Frequently asked questions

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Can I replace worn out stripes on my belt by myself?

If you have been awarded stripes and they are so worn out that they fall off the belt patch, it is ok to replace them yourself. If you want to keep the original stripes you can give them a couple of extra stitches with white yarn.

Depending on the tape you can iron them right after they were put on, this will create a better bond of the glue to the tissue.

Do you wash your belt?

Yes, you do! However, you don't want to wash it after every training as you should do with your gi. The wear and tear of your belt should come from rolling, not from washing. It is ok to wash your belt every couple of weeks.

How often do you wash your gi?

After every training. You sweat a lot, especially during sparring. Sweat contains lactic acid, urea and mineral that will remain in the gi when it dries and very quickly become smelly if not removed by washing.

While in other sports it may be acceptable to put on your clothing twice before you put it into the laundry, in combat sports which involve sparring this is a bad idea.

My gi is smelly even though I wash it after every training. What can I do?

This is a common issue for people who sweat a lot. Try washing your gi with cheap vinegar, the one they sell for cleaning. Even better is to let the gi soak in water with vinegar for some time before you wash it.

If this doesn't help you should buy a antibacterial detergent. Most of them are formulated to also remove smell from tissues.

Do not use softener as it will damage the tissue and weaken your gi!

What are the requirements to get your first stripe as a white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Bjj is known for high standards as well as for its more informal rank system based on generally assumed expectations for each belt color.

So what exactly is required to get your first stripe largely depends on your school or instructor.

In general terms, a candidate for the first stripe amongst others should

  • be familiar with etiquette and standards of the dojo,
  • train regularly,
  • be familiar with all basic movements such as shrimp, roll forward/backward/sideways, sit-through, technical stand-up, etc.
  • know and be able to identify all major positions, i.e. back mount, mount, side control, closed/open guard, half guard.
  • seamlessly integrate into the flow of each class,
  • show some progress,
  • should be able to properly tie his belt (sic!),

Apart from the above there are usually some specific techniques or skills you need to show, for instance basic escapes from mount and side control.

What is the difference between gi and no-gi?

First of all the rule sets are different. The keikogi, generally called "gi" is the kimono worn during the practice of jiu-jitsu. It allows for good gripping which is why grips to the gi are an essential part of the techniques. Many techniques entirely depend on parts of the gi such as chokes, and guards. In no-gi it is not allowed to grip any part of the clothing. Because the gi absorbs most of the sweat during sparring or competion good grips can still be established on the opponent.

This is not the case in no-gi. The rash guards worn in competion very quickly become slippery which leads to a far more dynamic and faster game. Submissions and sweeps are more difficult because of the lack of gripping in no-gi.

Because of the difficulties to establish good grips on the upper limbs and torso the legs have become an important target for attacks to a point where many jiu-jitseiros that practice no-gi specialize in leg attacks. There are many leg and foot attacks in no-gi that are not legal under gi rules.

What is the most important rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

For me the most important rank is the first stripe on your white belt. The white belt is the only belt you do not get awarded, you just go and buy one, so anybody can legitimately wear a plain white belt. When you get your first stripe it is the first time you actually get awarded a rank. Apart from the technical requirements that may be related to it (depending on your school or club) the first stripe actually means that your instructor thinks you are consistent and serious about bjj. You are now part of it.