Taping Your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu

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As a beginner learning jiu jitsu, it can be difficult to relax when rolling. One of the side effects of this is over gripping. More experienced practitioners will release grips to prevent injury and maintain endurance in competition. But as a beginner the temptation is to over grip so you burn out your forearms and potentially end up with sore or damaged knuckles. Besides learning to relax, one option to help with this is to tape your fingers. There are actually a few different ways to tape your fingers for jiu jitsu.

1. Single joint control
This is the simplest way of taping your finger joints and the one I use the most. Quite simply you put a ring of tape on either side of the joint. The tape needs to be reasonably tight, but not too tight as this could affect your blood flow to your fingers. This seems to help with preventing me from closing my fist too tight and applying a death grip when going for those lapels.

2. X Taping
X taping is a strong way of supporting your finger joints. This method is similar to the joint control version of taping fingers allows you to provide support to your fingers whilst maintaining a good degree of flexibility. This method is better than the joint control method because it is more durable to the stresses of training and less likely to fall off. This is normally done with one long piece of tape. Starting on one side of the knuckle wrap around the a couple of times, then take the tape to the other side of the knuckle. This is done by crossing over the joint on the underside (palm side) of the finger. Once again circle the finger a few times, before crossing back over the joint, to the original starting side. Remember you want it tight, but not too tight so as to impede your circulation.

3. Buddy taping
This would be mainly used if you have a weakness or an injury, with your fingers. Buddy taping is taping two side by side fingers together. For this you would do the same type of taping on both fingers, as for the joint control. Then simply tape two fingers together over the existing tape. This can be useful if you have a weakness in one of your fingers or if you keep catching your fingers in your or partners kimono. I’ve had this happen a few times with my little finger and it can be painful, especially in the heat of rolling or competition.

These variation will help support and protect your fingers. If however you have been over gripping there are a few things that you can do to help recovery. Obviously ibuprofen helps reduce swelling, so could potentially help with the inflammation. An alternative to this would be to put some plasticine or similar in the freezer. If you do get stiffness in your fingers, squeezing the cold plasticine in your fist, will increase blood flow and repair, but the cold will also reduce inflammation. Also using some sort of hand salve will mean you give your fingers a mini massage, helping blood flow and manually improving movement, also repairing you skin