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BJJ HYGIENE
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BJJ HYGIENE

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The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is well known for its highly energetic, and dynamic series of technical movements. The high intensity that BJJ demands is due to many of the high impact throws, the fast transitional guard passes, the dynamic sweeping game, the powerful and systematic positional controls, and the formidable submission ferocity. Athletes will spend hours training on the mats, as they look to improve on their bjj progression. Students are well known for training no matter the weather conditions, as this will bring about high elements of perspiration. Whether an athlete is wearing the Gi for training, or the No Gi uniform, this highly demanding combat sport requires athletes to display a higher level of personal hygiene. Learning how to keep cool, and avoid various grappling pitfalls is a skill that is learnt overtime.

What this article covers:

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THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING CLEAN

Every athlete needs to keep themselves clean, this means showering before and after training. It is extremely important to shower before training so that an athlete does not transport any germs onto the mats, but it is even more important to shower after training, because athletes are covered in sweat, this is just basic bjj etiquette. During a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training session all athletes will transfer their perspiration onto their training partners, and even though this may sound gross it is a part of Jiu Jitsu. Students that don't clean themselves have a greater risk of contracting infections like staph, or ringworm, which can linger for months, and also can be transmitted to other athletes, which can be problematic for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. Bacteria will also gather under a person's fingernails and toenails, so it is vital to keep them taken care of. 

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hygiene in bjj

Infections are a huge concern, as they can cause serious damage to an athlete, even death. One in three healthy people already have staphylococcus aureus in their skin, which is the technical term for a staph infection. The bacteria makes up a large percentage of normal human microflora, but rest assured this is not contagious in that current form. Staph is not usually a common problem, as it appears on the skin. However the infection does become dangerous when staph enters the bloodstream through breaks in the skin. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there can be a lot of mat burns, scratches, cuts, and grazes, so the chance of contracting the infection is high, especially when an athlete does not apply the proper infection prevention methods.

Another important reason to keep clean comes under basic common sense jiu jitsu rules. Nobody inside of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school likes training with someone who smells, as pungent odours can deter even the nicest grapplers. The last conversation an instructor wants to have with one of their students is about how they are stinking. Common sense governs most athletes, as they make sure they are showered before training, their uniforms are clean, and they have applied deodorant to help cull some of the odours that may resonate during an extensive training session. Some students may wash before training, but still have issues with how they smell, and for these people it could be nutrition. When a student eats bad foods, or drinks alcohol it will detox through the pores in their skin, causing odours to arise. Students should be concerned with what to eat before jiu jitsu, so that not only are they fueled with the right nutrition, but they are not embarrassed with the condition of their personal hygiene. 

HOW TO WASH BJJ GEAR

The importance of washing all of a student's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gear is extremely significant. Mouth guards can carry all kinds of bacteria, so it is a good idea to either rinse them after use, or soak them in a cleaning solution. Students will use all kinds of injury guards like knee straps, ankle straps, ear guards, and wrist straps, and like all BJJ gear it needs to be washed. Students might choose to simply chuck them in the washing machine, but most of the guards have velcro, which can wear out in a washing machine, so soaking them in cold water may be the better option. The most important gear to wash is the Gi, and this needs to be washed after every single training session. Leaving a Gi to marinate in sweat overnight can be extremely problematic, as the odours can linger inside the Gi. Washing a Gi, and the No Gi uniform is extremely important, as dirty Gi's should never be worn during a training session.

Washing the Gi can be tricky if a student doesn't know how to correctly clean it. The Gi cannot be washed in hot water, as this will shrink the garment, instead it must be washed in cold water. A Gi can be put in the washing machine on a normal machine wash, students just need to add washing powder, and fabric softener if they want a nicer smelling Gi with a softer feel. One of the most important aspects of washing the Gi is washing the belt too. Some students believe that the Gi belt has some sort of magical mojo, which is ludacris, as the only thing that is inside of a belt is sweat, blood, and bacteria. There is no point washing a Gi if a student refuses to wash their belt, as they are simply just bringing bacteria onto the mats every time they train. Washing a belt may wear out the colour quicker, so in this instance the belt can simply be soaked in a solution, and then hang out to dry. Once the Gi has finished the wash cycle, the best course of action is to shake the Gi so that it holds its shape, and hang it out to dry in a spot out of the sun. An important tip to remember is that putting a Gi inside of a dryer will also shrink the garment, so instead of trying to quickly dry the Gi it pays to have a few Gi's, so that a student can rotate them throughout their training schedule.

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BJJ HYGIENE RULES

All Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies have rules in place to protect their students from contracting infections like staph, and ringworm. A BJJ instructor cannot just allow students to come in unclean, and spread bacteria all over the academy. An instructor has put rules in place like making sure all of their athletes wear shoes while they are off of the mats, this will ensure that they do not transport any bacteria back onto the mats. All students must keep their fingernails, and toenails trimmed and filed, this will also help stop the spread of bacteria, which can be carried underneath the fingernails. This rule will also stop any scratches that may happen during training, which is the leading cause of staph infections, as dirt and bacteria will seep into a cut. All students must keep their gear clean, as wearing a dirty Gi, or a dirty rashguard is forbidden inside of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. Students must also come showered before they come to training, but this is basic personal hygiene standards.

Students can help their cause by wearing deodorant to training, as this can help stop their sweat from resonating with significant odours. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there will always be sweat, and odour, as this cannot be helped, but it is an unspoken rule that all students do their best to minimise their smells. This includes brushing their teeth, because no student wants to roll with someone who has bad breath, so the courteous thing to do would be to keep them cleaned, or perhaps even have a breath mint before class. It is also important to have a clean sports bag, as this can be commonly overlooked. Students may wash their training gear, but forget that their sports bag also needs to be cleaned, or at least aired out, so that bacteria doesn't get transported back onto their gear. One of the most important aspects that students should remember is not to come to training when they are sick. If a student has some form of sickness it can easily spread throughout a whole training camp, which can effectively shut down a gym for a few days. Most instructors will have this rule engraved in stone, so that students must stay home, and get better before they come back to training.

KEEPING A CLEAN ACADEMY 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely complex form of Martial Arts, that involves students coming to training with high energy levels, and using dynamic transitions in order to succeed. Learning how to win in jiu jitsu is dependent upon expert instructors, great training partners, and a clean academy. Most BJJ instructors are extremely vigilant in how they keep their academies clean. The mats are a sacred place, but can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, and germs, as students will do their best not to transport germs, but in most cases it is unavoidable. Bacteria will build up underneath fingernails, inside uniforms, and on the soles of people's feet, and no matter how much the mats are cleaned these germs will always be transported on to the mats. Athletes will sweat, and bleed on the mats, as they are involved in rigorous training sessions. This will also extend the reach of bacteria, and germs being embedded into the matted area.

After every training session, a good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy will rigorously clean their mats with a solution that has disinfectant, and bleach. Usually the mats are first vacuumed, or a blower is used to sweep away excess dust, and dirt, the mats are then sprayed with a solution that is used to clean the area. A mop is then used to glide over the spray, spreading the solution deep into the mats, giving the mats a hospital grade clean. Some academies will also hot mop their mats, meaning they will fill up a bucket full of hot water, and detergent to get an extra clean scrub, which will help kill many of the bacterias that breed in the mats. The rest of the academy is also cleaned, as the floors will be vacuumed, change rooms will be vacuumed, toilets will be mopped, and cleaned, and dusty areas will be dusted. Keeping a clean academy is not just about the safety of all their athletes, but it is about having respect for their academy. Having a clean academy is the best way to attract new members, and will inspire athletes to participate in the cleanliness of their practises.

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HOW TO AVOID SPREADING GERMS AND BACTERIA 

Germs and bacteria will always spread, as the transmission of these components are extremely difficult to stop. Students can however help the cause by following all of their instructors guidelines that may be present inside of their academies. Keeping extremely clean by showering before, and after training is highly recommended, and washing all BJJ gear is crucial. All students should keep their fingernails, and toenails trimmed, and wearing shoes off of the mats are all good ways to stop the spread of bacteria. One of the biggest aspects in stopping the spread of infection is identifying straight away when an athlete has cut themselves. Cuts, scratches, and mat burn are the fastest ways that an athlete can transmit staph infection. 

Learn how to train for longevity with legendary BJJ black belt Alberto Crane.  Get the GRAPPLERS TOOLBOX 101 at BJJFanatics.com.

hygiene in jiu jitsu

One in three people already have staph on their skin, and once there is an open wound rubbed against the infection, this can cause life threatening circumstances. This means that students that receive any of these scratches, burns, or cuts must straight away wash the area with disinfectant, wipe it dry, and bandage up any open wounds. This may even be to the point where they have to stop training, and sit out the rest of class. Some cuts will not stop bleeding, which can be extremely dangerous for athletes. As long as students of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu keep in mind all of these hygiene practises, then they will ultimately steer clear of these deadly infections that happen during their training sessions.

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