Are Rash Guards Necessary For BJJ?

If you have just started training BJJ or are thinking about signing you will have noticed most people in BJJ wear a rashguard while training NoGi and many wear a rashguard under their Gi. Do you really need to wear one or can you get by training Jiu Jitsu without one?

Are Rash Guards Necessary For BJJ?

Rash guards are not necessary. During NoGi you can wear a tight-fitting t-shirt or a compression shirt. During Gi training, you can choose to wear nothing under your Gi or a compression shirt. BJJ rash guards are often overpriced and compression gear is very similar. 

While rash guards may have become the uniform in BJJ, they are not a requirement and in many cases, they are a complete waste of money. Compression gear does the exact same job as a rash guard but at a fraction of the cost.

Some BJJ gyms have uniform policies where they force you to wear a rash guard often sold by the gym to squeeze extra profit out of their students. I wouldn’t train at a gym that had such a uniform policy. If I was you I would look for another school.

If you don’t like the tight feel of compression gear you can also just wear a fitted t-shirt. The t-shirt has a slightly higher risk of getting caught in your training partners’ fingers and toes but if it is tight the chance is still low. Also if you wear a t-shirt under your Gi it may bunch up and become uncomfortable.

I own around 3 different rash guards but I stopped wearing them years ago. Now I prefer to train in Nike compression and Dri fit tops. I find them much more comfortable than BJJ rashguards, they are also cheaper.

What Is The Point Of A Rash Guard For BJJ?

The point of a rash guard for BJJ is to protect your skin from scrapes, cuts, and skin infections such as staph and ringworm. The rash guard’s tight fit also reduces the risk of your teammates getting their fingers and toes caught in your clothing. 

Rash guards are effective in protecting your skin and stopping your training partners from breaking, spraining, or dislocating their fingers and toes but not any more than compression gear which can often be found for half the price.

Why Are BJJ Rash Guards So Expensive?

BJJ rash guards are so expensive because the average BJJ student is middle class and has enough disposable income to afford the prices. BJJ companies market their products as being a part of the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle which appeals to the fanatical BJJ base.

There is nothing special about BJJ rash guards they are all made from synthetic materials and produced in sweatshops overseas like all other items of clothing.

The reason BJJ companies charge so much for their rash guards is that they can. BJJ is a mostly middle class sport made up of professionals, business owners, and other people who are well above the poverty line. This demographic is more than willing to pay twice as much for a BJJ branded rash guard compared to a no-name rash guard or compression shirt from Target.

Many BJJ students get super addicted to their hobby. They spend hours every week on the mats training, then they are watching instructionals and matches and telling everyone about how great BJJ is any chance they get.

This large contingent of fanatical BJJ students is obsessed with all things Jiu Jitsu including clothing. They have no problems forking over large amounts of money to wear the latest and greatest BJJ rash guard from their favorite BJJ company. It is all about living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.

Do You Wear A Rash Guard Under A GI?

You can wear a rash guard under a Gi to protect your skin from scratches, rubbing, and infections. Many BJJ athletes choose to wear nothing under their Gi or a compression shirt. You should avoid wearing a loose shirt as it can bunch up, causing irritation.

What’s The Difference Between A BJJ Rash Guard And A Compression Shirt?

There is little difference between a BJJ rash guard and a compression shirt. Rash guards tend to be thicker and have more elaborate designs. Compression shirts are not as durable and have a higher polyester count than rash guards which tend to be mostly lycra and spandex.

There is not a lot separating a BJJ rash guard from a compression shirt. Typically your standard BJJ rash guard will come with an interesting design such as samurais and flaming skulls if that is your thing. While compression tops are often plain and feature just one color.

Rash guards are usually much thicker than compression shirts but that varies based on the compression shirt you choose as you can find some thicker designs.

The material is also slightly different. The majority of BJJ rash guards have a high spandex count while limiting polyester to give it a very stretchy but still firm feeling. While compression shirts have a lower spandex percentage and have more polyester. This gives them the feeling of being in between a t-shirt and rash guard.

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