When I first started doing jiu jitsu, I noticed only a few people wearing rashguards under their gi. I was confused at why they would do that considering a gi is already warm and covers your whole body. I thought it was ridiculous until I looked at it in a practical and hygienic point of view. I thought it would be uncomfortable with more layers but to my surprise, it actually feels better than having just the gi on. Here are some reasons why you should consider wearing a rashguard under your gi.
Hygiene is very important for personal health and also out of respect for your training partners and your gym. You never want to be the guy/girl that causes the whole team to get infections causing weeks or even months of inactivity and sickness. This is important because athletes will be pulled out of competition if they are suspected to have ringworm or any other infectious diseases. It is also important to remember that even if they are not athletes competing, they still have families to go home to and some with very young children and viral/bacterial diseases can be harmful and even deadly to young infants with lowered immune systems.
Gis should be washed on a regular basis as the first line of defence against disease and foul smelling odors. However, I’m sure many of us has realized that jiu jitsu starts in 30 min and they forgot to wash their gis and chose to spray some cologne and pretend it’s clean instead. With a rashguard, it will help absorb the sweat from previous training sessions keeping the inside of the gi cleaner than having direct contact with sweat.
So how else does wearing a rashguard help with controlling diseases and improving your hygiene? It acts as a second layer of skin, protecting you from skin to skin contact with other sweaty athletes. Although the gi does cover a lot of your skin, during hard rolling sessions we may find ourselves with loose gi’s and skin to skin contact is apparent. I’ve had large sweaty hairy men bury thier chest into my face with a loose gi. Let’s just say it was unpleasant and I pray that they start to wear rashguards under their gi so I don’t have to feel their chest hair on my face ever again. With all jokes aside, rashguards under the gi is a newer concept but it is one that makes sense. You can torture your training partners with mind bending techniques and superior athleticism but a hairy sweaty chest in the face is just inhumane.
2. Longevity of your gi
Owning a gi can be expensive, especially if you have to replace it often. Sweat can destroy the quality of the gi fast with nasty looking brown marks. We all know that training partner with a brown gi that used to be white. Don’t be that guy/girl. Washing your gi on a regular basis is still the best way to counter this, but wearing a rashguard under the gi can be helpful too.
3. Protection of your skin
Having proper protection of your skin is crucial for a healthy body. The skin is the first layer of defense against harmful microorganisms such as MRSA, Staph, Ring Worm and much more. Having a durable and comfortable layer of defense before your skin is like having insurance for your health. You could go without the rashguard and risk getting sick but I’m sure you will regret it. Additionally, a rashguard is the perfect defense for well… Rashes! Mat burns are not fun and even friction from the inside of your gi onto your bare skin is a painful experience. Having a rashguard and spats prevents any rashes and friction burns from both the mat and the gi.
4. It’s Practical
I know there are two different schools of thought on this subject. On one hand, No-gi sucks and it doesn’t work in real life situations if they are wearing a jacket… And on the other hand, gis are unrealistic in MMA fights and training with them is useless and pointless in combat sports... Whatever your opinions on this is, having a rashguard under the gi is a perfect way to train both. Quickly go from gi training to no-gi in a matter of seconds without even having to go to the change room. It’s practical and convenient. I believe it is important to train both no-gi and gi and this method of having a rashguard under the gi is perfect for that.
5. Injury Prevention/Recovery
I know you read the title and thought, “How does a rashguard help with injuries, doesn’t it just prevent rashes?” Perhaps using the other name for it would help you understand. The “Compression Shirt” is a great way to add solid reinforcement to your joints. The classic R.I.C.E method is a standard procedure for healing injuries. It stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. With rashguards/compression shirts, it covers 1 out of the 4 steps to a healthy recovery. The compression of rashguards and spats should not be overlooked as a method of injury prevention and in a sport where the goal is to injure the opponent, prevention is critical for a long and fun career as a BJJ practitioner.
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