Germ Warfare on the Mat

Biological warefare, also known as germ warfare, is the use of infectious agents or toxins with the intent to harm or kill humans, animals or other living creatures. Okay, maybe that is a little extreme for the world of combat sports. We aren’t trying to kill each other with germs, just with our ninja skills (Wink, wink). Perhaps the more applicable definition of Germ Warfare is humans engaging in battle against the GERMS.

Plenty of articles have been written about cleanliness of gyms and how to prevent or reduce exposure to bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Of the top articles available on the world wide web, this one was pretty interesting. Who better than a microbiologist to give us the scientific details of where germs lurk in the gym. What’s rare in these articles is the discussion about seasonal colds running rampant at gyms – especially when there are children taking classes as well. 

Welcome to Germ City!
Even the cleanest gyms will only be as clean as their dirtiest Pig Pen.

So what happens when the germs win and we come down with cold symptoms? The common cold is caused by any one of the hundreds of known virus strains. These viruses are hanging out everywhere – door handles, mats, on people’s skin, and even floating around on microscopic airborne droplets. It takes 1-2 days for the cold virus to take hold and symptoms of mild body aches, stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, cough or sore throat may appear. 

How to treat a cold? 

  1. Stay hydrated . . . and stay away from your BJJ gym.
  2. Rest. . . and stay away from your BJJ gym. 
  3. Use cough drops, nasal sprays, OTC meds, etc. . . and stay away from your BJJ gym.
  4. Conduct a thorough investigation into which teammate may have gotten you sick. . . and stay away from your BJJ gym. 
From an altruistic perspective, you’d be helping everyone else if your cold germ-riddled body stayed at home in quarantine. Why expose others unnecessarily? Think of time off the mat as a restorative break to rest and hydrate. Our bodies’ immune systems are pretty good at fighting cold viruses. If we overburden our bodies by adding intense exercise on top of fighting off virus infections, we might even delay recovery thus prolonging the return to Jiu Jitsu. So just Netflix and chill with your white blood cells next time you’re sick. Please and thank you.
Mental Health, Uncategorized

Who has time to meditate?? 

Back in the day, I went to a weekly meditation group in Austin, Texas. It was great for managing my stress, working through difficult problems, and kept me grounded. Nowadays it’s been extremely difficult to restart an active meditative practice with my hectic schedule.

Why re/start? Benefits are endless – helps with stress and anxiety, increases attention span and self-awareness, improves sleep quality to name a few.

Then B-A-M! After a good brainstorm, a really good idea came to mind. Some time ago, I read (and reread) an excellent book titled, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” It’s fantastic! It speaks about moving mediation. In other words, it’s about being mindful while doing something mundane like washing the dishes. I thought I could apply this much more effectively by incorporating it into my existing life.

This current practice is new, only about one month so far. I’m listening to one hour of instrumental meditative music (Chants, singing bowls, drum music, etc.) from a popular YouTube channel called Meditative Mind. The link is posted below. I’ll try different tracks until I find something interesting, then I’ll start my activity. For driving long distances, I have my usual pitstops and can start/stop the track. It’s nice to drive with engaging meditative music because it gives my brain a break from the audio books and podcasts I have playing. At bedtime, I’ll play something instrumental while I do a series of stretches or yoga sun salutations.

Inspiration for starting a moving mediation:
–Walking/hiking/running outdoors
Cooking a meal
Eating a meal
Folding laundry
Gardening/yard work
–Doing something creative (Those coloring books!)
Yoga or stretching

How to get started:
1. Remove or reduce distractions like phone notifications or television.
2. Play some relaxing music tracks of your choice.
3. Stay present in the moment while you engage in your chosen activity. Redirect your mind when it wanders off from focusing on the task. Observe all the sensory details of the task.
4. Viola! You’re in a meditative state of mind.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice

Meditative Mind YouTube Channel