My fingers are exceptionally messed up because I have a tendency to grab the chin-jaw line of my opponents. This is one of the most annoying places that anyone can grab you (legally). With this chin/jaw control, a rolling motion of the hands pushes the thumb-knuckle into the trachea causing a death-like vomit-inducing panic choking sensation. Once the choke is being applied, people desperately grab and peel back my fingers. Often times they do this in a way that is not technically legal. I call these people “dirty-pinky-grabbing-cheaters.” They exist in every academy, and at every competition. Many of them don’t even realize they are dirty-pinky-grabbing-cheaters until they are gagging and gasping for air. Even the highest level professional grapplers resort to desperate finger grabbing and thrashing when they become desperate.
My name is Josh Hinger. I’m a first-degree black belt under the legendary Andre Galvao, founder of Atos Jiu-Jitsu, and I am a lifetime member of the MonkeyTape Mafia. I’m a 3-time IBJJF adult blackbelt nogi world champion, an ADCC World Championship medalist, and I specialize in various chokes and strangles from the front head-and-arm control.
The first time I ever used finger tape was completely experimental. I saw everyone else taping their fingers and I never understood that it could make a difference. So I decided to buy some Johnson & Johnson sports tape and give the whole finger tape thing a try. I taped every finger for every training session for one week. When that week ended, I went back to training without the tape. My fingers felt weak, exposed, naked, and vulnerable. So I went back to taping every day. The problem, however, was that the tape would get a little wet and start falling off. After just a few rounds, I had what seemed like little bicycle handlebar tassels dangling from my fingers. The tape becomes more of a pain in the ass than it did an assistant.
One day, I forgot my generic J&J tape. I asked the front desk manager if he had any extra rolls lying around. He threw me a sample roll of some tan colored sample tape that was mailed to the gym. It was called Monkey Tape. I had never heard of it before. So, I taped up and hit the mats. To my surprise, the tape survived 2 solid hours of grindy competition training rounds. Not a single millimeter came unpeeled. Also to my surprise, the tape was nearly impossible to take off. It had bonded with itself so well that I couldn’t even find the point from which to start peeling it off. I had to resort to scissors to cut it off, and when I peeled it off, it took my knuckle hair with it. I was sold.
I hit Instagram and messaged the MonkeyTape guys to find out where I could order a box of this badass super tape. As chance would have it they were looking to pick up a couple of athletes. I became the first (or maybe second) athlete to join the MonkeyTape Mafia. Since then, the guys at MonkeyTape have made huge strides in finger tape development. They eased up on the hair-removing, industrial-strength glue so that it doesn’t feel like a finger-knuckle wax job after every training session, but the tape still bonds to itself in such a way that handlebar-finger-tassels is never an issue. Furthermore, they have developed tape roll with various width sizes so I have been able to nail down the perfect sized tape for my specific fingers.
What I appreciate the most about MonkeyTape is that it gives my fingers the extra support needed to prevent dislocation when they are being attacked by dirty-pinky-grabbing-cheaters. It also helps with grip management and keeping the fingers slightly curled to prevent finger-jams, which is unfortunately common in grappling situations. But more importantly, I appreciate the MonkeyTape Mafia Bosses who treat the athletes like family, and who actually train jiu-jitsu. They are actively contributing to the jiu-jitsu community, as opposed to sucking the blood out of it. This is something that is increasingly more difficult to find these days.