How to Survive Your First BJJ Camp

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BJJ camps and workshops have become big business over the last few years! With BJJ Summerweek, BJJ Globetrotters, Jiu-Jitsu Escapes and many others pulling in big-name professors to teach hundreds of people over a week, things can get a bit daunting for the prospective athlete.

As a staff member of BJJ Summerweek, I’ve had the opportunity to attend this camp and experience first hand what you need to do to make sure you’re not being held together by tape by the end.

I Should Pack How Many Gis?

So let’s just jump straight into it, training that is. When you’re looking at an empty case and you’re also looking at the amount of gis you have in your cupboard, you ask yourself, how can I pack my favourite 10 Shoyoroll gis?

My personal experience is three gis are more than enough, in fact, if you have regular access to a washing machine, two can do, so you have one for each day, but honestly being sat in a wet gi is not a pleasant experience, so 3 allows you the ability to rotate gis during the day if you need too.

I would recommend packing the lightest gis you have, Tatami Fightwear’s Element Gi is ultra-lightweight and 250gsm, which is the lightest gi you can find on the market that’s not full made of ripstop. I am aware that Globetrotters do make a full ripstop GI, however, I have not had a chance to try it out.

An ultra-lightweight gi is not just helpful for keeping that baggage space down (likely for more gis you’re bringing home), but their weight also means that in hot weather you won’t overheat as fast, and they dry fast, which is essential.

When it comes to nogi kit, I would recommend picking 3 rash guards, two pairs of shorts, two-3 pairs of compression shorts/spats.

Don’t forget your belt!

So in summary, I would recommend packing the following

  • 2-3 Kimonos
  • 2-3 Rashguards
  • 2 Pairs of NoGi Shorts
  • 2-3 Pairs of Compression Shorts/Spats
  • Your BJJ belt

Supplements

Supplements are one of the biggest things you need to think about when you attend one of these camps. It it’s your first one, you’re likely to want to attend all the seminars and all the open mats (We don’t recommend this, but it’s common). So you’re going to make sure that you regain a sense of being human at the end of each day before the night’s festivities begin.

One of the main supplements we highly recommend are electrolytes, these saved me at this year’s camp. As I said before I am a staff member, and being a staff member doesn’t mean I don’t train, oh no…

I can’t recommend which brand to get but just make sure they have all the necessary salts and minerals that you’re body loses through sweating and cannot be regained through simply drinking water.

Creatine is cheap and will also help stem the inevitable cramps you will get from overtraining in hot weather, and caffeine will help with the early morning sessions after the late nights out.

Protein powders, BCAAs are also good but as long as you’re eating well, you should be okay.

In summary, we would recommend packing or purchasing these supplements

  • Electrolytes
  • Creatine
  • Caffeine

Other Bits and Bobs

So apart from training these will also be a lot of socialising, so make sure you pack so nice clothes for the evening, your electrolytes will help for the morning…

A towel for showering after training and for any beach trips

Generally packing for a BJJ Camp is like packing for everyday training just more extreme, so packing a water bottle is good, so you’re not using lots of plastics, packing a few rolls of zinc oxide tape is handy for those hands, fingers, feet and toes that will inevitably get hurt because you can’t stay off the mats.

Also, if you have space and spare weight a massage gun will make you a hero on the mats, and after day 4 your limbs and back will thank you for it…

In summary, we would recommend also packing

  • Clothes for daytime and night time
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Beach kit
  • Finger Tape (A few rolls are easy enough to chuck in)
  • Knee braces and any additional supports
  • Massage Gun (optional)

What Can I Expect Once I’m at The Camp?

You’ve made it to your hostel, hotel or Airbnb and you’ve registered for the camp. And you’re on the bus to your first session. What will you expect to find?

A lot of friendly faces who are just as excited to attend their first camp or return to holy ground. Long lost friends will be reunited, new life-long friends will be made, and maybe a few romances will blossom through the love of just one thing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

If you’re a solo traveller, don’t worry, by the end of the camp, you will have made a group of friends you will consider friends until the end of your days.

Jump in and out of open mats, attend seminars but don’t feel guilty about missing out on some, your brain will not be able to hold all the information that’s going to be thrown at you.

Your ego is not your friend at a camp, 5 days straight of hard rolling will likely ruin your experience. If you wanna roll hard on some days and take it easy on others, that’s totally cool, this is your experience to have. Don’t treat every roll like it’s the finals of the Mundials.

If you’re not competitive like me, camps are excellent places to judge your skill base, ask every colour belt to roll, what’s the worse that can happen?

Smile and make funny faces for the photographers (seriously, it makes our lives much easier!).

And most importantly… Have fun, you’ve likely paid money to be here so make the most of the experience!

Also, a washing machine is your best friend, find someone with an Airbnb and become their best friend…

 

About the author

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Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!