BJJ is one of the best martial arts for self-defense, but can you do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with glasses? I decided to find out.
BJJ is more about feeling, even blind people can train BJJ. Having bad eyesight does not stop you from doing BJJ, if your eyesight is very bad you can keep your glasses on as your instructor is demonstrating the techniques, and take them off when you need to practice.
I will explain why having glasses is no excuse to not brain BJJ, and if you really want to train with visual aids, what are the best options available to you.
Why You Should Train BJJ With Glasses
Your eyes do two things, pick up motion and see details and color, unless you are farsighted, you should still see your partner/opponent as BJJ is a very close contact martial art.
As long as your see the general motions your opponents/partner are doing you can adjust and react, you don’t have to have 20/20 vision to see when your opponent is trying to pass your guard or sweep you.
BJJ is probably the best combat sports for someone who is blind, as it is all about feeling your opponent out, it’s easier for a visually impaired person than Muay Thai for example. If you want to see if you can do Muay Thai with glasses check my post here.
Don’t think a blind person can learn BJJ? Check out Russell Redenbaugh who not only is a BJJ black belt but also a three-time gold medal winner in the BJJ world championships fighting normally sighted opponents!
He’s the perfect example that having glasses will not stop you from doing BJJ. Arguably it could be an advantage as a blind person’s sense of weight and control of an opponent is probably even more intense. Check out the footage of Russell Redenbaugh doing BJJ in the video above.
If your wondering but Dillon what if I cannot see my instructor whenever they drill techniques? All you need to do is wear your glasses when you see the techniques being drilled and put them off to the side whenever you spar or perform the techniques.
More importantly, you need to get used to training without visual aids as in a self-defense situation it is easy for your glasses to fog up or get knocked off, or your contacts falling out. So it’s important to learn how to defend yourself using BJJ with your natural eyesight.
BJJ Training Visual Aid Options
Train Without Any Visual Aids
As BJJ is a ground fighting martial art, no matter what you do whether passing the guard or trying to submit someone you do not need perfect 20/20 vision.
If your sparring? I would never spar with normal glasses on, as there is a big risk of damaging your expensive glasses or even worse glass getting into your vulnerable eyes or face.
For most combat sports but especially BJJ training without glasses is your best option and you should get used to it.
If you REALLY want to wear your glasses when doing BJJ training, a decent option is a glasses strap. There is still a risk of your glasses flying across the room if the strap gets broken, in certain explosive movements like takedowns.
The problem is as BJJ with making your sweat, your glasses could get fogged up or wet with sweat, which will hurt your vision more than choosing not to wear them. I wouldn’t spar with glasses as glasses are expensive so your better off not using them at all due to the risk of injury or damage.
If you still want to use a strap an excellent choice is the Chums Eyewear retainer made in the USA which you can get for a fantastic price from Amazon right here.
Prescription Sports Goggles
Goggles are tougher and more secure than glasses and are quite common in basketball, volleyball, and jockey. They will not break like glasses and are probably your best option if you REALLY want visual aids for BJJ and come second to wearing nothing.
Would I recommend them for rolling? Not really, as you can see in this blog of a BJJ practitioner who uses sports goggles, he says that although the velcro strap stops the eyeglasses falling or his head “they just feel awkward” and he worries about his glasses being damaged and they get fogged up anyway.
If you still want an excellent pair of sports goggles that can still use your prescription lenses, look no further than the Bertoni Prescription Sports Sunglasses which you can buy for a superb price on Amazon here.
The problem with using any kind of visual aid is you WILL sweat in BJJ so sweat dripping down will cause your glasses to slip off your nose and make your lenses wet.
Using a sweatband is a cheap solution to this problem, and it’s worth it to get because you can use it in all sports and it helps improve your vision even if you don’t have glasses. However, it will not stop any eyewear flying from your face.
If you want a headband that you can use for every sport and is even Bike helmet friendly, look no further than the unisex Temple Tape headband. You can get them with various colors from Amazon right here.
Now contacts may appear to be the best option as they are not as imposing as other eyewear protection, especially when doing drilling they are less likely to pop out.
However, for rolling I would never use contacts, as you cannot believe how often contacts go flying out of someone’s eye whenever collisions happens which are quite common in BJJ.
I used to wear contacts and wouldn’t like to fight in them. Honestly, I recommend everyone who has the money to get LASIK(laser eye surgery) as I got in a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since.
Why You Should Consider Corrective Eye Surgery
Okay, this isn’t to do with BJJ but hear me out. Having corrective eye surgery was the best choice I ever made. I had it done in Prague for around $1300/£1000.
Yes, it is more expensive than glasses or contact lessons but think in the long term you never will fall asleep with your contact lenses or buy a pair of glasses ever again!
I love never needing to find my contacts or potentially lose them, you forget you ever needed glasses as SOON as you get the surgery it is crazy how quickly you adjust.
You will save money in the long term as single vision lenses cost between $100-$300 apiece, so my surgery was less than 4 expensive single vision glasses
LASIK is ideal for all types of training as all the aforementioned problems cease to exist.
In 2016 a study(read more here) found that LASIK has a 96% patient satisfaction rate, with the latest research saying that LASIK has a 99% success rate in achieving 20/40 vision or better, and a 90% success rate in achieving 20/20 vision or better! These statistics are incredible!
Imagine never worrying about forgetting your glasses or contacts for training or in life ever again! I know you might be scared but don’t be as these fears are unfounded. Don’t you think not wearing glasses ever again just sounds amazing?
Are There MMA/BJJ Fighters With Bad Vision?
We’ve already mentioned Russell Redenbaugh the blind Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt, but did you know some of the best UFC fighters ever performed with bad vision? It’s not just in grappling where having poor vision should not stop you.
Anderson Silva arguably the best MMA fighter of all time is known to be short-sighted as he wears glasses during press conferences. Also Ben Henderson the former UFC lightweight champion is nearsighted.
Arguably the biggest reason why having glasses is not an issue in BJJ is the former UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping. He won his title against Luke Rockhold with one glass eye that he kept out of the public eye and no one knew his sight disadvantage.
If you do don’t believe me, you can hear him speak on the Joe Rogan’s experience about losing his eye down above.
The fact he and Russell Redenbaugh performed at the highest level with such a sight handicap showcases anything is possible as you can perform at the highest levels of BJJ despite your eye problems.
Either that or get LASIK, it’s up to you 🙂
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