As a beginner learning jiu jitsu, it can be difficult to know when you’d tape your fingers for Jiu Jitsu. Sometimes you might wonder about everyone with tape on their fingers, like they’ve understood this process forever.
Here’s an example where tape helps: gripping too hard. As a beginner, it’s tough to relax when rolling. One of the common outcomes of being tense during a roll is gripping too hard. The problem with this is that you’ll burn out your forearms or damage your 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. Now, the tape needs to be reasonably tight, but it shouldn’t affect your blood flow to your fingers. This helps 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 the joint control version above. It provides support to your fingers whilst maintaining a good degree of flexibility. X taping is more durable than single joint control 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 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. Then, circle the finger again a few times, before crossing back over the joint, to the original starting side.
If you just read that and are feeling confused, check out the video below and it’ll immediately be clear:
Remember you want it tight, but not too tight so as to impede your circulation.
3. Buddy taping
This is mainly used to support 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 keep catching your fingers in your or partner’s kimono! Previously I’ve had this happen with my little finger and it can be painful, especially in the heat of rolling or competition.
A note on recovering from over-gripping
Here’s some tips for recovery if you’ve been guilty of over-gripping
- Use ibuprofen: it reduces swelling and will help with the inflammation in your knuckles
- Freeze plasticine: put some plasticine or similar in the freezer. If you do get stiffness in your fingers, squee the cold plasticine in your fist. It will increase blood flow, plus the cold will also reduce inflammation. (editor’s note: the US equivalent would be something like playdoh)
- Hand salve: Use a hand salve. It will give your fingers a mini massage, helping blood flow and manually improving movement. Plus, it’ll repair your skin.
It’s a wrap!
I hope these tips on wrapping your fingers helped. There are lots of ways to use tape to help make your game better. When you tape your fingers for Jiu Jitsu, you can help prevent injuries, and make existing injuries easier to do with.
Do you have any other methods of taping your fingers? Share in the comments below!