12 Apr 2010

The Naked Grappler



This is me without a gi and belt. I mean what a lot of crap I have to wear just to protect my puny and fragile being (not flattering I do apologise!). From the top down, we're talking ear guard, mouth guard, elbow support, groin guard, knee pads, ankle support and more often than not (though not pictured) copious finger tape.

Of course most of this is not allowed in competition. I wonder how much of this gear I actually really need? Maybe they are my security blankets?

Take the ear guards for instance. The actual likelihood of getting caulied in the ear is very rare for me. I did not wear ear protectors for the first five years and all I got were just a little sore ears, but nothing major. So do I really need them?

And gum shields. I did bite my tongue once and it bled horribly, but it was a one off I reckon. Rash guards? groin guards etc etc....all excess baggage I think.

So when it comes to tournament time, shedding all that baggage and just donning my gi and belt (and gum shield) is very liberating indeed.

How much baggage do you bring to the dojo?

About the Author

Meerkatsu

Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.

21 comments:

A.D. McClish said...

I usually wear a knee brace. And liquid band aids on any cuts or scrapes (bjj mats are gross! lol).

Stephanie said...

I go gi, belt, and rash guard/vale tudo shorts. ..and right now, toe tape.

I'm paranoid about my pants coming off, and being in a room full of men in my underpants... and a rash guard because well, I need to wear something under my gi. =) I hate the way sweaty tee shirts feel so I have to go rash guard.

I probably should wear a mouth guard.

Meerkatsu said...

Is a knee brace different from basic knee pads (as shown in my photo)?

Here's another question? How come ladies very rarely wear ear guards (or so I've noticed)? Is it a style of game thing?

Meerkatsu said...

My team mate Hana wears a swimming suit underneath her gi, acts as a pretty good rash guard and any embarassing trouser slippage is covered up by the swim suit.

Stephanie said...

That is a REALLY good idea, the swimsuit. I may try that.

And to answer your question to Allie, she wears a knee brace, not a knee pad. She tweeted in a while back, and she uses it for support.

And I don't wear ear protection because I am a moron. I've had to drain my left ear once, and my right ear is flaring up right now. I should wear ear protection... my ears seem prone to cauliflower.

Georgette said...

I wear an athletic bra, a top (usually a tshirt, sometimes a rashie) and underpants. I can't stand shorts underneath gi pants. I tie my pants string in a knot, and well hell, if the pants fall down, no one sees anything but underpants, big deal. I guess I'm just too old to care :)

I have drained both ears to prevent full-on cauliflowering, but wouldn't wear ear protection except that it holds on the hair cap, to prevent further shreddage of my hair. I watched Luanna Alzuguir compete this weekend at the Pan and wondered how she keeps such a beautiful head of thick hair while training. Why don't women wear the ear protection? I think because it's ugly, hot, and because cauliflowering is uncommon. At least for gals, because I don't think most gals train quite as vigorously or pull as hard on their ears to get out of triangles. We'd rather just tap and learn our lesson, maybe.

I don't get wearing knee pads. Braces, sure... but pads? Why? :) (Maybe I have fat knees, heehee..)

The Part Time Grappler said...

I love all the extra bits. They make me feel like a stuntman :)

I wear knee-, groin-, Rash- and mouth guard, because...

I want my knees to last, my nuts to last, my skin to last and my toothy-pegs to last.

I'm in it for the long-run baby :)

I'm not prone to developing cauli-ears and hence don't wear ear/headguards but I would if I did. Having said that, it's hard for anyone to damage my ears FROM MOUNT BOTTOM! MO HA HA HA :)

Meerkatsu said...

@Georgette. The knee pads are a new addition to my protection range of items. I found they were just really sore and bruised after a session. We train on hard judo tatame mats covered with vinyl sheet and for some reason, they always thump the mats during one or more rolls. Oh and I have really bony knees.

The earguards were at the behest of my wife, who nagged me evryday until I bought and promised to wear them.

One guy in the academy uses boxers wraps to protect his wrist and metacarpals.

Meg Smitley said...

I wear sports bra/crop top thingy or sports bra and rash guard, pants, gi, belt and ear guard when working ear bashy type stuff (e.g. double leg takedown) and often when sparring. I don't 'roid out of positions with my head, but the day I got my second reasonably serious knee injury I also got the slightest swelling in an ear after that session's take down drills. The way I see it, BJJ has taken my knees and the right ribs, my ears are not up for grabs. Besides, my hair is too short to cover up any cauli and it is just too horrible for me to risk ;)

Meerkatsu said...

@Meg, I'd say your hair style is very grappler friendly. Whenever I roll with long haired men and women, I somehow always leave with a handful of their hair. It's a wonder dojo-baldness is not more common ;)

Although my ear-guards were pushed on me, I have to say, I feel very naked without it now. Plus I find it gives me more confidence to tuck in and get my head in places that I would not normally go before...er if that makes sense.
One thing I noticed however - they can slip sideways and in doing so, cause cleaving action on my ears, which is a bit painful.

Triin said...

I usually wear sports bra, rash guard (preferable long sleeve), underwear, biker's shorts, gi. Saw way too much skin at Pan Ams over the weekend, makes me want to cover up even more.

Meerkatsu said...

Oh man, I had the live feed on and the one time my wife looks over to see what I was watching on my laptop and one of the guys had his bare-bum cleavage showing as his opponent was pulling down the pant.

Stephanie said...

One of my teammates just bought knee pads for drilling take downs... which I may also do.

My knees get SO jacked up when I miss-sprawl, or shoot in over and over.

Though, I couldn't see myself wearing them when I actually grapple. Though, if I had to grapple on hard mats, I might. I also have sharp knees. lol

Jadon Ortlepp said...

Just gi and long sleeve rashguard. I wear the rashguard for hygiene reasons so long sleeves definitely the way to go. Cups are illegal in comps and I had some issues starting out but it taught me to armbar properlly.

I noticed I got sore knees when I was shooting incorrectly by pulling forward off my front foot rather than pushing off with my back. But now its all good.

Bill Cooper got DQ'd a while back for not wearing underwear!!!

Kalle said...

For a long time I wore a rash guard and compression shorts, but I left both of them in a bag over night before a practice. I will always remember that day as the first time I went with a gi and nothing else; I've never gone back.

TFP said...

Knee pads are essential if you are in BJJ for the long haul and training/teaching over 3 times a week and over 35 years old.....

I wear a dental made gum shield after getting my jaw smashed and front tooth chipped from another pair of guys rolling on the mats, I was rolling and looking tgo see if all was well when BAM! An opened mouth slammed shut HARD!!

Dont wear a groin guard just fight shorts under the gi and due to the cold, lots of tape on my hands, look like Jacko!

In Phuket at time of writing and due to the warm weather haven't worn any tape at all!

Wear rash guard for health reasons, staph and other fungal complaints can run trhough a club like wildfire, all down to personal hygiene!

jim said...

I wear t-shirt and gi pants with groin protection. I'm not sure why, but I keep getting accidental contact to my eyes. I'm a bit paranoid about getting poked in the eye. Anyone wear eye protection?

Meerkatsu said...

I know whatyou mean, last couple of weeks I've been accidentally poked in the eye several times. Once by myself! Wearing eye protection would be very poor form though.

I've just begun rolling without wearing my groin guard now. I never liked wearing it but did not enjoy the nut-crushing that sometimes occurs with very tight positions. But speaking to many sernior players, groin guards tend to be abandoned after a while, so I'm giving it a go too.

Julia Johansen said...

I accidentally poked a dude in the eye. Oops! o_O

I wear a sports bra, rash guard, and a mouth guard.

Only one guy in our gym wears ear protection, and not all the time. I think he does it when it flares up.

I look at it and think of it as the equivalent of the braces head gear--SO FREAKING NERDY! :) Thankfully I have a friend who is an ENT and promised to fix my ears should anything happen to them.

Andrew Deacon said...

Out of interest, what made your wife start worrying about your ears after 5 years of training? Did she see a picture of some bad caulis or something? I have the Brute Quad III myself which I have worn when an ear felt sore, but I'm hoping that will be a rarity as grappling still feels a lot better without anything around the head. I notice when watching US college wrestling that even they do a fair bit of fiddling with their ear guards and they should be more used to them than anyone! Of course whether they train in them without fail is another matter. I'm just hoping a little vaseline on the ears will suffice most of the time.

Andrew

Meerkatsu said...

Hey Andrew welcome to the blog thanks for your comments.
Well firstly, my wife was not aware of caulis until I moved to my new academy and met my current instructor and he has the worst caulis in the world. This coincided with my putting in a sudden increase in my frequency of training and the inevitable sore ear. Luckily they have never gone the full balloon like cauli effect as I have since started wearing ear guard as per my wife's demands. It's just better to keep the peace at home and I don't mind looking too nerdy with the guards on!
Speak soon!

 

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