Grapplers Gift Guide: 2017

If Charles Dickens taught us one thing, it’s that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. But it can buy your friends things for holidays, and that’s basically happiness for them.

Don’t wait until three ghosts shake you down before you drop cash on Christmas: your 2017 Grapplers Gift Guide has something for every budget, including no budget. That’s right, you can give gifts even though you’re a broke jiujiteiro or jiujiteira yourself. Besides the post below, check out the 2016 and 2015 iterations: a massage, a private lesson, and an online site subscription are still good ideas even though we didn’t want to repeat ourselves. 2014 and 2013 are a little outdated, since a lot of those items aren’t available anymore, but maybe they’ll spark some concepts.The new hotness for 2017:

The Toro BJJ Jeff Shaw Okinawa Gi: A new gi is the holy grail or jiujitsu gifts. It’s a big-ticket item, but zero grapplers are going to be sad if you come through with a new gi for them. The new Toro gi is the best one we’ve ever done, I think, and there are stories behind it. We’re really pleased with how it turned out, the look and feel. If you get this gi for someone this Christmas, I guarantee they’re thrilled.

Renzo Gracie’s Online Course For  Online site subscriptions are generally a safe bet: it’s a small investment ($30 or so for a month) that is thoughtful and allows the recipient to decide if they want to continue the subscription. There are several great sites out there, many of which we’ve endorsed in the Gift Guide before, but new this year is an online course from the legendary Renzo Gracie. Three reasons this a particularly terrific gift: first, it’s a new and innovative way to do online jiujitsu instruction; second, it’s “advanced basics” that build on the fundamentals and will never let you down (I’ve watched lots of this course, and it’s great); and third, it’s Renzo Gracie, and Renzo is the man.

For the best in fight gear, visit Cageside & Toro BJJ.

Original Art from Art of the Dojo: Did you enjoy our episode about RefugeeJitsu? Wouldn’t it be great if you could help fund that great program — and do some Christmas shopping at the same time? Well, you can: you can grab some original art from J.M. Smith’s Art of the Dojo project. One of the gifts I’m happiest to have given was a commissioned picture for a close friend and training partner of mine, but original commissions aren’t the only option here: lots of different options for prints, and it all goes to a good cause. Here’s a print J.M. did of Mitsuyo Maeda, Count Koma, without whom you probably wouldn’t be reading this

Support Favela Jiu-Jitsu: Speaking of great gifts that support great causes … let’s say you could look fresh while also helping provide scholarships to jiu-jitsu students at the Terere Kids Project in the favelas? Have I got good news for you — rock one of these t-shirts and you can do both.

Framed Photography from Great Moments Rolling or Competing: A happy consequence of jiujitsu’s growth is that talented photographers are covering events more than ever — and what grappler in your life wouldn’t like an awesome picture from their happiest moments? CAM Photo & Design has been covering the US Grappling and IBJJF events lately, so the epic photo you want for the grappler in your life might already be out there in one of these albums. If it’s not, many photographers have packages where they’ll cover matches for specific people. Or why not combine the two? Send a photographer to document a tournament for the grappler in your life, don’t tell ’em, and then get ’em a print of the dopest photo.

Be real: if your friend won a big match and a photo like this existed … she’d want it.


The next few recommendations are going to be for low- or no-cost gifts.

Personalized Rolling Playlist: Let’s say you’re tapped out this year, or you’re, ahem, “frugal.” You have creativity, talent, skills and thoughtfulness! You could make a themed rolling playlist, like this one dedicated to top pressure passing. Just don’t put “G in a Gi” or that terrible Chris Brown song on it. Put some Dilated Peoples on there. Rakaa actually trains.

T-shirts: Everybody likes t-shirts, and Toro has a bunch. Fun fact: dirty guard pullers are 238% more likely to enjoy jiujitsu shirts.

Drilling time: You pay for everything with money or time. I deeply appreciate all the training partners over the years that have taken moments out of their lives to let me drill weird berimbolo combinations on them. So you’re broke. How about a gift certificate for two hours of letting someone drill moves on you? The grappling geek in your life will dig it, I predict.

Soap: Everybody needs it. Why not support people who do jiujitsu that make it? I rock with both Tortuga Soap, a family-owned company that has great products, and Trap and Roll Soap, which I have on good authority is made with the souls of actual luchadors. Soap is something every grappler uses (or, uh, should), and plus, you can play it one of two ways: “hey, here’s a handcrafted product made by people who love the thing you love,” or “mannnnnnnn, I, and everybody at the gym, thought you could use this. If you know what I mean.” Choose wisely!

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