A lot of hobbies have ‘uniforms’ or clothing associated with them. And often times these uniforms, while eminently practical, fail to align with modern sensibilities about what is appropriate to wear in public. Jiu-Jitsu is no exception to this rule.
Here are the fashion mistakes you’ll feel inclined to make if you play jiu-jitsu:
This is the most practical footwear for jiu-jitsu. Any sort of footwear on the mat is a cardinal sin, but going bare-foot through the rest of the gym is just as wrong. That means every time you step on and off the mat there is this footwear exchange process that happens – and often times it is happening when everyone else is getting on an off the mat too.
The solution? Flip flops. Socks are miserable to put on when your feet are slick with sweat. Slip on shoes aren’t much better. While I’ve seen loafers left on the side of the mat, I don’t know what mad man made that choice – and my guess is that it wasn’t their preference!
The downside is that you’ll find yourself wearing flip flops year round. Going to train but need to pick up some groceries first? Flip flops in the grocery store. Just trained and going to grab a burger with some friends afterwards? Burgers and flip flops. Its 30 degrees outside but there is class tonight? Flip flops and snow has happened before and it’ll happen again!
Representing your gym.
What do t-shirts, hoodies, hats, bumper stickers, mugs, key chains, and sweat shirts have in common? They all come with your jiu-jitsu studio’s branding on it! And it is possible you own all of them. In three colors. Well, five colors for the t-shirt, but since the hoodie only came in navy, heather, and black you had to settle for three hoodies. Ok – four hoodies… but only because your significant other ‘borrowed’ one and appears to have no intention of returning it.
Its hard to fault the decision making process here since you spend literally every minute of your free time at jiu-jitsu studio, thinking about jiu-jitsu, talking about jiu-jitsu, or waiting until it is time to do jiu-jitsu. But people will still fault you for the choice. Those people probably don’t play jiu-jitsu – they shouldn’t be expected to understand.
Your shorts are made by the same company that made your gi
This could be seen as rampant capitalism…but I think the phenomenon has greater significance. Wearing jiu-jitsu related brands is a way of advertising your jiu-jitsu lifestyle to those outside of the gym. After enough conversations with coworkers, friends and family about jiu-jitsu where they just don’t get it, it can be refreshing to bump into a stranger who shares your hobby and thus understands your perspective.
Also, you have to wear pants anyway right? Might as well get them from a company you like!
Ok, this isn’t really a fashion choice that you’ll actively make, but if you play jiu-jitsu long enough it’ll happen. Whether it be a really dramatic black eye from a stray elbow during a guard pass, or four finger shaped bruises along the inside of your bicep, someone will notice your jiu-jitsu bruise.
Do you date someone who does jiu-jitsu? Yea, when people see bruises on their arm they’ll start to shoot you some nasty glances. This makes a great time to start up an awkward conversation about why jiu-jitsu is awesome!
Alternatively supporting My Bruises Are From.org is a way to end domestic abuse, as well as explain to casual passerby’s why exactly you are covered in strange bruises!