Many jiu-jitsu athletes take the approach of “if I need it, I’ll buy it,” making them very hard to shop for when the holidays roll around. BJJ athletes often have very specific needs and wants when it comes to making purchases, so unless (and even if) you also train, you run the risk of buying them the wrong size or brand.
If the jiu-jitsu practitioner in your life seems to already have everything they need, consider getting them one of these gifts:
1. Private Lesson/Seminar Voucher
Give the gift of education this year! If you know where your beloved BJJ practitioner trains, contact their coach and ask if you can buy credit for a private lesson or two. If you really want to go the extra mile, do some internet stalking and see if they’ve been posting about wanting to attend any upcoming seminars by their favorite BJJ athletes and create a voucher that tells them you’ll pay for them to attend.
2. Custom Mouthguard
Mouthguards are kind of a big deal for jiu-jitsu athletes who like having teeth. But cheap or poorly fitted mouthguards can be cumbersome at best and dangerous at worst. There are plenty of custom mouthguard manufacturers around the world, and many offer gift voucher options.
3. Online Instructionals
Jiu-jitsu instructionals are now a great way for athletes to make more money from doing BJJ while making it easier for students to learn from those at the highest level in the sport. Be careful, though — you run the risk of spending a lot of money on a DVD that your recipient might already have access to if you choose a specific instructional for them. BJJ Fanatics offers gift cards that can be exchanged for their DVDs (and you choose the price, so no need to worry about overspending), and if you really want to be on someone’s good side forever, you can splurge on Keenan Cornelius’ Lapel Encyclopedia, which offers lifetime access and a 30-day money-back guarantee in case it ends up not being what your recipient wanted.
4. Belt Display
Belts take forever to earn in jiu-jitsu, and thus, they’re a big deal for BJJ practitioners. You can buy belt displays online or even in some brick-and-mortar shops that sell trophies and medals, but you can also make them for cheap, depending on how crafty you are. If you’re poor and a white belt in DIY like I am, get a “Kasseby” display case from IKEA ($14.99 USD) and use metallic stickers to spell out the recipient’s name and (if you can find them through some internet sleuthing) the date that they received each belt. If they haven’t received their black belt yet, keep the door shut with velcro or magnets so that it can be opened again when it’s time to put each new belt in.
I am of the opinion that buying a gi for someone else is a bold choice unless they’ve already told you their size and what brand they like (in which case, go for it!). If this gift is meant to be a surprise, a rashguard is perhaps the safest decision. It’s much easier to guess the recipient’s size, and you only have to worry about their torso instead of worrying if both the gi jacket and pants will fit. Plus, rashguards are usually far less expensive than gis, and with the amount of laundry BJJ people go through, an extra one wouldn’t hurt.