This article is to answer the question: why do people wear spats for BJJ?
I thought spats were just for warmth…
…until I saw people wearing spats for BJJ in the middle of summer!
So I did some digging:
And now I wear them all the time too!
The reasons why people wear spats for BJJ include:
1. Wearing spats prevents cuts, scratches, scrapes, and mat burn
This is the main reason I now wear spats when I’m doing No Gi grappling.
I’m okay with getting choked, strangled or armlocked.
But ‘mat burn’ on my knees?
That’s a big ‘no’ from me.
[And it seems I get this EVERY time I roll in grappling shorts]
Since I’ve started wearing spats for BJJ I’ve never had this issue.
And, aside from me being soft when it comes to grazes, there’s this:
2. Wearing spats prevents bacterial and fungal infections
BJJ mats are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Wearing spats helps prevent getting infections in 3 ways:
First, they help prevent the scratches and grazes that germs like to use as a doorway into your body (gross)
Next, they act as a physical barrier to keep the cooties away.
This is important because you don’t actually need cuts or grazes to get an infection:
“Fungal infections like ringworm can occur through direct skin-to-skin contact”
Finally, the best BJJ spats are usually made from antimicrobial material.
3. BJJ spats stop people pinching your skin (even when you’re wearing a Gi)
Don’t you hate it:
“Someone thinks they’re grabbing your Gi…
…but they’re using your Gi to grab your skin?”
A pile of your leg hair?
[My eyes are watering just thinking about it]
BJJ spats stop this. It’s like wearing a rash guard on your legs.
4. Wearing spats under your Gi pants can stop chafing
I’ve never experienced chafing from my BJJ or Judo Gi before… but it makes sense. Following on from the above quote:
It’s not just ladies who wear spats for this reason:
Spats are like long versions of bike shorts that you wear under your Gi.
5. Spats keep you warmer
This one’s so obvious I almost didn’t mention it
But hey, I live on the coast at the moment. It’s cold. So sometimes I even wear them under my Gi for the extra warmth.
[With a long-sleeve rashie too… my current favourite is the Fuji Freestyle IBJJF Rash Guard, you can read my full review here]
They can make a chilly night on the mats just that little bit more comfortable
6. Spats absorb sweat away from your body
It takes some people a while to get used to the invasion of personal space that you get with grappling.
It weirded me out at first too. Now, I’m all about cuddle-fighting.
Hate the feeling of really sweaty legs?
What about the the sweaty-leg-to-sweaty-leg feeling?
Feeling someone else’s sweaty legs on your face?
Yeah, that can go too far.
7. Spats stop unintentional displays of underwear (or worse)
The hip-hop look isn’t for everyone:
And then there’s this great point from another Reddit contributor:
“With the rise of inverted games there’s a lot of grabbing the top of the gi pants to control your opponent. I’d rather grab between pants and spats than pants and whatever they may or may not be wearing.”
This is another reason why lots of people wear bike shorts under their Gi pants… BJJ spats become the long-legged version of this.
8. Wearing spats creates more friction to help leg locks and guard players
Some people may think this is defeating the purpose of training No Gi BJJ:
Wearing spats helps leg locks and guard players.
They make your legs less slippery.
Closed Guard, Butterfly Guard, Half-Guard, and X-Guard can become tighter because there’s more friction.
And then there’s leg locks.
Before you finish a leg lock there’s the holding of the leg entanglement position…
…so sweaty, short-wearing, slippery legs can be annoying.
Some people wear spats to make their leg locks higher percentage.
The same applies to:
- Omoplatas, and
They’re simply tougher to slip out of.
9. People wear spats for BJJ because they look pretty cool
There’s no denying it:
Spats can be a fashion statement. Just like rash guards.
I’m still a bit shy when it comes to BJJ on-the-mat fashion:
My first pair of spats were a plain black pair like these:
I’ve graduated to ones with a little more flair:
After a lot of research, Scramble Brand seem to be the go…
… and these are the ones I’ll probably buy next:
[although I have to admit I’m not sure if I’ve worked up the courage yet!]
Summary: why do people wear spats for BJJ?
BJJ spats aren’t just about looking cool and keeping your legs warmer. They prevents scratches, scrapes, chafing, and mat burn… which helps stop bacterial and fungal infections. Your partner is less likely to grab your skin (and leg hair) instead of your Gi. Spats stop you from accidentally flashing everyone. They absorb sweat… which isn’t just about being more comfortable, but the extra friction can help your guard and leg lock game.
Comment below: Why do you wear spats for BJJ? If you don’t, why not?
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