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The Science of Taping your Fingers for Jiu Jitsu

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Gordon Ryan Guard Passing Instructional

If you train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with the gi (kimono) regularly, the chances of you having problems with the joints in your fingers at any given point is almost 100% certain. Although it is wise to give the joint time to heal, some of us, the stubborn ones, rather insist on training, aggravating the problem.

The swelling of the joints is caused by the trauma of repeatedly pushing your your joints to the max, with constant pressure, impact and tugging which can result in having hands like the ones depicted on the banner (which belong to Paulo Miyao). There have been many studies regarding the subject of swollen finger joints in grappling, including in other sports such as Judo.

This is a simple yet effective way to control the movement of your fingers containing the damaged joint, but it can also be used to fortify your grip when you are injury free. The trick is to use a good quality athletic tape; much like the tape you see footballers and Rugby players use to tape their ankles and wrists, which should be available at specialist pharmacies.

The example shown here in this Gracie Jiu Jitsu video, with the “X” shape finger taping is helpful, but the same effect can be drawn from taping circles around the phalanges bones, one around the proximal phalanges, another in the medial phalanges and another in the distal phalanges (distal phalanges is not always necessary depending on the damage on the finger). Also, even though you might have only one finger injured we advise you to tape at least the two fingers next to the damaged one in order to fortify the whole hand.

You will find that with this your grip will be stronger and there will be a lot less pressure on the joints.

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations


  • kasushi says:

    Boa dica. Acho que a maior parte das pessoas poe a tape um bocado ao calhas e isto ajuda.

  • Bill says:

    What tape are you using? Where can I get those large rolls?

  • admin says:

    Hi Bill, I use a Brazilian brand called "Esparadrapo" from "Cremer" but I am sure that some pharmacies will have it… If you are in Europe, checj Rugby shops. They often use the same tape to put around their ankles and wrists…

    • Eduardo Toledo says:

      u know, "esparadrapo" is the name of the tape in portuguese 🙂

      cremer just putted the general name in the product, bcse its almost a comoditie hehe

    • Eduardo Toledo says:

      esparadrapo não é nome genérico?

  • Billy says:

    Hi, thanks for the quick reply! After posting here I went to chemist and found a half decent sized roll, but not as good as this one here. Thanks for the advice, I also got told to check out Hockey tape (prob same as rugby tape) I will check it out online. Thanks.

  • admin says:

    No Problem billy, hope you find it.

  • Kim says:

    Hello Andre!!! Its Kim from Korea(south). How are you!!!!!

    Can I translate this page and post it to the internet? (of course I will write down where I get this article from!!!)

  • admin says:

    Hey Kim!! How is everything? Long time, hope all is going well in Korea. Feel free to translate.

    Keep in touch


  • shakalery says:

    HELLO ANDRE! I want to discuss with you alittle about my problem. Problem is that am too interested in doing jui jitsu but due to lack of resources and helpers not yet able to do so. I will be thankfull to you if you tell me some of the basic and most important things of jui jitsu. Which i can practice alone

  • Danny says:

    Hi am live in USA andhaving problems with joints n burns, where can i buy this tape, is hockey tape the same? Can i find it in academy or is there a website i can buy, thanks my guys i appriciate any answer.
    also if u can shoot me email
    [email protected]

  • aaron says:

    for people in the us just buy athletitc tape or medical tape. its the same thing..

    • Pasquale says:

      Athletic tape and medical tape are two entirely different things. Medical tape does not work very well for this purpose as it is extremely rigid and doesn't tend to stick to skin as well. Medical tape is designed to be water proof and to be applied to gauze, not so much your skin.

      You want Athletic tape, you can tell the difference because it will feel more like cloth than plastic. Medical tape will feel like plastic.

  • Kyle says:

    Try Johnson & Johnson Zonas tape. You can get it on Amazon. I tried using the standard athletic tape from CVS & it didn't tear well at all. The Zonas tape works great for tearing the kind of narrow, long strips you need. I've read that standard J&J Coach tape is good too, but the Zonas is supposedly the top of the line.

  • thomas Jeppesen says:

    Hello. Are there any rules to what colour tape you can use?? especially if using Kinesiology Taping??

  • Andrew says:

    Hi just wanna ask how do i get the tapes into thinner strips like in the video cause i've found similar tapes but they are all in full sizes.

    • bjjheroes says:

      Hey Andrew, you can buy a wide tape and then tear it apart into smaller strips with your hands. Athletic tape is easy to tear. Alternatively you can use a scissor to tear it into thinner strips.

  • James says:

    So my biggest problem so far when rollin has been actually my distals, not the mid or upper on my fingers. Any recommendations for that? Is it maybe im just grabbing the gi too hard? Would taping my distal joint help that much?

  • Kelly says:

    Tape is sometimes the only thing holding this old body together. Thanks for the tips. Because I have really strong grips from years of powerlifting, I rely on them way too much, so my fingers are always a wreck. I've been trying integrate a lot more no-gi "monkey grips" to give them a break. Great site, keep up the good work!

  • Aaron says:

    Approximately how wide is the strip you are using for the finger, big toe and taping the toes together. Thanks in advance.

  • @SereenSeno says:

    I wonder how early on should you tap your fingers in your training?

  • Rich says:

    Awesome, I been looking for a post on how to tape the fingers. Definitely gonna be linking to this on my next post! I’ve been using Johnson and Johnson tape. Haven’t tried Esparadrapo, maybe I’ll give it a shot!

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