Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and it isn’t hard to see why. The grappling discipline provides practitioners with a means of making friends, getting in shape, and learning valuable self-defense techniques—self-defense techniques that, to be sure, are used by today’s top mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters.

Grapplers would be wise to invest in some affordable and reliable equipment, which will make their time on the mat as pleasant and fruitful as possible. Athletic cups, rash guards, Gis (non-Gi rollers need not worry about that, however), and more will come in handy. And besides these commonly purchased and used items, grapplers can get an edge with some products that are less widely utilized, including finger tape.

What is Finger Tape?

Finger tape is specially designed athletic wear that BJJ athletes who frequently roll in the Gi should consider purchasing. Because Gi rolling consists of many maneuvers (offensive and defensive) that are made possible by gripping one’s own Gi or an opponent’s Gi, wear and tear on the fingers isn’t uncommon. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to arthritis and general pain.

Finger tape works to prevent these latter ailments by minimizing finger damage in the first place—or, in some situations, working to prevent additional finger damage.

How to Use Finger Tape

There are quite a few ways to apply finger tape, the most common and effective of which is the X-taping pattern.

The X-taping pattern is straightforward as can be.

Tear a quarter-inch-wide piece of finger tape anywhere from one and a half to two feet long. Wrap said tape around the base of the finger once (each finger should be wrapped individually), angle it diagonally over the front of the finger, and wrap it once around there; the resulting shape should look like an “X” from the front—but not from the back. Cross back to the bottom of the finger and move once again to the top of the finger; repeat this process if extra tape remains.

After this procedure has been practiced once or twice, it will more than likely become second nature.

This information is sure to help BJJ practitioners to keep their fingers as safe and limber as possible. Bear in mind that fingers shouldn’t be wrapped prior to an average practice; the idea of the support tool is to optimize the feeling and capabilities of the joints during intense practice sessions and competitions. Applying finger tape before each and every practice will increase the body’s reliance on the corresponding protection, which will increase the chances of sustaining an injury when the tape is not in use.