Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has grown massively in popularity which has brought in many new fans and all kinds of people who want to learn BJJ. But what if you wear glasses? Can you still do BJJ with glasses?
People who wear glasses can still do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). In BJJ, most students will wear their glasses during the instructor’s demonstrations and then take them off during training. Another common option for students is to wear contact lenses. It is also useful to note that BJJ is mostly done by feeling, and does not rely heavily on vision alone.
Discover all the answers to what you can and can’t wear in BJJ – in our article: BJJ: What To Wear (Complete Guide)
Okay, so we know people who wear glasses can still do Jiu-Jitsu. But how can you work around the issue, and is there anything else to consider?
Can You Do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Glasses?
As mentioned, someone who has to wear glasses can still practice BJJ. In fact, I did some research into it, and have found that there may actually be very little, if any, disadvantage in BJJ to someone who is partially sighted.
But first, I have broken down a few ways to get around wearing glasses in training.
Ways To Get Around Wearing Glasses in BJJ
Most BJJ classes start with a demonstration from the instructor, followed by technique drilling with your partner, and finishes off with live rolling.
While some schools may differ from this, most will structure their classes this way. So, lets break down how you can get around wearing glasses.
This is where the instructor will walk and talk through the technique of the day. Generally, the instructor will be no more than 4 meters (13 feet) in front of the class while the students sit around to watch. If you feel that you may struggle with clearly seeing at this sort of distance, don’t be put off, it is very common for students to wear their glasses during the instructor demonstrations.
This part of the class is where students are able to practice what has just been demonstrated with their training partner. This is the first part of the class where you will actually be getting hands-on with other students. So, just before drilling starts, it is common for students to take their glasses off and to put them in a hard glasses case, and leave them at the side of the mats (or wherever you feel most comfortable).
Also known as sparring, this part of the class is different from technique drilling because students are able to practice everything they have learned. Again, students will not wear their glasses during this part of training.
The easiest and most common way for BJJ students to overcome the issue of wearing glasses is to simply only wear them during the demonstrations and then remove them during the hands-on parts of training. But what if you need to still wear them?
Can You Wear Contact Lenses in BJJ?
It is very common for students in BJJ to wear contact lenses during their training which can actually be a great alternative to wearing glasses. But there are a few things to consider. Here’s what I found:
Contacts can move around or fall out: BJJ is a close contact sport and it is very likely that you’ll find yourself in all kinds of positions where your opponent is pushed up against your face. In these situations, you could find that your contacts move around or even fall out onto the mat. I did some digging around on the internet about this and found that its less common for them to fall out completely, but does still happen.
Eye infections: BJJ can be an intense workout, and after an hour or so, there will be a lot of sweat on the mats. Therefore, it is not recommended that you stop your training to pick up one of your contact lenses up off the mat and replace it in your eye. If you do then you’re putting yourself at a high risk of an eye infection. To overcome the risk, it is best to bring spares with you to class.
Bringing spares to class: If one of your contact lenses does fall out during training, rather than putting it back in, it is best to have a spare ready to replace it and to wash the sweat off your hands before putting them in. It’s also a good idea to have spares as a backup plan for how you’ll be travelling home after training if you were to lose a lens.
The Feel of Jiu-Jitsu vs Vision
Unlike in other martial arts, BJJ does not rely heavily on vision. Take Boxing for example, if you can’t see the punches coming in, then you’re more likely to get hit. As they say, “the most dangerous shots are the ones you don’t see”.
But in BJJ, because it’s all hands-on, all in close-proximity, you are actually able to feel the moves and the positions and to feel what your opponent is trying to set up. Just through feeling alone, you can know where your opponent’s base is and when they’re off balance. So therefore, vision is an after-thought.
Did you know
In BJJ some people like to try training with what they call handicaps, with the purpose of it to improve their skills. This could be removing one or two hands, by tying them under the belt or even rolling while blindfolded. There is a famous video on YouTube of Georges St Pierre training with Royce Gracie while blindfolded at a UFC open-workout.
We can even find students of BJJ who are completely blind, who have turned what some may say is a disadvantage, into their advantage and have made it all the way through to black belt. The fact that they are purely working on feeling alone to feel the moves and positions, proves that Jiu-Jitsu does not require us to visually plan our moves at all and that Jiu-Jitsu is open to everyone, whether you’re blind, partially sighted or whether you need to wear glasses or not.
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