GB Culture: Hygiene and Safety in the GB School

There are many rules inside jiu-jitsu schools to ensure the safety and best possible experience for all students involved. Some of the lesser talked about rules are those rules that deal with hygiene and cleanliness inside the GB school. Yet when we informally quiz students about the most uncomfortable part of jiu-jitsu, the number 1 answer invariably is “I hate having a training partner with a stinky gi/rash guard.”
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Worse yet, some students are apprehensive about contracting a skin infection like ringworm. Both of these issues have to do with proper hygiene and we will say a few words about both topics in this article.
Regarding unpleasant-smelling training wear: What can we do about this socially awkward aspect of jiu-jitsu practice? How can we avoid offending the sensibilities of our training partners and avoid being the “stinky gi” guy?
Of course, we always want to arrive at class with a clean, freshly washed kimono and rash guard. It’s important for this reason to have a minimum of 2 sets of gear. That way you have time in between training sessions to properly wash and dry your gis and rash guards. When in doubt, wear a freshly cleaned kimono.
Sometimes, if left for hours in a training bag, our training gear can start to cultivate a colony of foul-smelling bacteria that persists even after machine washing in soap and water. As soon as your gear heats up from body heat, that funky odor appears even though you just washed your rash guard!
There is a simple treatment for this problem. Immerse the rash guard or gi in a solution of white vinegar and water overnight and then wash normally. The acid in the vinegar will kill the smelly bacteria and you will be as good as normal.
It bears reminding that some simple measures like keeping our fingers and toenails clipped short, a toothbrush or mouthwash handy to freshen the breath before class and perhaps a small bottle of body spray kept in our training bag can help avoid smelling less than fresh to our training partners. They will thank you for it.
A few words about Ring Worm
Your GB school has strict and comprehensive guidelines for the owner to maintain a high standard of hygiene in the school. The GB ICP – Instructors Course provides all GB instructors with solid advice and instructions on how to clean the mats effectively to prevent traditional problems such as “ring worm” and other skin borne infections.
The makers of Defense Soap (this is NOT a paid promotion or advertisement) offer some valuable advice on identifying ringworm. If you are interested in learning more, I urge you to perform some research online or ask your physician.
Source: Defense Soap Jiu-jitsu Hygiene Guide
“Ringworm is spread by either direct or indirect contact. People can most easily contract Ringworm by direct skin to- skin contact with an infected person or pet.
People can also get Ringworm indirectly by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person has touched, such as kimonos, belts, tatami mats, gym bags, shower stalls,
Bjj blue belt and emergency room physician Dr. James Liu answered a few questions for me on the topic of ringworm.
Q : A common question is a student turns up with some skin problem and asks “Is this ringworm?” How do we identify it?
Dr. James Liu : “If it is raised and round, it’s ringworm.
There are several types of ringworm (tinea) that can cause a round shape on your body.
The chronic tinea pedis is the most common form of tinea.
For treatment, applying topical anti-fungal cream for several weeks would be sufficient for most people. “
* Many bjj guys say they used Lamisil
However, patients with chronic disease may require oral antifungal therapy such as taking terbinafine 250mg daily.
In medicine, we often say prevention is more important than treatment and it works for ringworm as well. “
Dr. Liu offers the following advice as well: “Don’t share sports equipment with other people.
Always wipe the floor before and after practice.
Showering before practice is another good way to prevent the disease from spreading.
If you have ringworm, you should be responsible and stay away from the gym until fully recovered.”
See also on GB Blog: GB Inspiration: Prof. Flavio Almeida on overcoming struggles
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt