With the threat of the Coronavirus increasing across the globe at an alarming rate we thought we’d take this opportunity to spread awareness of proper mat etiquette during cold & flu season.
Jiu-jitsu is a close contact sport where bodily fluids like sweat, spit, and sometimes blood are exchanged between training partners easily. Combine that fact with a sweat drenched mat and a humid training room and you’ve got a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and viruses.
So what can you do to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses like the flu or worse? We’ve laid out some easy procedures to keep not only yourself safe, but also those around you, and not just during the flu months, but anytime you’re on the mat.
1. IF YOU FEEL SICK, STAY HOME!
First, as mentioned, gyms are a prime location for the spread of germs and you will likely spread your illness easily with others. As jiu-jitsu fighters we are responsible for and trust each other on the mat. We trust that when we tap, your opponent will let go. We need to trust that we can count on each other to make the right decision when feeling sick as well. Especially with the major competition season in full swing and big events like the Pan Championship coming up, don’t jeopardize your teammates chances of competing by showing up sick. So do it for your BJJ brothers and sisters and skip training if you’re feeling any type of sickness coming on.
Second, if you’re feeling run down your immune system is likely already compromised. Going to train will only make things worse for yourself, as well as everyone you contact. Adding stress to an already stressed immune system will only worsen and prolong your sickness.
Bottom line, if you feel any sign of sickness, STAY HOME.
2. SHOWER BEFORE AND AFTER TRAINING!
Showering after training however, is an absolute MUST. That goes for whether it’s cold and flu season or not. Getting the sweat and other things that were transmitted during training off of you as soon as possible will give you the best shot of preventing sickness. The longer you wait after training to shower the more time germs have to fester and get into your system. Ideally, shower at the academy as soon as class is finished or the second you get home.
3. WASH YOUR GI, BELT, AND RASH GUARD ASAP.
We understand washing your belt is controversial, however to give yourself the best shot of preventing sickness we recommend that you wash it after every training. If this is too much to ask, you can also spray it with a fabric safe disinfectant cleaner and hang it in the sun to dry. Either way, try to keep it clean!
4. CLEAN YOUR GEAR BAG.
How often do you clean your gi? After every use, right? How often do you clean your training bag? Probably never. Your gym bag is probably loaded with bacteria and germs. Most gear bags are safe to put in the wash (at least many of Hyperfly’s are) and can be hung to dry. You can also spray the inside of your bag with a fabric safe disinfectant cleaner. Also, don’t leave dirty gear in your bag overnight or for long periods. Use it to transport gear from A to B, then transport back from B to A and wash immediately.
5. SPREAD AWARENESS, NOT ILLNESS.
It’s great if you follow all of these steps, but be sure to share them with your friends and training partners. We are all responsible for each other on the mats. Also, raise awareness by asking your coaches, professors, and academy staff what they are doing to prevent the spread of germs. How often do they clean the mats? Are they making announcements regarding hygiene in each class or in emails to members? Do whatever you can to keep yourself and those around you safe!
Although we are posting this article during the rise of the Corona virus and the heart of cold and flu season, these steps can and should be used ALWAYS. Nasty viruses like MRSA, “Super Pink Eye,” ringworm, and others are always lurking on grappling mats.
We kindly ask that you share this with your teammates and training partners.
- Your Hyperfly family.