Gearing Up

Getting Ready to Start Grappling Training

This article helps new students get the gear they need to get started.

Here’s a checklist for organizing your trip to class:

  1. Gym bag to store all this stuff
  2. Jiu-jitsu gi for gi classes. The white belt is purchased separately.
  3. Board shorts and rashguard for no-gi classes
  4. Mouthpiece
  5. Water bottle
  6. Flip flops – but leave them outside the mat room
  7. A towel for wiping up sweat

A good gi will last you years, so don’t go for the cheapos. There are no stores that sell good jiu-jitsu gis in Austin, so Google around and get something you like. Colors and patterns are cool. We aren’t a traditional school that is stuck with old white kimonos.

No Gi

A no-gi class looks like a bunch of surfers in board shorts and rash guards. Academy has a great selection of reasonable (and good looking) rash guards for men and women, but their board shorts suck. Head to a surf shop and hit the clearance rack. No need to pay full price for this stuff, since top name brand items are pretty steep.


You can spend $4 on a boil and bite variety or you can spend $90 and get your dentist or orthodontist to make a really comfortable one. I have always gone with the dentist option since it is way more comfortable: you can breathe, talk, and it never slips off. I usually forget I’m even wearing it. You only need protection on the top teeth, not the double variety.

Ear guards

I always wear them, but lots of folks never do. We keep a community pool of this stuff here, so you can check out the variety we have here and decide what brand to look for online if you decide to wear them. They are intended to prevent a relatively rare ear injury that I’ve seen enough in my 13 years on the mats to want to avoid altogether.

Wrestling Shoes

I only recommend wrestling shoes if you have a foot or toe injury. They are perfect for protecting a hurt foot while you train, but they get in the way for some of the tighter escapes and moves so aren’t recommended for regular training.

Knee Pads

Some folks have sensitive knees that are aggravated by the take-down practice we do. I recommend keeping one handy. If your knees get sensitive or bruised, your technique will suffer if you start to avoid dropping to your knee to correctly perform the take-down.