You stink! — Martial arts and hygiene

How bles­sed are tho­se who are allo­wed to train in a real Asi­an dojo! Woo­den, shiny floo­rs, fra­gran­ces, dis­creet­ly deco­ra­ted walls, venerable atmosphere …
Most of us expe­ri­ence a much rougher envi­ron­ment. The occup­a­ti­on with the mar­ti­al arts usual­ly invol­ves fre­quent visits to gym­na­si­ums. In terms of hygie­ne and scent, this is usual­ly a mat­ter of its own and can be coar­ser than a punch in the nose.

The­re you roll your nose over the floor in the dust and dried sweat of the pre­vious users, find from time to time torn off plas­ters or remains of the moul­ting of the soles of your feet. You jump bare­foot through the hall and hope not to have to go to the toi­let, becau­se the­se are are­as whe­re stur­dy shoes are abso­lute­ly recom­men­ded … Sin­ce I train in the big mul­ti-pur­po­se hall in Kal­le­tal, we have access to a tiny litt­le room whe­re we store claws, sticks and safe­tys. Pro­blem: The for­mer solo sho­wer has a sink and a drain. And they have a trap that keeps dry­ing out. So you need at least an odour-brawn-belt to avoid having to ack­now­ledge the ope­ning of the door with immedia­te fain­ting. The stuff you take out of the­re smells cor­re­spon­din­gly “deli­cious”.

The­re is pro­bab­ly not­hing to be done about the­se things; we have to live with the blunt­ness of many of our fel­low sports­men and women and the aus­teri­ty dic­ta­tes of the ope­ra­ting com­mu­nities and muni­ci­pa­li­ties who neglect the clea­ning or reno­va­ti­on of halls.
But what we can (and urgent­ly should) chan­ge is our own hygie­ne. My dear Mr. Cho­ral Socie­ty, how often I have been allo­wed to “enjoy” Gi, on which the swea­ty edges have tur­ned white. Espe­cial­ly at the Kem­po with the black suits it is not so rare to admi­re … Fin­ger- and toe­nails, which would urgent­ly need scis­sors and a litt­le clea­ning. Or the situa­ti­on whe­re you jump into the sho­wer com­ple­te­ly swea­ty and your fel­low ath­le­tes casual­ly throw them­sel­ves into their nor­mal clothes — of cour­se without having enjoy­ed the clean­sing effect of water beforehand.

Washing and unwashed

Now the­re may be peop­le who enjoy the natu­ral scent of old sweat. Who would like to show the sweat marks on clothes or dir­ty suits in gene­ral as an expres­si­on of alrea­dy over­co­me torments and let them cele­bra­te. And Yeti-like toe­nails could even be an advan­ta­ge when clim­bing bare­foot, the black edges under the fin­ger­nails could ser­ve as Nin­ja-liken camouflage.
I don’t know. But I per­so­nal­ly feel such con­di­ti­ons as an impo­si­ti­on and lack of respect. To me and to ever­yo­ne else. So here are a few rules of etiquette:

  • Suits should at least be well ven­ti­la­ted, if not was­hed. Stay­ing for days bet­ween wet towels in a sports bag does not help!
  • Fin­ger- and toe­nails must be clean and rea­son­ab­ly short, other­wi­se they are actual­ly dan­ge­rous. I once scrat­ched a partner’s eye­brow with a toe­nail. If that had been inten­ded, I would have been qui­te an expert. But I was not!
  • Unwa­s­hed feet are neit­her an adorn­ment nor par­ti­cu­lar­ly appe­ti­zing during part­ner exer­ci­ses whe­re you have to touch the chee­sy maws.
  • If you get into your ever­y­day clothes after trai­ning, you should actual­ly clean yourself first. It’s almost embarr­as­sing that you have to wri­te this … It’s dif­fe­rent if you sho­wer at home right after the trai­ning. But until then you mas­sa­ge your excess body juices into car uphols­te­ry or feed them to your clothes.

In this day and age, you can’t for­ce someo­ne to be clean. Poli­ti­cal cor­rect­ness and all that. When I was in school, it was com­pul­so­ry to take a sho­wer after­wards as part of gym class. Nowa­days the­re are usual­ly only three or four sports­men and women among our washing faci­li­ties, the rest stinks unwa­s­hed. And Gi wait unwa­s­hed and not ven­ti­la­ted for their next assign­ment. If the tech­ni­que is not enough, the smell club knocks you out…

This has not­hing to do with the so much con­ju­red up Budo eti­quet­te. And it has not­hing to do with respect for one’s fel­low human bein­gs eit­her. So plea­se water march! 🙂



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