Hygiene, Etiquette, and Safety Guidelines

Hygiene, Etiquette, and Safety Guidelines

Hygiene, Etiquette, and Safety Guidelines


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. For the obvious reasons. Please God, let these reasons be obvious. 

Wear flip flops in the shower. The shower is great place to catch athlete's foot, amongst other things. People seem to think that because showers are used to clean our bodies, that they themselves must be clean. This is not the case, showers are humid and often hot - perfect conditions for breeding fungi and germs. 

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. 

Please remove hair product and makeup (ladies and gents, no judgements here).

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 piss, 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. 

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, it's 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 its 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 its 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

Mat Etiquette

Be respectful. The Instructors keeps things casual in class but this is still a martial art and there needs to be respect for higher ranking belts and courtesy towards everyone. The bulk of this page stems from the idea of respect. 

Don’t go to the advanced class without the ok from Derek or Ant. You slow your drilling partner down and take away their training time if you can’t keep up with the warm ups and techniques and they have to take the time to teach you. Once your signed off, your good to go. If you want to get these warm ups knocked out quick, schedule some private lessons, they will help tons. 

Do not coach a higher level student: unless you are one or have been asked to do so.  Hespect!

Don’t coach your rolling partner while you are rolling if you are not their instructor or they have not expressly asked you to. However, a senior belt may offer tips to lower belts. 

Be mindful of your environment. If you don't have the space for a samurai roll, don't try one. Same goes for wrestling at the beginning of a roll. Start kneeling or sitting unless there is enough space to work on stand up. 

Everyone should be considerate of the other people on the mat. If you knowingly bump into someone, or knowingly kick someone, make sure that person is okay and apologize.  

If your partner has gone unconscious or if they are injured, they are your responsibility. Occasionally chokes come on fast and people go unconscious. People will awaken of their own accord once the choke has been released but make sure your partner has their wits about them before leaving them alone. Typically, people will take only a minute or two to fully recover.

In the extremely rare case that someone is knocked out from an unintentional blow, stay by your sparring partner’s side until you are certain they are safe. Make sure your partner gets off the mat and sits down until they have gathered their wits. Notify an instructor or senior belt immediately if someone is knocked out. 

If your partner is injured, make sure they are taken care of. They may need ice, or they may need help moving from the mats. 

Mat Safety

The most important person on the mat is your training partner. The following guidelines for behavior on the mat are designed to help keep your training partners safe. 


Right of Way While Rolling

Sometimes we can have large classes. While this can be good in the sense that you have ample training partners, the mats can become crowded. Everyone should keep in mind that we are sharing mat space, even when this means limiting your techniques to those that will work within your space limitations. Try to limit your roll to the area that you began in.

When an Instructor is on the mat, he/she has the ultimate right of way. If you bump into him once, that's incidental; if it happens twice, you need to move. After the Coach, tradition affords precedence to the senior belts: black, brown and purple in that order. 


Submissions and Tapping

Tap early. One of the things that makes jiu-jitsu more effective than some other martial arts is that we can execute our moves at 100% power when sparring, which allows us to have a better understanding of our techniques. What makes this possible is the concept of submission, also known as tapping, which is a way of acknowledging that you have been caught with a technique that could result in your being injured or rendered unconscious. 

We are not really trying to break your arm, we are threatening to break your arm so that you will submit. However, if you do not tap, your arm may actually end up broken. 

Submissions can be indicated verbally or physically by tapping your opponent's body repeatedly with your hand. The rule of thumb is that three taps in a row is a definitive tap. One tap could be interpreted as an attempt to push the person you are tapping to, as could two taps. Three taps is the universal standard for a submission.

If you cannot touch your opponent due to the position you are in, you can also tap the mat with your hand, or if necessary, you can even tap with your foot.

You can verbally submit by saying "tap" or otherwise indicating that you are submitting. Any sounds that you make that indicate you are in pain will be interpreted as a verbal submission. 


Catch and Release
Sometimes a person is caught in a submission that they should tap to without realizing the danger they are in. In that case, the person applying the submission should continue to hold the submission in place but not apply finishing pressure and inform their partner that they are caught. If the person who is caught in the submission disagrees, apply finishing pressure slowly. 

There are some techniques such as a bicep slicer or heel hook where the person being attacked will not necessarily feel pain until it is too late - in that case, the offensive player should inform their training partner that they are caught and explain the danger. Take their word for it. With that being said it is up to us all to look out for the safety of all of our training partners if you have the experience and rank take the higher road and let the sub go before damage can occur and explain the situation. We are working to build a strong team. Teamwork and cooperation is key on the mats. 

Sparring (Rolling) Rules

Both partners cannot be standing simultaneously while on the main mat. While it is commonplace for one person to stand in order to pass or defend, when both partners are standing it quickly turns in to a wrestling match that is dangerous for the sparring partners and the people around them. The Standing aspect of jiujitsu will be taught and reviewed in regular classes periodically . 

If your partner stands and lifts you above their waist, you must let go of them and restart in a neutral position. For instance, if you have someone in a triangle and they are able to stand so that your back comes above their waistline, you should let go. This is partially to avoid an accidental slam and partially to reinforce the idea that in a street situation you should never allow an opponent to lift you - they will surely slam you on your back if you do.

General Safety Rules

Remove all jewelry including necklaces, earrings, and rings (even wedding rings) before drilling or rolling. 

If you sweat profusely, keep a towel nearby and dry yourself as needed. This isn't simply a matter of hygiene as puddles of sweat lead to slippery mats where people fall. But yeah, it's pretty disgusting too. 

If you puke or bleed on the mats, you clean it up. Use paper towels to wipe away any pools of bodily fluids and dispose. Disinfect the affected area immediately after and, if you are bleeding, clean your wound immediately. Typically, your partner will keep people from moving into the area while you obtain the necessary cleaning supplies.

If someone is bleeding profusely, the people immediately surrounding the person should take it upon themselves to clean up the area as the person who is bleeding is busy bleeding. 

Wear appropriate gear. 

That means wear shorts without pockets or zippers and rashguards 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

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