Cleanliness and Jiu Jitsu Part 1

If you are not familiar with Jiu Jitsu, then I will tell you it is a very close contact activity. You will have a lot of barriers crossed once you begin training. Your “bubble” or more commonly known as “personal space” will be invaded very frequently. This means hygiene must be at the top of your priority list.

Life before Jui Jitsu may include laundry once or maybe even twice a week. However, after you have begun grappling training, laundry can turn into an everyday affair depending on how much you train. This is not said to scare you, but it is a mere warning. Be prepared to utilize your washer a lot more than you are currently. Having a clean uniform and training equipment is just the start. Being that 85% of class time is spent with a partner, no one wants to smell a dirty uniform. This is not only a respect issue but also ties back to good hygiene. Bacteria thrives in damp and dark environment. Therefore, if you have sweaty gear, and do not wash it right away, bacteria has a place to prosper. Bacteria is what gives your gear the common “funk” smell. If left untreated the “funk” will not go away. It is important to immediately wash your gear as soon as possible. This is a habit that needs to be established early in your journey. By washing your uniform, it helps maintain its durability. Proper washing techniques are important. For instance, when washing white Gis, stay away from bleach products. Bleach will degrade the material much faster than normal washing. Utilizing hot water, white vinegar, and mild laundry detergent will be more than sufficient for cleaning a white Gi. As for colored Gis, stay away from hot water. Hot water will degrade the color faster than cold water. (There are laundry detergents specially formulated for Gis.) Both white and colored Gis can be put in the dryer; however, shrinking will occur and the material will also degrade much faster. My recommendation: dry your Gis to fit, and then hang dry after. Putting your Gi in the dryer every once in a while, to soften it is not a problem; in fact, it is sometimes welcomed. In my opinion, hang drying Gis can make them feel very rough and stiff.

Cleaning your training gear is important in sustaining the life of your equipment. More importantly, it is to protect against the spread of bacteria and viruses. Plus, no training partner wants to smell your stinky gear while drilling or rolling with you! So be a good training partner, and immediately wash your gear after training as well as dry it. Your Professor and your training partners will thank you. And who knows, they may even compliment you on how good your Gi smells.

This will be a two-part series on hygiene and training, so stayed tuned…

Greg Walker
Owner/Head Instructor
Gustavo Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Chesapeake



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