t heal on its own. Do not to push your luck! Just wear a mouthguard and roll with some peace of mind.
Tape can be nicknamed the “injury protector”. It does a great job of supporting many smaller joints (such as fingers and toes) or minor existing injuries so you can train with less pain, or no pain at all. The application varies depending on the severity of the injury, but one thing that has been seen over and over again in academies is that tape is an essential part of anyone’s training kit. Of course, if the injury is severe, you should stop training until it has time to fully heal. For many, tape really helps find a balance between taking time off to heal an injury and continuing to train.
This is getting into more of the “it’s not necessary” territory, but this is still something that is nice to have with you. We sweat a ton in BJJ, especially in warmer weather. Sweat towels are not the massive shower towels. They won’t take much space in your bag and when you wash it, it can dry quite quickly because it’s thin and small.
Supplements are very important to the BJJ athlete. Jiu-jitsu takes a heavy toll on the body and if you’re nutrition is not up to par, you can suffer. Having a protein shaker in your bag, along with that scoop of protein or whatever supplement you like to take, will let you get the nutrients into your system as soon as possible so you can recover and be ready again to train the next day.
This is another extremely important item. Rather than buying bottles at your gym, or if there is no water fountain, bringing a large water bottle with you is key. It is generally a good idea to always have a large water bottle with you, because as athletes we require a large intake of fluids, far more than the average person. If you ever had a chance to glimpse at some of the professionals of our sport, you will notice that many of them carry around large jugs of water everywhere they go. It’s absolutely critical to stay hydrated at all times.