Everyone has questions when they first think about joining a BJJ or MMA gym. Most of them are answered when prospective students spend time researching an academy or a particular style of martial arts. This MMA gym FAQ is not about the big questions like ‘Is MMA an effective form of self-defense?’ which has been answered many times by those more eloquent than myself.

Instead, this FAQ and other future FAQs will be about the small questions that inevitably crop up as one explores the world of Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

What is appropriate attire for MMA / BJJ training?
Ronin’s apparel guidelines are standard for most MMA / BJJ gyms in NYC:

No-Gi BJJ:
Shirts – Rash guards are preferred but fitted T-shirts are acceptable (Sleeveless shirts not allowed).
Shorts – Board shorts are preferred but fitted athletics shorts are acceptable (No baggy shorts).
BJJ or Judo Gis Only (No Karate or Tae Kwon Do Gis).
Shirts – Rash guards are preferred but fitted T-shirts are acceptable (Sleeveless shirts not allowed). Shorts – Board or Thai shorts preferred but fitted athletics shorts are acceptable (No baggy shorts).

What’s the proper way to tie my BJJ belt?
Instead of one answer, here’s three in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvob-EXUJnQ&feature=fvsr. The main thing is to try and make sure your belt stays on, and is unlikely to entangle your partner’s extremities.

Also, I’ve seen students confused about Gi pants, so here’s an extra video about putting them on.

What’s the difference between a Karate Gi and BJJ Gi?
BJJ Gis tend to be woven from thicker, stronger material. Because they’re going to be tugged and pulled on constantly, they have to be much stronger than a Karate Gi that is unlikely to see nearly as much rough usage.

Where can I buy a Gi?
For you convenience, Ronin Athletics sells Gis from Ring to Cage. You can also find Gis for sale from numerous online stores. Ronin also sells a variety of equipment such as gloves and shinpads.

How do I best wash my Gi?
Hygiene is super important, and the BJJ Gi presents some unique challenges. Personally, I wash my Gis after use with a little bit of vinegar and Febreze Sport detergent. I then air dry it. Be careful about putting it through a dryer, as Gis can and will shrink. You should be washing your Gi after every use.

How does the BJJ ranking system work?
The belts go from White to Blue to Purple to Brown to Black. While some schools will use other belts in between these major ones, as well as different belts for those under 18, these are the belt ranks officially recognized by the IBJJF and here at Ronin Athletics. In addition, there are stripes which denote progress towards the next belt. There are four stripes between each belt.

What’s the difference between Gi and no-Gi Brazilian Jiu-jitsu?
We see no-Gi and Gi Jiu-jitsu as two parts of the whole. There are some schools elsewhere and even here in NYC that only train in one or the other, but at Ronin we have both Gi and no-Gi classes as part of our schedule. The Fundamentals class switches every few weeks from Gi to no-Gi cycles to allow our students to have a more comprehensive understanding of grappling. But in general, no-Gi tends to be a faster, more explosive game, while Gi tends to be more deliberative because of the friction and the variables added by the cloth.

Do I have to wrap my hands for MMA / Kickboxing? How do I wrap my hands for MMA / Kickboxing?
There are many small bones and tendons in your hand that need support and protection, and wrapping your hands is an easy way to do so.

It’s much easier to actually see it in action then it is to explain in words. There are tons of videos that teach you how to wrap your hands, but for your convenience, here are two:


How do I maintain my MMA / Kickboxing gear?
After every training session you should wipe your gear down with sanitary wipes and then allow for them to dry. This cleans off the sweat and kills any bacteria that might develop, keeping your gear from getting smelly.

What kind of exercises can I do to get better at BJJ / MMA / Kickboxing?
Other than conditioning and stretching, the best way to get better at each of these respective disciplines is by doing them. Repetition. Each of them has specific movements that are best practiced by doing. Regular stretching will help however, as flexibility makes many of these movements easier to do.

Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? Email them to info@roninathletics.com, and I’ll try my best to answer them in an upcoming post.

See you on the mats.

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