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Can You Wear a T Shirt to Jiu Jitsu? (Rashguard vs T Shirt for Training)

If you’re considering training BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) or maybe you have already signed up for your first class, you may be wondering – can just wear a T-Shirt to jiu jitsu?

Depending on the type of class and bjj gym requirements you may be able to wear a T-shirt to jiu jitsu.

For Gi classes, you wear a gi, and you can wear a T-shirt or rashguard underneath it.
For No Gi classes you may be able to wear a T-shirt depending on the gym’s rules.

However, for No Gi classes, it is strongly recommended to wear a tight fitting shirt like a rashguard for training.

You should always check with the gym directly to confirm before your first class.

While rashguards are always recommended and typically accepted at most jiu jitsu gyms some gyms require that you wear a specific rashguard or rashguard brand.

Gyms like Atos and Gracie Barra require you to wear their rashguard brand for No Gi training

My gym, 10th Planet San Diego, does allow you to wear a T shirt to their No Gi classes, but again, for comfort, a rashguard is preferred.

Key Takeaways

  • Some gyms may allow you to wear a T-shirt to their No Gi Classes (but a rashguard is always preferred)
  • For Gi classes, you would wear a Gi. Your gym may offer you a trial Gi or the chance to buy one prior to your first class
    • underneath your gi you can wear a T-shirt or rashguard
    • some people prefer to train without a shirt underneath their gi, but this is generally not recommended, and sometimes frowned upon by training partners

Table comparing rashguard vs T-shirt for training:

MaterialSpandex-polyester blend, quick-dryingCotton or polyester, absorbs moisture
SafetySkin-tight, prevents entanglementCan get stretched, increasing risk
HygieneMicrobial properties, infection resistantLess protective against infections
ComfortSweat-wicking, stays in placeBreathable, but stays wet
For example, here is picture from a beginner’s class at my gym, and several students are wearing T-shirts

Jiu Jitsu Attire Basics

Traditionally, practitioners wear a Gi, which consists of a jacket, pants, and a belt that indicates rank. The Gi’s material is sturdy to withstand the rigorous grappling and pulling that occurs during training.

For No-Gi training the student may opt for a t-shirt for their initial session. However, it’s still recommended to wear a rashguard or transition to one later on.

Here are the key differences between the two options:

  • T-shirt:
    • Made of cotton or blends, may become heavy with sweat
    • Can get stretched or snagged during grappling
  • Rashguard:
    • Constructed from polyester or other synthetic fabrics
    • Designed to wick moisture away from the body
    • Fits snugly to reduce the risk of snagging or interference

Below is a comparison chart:

MaterialCotton or blendsPolyester, spandex, or blends
FitLooseSnug and form-fitting
DurabilityLower during grapplingHigher; designed for contact sports

As always check with the school or gym regarding their specific clothing policies.*

When You Might Wear T-Shirts in Jiu Jitsu

Beginner Practice Sessions (No Gi)

For those new to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), it’s common to wear a T-shirt to the first few training sessions. As beginners may not own a rashguard yet, academies often allow a plain T-shirt—that fits snugly to prevent fingers and toes from catching during practice.

Some bjj students will opt to tuck their shirt in to avoid it getting caught during training (I know many wrestlers who still opt for this look at my bjj gym).

Underneath a Gi

Most gyms allow you to wear a T-shirt underneath your Gi during Gi classes. Many don’t require you to wear a rashguard underneath your gi and some even allow you to go shirtless underneath your gi (even though this would likely not be preferred by your training partners).

Final Word – T-Shirts in BJJ

While some gyms allow T-Shirts to be worn in their No Gi classes, it is recommended to still go with a tight fitting rashguard or compression shirt.

For Gi classes, you would wear a Gi and can opt to wear a T-shirt, or rashguard underneath it.

Finally, always check with the gym directly when setting up your trial class since different gyms may have different policies.