Some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners almost never end up using tape and others live by it. I personally think it comes down to the type of BJJ style you like to play. For example, if you are doing NoGi, then needing to tape your fingers outside of an injury is most likely never going to happen, but if you are a big fan of spider guard, then tape on your fingers will probably be in your future. Here at Casarez BJJ in Cary, NC, we practice all the various types of guards in our adult BJJ and kids’ BJJ classes. When you start learning variations of the open guard, the tape is probably a smart practice.
What Type Of Tape To Use?
Some might say tape is tape: just use what you have and it will be fine. But others have a brand they live by.
Normally found at any big store and sports stores especially. A good tool to have in your BJJ bag for both minor injuries and to tape fingers. “Tip: if you choose to go with this, take a piece and rip it in half. Then, use the smaller pieces to wrap your individual fingers.”
BJJ Specific Tape
This type of tape has a bit more adhesive that will help it stay on your fingers better and is already at a width ready to go. This type of tape can be best found on either a grappling network site or Amazon. The fun thing is that you can get “grappling tape” in various colors and from a number of different brands.
My Finger Tape Benefit Theory
Sometimes it is best to prevent injuries before they happen, well actually it’s always a good idea to do so. As we evolve in BJJ, there are styles that we will lean towards because they suit our body types and overall techniques better. Taping your fingers due to the fact that having sleeve and collar control helps you stabilize your position. Also, time wears on us in this sport, so why not give some aid to the fingers and prevent them from moving too much in one direction, getting squashed or damaged?
Finger Exercises and Conditioning Help Too!
Depending on just tape is not a great idea but instead starting a finger exercise regimen to go along with the tape will help keep your fingers and their joints in tip-top shape. Some ideas are below:
- Getting a thick rubber band and spreading your fingers out repeatedly
- Using a tennis ball or racquetball and squeezing it (more grip but still)
- A hand soak in ice water after a hard session where grips were a primary use
Rope or rock climbing work (This will toughen up the fingers but may also stress them)
That was a sidetrack from the actual taping of this article, but I think it is still beneficial to keeping the fingers in good shape.
How To Tape The Fingers
Now, this may depend on your background or preference. There are a number of videos out there as well with great instruction to go step by step in completing this. I am going to give just general advice for accomplishing this to give a general overview.
The support method:
I like to think of this as similar support that you may have on a larger area of the body like the arm or knee. Starting with the base of the finger with a wrap then crossing over the bottom of the middle joint. From there wrapping the top of the finger to X the tape causing a limited motion / full support style of taping.
The wrap only method:
This is how I started taping my fingers at first but due to a recovering injury, I ended up going with the “full support method” to aid in the healing. I think that if you are in a hurry or just find that you do not have too much soreness, this will work. Simply tape in between each joint which will reduce the range of motion allowed to the fingers. This will provide a level of protection from overextension or in some cases, smaller jams that may occur.
To Tape Or Not To Tape
Now, this is totally up to you as the practitioner, but I wanted to write this up as many people that just start out end up asking someone, “why do you use tape?” As stated in the first part of the write-up, I think it depends on the type of game you play and how much wear and tear you have on your fingers. I hope this helps anyone out there who has been on the fence to wear tape or not. I will say that my grips have been keeping my opponents in my control better which means a fresh batch of tape just came in the mail.