14 Steps for BJJ Hygiene

To most people, making it to class on time, getting your reps in when sparring is the bread and butter of their BJJ journey. Many people do not realize that hygiene is just as important as their training. Many martial arts academies do not even let people on the mats if their hygiene is poor. This is because poor hygiene affects the entire gym, your training partners, other members that may be training there, as well as yourself. In a close contact sport, fungus like Ringworm can spread like wildfire if people aren’t taking proper steps to ensure they are clean. Affinity Academy prides itself in being one of the cleanest BJJ facilities in Calgary. We clean our mats every day with high quality disinfectant. The rest of the facility is also cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the spread of germs, and also to make sure that your training experience is fruitful and positive. 

In an effort to keep Affinity Academy the cleanest gym in Calgary, you need to do your part too. By keeping yourself clean and well groomed, you are also helping us and your training partners prevent the spread of germs, fungus, and unpleasant odours. 

Here are some ways you can be courteous to not only your training partners, but also to Affinity Academy:

  1. At the end of your class, put your Gi, belt and other training gear into a plastic bag before putting it back into your gym bag. This way, your Gi that has been contaminated with your sweat and the bodily fluids of others does not come in contact with the inside of your gym bag. 
  2. Wash your Gi, belt and other training gear as soon as you get home. Notice I said belt as well. Your belt does not contain magical powers if you leave it unwashed, so PLEASE make sure you wash it! Don’t wait until the next day. Don’t wait until two hours before your class (and then not even have enough time to dry your gear properly). Wash it as soon as you get home to prevent the spread of bacteria overnight. 
  3. Use good quality detergent and scented cleaning products for best results. We recommend Woolite for dark Gi’s and Downey Unstoppable, an in-wash scent booster. Your Gi will smell amazing with these babies. 
  4. Dry your Gi properly. Whether you put your Gi in the dryer, or hang it to air dry, make sure you have dried it properly to prevent mildew or other fungus from forming. 
  5. Bring slippers to class. There are so many people walking all over the mats and into the change rooms and bathrooms with sweaty feet that have probably been mixed in with the sweat of another person. Wear slippers when using the bathroom and change rooms. 
  6. Cut your nails. One of the most annoying traits of an unhygienic training partner is when people come to class with long toe and finger nails. In a close contact sport where you have to grip in order to get your technique going, your nails need to be trimmed to protect yourself from getting hurt. In addition, your long finger and toe nails can seriously injure your training partner as well. 
  7. Shower before and after every class. It may be difficult for some people to get a shower in before class, especially if they are coming straight from work for an evening class, however if your gym has a shower (Affinity Academy does), make use of it and shower before class.  Come in a few minutes early if you can and get a 3-minute shower in just to rinse off the days sweat. Your training partner will thank you for it. Also, be sure to bring your own shower essentials (towel, slippers, soap/shampoo)
  8. When showering use products that are high in anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Soaps like Defense Soap (link) are ideal for martial art practitioners and fight against grime that you may have picked up while grappling. An over the counter option is Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders Shampoo, which not only fights dandruff, but also contains selenium sulfide which helps prevent the spread of ringworm. Using it as a body wash can dry out the skin so be sure to moisturize after you shower too. 
  9. If you have long hair, as courtesy to your training partners, try to have it tied or braided back. This will prevent it from getting pulled, and also from getting in another person’s face. 
  10. Wear deodorant or antiperspirant. I don’t think an explanation is needed here! 
  11. Keep breath mints in your gym bag for those moments when you ate onion or garlic fried food before class. We’ve all been in a situation where we are literally face to face in side mount and someone’s breath is so unbearable you end up tapping even though they didn’t even apply a submission. Breath mints to the rescue!
  12. If you sweat excessively, bring a towel to towel off between reps. Just because the nature of BJJ entails sweating and getting close to people, does not mean that everyone who signs up and becomes a member automatically enjoys getting another person’s sweat all over their face when you’re standing over them in X-Guard. Do what you can to be courteous to your training partners and towel off.
  13. After class don’t rush off to get home. Everyone wants to get home and watch a bit of Netflix before bed; but if you used the mats then it would probably be a good idea to stay and help clean them too. Cleaning the mats is a huge part of BJJ culture. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a team sport; we train together and we also clean together.
  14. If you are sick, DO NOT COME IN TO CLASS! It’s a close contact sport; we can easily get each other sick. So if you feel like you’re coming down with something nasty, stay home and get better. Your training partners will thank you for it. 

There you have it! As BJJ practitioners we need to be considerate and mindful of others around us. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a team sport. And although the sport involves close contact and sweat, it does not mean that we overlook hygiene in the process of becoming the best BJJ grapplers in Calgary. As Bon Cacho says, it takes two to roll.