As we all know, Jiu Jitsu is a highly intimate sport that involves a lot of close contact. That close contact can result in awkward situations and gross out moments. This is a friendly PSA with some tips and tricks to keep your training partners safer and happier:
- Make sure you clip your fingernails and toenails. However it is not enough to merely clip them. Clipping a nail makes it far sharper, so while it may be shorter the threat of it may have been accented. Rather clip the nail then FILE it. This takes an extra 3 seconds per nail, but it ensures that your nails will not cut your training partners or snag on their rash guards.
- Gi cleanliness is crucial. When we roll we get abrasions on our exposed skin from the coarse gi material and if the gi material is dirty that can lead to infections. Moreover, a smelly gi makes rolling much less pleasant. If you do not intend to wash your gi immediately after using it, hang it up somewhere, this allows the moisture that it was absorbed to evaporate. Bacteria and fungus love moisture and they don’t love open air. This should go without saying but: wash your gi every time you wear it.
- When you do wash your gi, put in a couple of laundry cups full of white vinegar into the basin. White vinegar is naturally antiseptic and relatively cheap, a big bottle of it costs less than 5 dollars. Still use your other cleaning agents and set the washer to a heavy cycle so that the clothes get agitated. Removal of soil from clothing is a largely mechanical process so the more violent your washer is the better chance you have of getting rid of the nasties on your gi.
- Wear deodorant. Bonus points for wearing odorless/scentless deodorant. Rolling with smelly dudes can be bad, rolling with smelly dudes with BO (body odor) takes the bad to a whole different level. Not everyone likes the scent of Axe or Old Spice or whatever the kids like these days, an unscented deodorant gets rid of BO without putting new potentially unpleasant smells into the mix.
- Brush your teeth regularly. Better yet, use mouth wash or eat a mint before rolling. I have rolled with individuals with breath so stinky that I almost tapped out just because of that… Don’t be that guy on your team.
- Shower after (and if possible before) every training session. Showering before isn’t always possible, showering after is a MUST. When you do shower, use a soap with natural antiseptic products like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil etc. These products are easy to find and well advertised to grapplers, there are also generic products that you can get for relatively cheap. These will help aide in staving off infections.
- Eat yoghurt. This is a serious one: there are live and active cultures in yoghurt that help your body mitigate would-be fungal infections.
- If you do get ringworm, treat it and let your coach know. There may be a protocol at your school about it. Bottom line, the safest was to deal with it is to not train until it’s gone.
These are just a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years, at the end of the day there are many reasons to maintain good hygiene, safety and the happiness of your training partners being at the top of that list. Now stop reading this and go train!