I tried to get my friend to come along to a BJJ class and his reply was that he didn’t like people in his personal space. I get it. In BJJ there is next to zero personal space. I think of it akin to something like salsa dancing where people get quite close. But with salsa dancing your partner is not trying to hurt you. Well not intentionally anyway. There are some side effects that come with the physical closeness aspect of BJJ. Here is my short list of things that have happened and are an integral part of training BJJ.
- You will sweat. If you don’t like to sweat them BJJ is probably not for you. I leave every class with a Gi that is saturated with sweat. Worse than not liking sweat is not liking other people’s sweat. Trying to grab sweaty arms and legs is a struggle. Especially in No-Gi. That’s common but at least once this year I have had someone drip sweat into my eye and, even worse, into my mouth. Now that is gross. I must remember to keep it shut but it’s hard when you are struggling to breathe. A subcategory here is the wearing of a rash vest under the Gi. Please wear one!
- You may fart or break wind. You don’t need to suffer from some embarrassing flatulence disorder. It’s only natural that if someone inverts you, stacks you on your back with your legs over your head, there is a possibility that gas will escape. It will also be accompanied by the noise and odour which is quite gross.
- Someone might sit on your face. One of my favourite submissions is to move from Side Control to North-South and clamp their head between your legs while putting a kimura on the arm. If it goes well you are sitting on the side of their head. If they wriggle to try to escape, you could end up sitting on their face.
- You will spar with someone that has questionable hygiene. It’s a rule of the gym that is the hardest to enforce. Everyone should be clean and their Gi should be washed and fresh for the mat. Some go over and above what is required with disinfectant, laundry detergent and softener after each class. Some just don’t and it’s gross.
- Blood. It’s amazing how much of a mess a small amount of blood can make. An open wound can end the sparring session but in most cases, it goes unnoticed until someone else points it out to you. Finger and toenails must be kept short. Blood from a small nick can spread over the skin and be absorbed into a Gi. If you are carrying scabs from mat burn then it might be a good idea to tape them up just as a courtesy.
If there is anything I have missed, please drop me an email and I’ll update the list.