Rashguards are a staple for no-gi grappling. They offer compression and protection without interfering with control. The benefits of wearing them are rarely
debated, that is until it comes to wearing them under your gi. Those opposed to wearing the extra layer argue that they feel more restricted, that
it isn't worth the extra laundry, and that competitions like IBJJF forbid them. So why is it that more and more schools are requiring their students
to wear them? Here are some of the reasons why some martial artists choose to wear a rashguard under their gi.
When you wear a rashguard under your gi you are significantly decreasing skin-to-skin and skin-to-mat contact. This means you're significantly reducing your risk of infection. Most gyms are on top of cleaning and disinfecting, but no matter how clean they are, there is always a risk of spreading bacteria when sweating and grappling. You're in close contact with opponents and it's better to be safe than sorry.
2. Reduces Burn and Irritation
The thick material of a gi provides many benefits (durability, a satisfying "snap"), but they can also cause intense discomfort and irritation for some people. Martial artists with sensitive skin often choose to wear a rashguard to protect themselves from gi burn or mat burn. Rashguards provide protection from persistent rubbing and scraping.
3. Increases Modesty
Not everyone has a chiseled six pack and there certainly is no shame in that, but many people feel more comfortable with the extra coverage a rashguard provides. You may discover
that you're more likely to find a willing grappling opponent when wearing a rashguard, because it decreases the exposure of body hair, sweat, and skin imperfections. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable grappling, but it also decreases the risk of unintentional body hair ripping.
Most rashguards are made from a polyester and spandex blended fabric. The properties of this stretchy fabric make it perfect for moisture control. The rashguard wicks sweat away from the skin causing it to evaporate or be absorbed into the gi. This keeps moisture at bay, so you are able to maintain dry hands for better grips.
Whether you decide to wear a rashguard under your gi or not is up to you and your instructor. There are benefits to both sides of the argument. One thing is for certain: rashguards come in all sorts of styles and designs and look really cool while providing protection and compression. See Macho's wide selection of rashguards here.