Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms are not like other gyms. There is not one piece of equipment per person. Equipment is not wiped between every single use. And a person’s hygiene affects others in ways aside from, “geez that guy smells”.
Most other gyms rarely clean the mats and equipment. I have been to gyms that do not even have a mop (seriously, I offered to clean the mats and they didn’t have anything to clean them with). At Arashi Do that is not the case. The mats are a shared space which is disenfected twice a day. This is important because of the nature of jiu-jitsu drilling and rolling, a person will have made contact with the same mat space as others. In the simplest of terms, if your teammate has been on it, you will be exposed to it.
The biggest issue is of course infection. Infections are essentially bacteria run rampant. And nothing allows bacteria growth like lots of human sweat and oil. A simple rule to follow: WASH YOUR GI! A sweaty gi is a germ farm in the making. Im using gi as a loose term, all equipment; gi’s, rash guards, ankle guards, knee pads can be home for bacteria, and should be cleaned regularly. Remember even if you consider yourself clean, your gi has been exposed to the sweat gathered on the mat from you and all of your teammates. Typically after practice the gi generally ends up in the trunk of a car. Now its warm, moist, and dark. The bacteria grows ever stronger. So again: WASH YOUR GI!!!
A common infection is Staphylococcus Aureus, which can cause a range of skin illnesses like a few pimples to bacteremia and sepsis. It can remain viable on dry surfaces, survives even longer on wet surfaces, but the easiest method of transmission is from skin to skin. So it’s fairly obvious how this can relate to jiu-jitsu. A true martial artist does not go into class with the intention of hurting his teammate and putting him (or her) on the sidelines. This can be done not just through injury, but infection. On the low end it can be an inconvenience, on the other is can relate to a trip to the hospital. Personal responsibility should be practiced by all members of a jiu-jitsu gym to avoid spreading infection to ones teammates. Any gym member who knows they have an infection should not expose anyone else. Any gym member who doesn’t believe they have an infection should still reduce the risk by washing their gear after every use.
Of course a person’s equipment in only one side of the equation. The other side is a person’s body. The simplest rules apply. Do what you would expect (or at the very least, prefer) your teammates to do. Shower between training sessions. If not just to reduce the risk of transmitting infection as discussed above, but to be courteous and respectful to fellow teammates. Nobody wants to roll or drill with the person who smells of body odor. So despite what Forrest Griffin says about using smell to distract your opponent, a person should be courteous and respectful of his training partners.
And finally before training, one should also ensure that finger and toe nails are clipped short. Long nails can scratch opponents and be irritating, but again there is a deeper issue. Should a practitioner’s nails go deep enough to draw blood, the issue again turns to infection. Any blood borne disease carried can now more easily be transmitted. So the match or drill needs to be stopped appropriate first aid applied, and the exposed mats cleaned with hospital grade antiseptic. That’s a lot of inconvenience and risk for all involved that could easily be solved with something as simple as 20 seconds and a nail clipper.
Arashi Do Martial Arts prides itself on offering a our members a clean and professional training environment, but it is up to you the practioner to make sure you are clean and healthy so you can continue training in BJJ.
Good Luck Training and Happy Grooming,
The Arashi Do Martial Arts Family
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