Choose Your Weapon:
There are many varieties and styles of martial arts and each one involves some kind of physical contact. Whether you are interested in the fast combination kicks and punches of karate or prefer the sweeps and throws of judo, a rash guard is an excellent accessory and should even be considered a required piece of equipment.
Rash Guard Basics:
Rash guards are protective shirts. They usually come in long sleeved versions for the most protection and are tight fitting. The fabric and design allow for easy movement, something which is very important in martial arts. Although rash guards are not limited to martial arts and are in fact more commonly used in other sports such as surfing, they are becoming quite a popular addition to the protective gear used in these sports.
The protective fabric of the rash guard is ideal for sparring. It allows the user to avoid painful rashes caused by scraping skin against the floor, concrete, grass or even exercise mats. It also keeps the fingernails of your opponent from scratching you during a grappling session.
When used in martial arts, the rash guard is worn under the gi to comply with the rules that most dojos have regarding uniform. A gi provides a certain amount of protection, but the rash guard is an extra safety measure, like a mouth guard. You can choose a color that fits with your gi or your belt, if you like, for added aesthetics.
If a gi is not required, using just the rash guard gives you a more streamlined body, because of the tight fit and smooth fabric. This can make it more difficult for an opponent to get a good hold on your body and also allows for more aerodynamic movement. The sleek design makes for easy movement and plenty of flexibility, both extremely useful qualities in sports clothing.
Other Benefits of Rash Guards:
Rash guards also have built in SPF, generally very high, for ultimate outdoor protection. This UV protection is quite useful for outdoor presentations and practices. The SPF of the rash guard material is not affected by water or sweat and offers SPF150+ protection from the sun’s harmful rays. They were originally intended for beach and water use, which is why they have the SPF built into the fabric.
Practicing katas and movements in a rash guard allows for little air resistance and is often preferred by those who do their movements outdoors, as with tai chi. The UV protection combined with ease of movement is a big plus for anyone interested in practicing their sport outside.
While most rash guards are meant to be tightly fitted, some are designed for maximum breathing and are a little looser. The fabric is specially designed to allow sweat to escape and to keep the body ventilated. This has obvious advantages in a sport as intense as martial arts. These rash guards are not used as often because the regular rash guards cling to the body and provide a more streamlined surface.
Rash guards are commonly referred to as swim shirts because of their aquatic origins. Many people still believe that they are only good only for water sports, but the truth is that they are commonly used for many sports, both in and out of the water. Anywhere that you need minor protection against rashes and skin irritations, or heavy duty UV protection, a rash guard can be used.