Odour Management for Martial Artists

Summer is approaching fast and with the hot weather usually comes an increase in dojo odour issues at even the best schools. It’s always difficult to bring up hygiene problems with students directly; no one likes to be told that sort of thing. It’s embarrassing! So hopefully this article will help martial arts students and instructors drop hints indirectly via Facebook, Twitter, etc.

1. Wash your gi regularly. The number of times you can get away with wearing your gi before washing varies from student to student and season to season. You may be able to get away with only washing it once a week in the winter, but you may sweat more in the summer and need to wash it after every class. If this poses a problem because you don’t have time to wash your gi that often, consider buying another one so you can rotate between them. If you can get away with more than one wear without washing, you should still take your gi out of your bag and hang it up to air it out when you get home.

2. Get perspiration problems under control. Some people naturally sweat more than others. This problem gets even worse in the summer heat. Regular antiperspirant works for some, but some people need something stronger, especially if they find themselves soaking right through their uniforms whenever they train. One of my doctor students recommended Drysol for people with this problem. I can’t speak from experience, but I’m told it works really well.

3. Keep your feet clean & odour free. Foot odours tend to get worse in the summer due to increased perspiration and the use of sandals (especially sports sandals). If you find that you have foot odour issues, wash your feet daily with an anti-bacterial soap and dry your feet well

afterwards. Use antiperspirant spray on the bottoms of your feet as often as you need to. If you find that you sweat quite heavily from your feet, you may want to try Drysol. Use an antibacterial or disinfectant spray directly onto your shoes or sandals daily. This will help to remove existing bacteria that may cause odours. Give your footwear sufficient time to dry when you spray them. You may need to wait as long as 24 hours before wearing them though, depending on the type of footwear. Also, consider not wearing sandals all day on days you know you’re going to be training.

4. Stay off the mats if you have a skin infection. This should be obvious enough, but not everyone practices this. Sometimes people ignore symptoms that should really be checked out spreading the infection to their fellow students during training. Skin infections like ringworm and staph tend to occur more often in summer than any other season and they are contagious. If you have any suspicious marks or wounds on your skin, do yourself and your fellow students a favour and go see a doctor before getting on the mats.

Please heed the above words of wisdom for everyone’s sake. No one wants to train with you when you stink. By following all of the above tips, you can avoid that embarrassing situation.
Comments (5)

5 thoughts on “Odour Management for Martial Artists

  1. Communication via facebook about an odor problem in the dojo: 'will student X please shower before stepping onto the mat'? Like/dislike? (Lol)

    "No one wants to train with you when you stink." Hear, hear!

  2. I have a few subject related questions, maybe you’ve already written an article about the subject; if so, I apologize, I couldn’t find it. My questions were, in your experience, what is the best way to keep mats clean and disinfected? And this one may seem obvious, but when do you know it’s time to replace them?

    • I think it’s different depending on what kind of mats you use. I have Judo tatami mats. The best way to keep them clean is to wash them every day you hold classes. There are different solutions you can use, but I use a mix of vinegar and water with a couple of squirts of dish soap. I use the Rubbermaid Reveal mops to do the actual mopping. I hope this helps! :)

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