Holiday Gift Guide: 2016

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with jiujitsu and have been for years. On the podcast this morning, Betsy O’Donovan — someone with a wider array of interests, a bigger brain, and two stripes on her white belt — joined me to provide a different perspective on what would make great holiday gifts this season.

She came up with a bunch of ideas I hadn’t thought of — and you still have time to get it done! Listen to the show for details, or just check out this list, with links where available.


This year’s shopping list:

Gis: Everyone wants a new gi. The is a high-value item that comes with substantial personal preference involved, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest Toro BJJ’s Jeff Shaw model gi. As we say on the show, though, there’s no way you showing up with a gi for the grappler in your life makes that grappler sad.
Flip Flops: You need these for the gym. Don’t be that dude who tries to walk in the bathroom in bare feet! We offered four options for excellent flops, including the pair I wore into the studio despite it being December, the Rainbow hemp sandals. You could also get the classic Brazilian Havaianas, or one of the various sets of belt rank sandals. Another project I can personally vouch for because I own ’em are Combat Flip Flops, a veteran-owned company that produces awesome sandals out of recycled material and uses the money to fund girls’ education in Afghanistan.
Private with your instructor / favorite practitioner: Want to play it safe? Buy your friend a private with their instructor, the person who knows their game the best. Want to take a chance? Figure out what big-name jiujitsu athlete they’re a huge fan of, and make a private with that person happen.
Custom mouthguard: Gladiator Guards makes the best custom mouthguards. It’s a big up-front investment compared to a boil and bite, but so worth it, from a comfort, fit and safety perspective. Plus, they keep your tooth mold so if you lose it — or run in through a dryer like I did — it’s easy to replace.
Gear bag: I’ve reviewed the Datsusara Core Bag Pro on the blog before, and it’s still my standard recommendation. There are a lot of gear bags out there that fit different lifestyles, though. One commonality: we all need the ability to drag stuff places.
Sports massage: Who doesn’t want a massage? No one, that’s who. Take it up a notch by getting your friend one at a sports-focused practitioner’s spot, and make your BJJ body feel better.
Nutrition plan & attendant supplements: On the note of making your body feel better, nothing does that like good nutrition. Why not spring for a nutrition plan with a show guest like Sophia Drysdale or Eric Uresk? If your pal is already on a plan, how about funding them with great supplements like Amnutrition or Vega Vegan Protein and Greens?
Online Site Subscriptions: I’ll always recommend two online sites based on my experience with them. Marcelo Garcia’s site is awesome, and so is the Mendes Bros. You get tremendous instruction, drilling suggestions, technique breakdowns and amazing sparring sessions featuring the best in the world. And it’s delivered right into the privacy of your own home. A non-instructional option: a subscription to FloGrappling. Besides watching superfight events, If you like to watch your friends compete at IBJJF events, it’s the standard.
Tournament registration fees: Maybe your friend wants to compete but needs an extra push, or extra cash, or help with logistics. Sign them up for a tournament, like US Grappling’s tournament in Raleigh in January!
Endless sports bras and pony tail holders: If you’re a lady, you probably need sports bras. If you’re a lady or a longhaired dude, you probably need the ability to hold those luxurious locks in place. Betsy recommended a few brands for each, including Champion’s line of sports bras, and Goody’s Ouchless pony tail holders. You can hear her specific tips for how to find out what your partner likes if you listen to the show!
If you have other ideas, please leave them in the comments. In the era of drones that deliver everywhere, there’s still time to get these to the people you care about in time for Christmas. Happy shopping, and happy holidays!