Brazilian jiu jistu bjj no-gi grappling training two male athletes drilling technique or sparring at gym academy leg attack heel hook position submission

What Do You Wear to No-Gi BJJ?

No-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is good to train, especially for MMA. In a self-defense situation, a person isn’t always wearing a jacket or pants, so it makes sense to know how to do BJJ without a gi. But, what should you wear for a no-gi BJJ class?

As a general rule, you wear shorts, a rash guard shirt, a mouth guard, and bare feet. Leggings, underneath your shorts, are sometimes worn for comfort but aren’t required. Also, a long sleeve or a short sleeve rash guard is fine.

In BJJ with a gi, a belt is worn. The belt also has a color that signifies your level of skill. Below, I will explain in more detail why certain clothing is worn for no-gi BJJ, if you wear a belt for no-gi BJJ, as well as, what you should wear for gi jiu-jitsu.

Do You Wear a Belt in No-Gi

Getting awarded a higher belt in martial arts is something everyone looks forward to. But, a belt is generally only worn to tie a gi jacket together. So, here’s a summary of whether a belt should be worn in no-gi BJJ.

In general, you don’t wear a belt in no-gi. However, you can wear a belt if you like. It’s common for people to wear a no-gi rash guard that has the colors of their belt. For example, it will be black with a blue graphic or blue areas if they’re a blue belt. But, it’s not required.

A belt can be worn if you wish. But, is a matter of personal preference. Overall, though it’s not very common to wear a belt in no-gi BJJ. No-gi is typically trained as well as a gi class. 

For example, on one day of the week, you might train no-gi BJJ. And on other days of the week, you will train gi BJJ. Once, you train for a few weeks, everyone is generally familiar with what belt you are. Therefore, wearing a belt to signify what belt you aren’t isn’t really needed.

There is what’s called the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). They hold many very popular BJJ tournaments around the world. Including no-gi competitions. Their official rules state that the rash guard worn to compete must contain at least 10% of your belt color.

Why wear a rash guard and sometimes leggings in no-gi BJJ

There are a few key reasons to wear a rash guard in no-gi BJJ. They are:

  • To reduce the chance of getting a minor cut, scrape, or rash
  • To reduce rubbing hair on someone’s face
  • To absorb sweat and make you less slippery
  • To keep you warm in winter

It’s common for infections to occur when rolling in BJJ. Virtually all BJJ schools disinfect the mats after each class. This greatly reduces how likely you are to get fungus or bacteria into an open wound. Many infections you can get from mats can be very bad. And can stop you training for a considerable amount of time. Until it’s completely healed. For example, ringworm, or a staph infection.

Therefore, experienced BJJ practitioners do their best to reduce the risk of getting a minor cut, or scrape. BJJ involves many positions where your face will be rubbing on a person’s chest. And also in some cases in their armpit. It’s a bit disgusting to get your mouth and face in someone else hair. And a rash guard fully prevents this.

What Do You Wear When Practicing Jiu-Jitsu

There are two different styles of jiu-jitsu, gi, and no-gi. Some people have a preference for one over the other. But, what exactly do you wear when you practice jiu-jitsu?

Overall, you will wear either a gi or no-gi. Jiu-jitsu classes are gi or no-gi, and it’s specified for the class. For a gi class, you wear a kimono jacket, pants, and belt. These are the traditional karate/judo-type uniforms that you will have seen. For no-gi, you wear shorts and a rash guard.

It’s optional to wear a rash guard and leggings under your gi. As well as leggings under your shorts for no-gi. A rash guard and leggings are good in wintertime when it is very cold. But, typically once you get warmed up you will be very hot and will want to take your rash guard or leggings off.

A mouthguard is almost always recommended because it can protect your teeth. Getting struck in the face will be accidentally in BJJ, and is very rare. But, it can happen. Especially against someone’s knee, elbow, or shoulder, and if you’re new.

Some schools have rules about the color of the gi. I explained this in more detail about what gi colors mean in jiu-jitsu.

What Should I Wear to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

There is the original jiu-jitsu from Japan, but it’s rare to find. More commonly any jiu-jitsu school you go to will be a Brazilian jiu-jitsu school. So, here’s an explanation of what you should wear to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class

As a general rule, you should wear a white gi for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. However, many Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools don’t mind what color gi you wear. Black and blue gis are quite common. A white gi was mandatory in early Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but nowadays other colors are seen as fine.

If you wear a white gi you can’t go wrong. But, if you want to buy a different color then you should ask your instructor if they allow any color gi. Another good idea is to look at what gis the other students wear especially the higher belts like the blue belts and purple belts.

For your first class typically, you just wear shorts and a t-shirt or singlet. It’s a good idea to go and visit a gym and introduce yourself to the instructors before attending a class. Then they will tell you for your next class what they prefer you wear. Sometimes, they will also have a loaner gi for your week of trials.

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