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Should You Wear A Groin Guard For BJJ?

In most combat sports like kickboxing and MMA, wearing groin guards is a general rule for training. Although in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you usually aren’t allowed to use them.

The argument of should you wear a groin guard for BJJ has been going on for years. Some people wear groin guards for protection whilst others feel it gives competitors an advantage.

Let’s break down both sides of this argument and decide if you should wear a groin guard in BJJ. We’ll go through the advantages, disadvantages, and what major BJJ federations rules are on the matter.

Let’s dive in.

Benefits of wearing a groin guard in BJJ

Like in any combat sport, accidents can happen. Here are three specific benefits of wearing a groin guard in BJJ.

  1. Protects against knee slide passes: Knee slide passes are one of the most effective passes in Jiu Jitsu. Unfortunately, you can on occasion catch a knee to the groin from your training partner. Wearing a cup in this situation can keep your manhood from getting smashed on a pass attempt.
  2. Inadvertent elbows: You can catch an inadvertent elbow to the groin in a few different situations during BJJ training.
  3. Accidents happen: Unfortunately taking an accidental shot to the groin can happen in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Getting an accidental shot to the groin during a scramble is just part of training. Wearing a cup can prevent you from sustaining damage in these situations.

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Disadvantages of wearing a groin guard

On the other side of the argument, there are other reasons why you should not wear a groin guard in BJJ. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t wear a groin guard during Jiu-Jitsu training.

  1. Hinders movement: By wearing a groin guard, you are substantially hindering your movement. You will only have half of your hip and leg movement when you are wearing one.
  2. Advantage on armbars: When you’re wearing a groin guard and have an armbar locked in this puts your opponent at a disadvantage. This is because the groin guard acts as a fulcrum point when you’re pulling back for the arm lock. It gives you extra leverage on your armbar and comes on quicker, which can injure your partner.
  3. Damage your opponent’s face/mouth: If you’re wearing a cup and locked in a triangle you can seriously damage your partner’ face or mouth. When you pull their head down, you’re driving their face right into your hard plastic groin guard. This could possibly break their teeth or even damage their facial bones.

Groin guard rules for major BJJ federations

should you use a groin guard in bjj

Groin guards are banned in all of the major Jiu-Jitsu federations. Here are excerpts from some of the top federation’s rule books on this matter.

  • IBJJF: Section 8.3.7 of the 2018 edition of the IBJJF rule book states this on groin guards.”Use of any foot gear, headgear, hair pins, jewelry, cups (genital protectors), or any other protector fashioned of hard material that may cause harm to an opponent or the athlete him/herself is forbidden. Also forbidden is the use of eye protectors, even if they are made for sports practices.”
  • UAEJJF: Section 16.5 of UAEJJF’s rule book states this on groin guards. “Use of any foot gear, head gear, hair pins, jewelry, cups (genital protectors), or any other protector fashioned of hard material that may cause harm to an opponent or the athlete himself is forbidden.”
  • AJP: Section 8.3.6 of the Abu Dhabi Jiu Jitsu pro rulebook states this on groin guards. “Use of any foot gear, headgear, hair pins, jewelry, cups (genital protectors) or any other protector fashioned of hard material that may cause harm to an opponent or the athlete themself is forbidden.”

As you can see, the top 3 Jiu-Jitsu federations in the world do not allow groin guards in their competitions.

Should you wear a groin guard for BJJ?

After going through the advantages/disadvantages and the rules of top BJJ federations, we can answer this question. Should you wear a groin guard for BJJ? The short answer is no, you should not use a groin guard for BJJ training.

It’s understandable to wear a cup for something like MMA training, where there are strikes, but not really needed for BJJ. Accidents can happen, but they are few and far between in BJJ training.

Also with major BJJ federations not allowing groin guards in their competitions, this should dissuade you from using them.

Conclusion

After going through all of the information, you really should not wear a groin guard in BJJ. But if you want to and your BJJ academy allows them, then go ahead and wear one.

Just know that you are not allowed to wear them in most competitions and you could hurt your training partners.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
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