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What to Wear Under a Gi

What do you wear under your BJJ gi? 

It’s a simple question and one you probably don’t even think about if you’ve been training jiu-jitsu for even a short amount of time.  For those absolutely brand new to jiu-jitsu, however, it’s one that comes up, so we thought we would take time to share some information on the subject. We’ll be writing this article from a male perspective, but if you’re female and have helpful insight on the topic for women that train, feel free to share what you think in the comments. 

At the academy: 

Since it would typically be a brand new beginner asking this question, and you’re unlikely to be jumping into organized competitions at this stage, we’ll start with what to wear under your gi when training at your academy. We’ll preface this by saying academy rules and policies may differ, so be sure to check in with your academy’s instructors if you have questions. 

Let’s start with underwear. Yes, you need to wear underwear under your gi pants. Under no circumstances should you be going commando. Many jiu-jitsu players prefer compression underwear as they tend to more comfortable, stay in place, and do not soak up as much sweat. But if you only have old fashioned cotton underwear or briefs, that will do just fine as well. 

It’s also not uncommon to wear compression pants or fight shorts under your kimono. At some academies, wearing fight shorts under the kimono makes for an easy transition from gi to no-gi during live training.  

Wearing a hard cup is less common when training although some people do choose to wear them. Cups can be used for extra leverage in certain positions like arm bars and for that reason they are often frowned upon. Cups are typically not permitted in major competitions. 

Also less common is the wearing of socks or wrestling shoes. Still some people will choose to wear them and if you’re academy permits their use and you prefer to wear them, then go ahead. However, as you get to advanced levels with leg locks coming into play, socks and wrestling shoes could make training more difficult. 

what to wear under gi

Wearing a BJJ Rashguard under a kimono top is common practice.

 

As far as what to wear under your kimono top, once again academy rules may vary. Most academies that we have been around are pretty flexible about what can be worn under a kimono top.  This would typically be a t-shirt or rash guard.  BJJ rash guards do not get as heavily soaked with sweat and most agree are much more comfortable. For those reasons, a rash guard is definitely our recommended option. If you wear a rash guard, it will be a personal preference in regards to short sleeve or long sleeve. Not that long ago, some academies did not require wearing any clothing under your kimono top and, if you were a man, you could go shirtless.  This practice is less common now and most academies do prefer or require you to wear a shirt or rash guard under your kimono jacket. 

In competition: 

Competition is much different than training at your local academy. You will want to check the posted rules for any competition you enter, and you should know that many competitions do not permit the wearing of a shirt or rash guard under your kimono jacket. This is in contrast to the standards we often see in academies. 

Requirements may vary from competition to competition regarding cups and wearing compression pants under you gi pants. Once again, check the rules for competition you are entering.

Summary: 

We hope this article has shed some light on what you can wear underneath your BJJ kimono.  We also want to take a quick moment to mention that whatever you wear, it should be clean. Hygiene is important and no one wants to roll with someone that is smelly or dirty. Wash yourself, your clothes and your uniform every time you train.  Besides that, check your academy’s policies or the competition rules if you have any uncertainty on what types of clothing are permitted. 

Other Resources:

Want to know more about jiu jitsu belts, check out our jiu jitsu belt guide.
Beginning BJJ and want to know what to expect, read our bjj white belt tips.
Have you wrestled before?  Here is our take on jiu jitsu vs wrestling.

 


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