Getting a staph infection or MRSA is not fun. These germs essentially eat your flesh. These types of bacteria are the ones that are hard to kill and the medication you end up taking can likely be the last line of defense.

So, your absolute first line of defense for preventing infection when training BJJ is to shower your damn self after training. Don’t half ass wash yourself either. Lather well and scrub every exposed area of skin with suds. This washes away the bacteria and germs that were collected on your skin. If training caused some skin to open up, be sure to wash that thoroughly as well. That area is the most susceptible to infection.

Here is UFC fighter Mark Hunt with his staph infection.

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Let’s also talk about finger and toe nails. Make sure these are trimmed not only for your partner’s sake, but also for your own. Obviously, you can cut your partner when training with your nails and bacteria on your nails may end up infecting them. However, there can be accidents in which your nail gets caught in your partner’s skin or flesh and gets completely ripped off.

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That’s nasty.

Make sure you aren’t training with any rashes that can be contagious to other people. If you see it on another people, be quick to point it out so that you aren’t a victim. Some tournaments I’ve been to don’t even have a protocol for when a fighter has a rash. I’m not sure how many gyms have policies regarding this issue and some instructors don’t educate their students enough on this subject. No joke though, some of these rashes can stay with you for life.

Don’t wear any jewelry. I know this isn’t exactly hygiene related but it will prevent injuries. Anything metallic worn on the body can cause scratches, poke people, or get tangled in unwanted places. Avoid this by simply remove any rings, ear rings, and necklaces prior to sparring.

If anyone bleeds (or barfs) on the mat, stop training and clean the accident up immediately. Obviously, bodily fluids are the vehicles that transmit a wide range of diseases like AIDS and herpes. If you have either of the previously mentioned diseases, you probably shouldn’t be involved in a full contact sport anyways but you never know as viruses can lie dormant for months at a time. This is called the incubation period. If blood gets on your skin, make sure immediately use some soap and water wash it off.

This is also related to mat cleanliness. It’s important that the mats you train on are washed regularly (probably every day). This helps prevent the buildup of bacteria that increases the chances of infection.

Finally, don’t be the guy/gal that smells. Wash your gi and wear an undershirt while training. If you only have one gi, make sure you wash it each time you train or save up some money and buy an extra one. Wear deodorant so when you’re smashing your partner, they will pass out by your awesome technique and not your smell.

Train hard and stay safe and healthy.

Don’t Get Staph (and Other Useful Hygiene Tips for BJJ)

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