At our gym, we recently had a bacterial infection scare. A buddy got bit by some sort of spider and it looked remarkably like staph. To compound the issue, there are a few out there that don’t take care of their hygiene in a manner that would combat the unwanted ringworm, staph infection, etc. There was some facebook chatter where the coaches and staff let us know how often the mats are cleaned, etc. but I think it’s worth posting a few cardinal rules of grappling hygiene:
1. Shoes off the mat; shoes OFF the mat: Your shoes should never touch the mat surface – people’s faces are down there! By the same token, as soon as you step off the mat, always remember to put your shoes on to walk around outside, to the rest room, etc. Doing one without the other is just nonsense.
2. Wipe down and wash up: You should take a hot shower as soon as you’re available to do so; waiting only breeds more bacteria and, in turn, can only do you a disservice. If you’re not immediately able to shower after rolling, wipe down with anti-bacterial wipes.
3. Wash your back. As straight-forward as it gets. Bacteria grows everywhere, not just the parts that are easy to reach.
4. Launder your gi: Most people drip sweat into their gi. It makes sense to wash it as often as you use it. If you need to, pick up an additional gi and create a rotation. Even if you’re not getting sweaty in your gi, chances are someone else is sweating onto it.
5. Help your academy out and clean the mats: if you can get to the academy early to stretch or work on that new-fangled, inverted crucifix that you saw Marcelo hit that one time (at Band Camp), then you can get there 45 minutes early to help clean the mats. We’re a team; we’re a family – jiu-jitsu schools all say something similar. Why not help them out and do the chores once in a while?