A Brief Overview of BJJ Spats

Introduction

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) spats, known as BJJ spats, are skintight stretchy leggings worn by both male and female practitioners of BJJ – and is one of several items a practitioner will need to train successfully.

Although Scramble is the original brand (introducing the concept of spats to the market from Japan), other brands have evolved including Tatami, Venum, Manto, Hayabusa, and Fuji – all offering a variety of styles and designs.

BJJ Spats (1)

Spats are designed to aid a practitioner’s training and competition, using a material blend that resists pilling and stretching, as well as offering protection, comfort, and compression.

Spats are perfect for jiu jitsu (wear under your gi), for MMA (mixed martial arts) and grappling (wear under your shorts). They are even suitable for the gym, yoga, jogging enthusiasts, and many other physical activities/exercises. Spats can provide compression, protection and comfort for BJJ practitioners and physical activity/exercise enthusiasts.

What are BJJ Spats?

  • Spats are pocketless skintight leggings designed to be worn under shorts or gi pants to provide additional protection and comfort during training.
  • They are, typically, made from a combination (or blend) of nylon, spandex, and polyester, and this aids with form-fitting and stretchiness.
  • They also offer many of the benefits associated with compression clothing (see below).
  • They can be worn in both gi and no-gi during training and competition.
  • Depending on the brand, they come in various designs, colours, and sizes.
  • They are also known as spats, BJJ compression pants, BJJ spats, and grappling spats.

Why Wear BJJ Spats?

  • Spats can be worn under a practitioner’s regular shorts/clothing.
  • This piece of clothing helps with manoeuvrability and aids in keeping practitioners dry.
  • They offer a precise and comfortable fit for an unrestricted natural feel.
  • The compression from the spats provides thermoregulation to draw moisture away from the skin, helping to keep the body dry and at an optimal temperature during training.
  • They are designed to offer the practitioner unmatched durability, and will also help keep the muscles warm which can help prevent injury, and also enable the practitioner optimum performance.
  • They help to prevent cuts and scratches, as well as potential infections such as staph and ringworm (which can occur through skin-to-skin contact).

Are BJJ Spats the Same as Compression Pants?

Spats are made from similar materials, and outside of BJJ are commonly referred to as tights, leggings, yoga pants, and even compression pants.

What are the Benefits of BJJ Spats

Practitioners of BJJ will wear spats for multiple reasons, not just to keep their legs warm.

BenefitOutline
ComfortThey cover your entire leg, meaning they can eliminate chafing in the thighs and other areas that can become abraded and irritated leading to discomfort during training.
ProtectionGeneral protection from irritations, abrasions, and infections.
Prevent Mat BurnProtection against irritations from abrasive or rough mats – aka “mat burn”.
Prevents Cuts, Scratches, and InfectionsAs spats cover the entire leg, they help prevent cuts, scratches, and infections.
Helps Keep Your Leg HairFor male practitioners with substantial leg hair, it is incredibly common for hairs to be torn out against the friction of the mats or your partner’s skin or clothing during training.
Compression BenefitsThe compression material of spats can offer many of the same benefits associated with other pieces of compressive apparel.
Many practitioners anecdotally report improved blood flow, recovery, and reduced injury risks when wearing compression clothing.
Winter WarmersSpats will help you warm up faster and retain heat because you are covering more surface area.
Create More FrictionThis can work for and against you.
Some no-gi submissions can be easier to escape from when you are sweaty.
Wearing spats can reduce some of this slippery, sweaty surface and allow you to lock up various submissions without your training partner escaping so easily.
Consideration for Your PartnerSpats also offer improved privacy and personal comfort for practitioners uncomfortable with large amounts of exposed skin during training.
Particularly due to some of the positions in BJJ, an extra barrier between your partner and the skin on your inner thigh can reduce any discomfort with physical contact your partner may have.

What are the Downsides of BJJ Spats?

Although there are several benefits to BJJ spats, there are also some downsides.

DownsideOutline
Having Another Piece of Gear to Purchase and MaintainYou may already have a mouthpiece, shorts, rashguard, and possibly headgear.
Create More FrictionA performance consideration for whether or not to wear spats is that they can increase the level of friction that occurs during live rolling.
With the rise of the leg-lock metagame in BJJ, being able to slide out of threatening entanglements can be the difference between winning or losing competitive BJJ matches.
While most spats should not restrict movement to the point where you cannot escape a leg entanglement, it is worth noting that this may be an issue if you play a lot of leg locks.

BJJ Spats (2)

What Things Should I Consider when Choosing BJJ Spats?

There are number of factors to consider when choosing spats.

FactorsOutline
MaterialMost modern BJJ spats are going to be constructed from a nylon-polyester-spandex blend.
Most will not have irritation from this blend.
For those who experience an allergic reaction to spandex, consider looking for a pair of spats with a lower percentage of spandex or a non-spandex waistband.
You may also want to consider an elastic waistband for extra comfort.
Logo and Brand DesignDepending on your preference you may desire a simple print on your spats or something more ‘flashy’.
Retailers offer a wide variety of design options – for example anime, dragons, and sleek, streamlined logos.
PricePrices will vary depending on your preferences, ranging from affordable for basic designs, fit, and construction to expensive for custom logos and specific form-fitting designs.
SizingDue to the materials used, spats are designed to be figure-hugging.
This means that you should have very little excess once you are wearing the spats.
The rule of thumb is to go by your normal sizings, however it is recommended to size-up sometimes because they can become see through if they are too tight.
A well-fitting pair of spats should not ‘ride down’ and should hug the legs and hips tightly.
StitchingStitching and construction are some of the most important aspects of any clothing.
With regards to BJJ spats, it is advisable to look at the seams, which should be finished with double overlocking stitch.
This gives you the strength of multiple fibres and also gives you flexibility due to their crossing pattern.

Summary

BJJ spats, are skintight stretchy leggings worn by both male and female practitioners of BJJ. They provide general protection from irritations, abrasions, and infections, as well as comfort and compression.

They are designed to aid a practitioner’s training and competition, and come in a varitey of styles and designs.

Although spats offer many benefits there are also some downsides to consider. Finally, when choosing your spats that are a number of factors to consider besides the price.

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