Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Beginner Tip: Taping Your Fingers

As you get started in BJJ, something you will surely experience is sore fingers and especially knuckles. This happens to everyone when you train in the gi; your fingers have to adapt to the somewhat abrasive quality of gripping the kimono fabric. They also need to get used to the twisting, pulling, wrenching and flexing movements they will make as you grip fight. It’s actually much worse for judo players, because they wear much heavier kimonos, and they spend even more time grip fighting.

There’s bad news and there is good news. The bad news is this: the abrasive fabric of a kimono is heard on your knuckles and that part is unavoidable you just have to toughen up a bit. Take care of your hands, and try something like Bag Balm or Working Hands to help them heal and actually toughen. Don’t use regular lotion, it aims to keep the skin soft and that’s not going to help you in this situation. You also don’t want to tape over the knuckle, because then you can’t move your fingers correctly.

The good news is that taping the fingers correctly can give them support and help them with the wear and tear that comes from grabbing, twisting, and pulling. A good tape job on your fingers is similar to putting an ankle or knee brace on a sore joint – it provides support, helps it perform well, and helps keep you happier on the mat. The key here is to support the fingers and joints, not cover them up. Here’s a great video discussion from Stephan Kesting, showing how to tape the fingers:



Note that at Dark Horse Denver, we always have tape around, both for use and for sale. We do this as a courtesy because when someone twists a finger mid-practice, we don’t want to stop and go find a wallet and buy a roll of tape. If you use it occasionally, no big deal. However, if you are regularly taping yourself up, please buy a roll and keep it in your gym bag. We charge far less than a sporting goods store. If you need help taping up, just ask!

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