Nobody can train alone; we need a partner. Easton has a culture of partners that are teammates. A family.
We honor that culture by looking out for each other in a number of ways at the academy.
We treat each other with respect and recognize each other’s limitations. We also help each other overcome these limitations. By doing so, we make everyone better. We end up with better teammates that challenge us more, and over the years we’ve built some of the toughest training rooms this way.
One of the most essential ways to keep our mats full with our teammates is to keep them healthy and free from injury. This way we can all train more. While we don’t think of it as often, one of the best ways is to keep ourselves and our gear clean.
Contact sports like BJJ and Muay Thai expose us to viruses and fungi that can keep us out of the game for a long time no matter how many times we mop the mats. For this reason, all of the academies and professors obsess over maintaining the mats. The moment we don’t, the heebie-jeebies might dojo storm.
While the academies do their part to keep the mats sterile and mopped regularly, we have to do our part too.
Doing our part
First, never walk on the mats with shoes. This a cardinal sin to the OG professors for two reasons: walking on the mat with shoes can tear the mats and it can also drag in crud from the outside. How many times have you had your bare face pressed into the mat during class? Exactly.
Another must is that we wash our gear regularly. Wash gis and rash guards immediately after training. It’s best to use white vinegar to kill off fungus and odors. Sometimes an old gi needs a little more than vinegar to get the smell out. Borax and bleach work well for white gis, and air drying them helps a lot. Sometimes they just have to be replaced. Not only will this keep the funk off the mats and our friends, your lapel chokes will smell nice.
It goes without saying, but it’s as important to keep ourselves as clean as our gear. This means trimmed nails and never training with open sores or questionable looking skin irritations. If you ever wonder if something is staph or another mat plague, ask a coach. Always err on the side of caution. Just stay off the mats until it’s better — just like being sick. Stay off the mats until you can train without potentially infecting your training partners.
Showering directly after training is the easiest way to keep yourself on the mat as consistently as possible. Grapplers sometimes neglect the importance of cleaning the bottoms of their feet. This is a must. There are even some grappling-specific soaps that are worth considering. Defense Soap is especially great, and the Armbar Soap Company makes some great products that will keep you healthy and training.
Finally, never be the guy barefoot at a urinal. If so, you’re done training for the day. Keep something on your feet in the locker room if you’re heading to the mat.
Be the partner you want to train with. Your friends and partners thank you.