If your zodiac wasn’t clear, if you’ve prayed for guidance, if you’ve begged the universe to tell you whether or not you should go to jiu-jitsu tonight even though you have a cold, consider this post your sign: No.
Unless you live with an army of toddlers or work in the medical field, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an environment that exposes you to more gross human stuff than jiu-jitsu. Who among us hasn’t accidentally drunk from the endless fountain of sweat that is our bald training partner’s head? Certainly, the mysterious tale of “That Booger That Was Definitely In My Teammate’s Nostril When We Started Rolling But Had Disappeared By The End Of Our Roll” is one that we’re all familiar with.
All that skin-to-skin and open-mouth-breathing-to-face contact makes it that much easier for germs and illnesses to jump from one person to another on the mats. So when even one person starts coming down with whatever virus the kids are into these days, everyone on the mats is at risk.
Some illnesses can be contagious before symptoms start to present themselves, but if you do start to develop a persistent cough, a runny nose, or a sudden habit of vomiting, stay home. Yes, even if you’ve built your whole Instagram profile around the #matsavage hashtag. Yes, even if it’s the only day of the week you get to train. Yes, even if you “feel fine” after some medication. Seriously, stay home.
Even if you feel fine enough to train, whatever your body may be harboring can be easily passed on to your teammates. You are involved in a sport that necessitates literally being on top of each other. If you don’t understand how this makes it even easier for your illness to quickly spread to a dozen people, I’m not sure how to help you except to yell at you: STAY HOME.
The mats will be there when you feel healthy and well again. So will all of your teammates because, hey, you were a good person and didn’t infect them with your snotty, vomity, coughy germs. They were all able to go to work, get a good night’s sleep, and be happy, productive members of society because you didn’t value an hour’s worth of training over their wellbeing.
Oh, and if you think this doesn’t apply to you because you’ve got a gross skin thing going on rather than feeling like your internal organs are betraying you, guess what: STAY HOME. Staph and ringworm are stupid-easy to spread, especially if your academy doesn’t sanitize the mats after every single session. Get the treatment required to clear up your skin funk, then feel free to come back and bless the mats with your presence.
If you feel personally targeted by this thing you read on the internet or if you think your teammates are “soft” for not wanting to be exposed to your temporarily biohazardous self, stay home. Like, for a while. Until you can learn to be a good teammate, actually. Your training partners deserve to practice in a healthy, safe environment.