When you think of mixed martial arts, the first thing that may come to is the type of clothing worn while practicing MMA, the quintessential robe-like top, and matching pants. This ensemble is called a Gi. The design of the Gi is based on traditional mixed martial arts costumes from ancient oriental eras, where loose-fitting clothing was common.
The spread of MMA to the West gave rise to changes in the art. One such change is the concept of “no-gi”. This change promoted practicing MMA without wearing a Gi. Instead, one would wear casual workout clothes, such as a t-shirt and shorts. Practicing MMA with no gi encourages the need for another form of attire, rash guards.
A rash guard is a common piece of performance or training attire used in various sports activities. It is most commonly worn by surfers and swimmers. It is made of spandex or Lycra is fitted and allows for flexible movements. This, in turn, results in a smoother and more competent performance. Rash guards are also tear-proof due to the durable fabric from which they are made. They are specifically designed for abrasive sports.
As the name indicates, a rash guard is made to prevent one from getting scratches while in action.
Fabrics like spandex are smooth and seamless, leaving no room for tears that could expose the skin to injuries. Additionally, it is a breathable and lightweight material that absorbs sweat without making one’s skin or clothing slippery.
For formal Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, the rules of clothing are strictly followed for both Gi BJJ and No-gi BJJ. Other than the difference between the costumes, the number of strategic moves between the two practices will vary because of the difference in clothing.
Wearing a Gi for practice and competitions allows for grappling with one’s opponent through the loose attire. Gripping the sleeves or collar of the opponent are common moves without direct body contact. But for No-gi BJJ where wearing rash guards is usually required, attacking movements rely heavily on body contact, as clothing cannot easily be grabbed.
Precision is key because you cannot make an escape or attack strategy by pulling an opponent’s clothing. With the fabric of one’s clothing sticking to the skin and body, an opponent will not be able to grip your jacket and reel you in. However, this also means that one would have fewer chances to escape once their arm is caught.
Sweating while wearing non-absorbent clothing like gi robes or a t-shirt, also limits one’s movement because it adds weight to your body. The distraction of being self-conscious because one is drenched in sweat and possibly smell bad will cost points. With rash guards, you are guaranteed a tighter grip on your opponent and the mat itself.
Full body rash guards also protect one from getting infections. Cuts and scratches are common injuries and, while they are not alarming on their own, having them exposed to dirty mats can cause infections. A Gi can become disrobed anytime during a competition, making some prone to injuries and infections. Some studies also show that compression clothing like rash guards helps improve blood circulation.
Lastly, no one can deny the athletic appeal of donning a rash guard. Compared to a casual gym shirt and shorts, this boosts up the game aesthetics. Branded rash guards may be a bit expensive, but it is worth it when you get one for training and competitions. Not only will you be able to successfully execute your attacks and defenses, you will be able to do so with style.