Personal hygiene is essential for your own health, as well as the health of your teammates. Gyms are generally hot and humid environments, the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, due to the nature of our sport, there is often skin-on-skin contact which facilitates the spread of various skin conditions such as ringworm and staph. Therefore, it is important to be diligent in following these basic hygiene rules.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help keep you and your training partners healthy. If you notice a training partner seems to be ignorant of one of these rules, pull them over to the side and inform them of your concerns. Try not to be rude about it, it is very possible that the person you are talking to is clueless. If the training partner continues to ignore these rules, let a senior belt or instructor know and they will handle it.
If you are sick, do not come to class! If you do, the entire gym may get sick. Do you want an entire gym of people who enjoy choking people pissed at you because you decided to train while sick? No, you don't.
Trim and file your nails. Otherwise you will scratch your training partners, possibly creating an opening for infections. It is a good idea to keep the proper nail grooming tools in your gear bag just in case.
Do not step on the mats with street shoes. Wrestling shoes are permissible as long as they have not been worn outdoors. We try to keep the mats as clean as possible, trampling all over them with your filthy shoes is going to bring tons of germs into our training area.
Do not step off the mat barefoot, ESPECIALLY if you are going to the bathroom. What you step on with your bare feet come right back on the mats. Please keep sandals or shoes nearby on the carpet area.
Be clean and odor free. If you need a shower before class, take one. If you smell like a french courtesan, remember; we're not in France and it's the 21st century so tone down the perfume/cologne please. Deodorant is a good idea. Check your breath, and brush your teeth or chew some gum, or take a breath mint if needed. No one wants to train with the Stinky kid in class ;-)
And this includes your clothes. Please be considerate of your training partners. No one wants to smell your body odor or your dirty clothes and if your clean clothes smell like cat urine, you need to use vinegar the next time you wash them. ALWAYS wash gear before wearing it again - and this includes knee braces and ankle sleeves and such. If you can't wash your clothes immediately after class, it is best to hang them somewhere so that they can air out until you can do laundry.
Please remove hair product and makeup. (ladies and gents, no judgements here).
If you are taking more than one class, have an extra set of clothes; so that you can start each class with dry clothes. No one wants a partner who is soaking wet at the beginning of class. If you are a person who sweats a lot, it's a good idea to keep a towel handy so that you can dry off from time to time.
Skin Conditions and What to do About Them (aka Cooties 101)
Inspect your body regularly for skin conditions that commonly occur in grappling. Skin conditions such as ringworm and staph are relatively harmless if treated as soon as they appear. However, if left untreated they will spread rampantly over your body - and can easily pass onto others at the school.
Ringworm is the most common skin problem in jiu-jitsu. It is likely you will have ringworm at some point of your jiu-jitsu training. Don't worry - it is not actually a worm, its fungi - the same fungi responsible for athlete's foot and jock itch. The name comes from signature spiral bumps on your skin that looks like a worm has burrowed underneath there. It is a disgusting thought but fortunately it is easily treatable.
Eating yogurt or taking acidophilus pills can help reduce your risk of catching ringworm but the most important thing is to recognize when you have ringworm as it is easily transmittable.
If you do have ringworm, DO NOT COME TO PRACTICE. Buy some Lamisil, an over the counter ointment that will usually eradicate the fungus within a week. Until the ringworm has gone away, MTS and chill.
Staph, short for staphylococcus, is a type of bacteria that normally enters through an open wound. It may appear as a small red spot or boil in it's early stages. Staph is also very easily spread and can be extremely dangerous. While antibiotics can help with most forms of staph, there are some strains that are resistant to antibiotics and these could lead to amputation or death if not treated properly.
Staph is most easily caught by people with an open sore. Therefore it is essential to cover any open sores, even if they are scabbed over. Band aids are not sufficient, they will inevitably come off while you train; therefore it's a good idea to wrap any cut with a bandage, and then cover the bandage with clothing.
If you have staph, DO NOT COME TO THE GYM. Wait until your doctor clears you to return.
If you think you or a training partner might have staph or ringworm, please consult an instructor or senior belt.
Wear appropriate gear.
That means wear shorts without pockets or zippers and rash guards are safer than t-shirts. Fingers and toes can easily slip inside pockets are shirt sleeves, and that could lead to broken digits. Please represent the team by wearing 10th Planet Gear or gear from the school. #10P4L
YOU ARE A REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS ACADEMY and The Art
You are learning one of the most effective martial arts in the world. The techniques and methods instructed will give you the power to manipulate and damage the human body in ways never imagined. You will learn to protect yourself and others if need be. You are becoming a jiujitsu superhero. Use your powers wisely. Your jiujitsu has the fingerprints of your instructors and their lineage all over your technique and within this art you become a true representation of your academy. Act accordingly and carry the traditions on with respect and honor!