The following is a guest post by Joe Dockery. Joe is a black belt under Professors Joe Ahlert and Rolles Gracie at the Renzo Gracie Academy in Middletown NJ, and competitor in the Masters division. You can follow him on Instagram at @thekaratewrestler.
First off, let me assert that I’m not a doctor. I’m just a concerned member of the jiu-jitsu community who did some research (on the CDC website) in order to help out my brothers and sisters around the world. I hope this article helps to keep many of you and your families healthy and always training!
This time of year, its important that we all work together to keep ourselves, our teammates, our students, and everyone’s families safe from various illnesses, including the flu. Training Brazilian jiu-jitsu puts us all at a heightened risk of illness due to the close contact we find ourselves in with our training partners. Aside from just “not training” which, let’s get real, isn’t an option, there are a number of steps we can all take to prevent the spread of illness.
1. First, be able to identify the symptoms of influenza (flu):
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Head or body aches
• Sometimes diarrhea or vomiting
2. Understand how it is spread, and periods of contagiousness:
The flu is believed to be spread by inhaling tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk; or touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose or possibly your eyes.
Infected people can be contagious as soon as a day BEFORE they experience any symptoms, up until 5-7 days after becoming sick.
3. Take precautions to protect yourself and your team:
1. STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK
2. Get your flu shot. While it doesn’t protect against all strains of the flu, it does offer protection against the strains expected to be most prevalent during that flu seasons.
3. Wash your hands before training. Even if you aren’t personally sick, you may have touched surfaces covered in sick person snot and you’re about to put your hands on your training partners.
4. When sneezing or coughing on the mat, cover your mouth with your hand, then wash or use hand sanitizer before returning to your roll. Coughing into your elbow (as commonly recommended by normies) positions potential germs on the inside of your elbow, which should be often wrapped around the necks of your training partners in close proximity to their breathing passages. (You shouldn’t be there when you’re sick, but just in case you are sick but don’t know it yet.)
5. Avoid touching your, or your training partners’ eyes, nose, and mouth. This includes putting a temporary hiatus on performing the “Vagner Rocha” on your training partners, at least until flu season is over. Instead, submit them in other ways that don’t involve them gasping for air and inhaling your sweat and any other germs you’ve picked up off the mats and the other twenty guys in the room.
6. Keep your immune system strong. This means getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, drinking a lot of water, taking your multivitamins, and keeping your stress levels in check.
Academy Owners & Employees
1. Adopt and enforce a strict policy against training while sick/ exhibiting symptoms of sickness. This should really be a no-brainer. Training while sick is selfish. We all want to be out on the mat, but by training while sick, we are putting the health of everyone in the room at risk. If we allow people to do so, we are failing to look out for our students’ safety at the risk of hurting a single student’s feelings.
2. Routinely disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces including the mat, door handles, water fountains, gloves, pads, and gym equipment.
3. Make sure your academy has antibacterial soap, and/or position hand sanitizer close to the mats. Students are more likely to use these cold and flu-fighting items when they are readily available.
4. Make sure “loaner gis” are always washed after a single use. (You should always do that, lazy!)
5. Visit How To Clean and Disinfect Schools To Help Slow the Spread of Flu for additional best practices in school hygiene.
Let’s try to keep our academies free of contamination, and our mats packed with students. Wishing everyone the best.