I have seen students come to the academy with their kimono in everything from a plastic shopping bag from the local grocery store to a huge equipment bag with every conceivable piece of gear!
Most students of jiu-jitsu will have a gear bag dedicated to their bjj gear and different items which are useful at the academy.
I looked in my own gear bag and here are the items I carry with me each time to the academy.
If you have a smart phone, you may not need a camera but I always keep my camera in my bag for 3 reasons:
– The day I don’t have my camera with me is the day a UFC fighter or World Champion will stop by the academy and I’ll miss a chance for a photo after training
– Record a technique that you saw that you don’t want to forget
– One of your classmates gets a new bluebelt and you want to capture the moment when the belt is tied around their waist
2) Athletic Tape
Sore fingers and toes benefit from being taped together to support the injured digit.
Also, any small cuts or abrasions may be covered with a bandage, which will come off within the first 30 seconds of rolling!
A few wraps of tape will cover the bandage and help keep it in place.
3) Shorts / rashguard
If the weather is unusually hot that day or one of your classmates is preparing for a mma fight / no-gi competition you may want to take off the kimono and do a little training no gi.
Some days at the academy I will change up the training a little and teach some wrestling ties or no-gi grips. If a student has no rash guard or extra T-shirt, they will train in the only T-shirt they wore to class, and have to leave the academy after training in a thoroughly sweat-soaked T-shirt!
4) Mouth guard
Mouth guards come from custom fitted models costing several hundred $$ to the basic “boil and bite” versions.
Many bjj students wouldn’t step on the mat without their mouth pieces. All it takes is an errant elbow or knee during a roll and a painful (and expensive!) dental injury could result.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
5) Water bottle
Now this one seems obvious, but this is the item I forget the most often.
I refill my empty water bottle at home from my water filter instead of buying a new plastic bottle each time.
Curiously, the “lost and found” box at my gym is filled with expensive (and forgotten!) “hydration systems”. I am not the only one to forget my water bottle.
6) Analgesic balm / cream
My head instructor teased me and called Ben Gay or A535 hot balm “my old man cream”.
But on those frigid winter mornings when I was changing into my kimono and the old meniscus injury was protesting, a little dab of heat on the knee sure felt great.
Also, if your kimono happens to have any….err….disagreeable odors, the strong peppermint scent of the balm might help cover the smell of the gi.
Muscle soreness is not uncommon to grapplers. Following a session of passing spider guard, in which I was bent over at the waist for over an hour, my lower back started to twitch and spasm.
It is handy to use a few Tylenol (or other equivalent pain relievers) to help reduce the inflammation and pain of an overused muscle.
Read also: 5 Tips On How To Care For Your BJJ Kimono
What essentials do you carry in your own bjj gear bag?
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Taipei, Taiwan