Personal Hygiene and Cleanliness in Martial Arts Training

Cleanliness and personal hygiene are an often overlooked aspect in martial arts. Not only is proper hygiene a reflection of your dedication to training and the respect of your school but, it is also important for your personal health and the health of your training partners. These tips are important for both pre and post workout!

Having proper personal hygiene is crucial because it not only teaches discipline, it also affects your health and those around you. In the martial arts, you are constantly in close proximity to other training partners and teachers. You are coming into physical contact during training, so having bad hygiene includes unwashed clothing or gear and not taking precautions against your own body’s cleanliness and is inconsiderate to your partner or teacher.

Bad hygiene also has health risks. Being in such a close proximity to training partners when you have a cold, skin infection or health problem of some sort spreads illness quickly. Your problem now becomes theirs and that is something that something much more than disrespectful, it becomes a risk for infection.

The Discipline of the Martial Arts is More Than Just Physical Dedication!

Your main concern as a martial artist isn’t just your punches and kicks but, also the safety of those around you. You must always be aware and thoughtful about your training partners and your teachers. You need to have the proper self-discipline and respect of yourself and dojo. You can do this by taking care of your body and your training equipment. It is not only your responsibility but, also your duty as a student in the martial arts industry. 

Why Is Proper Hygiene Important?

Washing yourself after training and making sure you have properly cleaned your skin of dirt and sweat is priority one. Skin infections can be easily spread through physical contact. Self-defense  training requires a lot of physical contact. Training in close proximity makes the spread of skin infections like ring worm, Staph and MRSA easy. Yet, these infections are an avoidable risk if you take the proper precautions. Properly washing yourself after a rigorous training session is a must, besides the obvious issue of smell and odor. 

What Happens When You Practice Bad Cleanliness Habits?

Ringworm is formed when you come into contact with moist areas, such as locker rooms, wet mats or clothing from sweat and this skin rash is highly contagious. Cleaning training equipment and clothing, as well as properly washing yourself after class is extremely important in order to avoid these skin ailments.

Staph is spread through exposed sores. For martial artists, this is important to know because of bare feet and skin interaction during training. Being aware of your body and properly cleaning is a must. MRSA is a type of staph that is spread through contact with the skin and is extremely common in close contact sports. 

Wash Your Training Equipment Too!

Besides personal care, staying on top of your training gear and regularly washing your equipment like pads, protective gear, gi’s and anything else you use for training, is just as important. 

Make sure your gear has proper ventilation, that you clean them with anti-bacterial wipes or sprays and wash the equipment regularly. Leaving your gear soaked in sweat allows for bacteria to feaster and fungi to grow. Cleaning equipment is just as much of a health concern as cleaning your body. 

None of This Should Scare You!

It is important to know this isn’t to discourage training or to scare parents or students but, it is just reality. Bumps, bruises, scratches and injuries are all unavoidable when participating in an athletic pursuit, especially a combat sport like the martial arts. However, problems caused by bad hygiene are easily avoidable and maintaining good hygiene habits should be as much a part of your training as throwing a punch. 


Being aware of personal hygiene and the condition of your training equipment is more than just beneficial to your health and those around you. It is beneficial for personal development too. Good hygiene teaches self-discipline, self-awareness, respect and dedication. Teaching good hygiene also teaches one to care about themselves, their property and to have etiquette towards those around them. 

And Finally…

Being a martial artist permeates to all parts of someone’s life, not just physical ones. Training martial arts becomes a life style and teaches lessons outside of self-defense and fitness. Making sure you are aware of yourself and aware of how your actions affect others, is needed to succeed

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