Practicing good hygiene  is not only a good idea for keeping yourself safe from germs and bacteria; its also a layer of defense for your training partner as well.  And now that we are faced with the COVID-19 virus and its variant strains, it is imperative that we tighten up on our hygienic routines.

As a martial artist, regardless of how long you have been training, it is important that you keep yourself and your gear as clean and fresh as possible.  This not only shows a high level of respect for your self but it also speaks to the level of integreity and altruism you have for your training partner. Martial arts has proven to be a great resource for mental and physical health.  However, when we are in close quarter training with our training partners and other martial artists we are constantly breathing and sweating on each other.

Which means that we have to be even more careful about taking preventive measures against everything from the common cold to staph infections.

Here are some tips for practicing good martial arts hygiene at the dojo and at home.

Thoroughly and regularly washing your hands is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands before and after training, after using the restroom, and after blowing your nose or coughing during training. If you help clean the dojo before or after class, be sure to wash your hands after that, too.

According to CDC guidelines, there are five steps to proper hand washing:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and water aren’t immediately available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands in a pinch.

Keep Your Finger And Toe Nails Trimmed And Cleaned regularly. 

Keeping your fingernails and toenails trimmed is for your comfort and for your training partners’ safety. Long and unkempt nails are more likely to break during drills and sparring which can be annoying and uncomfortable. Longer nails are also more likely to gouge or cut your training partners — and introduce whatever germs you have under your nails into the wound. Short and properly groomed nails will make your martial arts training more pleasant and safe for everyone involved.

Take A Shower: 

Taking a shower after class is very important.  It prevents you from smelling like a ball of sweat as well as decreases the chances of you getting any skin related diseases or rashes like ringworm and staph infection.

Wash Your Uniform:

You should wash your training uniform after every workout or session.  Putting on an unwashed uniform will increase the likelihood that it carries bacteria along with an unpleasant smell.  You may want to consider having more than one uniform to decrease the likelihood of you wearing one that is unclean.

Clean Your Gear and Sparring Equipment Regularly: 

Sparring and protective gear should be air dried and cleaned after every use. Be sure to rinse your mouth guard and mouth guard case regularly and it  wouldn’t hurt to clean out your gear bag while you are at it.

Assess Your Health!! 

If you are sick…. Please stay home!! As responsible martial arts practitioners, it is important that we are paying close attention to how we feel and what’s going on with our bodies.  If you are not feeling well, please do not attempt to push through a workout or “Suck It Up”.. Not only will this not help but you are putting others at risk as well.

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