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February 18, 2024

How To Jiu Jitsu: The Importance of Personal Hygiene

Pete Solano

How To Jiu Jitsu: The Importance of Personal Hygiene

It’s a New Year and maybe you have new goals.  You want to challenge yourself, learn a new skill, meet new people…you want to roll!

If you have decided to start Jiu Jitsu, congratulations.  You’ve mastered the most difficult part of the sport: signing up.  The next most difficult part is showing up. It’s all downhill after that!

But how do you show up?  How do you Jiu Jitsu? For someone new, stepping onto the mats for the first time can be both exciting and intimidating.

This isn’t about the physical techniques of Jiu Jitsu.  I’m a blue belt and know enough to know I shouldn’t write about technique.  I’ll leave that to the upper belts that will coach you much better than I can.

Image: Collin Perryman

Instead, I want to tell you about some stuff that anyone who’s every rolled with a stinky partner (or one with cat-like claws or stank breath) could tell you but, for whatever reason, doesn’t.

I want to help you overcome any anxiety about your first roll with information you can act upon with ease — information that will help you not be THAT guy or girl on the mat.

Sure, it’s not as exciting as a post about how to lock in a flying triangle, but it will definitely help you day one on the mats!

You guessed it, it’s on the importance of personal hygiene.

Personal hygiene matters

Personal hygiene, at its most basic, comes down to things such as showering before class, cutting nails (fingers and toes), and maintaining oral hygiene.

You may not have time to shower before class. Don’t worry — most Easton facilities have showers.  If they’re available, use them before training. You don’t have to take a spa-like shower, shave your legs, or use shower salts and fancy gels. Just some soap and a rinse in all the nooks and crannies. Simple.

If the showers aren’t available, carry wipes in your training bag or car.  Wipes like Dude Wipes, that any person can use, are a damp disposable cloth specifically designed for personal hygiene.  The shower is preferred, but in a pinch, the wipes will work.

You can use these wipes on any areas of your body that may have a less than pleasant odor to you, your training partner or anyone else in the area code. Jump into a changing room or bathroom stall and clean up. Be aware that some wipes are flushable and some are not! To be safe, just put your used wipes in the trash.

Image: Greg Streech

[10 Unspoken Rules of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu]

Along with wipes, keep some nail clippers handy in your training bag or car.  In Jiu Jitsu, you’re often reaching for a grip, breaking a grip, creating a frame, or otherwise moving your feet and hands. With Jiu Jitsu’s dynamic movement, sometimes you don’t connect exactly where you intend.

Long nails on your hands or feet in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause inadvertent scratches that draw blood that will slow or stop training (like a toenail to the eye).  Blood on the mat happens, but it doesn’t have to if you clip your claws before training.  Trimmed nails on your hands and feet will ensure you and your training partner will have a scratch free session.

Finally, good oral hygiene is very important. We’ve all been cornered by someone with bad breath before.  Don’t be that person on the mats!  Brush and floss your fangs regularly and if needs be, do one or the other right before training. If you only brush and still have yuck mouth, learn about flossing to get all those little bits stuck between your teeth that are the likely culprit of stank breath.

Coffee drinker?  Cool.  At a minimum, carry some mouth wash in your training bag or car to make sure your coffee breath isn’t the reason you are taking your training partners back or getting the tap.

[6 Ways To Practice Good Hygiene At The Academy]

Clean your gear

No matter what martial art you take part in, you need to be cleaning your gear regularly. Your gis, rashguards, Thai shorts and any other article of clothing or gear that will come into contact with anothe person (gloves, shin guards) should be clean and odor-free for every session.

Jiu Jitsu is an active sport.  You’re going to move, exert yourself and, yes, you will sweat.

The gi, rash guard, shorts and spats will absorb that sweat and, left to their own devices, create an environment for bacteria to grow. Bacteria growth will, among other things, create more odor.

Image: Greg Streech.

Simply washing your gear after every training session will eliminate the possibility of your gear stinking up the mats.  If your gear is older, with sweat stains and the odor is sticking around, check out athletic apparel specific laundry detergent that may help.

You may also try pre-soaking your gear in distilled white vinegar and water to address longer lasting odor before a normal wash.  If none of that works, make the investment in some new gear.  It’s probably time.

For your first day, don’t worry about looking up moves on the interwebs or the Insta.  Instead, spend some time on yourself.  Understand the significance of personal hygiene in the training environment.

Jiu Jitsu involves close contact with training partners. Real close. Like super aggressive hugging. Hugging with a combative intent.

Maintaining good hygiene marks a sign of respect for both yourself and others. Be a good hugger. Be a good training partner and clean up before your roll.

Easton’s Ultimate Guide To BJJ



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