I must say: I looove No Gi BJJ. It’s my favourite martial art and complements the other martial arts I practice. However, when I first started, I made a big mistake: I didn’t want to invest in specialized BJJ gear and wore my regular gym clothes.

This left me with rashes and injuries. So, consider this guide as your roadmap for what you’ll need to equip yourself for No Gi BJJ, minimizing risks and maximizing your training experience.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss what No Gi BJJ is and why it requires a different set of gear compared to traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or other martial arts. 

No Gi BJJ Class

Why Should You Wear Specific Clothing For No Gi BJJ

When you first step into a No Gi BJJ class, you’ll notice people are laid-back about what they wear. It’s unlike traditional BJJ, where they are very strict about the Gi.

But still, you’ll see a pattern: Many people wear special gear. And you don’t want to be the one who sticks out for not having the right stuff.

Especially rash guards, these are not just practical but also a fashion statement in the No Gi BJJ world. They come in all kinds of cool designs and colors. You’ll find that people love to talk about their latest or best BJJ rashguard like it’s a new car.

But it’s not all about looking cool. It minimizes friction. That means less mat burn and other icky skin stuff. Plus, the right gear will lower your chances of injury. 

So, investing in the right BJJ gear isn’t just about fitting in or looking cool; it’s about keeping your skin safe and making sure you can move however you want. 

5 Musy Have’s You Need To Have For No-Gi

Before you step on the mat for your first No-Gi BJJ class, you should know what gear is a must-have. Here’s what you need for your No Gi sessions:

1. Rash Guards

  • Why Rash Guards?: They fit tightly to your body, stopping loose fabric that could catch fingers and toes during training. But please make sure your Rash Guard has the right fit!
  • Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve: You can buy them in long sleeve or short sleeve options. I personally prefer the long sleeve option because it offers more protection. However, I like to wear short sleeves in warmer months for better breathability.
  • Material and Skin Protection: The material also offers a layer of protection for your skin. Rolling around on the mat, you’re prone to skin rashes. A good BJJ rash guard will minimize that, helping to protect your skin from scrapes and mat burns.
  • Health Benefits: Health-wise, many rash guards come with antibacterial properties. This is important because, let’s face it, mats are full of bacteria. Wearing a rash guard gives you an extra line of defense against skin infections like ringworm or staph. Just make sure to wash your Rash Guards after every practice to keep you and your training partners healthy.
  • Styles and Personal Flair: Rash guards come in a variety of styles. While the primary goal is protection, no one said you can’t look good while rolling. With different designs and colors, you can find something that suits your needs and your personal style.
  • Summary: So, all in all, a rash guard offers skin protection, reduces the risk of injury, and lets you express your style. Making it a must-have for anyone serious about No Gi BJJ. Alternatively, you can also use compression shirts for No-Gi BJJ Training.

2. BJJ Shorts

  • Intro to Shorts: Let’s discuss the second key item for No Gi BJJ: wearing shorts. These aren’t just any shorts; they’re specialized grappling shorts, often called fight shorts or MMA shorts.
  • Why Special?: These shorts are designed specifically for combat sports. They’re made of light, synthetic materials that wick away sweat, so you’re not weighed down mid-roll.
  • Safety Features: You won’t find pockets, buttons, or other elements that prevent your or your partner’s fingers and toes from getting stuck. Thus preventing harm to you or your opponent. I got stuck in many pockets and zippers when rolling…
  • Additional Features: Instead, you’ll often see Velcro straps designed to avoid skin contact. Some even have anti-slip bands to keep them in place.
  • Flexibility and Mobility: These shorts give you the flexibility and mobility you need for grappling. You’ll be able to move freely, with no fabric getting in the way of your technique. It’s about making sure you’re as agile as possible.
  • Alternative Options: You can wear your athletic shorts or gi pants for no-gi BJJ, even if they have drawstrings and pockets. But if your opponent’s foot gets caught, pause the round. Allow them to take their foot out.
  • Buying Tips: So, when purchasing new shorts for no-gi, look for shorts with no drawstrings or pockets (or zippable pockets).

3. Spats/ Compression Pants

  • Intro to Spats: Let’s dive into the world of spats and compression pants. Spats, also known as legging-style rash guards, offer you a second skin for your legs. You wear these tight-fitting leggings or spats under your BJJ shorts.
  • Skin Protection: Spats protect your skin from direct contact with your training partner and the mat. This lessens the risk of scrapes, burns, and even some infections.
  • Muscle Prep: The snug fit also means they have a compression effect. This warms up your muscles and prepares them for action, which could mean less soreness later.
  • Knee Pad Helper: If you’re someone who uses knee pads, spats can be a game-changer. They hold those knee pads in place, so you don’t have to waste time adjusting them mid-roll.
  • Style Points: Plus, let’s not forget the style factor. Spats come in cool designs, so they’re both functional and fashionable.
  • Optional but Recommended: You don’t need to wear spats; not everyone in a No Gi BJJ class wears them. But you’ll notice the higher belts often do.
  • Smart Investment: So, if you’re thinking long-term, a quality set of spats in neutral colors like black, white, and grey can be a smart investment.

4. Mouthguard

  • Importance of a Mouthguard: The mouthguard: is a small item with a big job. When I first started No Gi BJJ, I skipped the mouthguard and, luckily, didn’t end up with chipped teeth or worse. But let me tell you, that was a risky move.
  • Gym Rules: In some gyms, mouthguards are mandatory; in others, not so much. But even if your gym doesn’t require one, it’s a must-have.
  • Teeth Protection: A mouthguard is crucial: It protects your teeth from accidental bumps and hits. And dental work is pricey.
  • Affordable Investment: Investing in a good mouthguard is a small price for keeping your teeth intact.
  • Choosing the Right One: So, how do you pick a good one? Look for a mouthguard that’s snug but comfy. It should stay in place during all your moves but not make you feel like you’re choking. You can find ones you can mold at home with hot water, ensuring it fits your teeth perfectly.
  • Bottom Line: A mouthguard might seem optional, but consider it cheap insurance for your smile. Don’t leave your teeth to chance; protect them.

5. Optional Gear

When it comes to extra protection in No Gi BJJ, it’s all optional, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it. One gym even told me not to wear a groin cup, but let’s be real: safety first.

Headgear: Your Ears Will Thank You

Let’s talk about wearing headgear. You don’t see it often, but getting cauliflower ear is real. It might look cool to some, but it’s actually a hassle. Plus, it can mess with your hearing.

BJJ Headgear might not be allowed in BJJ tournaments, but it can save you from ear trouble. So, maybe don’t get used to headgear, but consider using headgear in training during your rolling sessions. 

I personally don’t use headgear, but I see some people wear them during practice. So you decide!

Knee Pads

I’ve been lucky to avoid knee trouble, but many Jiu-Jitsu athletes aren’t so fortunate. Knee Injuries are one of the most common injuries in BJJ. You’re doing a lot of scrambling and takedowns in No Gi, and your knees take a hit.

Knee pads are a good idea, even if you haven’t been injured. They cushion the blow and give you a sense of stability, making you more confident on the mat. You can use the spats we discussed earlier to keep them in place.

The only time I use knee pads is when I have rashes on my knee from wrestling practice. I wear them so the wound doesn’t open up. Or even when it opens up, I won’t bleed on the mat.

Groin Cup

Now, the groin cup is a bit controversial. Some gyms don’t recommend it because it can give you an advantage or even hurt your partner in certain moves. But here’s the thing: accidents happen. I don’t use a cup often, but having the option is a good idea. 

Extra gear might be optional, but safety isn’t. So, think about adding these items to your No Gi toolkit. Your body will thank you later.

What Not to Wear for No-Gi

When it comes to No-Gi BJJ, not all clothes are created equal. It’s essential to know what not to wear in a no-gi class to keep you and your training partners safe. I made some mistakes in the beginning – I don’t want you to even start making them.

Let’s take a look at what not to wear in No-Gi BJJ training.

Stop Sign

1. Avoid Gi Gear

First off, don’t wear a gi. Preferably, not even the Gi pants. This isn’t a gi class; it’s No-Gi BJJ. The traditional martial arts Gi can get in the way, trap arms, and generally make for a confusing roll.

I see some wearing their Gi Pants during No-Gi, and it’s just not comfortable to roll with them.

2. No Metal and Plastic

Any metal or plastic on your clothes is a no-go. Make sure the material is free of zippers and pockets, they can become a problem fast. They can scratch up the mat or, even worse, injure someone.

In the beginning of my BJJ journey, I used these shorts with zippers and pockets. And I didn’t know they were dangerous. Luckily nothing happened, but I’d say you should invest in some BJJ shorts early. You can find some for about 20 USD.

Trust me, you don’t want to be the reason someone has to sit out.

3. Don’t wear loose clothes

Loose tank tops and baggy shirts can get in the way. They can trap a limb and lead to silly but painful injuries that could have been avoided. Go for something more fitted. The closer it hugs your body, the better.

Remember, you’re not dressing for a fashion show but gearing up to grapple. So keep it simple, snug, and free of extras like zippers or pockets. But also keep in mind you don’t have to always wear a rash Guard. You can also wear compression shirts or Gym shirts instead.

Are You Allowed To Wear Gi Pants In No Gi Jiu Jitsu?

In practice, you can wear Gi pants. I see lots of people do it. But when it comes to competitions, most of the time, it’s not allowed. Each competition has its own rules, so you gotta check them out.

Why can’t you wear them in competitions? Well, Gi pants give you more grip. They help you lock in submissions like triangle chokes and omaplatas, especially when your opponent is sweaty.

But in practice, you can wear them. They protect you from mat burns. If you want another option, you can try compression pants. They’re good for protecting your skin, too.

And they don’t annoy your no-gi rolling partners as much…

So, yeah. Check the rules for each competition, but in practice, you’re good to go!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to what you need to purchase for No-Gi BJJ, it’s your choice. From rash guards to mouthguards, each piece of gear has its own benefits. Let’s look at the big picture: the clothing you wear to class or the gym plays a huge role in how well you train and learn.

I invested in rash guards, BJJ shorts, a mouthguard, and a groin cup. Each one has been essential for me. As a martial artist, you’ll have to decide what to invest in but remember: Staying healthy is the key to consistent training. That’s why gearing up correctly is so critical.

So, when you’re picking what to wear to class, it’s not just about comfort. It’s about safety, performance, and giving yourself the best chance to learn and grow in this art.

But it’s also important to know how to choose your No-Gi Gear. If you’re looking for a rash guard, check out our Guide on the 9 Steps you need to follow before buying your Rash Guard.

Do you have questions about which products to buy? Feel free to reach out. I researched the best gear for No-Gi BJJ and am here to help.

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