Ask DeBlass: The Ten Commandments of Jiu Jitsu Hygiene

Photo by: Toronto Nogi

Tom Deblass

There’s a story that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was once asked how was it that he was so successful reducing the crime rate, specifically the number of murders during his time as Mayor.  His reply was that they focused on the jaywalkers.  In other words, the little things we focus on have a great impact on the larger things.  In this edition of Ask DeBlass, Professor Tom shares some of the most common sense, but NON-NEGOTIABLE rules to ensure that everyone has a great experience in their BJJ classes.  Read and snicker.  But most importantly do not ignore these rules.

Be Like Water–Make sure you shower as soon as you possibly can after every single class. There are tons of grappling specific soaps and body washes available, but good old fashion Ivory soap and water is all you need to get your skin refreshed and clean after a hard session.  It’s also been shown that dandruff shampoos actually contain ingredients that can help keep you free of ringworm.

Showering after class is crucial to keep you and your training partners safe from things like ringworm.
Showering after class is crucial to keep you and your training partners safe from things like ringworm.


Laundry Day–Make sure that you wash your gi and your other essentials after every class. Hanging your gi out to dry in the sun can do some good, but should not be seen as the only line of defense.  Read the care directions on your products and get them washed.

Talons Are For Eagles–Please keep the nails of your fingers and toes respectably trimmed.  The area under our nails can be a hot bed for all sorts of nefarious stuff that could cause issue if someone is scratched and infected.

Minty Fresh–Make sure you brush your teeth before class.  Mouthwash, mints, or breath spray would be a great addition to your gi bag.

Keeping your teeth and breath fresh is a great example of the old Samurai saying "How you do one thing, is how you do all things."
Keeping your teeth and breath fresh is a great example of the old Samurai saying “How you do one thing, is how you do all things.”

Going Viral–Do not train when you are sick.  If you cannot give up the grind, do some solo drills or bodyweight movements AT HOME.  Getting your training partners sick does not make you tough.

Ringworm Guard–Do not get on the mats if you have ANY sign of ringworm, no matter how small.  It does not matter how many layers of tape you have on it.  Stay off the mats until you are healed.

Axe DeBlass–Please apply deodorant before training.  You don’t have to be drowning in Drakar Noir, but a little Axe body spray can do wonders.

Gi 2.0–If you take multiple classes, it is a good idea to bring an extra dry gi to change into. You and your partners will thank us for this one.

Foul Play–If you consistently wash your rashguards, board shorts, gis or whatever and they have a bad odor after coming out of the wash or drier, throw them out.  That smell is from bacteria not being fully killed off in the cleaning process.  I don’t care if it’s your lucky rashguard.  Just do it.

Don’t pollute–Please do your best not to burp or pass gas during class unless it’s an accident.  Things happen.  Just don’t be that partner who’s known for that.  Avoid large meals just before training.  You don’t want to finish your Taco Bell and realize that it’s going to be a knee on the belly class that night.


Train hard and clean harder!  Send me questions at 

Please check out Professor DeBlass and his Academy’s website at Ocean County BJJ



  1. It is SOOOOOOO GROSE to be at a tournament and seeing someone walk in to the bathroom and not wearing any shoes. I do not want to even compete when I see that.

  2. In my times as a white belt I pretended I was an eagle and took a chunk of a rolling partner with my big ass nails. Got a sermon from my instructor and for the last years there’s always a nail clipper in my gym bag.

    Oh and one time I had to tap to a stinky gi

  3. I rolled once with someone with smelly breath that wasn’t nice. I rolled with another guy who alway had a stinky gi. It’s like he left it in his car trunk and never washed it and touched it again only on training days. I rolled with someone else who probably didn’t get to wash their gi yet but let it dry for a couple of days and there is definitely a distinct smell to caked on dry sweat on fabric.

  4. Please, no Axe body spray. I’d rather roll with a lumberjack wearing no deodorant right after he comes in from chopping down a redwood single-handedly.

  5. Before I start, i’d like to say that I’ve being a grappler for 26 years by now, starting with Judo by the age of 4, becoming a BJJ black belt on 2010. I’m not a sensei, though – I just have martial arts as part of my life. AND I NEVER GOT RING WORM OR ANY SKIN RELATED HEALTH PROBLEM BY TRAINING. That been said I must advise you guys about something important. You forgot one very important rule, that is “sacred” in Brazilian and Japanese (just to name a few) Dojos: CLEAN THE MATT where you train. At the most traditional Dojos (martial arts gyms), the students themselves clean it after class, while at some of the more fancy ones there are people hired to do the cleaning. The reason to that is to avoid students (and sensei) to get skin diseases. The ancient masters already knew that hygiene is deeply related to the matter. Keep yourself, your gi, all your gear, and the Matt CLEAN. ALSO, DON’T BRING DIRT TO THE MATT, wear your flip-flops, sandals, croc shoes, whatever you like and only take them of to climb up to the Matt, don’t walk barefoot around the Dojo. This helps to keep the Matt clean and safe to train. Add these to the list, please!


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