Sweat, blood, and rock and roll! At least the first two are things you’ll find in most every Dojo. Some Dojos you can also find nasties that come with that, different types of fungus, ringworm, bacteria, blood pathogens, staff, and more. Yes, scary stuff! We are diligent about keep our Dojo mats clean by wiping them down multiples a week with disinfectant. However we also want to take responsibility for our personal hygiene while being a part of a Dojo. Here are a few things that you can do to help mitigate risks of capturing or spreading nasties on the mat:
WEAR AN UNDERSHIRT
While it is culturally acceptable in martial arts for men to go bare-chested underneath their uniform top, to help mitigate the pickup or spreading of nasties wear a rash guard, compression shirt, or performance t-shirt under your gi. There are various shops you can find rash guards or performance gear online; places like Dick’s Sporting Goods carry a variety of brands. If you’d like an AKJ rash guard, go to www.TeamMOSH.com.
TRIM THE CLAWS
Ensure that you keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed as to not accidentally scratch your training partners. Keep nail trimmers in your gi bag. Scratches leave open wounds susceptible to picking up bacteria. Plus it’s just rude to scratch someone while training, ouch!
CLEAN IT UP, COVER IT UP (blood)
If you bleed on the mat, get the disinfectant spray and clean up the area immediately. If you have an open wound, cover it up with the band-aids that any Dojo should have readily available. I also recommend keeping a small first aid kit in your gi bag with items like sports band-aids (of various sizes), antiseptic spray, Biofreeze, athletic tape, and ibuprofen.
IF YOU’RE SICK, STAY AT HOME
While I appreciate people’s enthusiasm to want to train while feeling under the weather, spare others the future misery and stay at home. You can certainly still practice martial arts by studying your syllabus and reviewing videos online. Besides, rest is best when sick.
ATHLETIC FOOT SPAY
A new habit I recently picked up is to spray my feet before and after every class with athletic foot spray. When you travel to different martial arts schools and gyms, you can never be sure how clean the mats will be. There are various types of athletic sprays that are anti-fungal that help prevent picking up athlete’s foot. You can find various types on Amazon.com like Lotrimin.
WASH YOUR GI REGULARLY
One of the most important things that you can do is simply wash your gi regularly. If you’re going to sweat in it, you need to wash it, especially after Kumite or BJJ. Besides, nobody likes a stinky training partner! I recommend having at least two uniforms that you can rotate through weekly.
WIPE OFF YOUR GLOVES
Not only does our uniform pick up sweat and blood, but our sparring gloves do as well. Carry disinfectant wipes, or use the ones at the Dojo to wipe off your gloves after sparring sessions every time before putting them back in your bag.
Let’s all do our part to keep our Dojo clean and mitigate the risk of nasties. Train hard!