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How and Why to Tape Your Fingers for BJJ

How and Why to Tape Your Fingers for BJJ

1. What is a BJJ Finger Tape?

BJJ finger tape is usually made up of high-quality hard cotton or other durable materials like rayon. It has a strong adhesive characteristic so that it lasts longer during sweaty and grueling BJJ practice sessions. The tape is wrapped around the finger as a protective covering to prevent cuts, rashes, etc. The BJJ tape also supports smaller finger joints, improving the grip and confidence of BJJ combatants.

The tape can also be used to cover other exposed parts, especially joints in the toes, wrists, knees, and ankles.

2. Difference Between a Regular and BJJ Finger Tape

There is one major difference between regular sports tape and BJJ tape. BJJ tape has a narrow width suited to the width of fingers and is usually 0.3 inches or 8 – 9mm wider than normal sports tape. BJJ tape is more reliable and sticks to the finger during longer training sessions, even sticking while you are sweating.

3. Features of the Best BJJ Finger Tape:

If you are a beginner and searching for BJJ tape, then consider the following features before buying:

Adhesion:

The tape should have strong adhesive properties. It should not fall off your finger when you are involved in intense training. Most manufacturers use zinc oxide to give the tape adherent characteristic.

Use of Inelastic and Firm Material

The tape should be made up of high-quality tight material. Most tapes are made of cotton or rayon. These materials provide essential support to the finger joints. It is not recommended you use highly elastic kinesiology tape as these tapes lose their stickiness after some time and are unable to provide support.

Perfect Size:

BJJ tapes have a unique size. The regular tapes are seldom available in the desired size. The grapplers should always choose a tape that is exclusively designed to suit finger size. As described above, the ideal width of the BJJ tape is 0.3 inches or 8 – 9mm. If you use regular tape, you will end up wasting a lot of time cutting the tape off your fingers and this poses a risk of injury to your fingers if they are not be covered properly.

Affordability:

It is possible to buy quality BJJ tapes from any brand without spending a lot. Many brands offer a value pack with rolls and a carrying bag. These high-quality tapes have roll lengths over 10 yards / 30 feet / 9.1 meters. Some tapes will have longer lengths of 15 yards / 45 feet / 13.7 meters.

Does Not Leave Any Sticky Residue:

A good quality tape never leaves any residue when removed. Therefore, if your fingers aren’t clean after you take off the tape, then consider changing the brand.

4. Why Tape Your Fingers For BJJ

Most BJJ instructors tape their fingers before they start training.

Safety:

Like all other sports, there is a chances of injury in BJJ. After several training sessions, you begin to realize that it's not so easy to learn jiu-jitsu as it involves multiple bruises, injuries and wounds, and a lot of pain. Moreover, an important BJJ technique is gripping your opponent’s uniform to control and subdue him/her.

Your hands take the brunt of this violent exchange where you are holding on to your opponent while he/she is thrashing and pulling at your hands violently to remove your grip.

These injuries take a lot of time to recover from, something BJJ players cannot afford as it would result in time away from the mats. In the long run, injuries to the hands might lead to the onset of arthritis. To prevent this unfortunate occurrence, it is of the utmost importance for the BJJ fighter to cover the finger joints with tape.

Protection from Injuries:

Taping your hands is to prevent injuries to your hands. If your hands are damaged, you cannot fight for a long time as the fingers have a slow healing process. This can negatively affect your BJJ career.

Build the Finger Muscles:

It takes a lot of time for new BJJ fighters to master the difficult gi grappling techniques. When you start practicing, your fingers get swollen and tendons become hard, so it's better to tape your finger joints. Taping of the fingers will eventually strengthen your muscles and help you perform grapples.

To Cover Your Wounds:

Most BJJ fighters use tape to cover their cuts and scars. Applying BJJ tape directly to the wounds is a bad practice. When you open the tape, you will open up your wound also. Always cover your wound with the bandage first before taping it.

5. Benefits Of Taping Your Fingers in BJJ

Fingers are the most important tool for gripping and holding your opponents, so you must always take care of your hands. The most known injuries that BJJ players go through are tendons, joints, and ligaments injuries. Taping of the hands will help you in the following ways:

  • It will increase grip strength.
  • It will improve your gripping technique.
  • The finger tape will prevent injuries to your finger joints.
  • BJJ finger tape lowers the risk of a broken joint.
  • It helps to increase confidence, especially in moves that require finger strength.

6. Types of the BJJ Tapes

There are only two basic types of BJJ tapes. One of them is 1.5-inch tape and the other one is 0.3-inch tape.

1.5-inch Tape

This tape has a larger width meant to cover a large surface area. Before using this tape, you need to cut it so that it fits around your finger joints. Incorrectly-sized tapes might work for some but they are not preferred.

0.3-inch Tape:

If you have soreness in the fingers then this tape is perfect for you. It has a narrow width and is ideal for covering your fingers. You don't need to cut this tape unlike the 1.5-inch tape. It saves you time. It also includes 0.2- and 0.5-inch segments, allowing you to n choose what fits more.

7. Types of the BJJ Tapes


There are specific methods used to tape your fingers for BJJ. The taping on your finger depends on the type of injury you are trying to prevent.

7.1. Knuckle Taping


This type of taping is used for injured and sore knuckles. You simply have to wrap the tape around the sore knuckles one or two times. Then wrap the tape around the finger joint below the sore knuckle.

7.2. X Taping


This method is frequently used by instructors. It provides support so it does not hinder finger flexibility and movement. Moreover, it provides maximum protection for fingers that were injured before or during a technique.

In this method, you have to wrap the tape around the knuckles. Start taping from the non-knuckle part of the finger. Then wrap the tape diagonally on the inner side of the finger to make an X-pattern.

Similarly, on the other hand, wrap the tape around the phalange bone before wrapping it around the inside of the hand to make an X-pattern.

This tape will function like braces, providing stability to the tendons and joints.

7.3. Тhe Buddy System


It is one of the best methods to support your injured finger joints. Whenever your finger joint is injured, its stability and mobility become reduced.

For example, if your fingers are already injured, bending and flexing them to maintain a grip on your opponent’s gi would be extremely painful, especially in a competitive setting. You can support your injured finger with this method and make gripping much easier.

Simply wrap tape around your injured finger and the one right next to.

This will lower the risk of overextening and straining your joints during fights. Remember to tape both of the fingers in such a way that the tape forms an X-pattern.

7.4. Restrictive Taping


This is the simplest of all the methods and is used for a quick fix during competitions. If you suffer an injury during a fight, you can wrap the injured part directly with BJJ tape. It is not considered the best option but still protects your fingers from further damage. After the fight, it is recommended that you clean the injury/wound, apply a bandage, and then put on more tape.

7.5. Taping The Thumb


Thumb taping is slightly more complex than wrapping BJJ tape around the fingers. Thumbs play an important role in gripping. Applying BJJ tape to the thumb reduces the overall strength of your grip. However, reduced grip strength is better than a swollen and injured thumb. It takes some time to properly tape the thumb. Start by putting tape on the inside of the thumb and then wrap it around the thumb joints. You can also extend the tape and wrap it around your wrist for extra support.

8. Tips for Taping:

  • Don't wrap the tape around the finger joints too tightly. It can stop blood circulation and your finger may turn purple.
  • When you are done wrapping the tape, gently fold the end of the tape for a clean and nice edge.
  • Never apply the tape directly to your finger joints; this can limit your movements.
  • Do not buy cheap tapes. They lack the required adhesive properties and don't stay on for long. During fights, you are bound to sweat and they will fall off your fingers.
  • Always use a generous amount of tape that covers your wound properly. If you use a small amount of tape, your finger may not be fully protected.

9. Conclusion:

It's a fact that during BJJ training, different body parts can suffer injuries and fingers are no exception. Finger taping must be used as a protective measure just like other protective equipment like headgear and knee pads. If you get an injury and you continue training without letting it heal first by covering it with tape, it will get even worse. So use BJJ finger tape as a precautionary measure when you need to use it.

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