It should go without saying that students should be generally clean and well-groomed before attending class. Students should also observe several other practices related to hygiene.
A primary concern in any martial arts studio is contamination. For this reason, we provide hand sanitizer and tissues for all students to use. We also suggest that students warn other students with whom they may come in contact if they are ill or feel they may be in some way contagious. It is a simple courtesy to help ensure that attending a martial arts class is not an easy way to acquire an illness. Of course, the best policy is to stay home if you are likely contagious.
Students must have clean feet and wear their uniform with the sleeves down when practicing on the mat. A mat can spread contaminants to the skin and eyes of other students who come in contact with the mat. For this reason, we are especially vigilant about ensuring that those practicing on the mat observe basic cleanliness habits. We sanitize mats regularly, but this does little to protect others if a student comes to practice with dirty feet or an open infection. Keeping the sleeves down also helps reduce the chances for mat burn or abrasions to the arms which can lead to serious infection.
Street shoes should never be worn while in a training area. Martial arts shoes worn only while in the training area are generally acceptable, but please consult with the head instructor before wearing them. You will likely need to sanitize the soles of your shoes before stepping onto a matted area. Your Dojo should provide sanitizing pads or stations for this purpose if they allow shoes to be worn onto the mats.
Students with long nails may accidentally cut or injure other students. We ask that class participants keep their fingernails and toenails well-manicured to prevent such injuries. If you wish to maintain long nails for personal or business reasons please be sure to warn other students with whom you may practice that you have longer nails.
Jewelry can also cause injuries to yourself or others and should be removed whenever possible. Wedding rings are a fairly obvious exception, but even these should be removed if they are likely to cause injury. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and the like will, in the right circumstances, cause serious injury to yourself or others and should always be removed. You may not think an earring could cause injury, but imagine an earring getting snagged in your training partner’s sleeve as they punch just past your ear. Ouch!
Uniforms should be washed frequently and should never be left in a gym bag when wet. By tradition, belts are seldom washed (but not because of the myth that it “washes away your knowledge”). It is usually not necessary to iron a Gi. Simply hanging or folding it neatly soon after drying is all that is required.
If you are a heavy smoker, have oral health problems, or work at a job where pungent aromas are present then we ask that you try to minimize the likelihood that these odors will affect others with whom you may work while in the Dojo. It is a simple common courtesy we can all extend toward one another.
We provide hand sanitizer for use by students and our instructional staff. Feel free to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before class begins. It can help reduce the possibility that you could inadvertently infect another practitioner. If you have been in contact with another person, particularly if your hands have been in contact with the person’s face or hands, then we suggest you wash your hands and/or use some hand sanitizer at your first opportunity. There is no shame in keeping your hands clean. You do not need to hide your attempts to ensure others (yourself included) are protected from potential cross-contamination.
If you have an existing wound that could potentially bleed during class activities then you should ensure a bandage or other covering is applied to prevent your blood from coming in contact with others or from falling to the training area floor. If blood does fall to the floor from a wound or nose bleed then you must inform the instructor or other Dojo official and ensure nobody approaches the blood until appropriate measures can be undertaken to clean it up. Steps should also be taken to ensure no additional blood falls to the floor or comes in contact with other practitioners. Practitioners who have come in contact with the blood of others should immediately take steps to clean themselves to reduce any risk of contamination. Blood is a potential source of serious infection and must be handled with care.
Most hygiene is a matter of common sense and etiquette. Keeping a Dojo clean and safe and ensuring the Dojo remains an enjoyable place to learn and practice is everyone’s responsibility.