It’s not always about rolling in the gi. Sometimes, grapplers need a break from tying their belts and pistol gripping lapels and sleeves. There’s always a place for going no-gi — whether it’s in the academy or competition. This is where rash guards come in.
Rash guards are used in sports like jiu jitsu to prevent the wearer from getting abrasions (rashes) on their skin. They are the best alternative to tank tops and t-shirts.
Many more companies are designing rash guards to serve as proxies for when it’s just not the day for the gi. BJJ rash guard manufacturers like Hayabusa, Gameness, and even Nike have designed rash guards to hug a grappler’s frame for less oscillation and discomfort.
These are just some of the benefits BJJ athletes get out of their rash guards. Read on to find out how rash guards can benefit anyone’s ground game and longevity in three more ways.
A gi is usually the piece of clothing that offers a layer of protection for the skin. When the gi isn’t available, a rash guard is a perfect substitute. A rash guard protects a grappler from microorganisms that may have collected on the mat.
Sure, we as instructors and academy owners do our best to sanitize the mats between sessions. Nevertheless, grapplers still need microbial protection during long sweaty sparring matches.
When grappling is taking place, the mat goes from dry to sweaty. Besides sweat, many other things collect on the mat. Collectively, sweat and dirt create the right environment for microorganisms like Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria behind staph infections) to grow.
Whether this is a problem or not depends mainly on a grappler’s skin condition. Without any cuts or nicks, there shouldn’t be any problems since bacteria would have no point of entry. On the other hand, students can sustain scratches and mat burns after an hour-long Na-waza session. Now, skin infections become even more likely, and when this happens, it’ll only be a matter of time before everyone in a class gets it.
A rash guard protects the skin from microorganisms like Staphylococcus, the culprit of the dreaded Staph infection. It protects a grappler from this microbe and others by protecting the skin from cuts. Without this layer of protection, the skin will be more susceptible to cuts, scrapes, and abrasions that can become a port of access for bacteria.
The gi sustains a lot of wear and tear from all the pulling it endures. Also, it’s a constant victim of friction as grapplers shrimp, escape, roll, and move about on the Tatami. All of the punishment the gi goes through can take a toll, causing it to wear over time. While it’s a good idea to purchase a gi for each session, it’s not the most cost-effective option for everyone.
Not only does it protect the skin, but it also protects the gi from excessive wear and tear. As well, it does this on two fronts.
By being something a grappler wears in place of the gi, the rash guard can extend the life of the gi. With the gi on the sidelines on no-gi day, the gi sustains lesser damage. The reduced usage of the gi leads to its preservation. The gi also stays clean since there’s lesser sweat getting into it.
The rash guard also protects the gi internally. Underneath the gi, grapplers can wear rash guards to protect their skin and the inner lining of the gi. During a roll, the inner lining of the gi gets its fair share of friction. This can cause some of the threading to loosen up as time goes by.
The rash guard creates lesser friction between the grappler and the inner lining. This, in turn, also adds years to the life of a gi.
One of the most common skin complaints among grapplers is friction or mat burn. Friction burns or mat burns occur whenever one part of the skin makes too much contact with a surface. This is usually the back and arms.
In BJJ, this surface can be the gi or the opponent. More often than not, students get their first encounter with friction burns from the mat. Interestingly, these are the very same students who wear regular t-shirts or tank tops to class or Na-waza.
Regardless of where the friction burns come from, many students will agree — it stings. Worse yet, mat or friction burns create wounds that can be entry points for pathogens (see benefit 1). The entry of pathogens leads to infection, putting both gi and grappler on the sidelines.
A gi, especially on its own, will not prevent mat burns owing to its double-stitched material. A rash guard, on the other hand, will. Worn during a class, competition, or open mat, a rash guard protects the skin from trauma. Long-sleeved rash guards, in particular, protect the arms from friction on the mat.
Rash guards have protective materials like lycra, spandex, and polyester. These not only shield the skin but slide seamlessly on the mat. Hence, BJJ rash guards protect more than the grapplers who wear them but the mats as well.
With a rash guard, not only will you be keeping your expensive gi in pristine condition. You’ll also stay active in the academy without the need to stay on the sidelines from burns or infection.
Of course there are other benefits to wearing a rashguard. It’s a piece of clothing nobody can tug. Nor is it an article of clothing that you need to tie.
In short, gear up with a rash guard. Choose from some of the best long-sleeved ones we’ve picked and reviewed for your convenience.
Once you’ve done that, test it out and experience the benefits firsthand at Granite Bay Jiu Jitsu.