If you’re starting out in Jiu Jitsu, you might be a bit confused as to what to wear for No-Gi BJJ classes.
You don’t wear a Gi – obviously. But that only narrows it down a little bit. What’s allowed, what’s not, and what’s the optimal clothing to wear when you train no-gi?
We’ve got all the answers for you, coming right up.
What Should You Wear to Your First Class in No-Gi Jiu Jitsu?
You might see people rock up in a lot of fancy outfits to train no-gi BJJ.
In time, you can get to looking as cool – or as weird – as they do. But to start with, you don’t need to wear anything special.
If it’s your first no-gi class, you’re fine to come in regular athletic clothes – pretty much like you’d wear to the gym. There are just a few things to watch out for.
You’ll want to make sure you don’t wear shorts or pants with pockets. This is a big rule for BJJ clothing. Pockets allow fingers and toes to get caught, which causes injuries.
Also make sure you don’t have any zippers or hard parts (metal fasteners, buckles, clips, etc) on the outside of your clothes. These can cause cuts, scrapes and scratches very easily.
As for the top, you’ll be fine with a regular athletic shirt. Be prepared for it to get sweaty, and perhaps torn a little as well.
The tighter-fitting your clothes the better, but if it’s your first class, you’ll probably have a bit of leeway here.
What Do Most People Wear for No-Gi BJJ?
Regular no-gi Jiu Jitsu clothing is pretty similar to the kind of clothing you wear to go for a swim.
You’ll wear a tight-fitting rash guard on top, with BJJ shorts on the bottom, which are not too different from board shorts, like you’d wear to the beach.
You might also wear tight-fitting leggings, or “spats”, underneath your shorts. It’s common for women to wear spats, and I find around 50/50 for men (completely up to your own preference).
The point of the uniform is to avoid getting caught up on loose fabric – hence the tight-fitting clothing.
It allows you to flow easier between positions, and minimizes friction, which can result in cuts and abrasions to the skin.
Additionally, the similarity to swimming or surfing gear is no coincidental. You can expect a lot of sweat flying around in Jiu Jitsu. Particular fabrics help pull the moisture away from your skin, while not absorbing it all and weighing you down.
BJJ No Gi Uniforms
Let’s look a little deeper into the specifics of what to wear for no-gi Jiu Jitsu.
On top, you’ll wear a rash guard, or a tight-fitting compression top.
These reduce friction, increase mobility, and can provide certain performance benefits as well.
Here’s an example:
It should fit close to the skin, not allowing any limbs, fingers, toes, etc to get caught up.
Check out out top BJJ rash guard recommendations here. There are a ton of brands out there making amazing rash guards, both high-performance and with awesome designs.
BJJ shorts are pretty much the same as board shorts, like you’d wear in the pool, the beach, or to surf.
They’re not necessarily tight-fitting, but you don’t want them too loose either. I have trained with people who wear Muay Thai shorts for no-gi before, but this isn’t ideal.
Your shorts should have no pockets and no zippers or anything like that on the outside. If there’s a drawstring, it should be on the inside. And any velcro should be easily covered up (no better way to get a gnarly scratch than from exposed velcro.
Here’s an example – simple, yet does the job:
No-Gi BJJ shorts can be varying lengths. Some prefer them shorter, midway up the thigh, like this:
Yet it’s probably more common to see BJJ shorts come down to around the knee, like this:
It’s really down to what you prefer – and how much leg you want to show! Many people will wear spats under their shorts too, which we’ll get to next.
Check out this post for some recommendations on the best shorts to wear for no-gi BJJ.
The final staple for what to wear in no-gi BJJ are spats.
These are compression pants or leggings – tight-fitting, and usually going all the way down to the ankles.
Spats are fully optional. If you choose to wear spats, it’s for the same reason you wear a rash guard – less friction, protection from mat burn, cuts and scratches, better mobility, and to keep bacteria off the skin.
They also give you a chance to accessorize, and match your rash guard, to create a matching outfit like so:
Of course, some people don’t care about looking fancy on the mats. That’s fine – no judgement! You might prefer simple athletic leggings, like you’d wear for running.
Generally you’ll want to wear shorts over the top of your spats. People do wear just spats sometimes, but it’s a little poor form to go and train in spats only, particularly as a male. They leave… nothing to the imagination.
We’ve put together a list of our top recommendations for spats here. Check out that post and find something that matches your awesome new rash guard.
What else might you wear for no-gi BJJ? These are all optional, not necessarily standard for the no-gi BJJ uniform, but things you might want to consider.
Men might want to wear a cup, or a groin guard. There’s no striking in BJJ, but you can take accidental knees and elbows, which seriously hurt if they land in a certain area.
Cups are not allowed in competition, however. They’re generally fine to use in training though.
You can also wear a mouthguard in BJJ. For the same reason as you’d wear a cup, accidents do happen, and you probably want to preserve your beautiful smile as long as possible. This is again fully optional.
This post has some good mouthguard options, from cheap to high-end, custom-fit options.
Some people wear BJJ headgear in training too. This headgear can be a couple of different styles – sometimes like rugby headgear, sometimes wrestling-style ear guards.
This is to protect the ears. It’s quite common in Jiu Jitsu, with all the friction and rubbing that your ears go through, to get “cauliflower ears”, which are painful (at first), and look unsightly for a lot of people.
The majority of Jiu Jitsu athletes don’t wear headgear, but if you want to do so to protect your ears, go ahead. It’s not legal in most competitions, however.
Final Thoughts: What to Wear for No Gi BJJ
If you were confused as to what to wear to no gi Jiu Jitsu, hopefully we’ve cleared that up a bit.
If you’re just starting out, don’t stress it too much. Just remember – no pockets, no zippers. Other than that, pretty much anything will be fine for your first day or first week.
Going forward, get a decent rash guard or two and some BJJ shorts. You can go all out to put together matching outfits, or find something low-key and affordable – it’s your choice.
The most important thing is that your clothing is safe and functional. Don’t let it get in the way of your training, so you can progress as fast as possible.