A Common Courtesy

A Few Things All Martial Arts Students Should Do,

And That All New Martial Arts Students Need To Know.

No Matter where you train or what kind of training you do there are some basics that everyone involved in martial arts should follow. Paying attention to these basic etiquette details will improve the training experience for yourself AND everyone around you.  Not paying attention to these details could ruin someone else’s experience, or greatly reduce the amount of people that are willing to train with you.

Dont Be That Martial Arts GuyOr Girl.

SBG Coach Cane Prevost already wrote a great article about this on his blog (link here), but what I am about to say can never be repeated enough.  If you follow these basic guidelines then you will have a lot more training partners willing to work with you.

Martial Arts Lesson Number One:

The Smell

Body Odor:  Keep your self clean.  If you have been at work all day and you aren’t quite “fresh” take a shower!  I know it may seem counter intuitive to take a shower before working out but it is definitely needed.  You have to constantly keep in mind that you aren’t the only one that has to deal with your grungyness.

The stinky guy
Honestly You Smell. Just take the time to make sure your clothes are clean, AND USE SOAP IN THE SHOWER.

The Laundry:   Old uniforms, T-shirts, Gi’s, and rash guards can end up carrying a bit of a musk.  If you have a hard time smelling yourself or your clothes after you’re done training, just imagine how your training partners feel.  No matter where you train the coaches should be more then happy to offer advice on how to care for your equipment. It’s for everyone’s sake.

If you are doing martial arts and you aren’t making any contact with a training partner I hate to tell you, but you’re doing it wrong.  Any functional martial art will involve you touching your training partners.  As training progresses that touching becomes more aggressive. This is where the next piece comes into play.

Martial Arts Lesson Number Two.

Mat Scratch Fever-

Scratches from Martial ArtsClip Those Nails:     Every time you train you should check your nails.  Keep your nails short and smooth.  No one should have to deal with constant scratches.  Although they aren’t painful (maybe a bit nagging), they can be a health risk.  Open wounds can make way for infection.


20130813_145957Although these examples are very minor they still prove the point.  The scratch it’s self isn’t a big deal.  A infection caused by a scratch could be a big deal.

The actual “big deal” is that someone didn’t have enough respect for their training partners to take three minutes and check their nails. 

In our gym we have the Big Five Rules.  A collection of basic mostly common sense things everyone has to follow.  Outside of that we have the UN-written law, Rule Number Six. Which brings us to a extremely important rule that everyone in martial arts should follow. So last but not least,

Martial Arts Lesson Number Three.

The Unsightly-

In Martial Arts there are few things I hate coming across more than The Dreaded Outline. It doesn’t matter if you train in a family oriented environment or in a competition team, I am 99.9999% sure that no one wants to know how you look naked.  As much as I would like to show a few direct examples I feel that this subject is probably something that doesn’t need a picture.  So please try and bare with my descriptions.

It breaks down like this, if you are wearing something that shows a dreadfully clear outline of how your naughty bits look you should probably ad another layer.

 There are some gender neutral rules and some gender specific rules that can keep you from falling into this category.

short shorts

#1- (Gender Neutral) If you are wearing shorts short enough that there is a chance someone will see your goodies, then make sure you have on snug underwear.  No one wants to see that in the gym.

awesome spats

#2- (Gender Neutral) Spats are pretty popular for training.  They allow free movement and are dreadfully comfortable.  You do run the risk of the dreaded outline. The term “Flat Wall” comes to mind.  For men a cup is the go to answer for this.  If you don’t feel good in a cup then damn well better layer up.

sweater vest

#3 (Gender Neutral) The up stairs matters as well folks.  Some times for a competition style practice, or in the summer it’s go time and not a big deal to train with your shirt off. Just be conscience of a couple things.

For Guys- Listen I know you think you look like Burt Reynolds from gator but you know what, those sweater threads are going to end up in someones mouth.  It’s not pleasant so just keep that sweater vest contained.

For the Ladies-  Sports bra alone can be appropriate attire when the time permits. Either training hard or training in the heat.  However it’s not only for when you have your shirt off. Keeping everything contained is just as important when you have a shirt on.  No one wants to see an outline of the bits when they train with you.

The Short Version

Anyone who is learning martial arts should be considerate to their training partner by following these three basics.

Keep yourself and your gear CLEAN.

Keep your nails in check.

And dress appropriately.

Common Courtesy Is The Bare Minimum When Learning Martial Arts

Thanks for reading I’ll see you on the mat!

SBG One Tribe. One Vibe.

By: Zach T.

SBG Martial Arts and Fitness


1812 NE 43rd Ave  Portland, OR 97213