Welcome back! If you read last week, we discussed the importance of washing our uniform. Today, we will discuss the importance of cleaning not only our bodies, but the mat surface in which we train. The human body is host to a lot of micro organisms and bacteria. Some are more harmful than others. Being proactive about cleaning ourselves before training can help inhibit the transfer of viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
There are a few easily transmittable bacteria and fungi that can lead to skin infections. Staphylococcus (Staph) and Tinea (Ringworm) are some of the most common to be found in the grappling realm. Each of us are carriers for these, and when brought into close contact with another person, if there is a slight break in the skin, then the bacteria has a pathway into the body. It is the responsibility of each practitioner to help protect each other from spreading the bacteria and fungi. You should always shower before and after training. By showering before training, you are protecting your teammates from any bacteria you may have picked up during the day. And by showering immediately after you protect yourself. Choosing the correct soap is important, just like the specialty Gi cleaners, there are plenty of soaps made to specifically target Staph and Ringworm. For as easy as it is to spread bacteria and fungi, stopping the spread is just as easy. By maintaining good hygiene any gym can stay free of bacteria and fungi.
Not only is washing our bodies important, but the mat in which we train is important. I make it a habit to clean the mats before and after every use. It is important to sweep and mop allowing ample time to dry before training starts. Choosing a cleaner that targets and kills: HIV-1 (AIDS) Virus, Herpes Simplex Type 1, Staphylococcus Aureus, Streptococcus Faecalis, Streptococcus Salivarius, MRSA, and Trichophyton Mentagrophytes (causative agent responsible for RINGWORM) you will be covered from spreading any infections. This why removing your shoes before stepping onto the mats is important. Once the mat area is clean, we want to ensure it stays clean. Shoes on the mat not only damage the mat itself, but will spread bacteria and fungi. The only acceptable shoes are wrestling shoes that have only been a clean mat. Once on the mat, if you decide to leave the mat to use the restroom or walk around the gym put your shoes back on. This is common courtesy for your teammates in the gym.
All of these steps protect not only yourself, but your teammates. In Jiu Jitsu, if you don’t have a teammate you are unable to train. In conclusion, it is important to not only think about ourselves, but of the well being of the person to our right and left.