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Anyone Ever Gave Up BJJ Thanks to Staph?


I have just been rolled out of the theatre after having another abscess lanced and drained.

I had a similar procedure under local on my leg about 6/12 ago.

I’m only a blue belt. I don’t think I can continue with this frequency if staph infections. I’m the cleanest person at my gym. Possibly too clean, with sometimes 2 showers a day.

Has anyone given up on BJJ to recurrent staph infections? Maybe I’ll take up tae kwon do or something?!
Is this just bad luck? Maybe I’m training too much and compromising my immune system?



How clean is your gym? Are the mats disinfected after classes? Are others at your gym having the same issues? Staph, ringworm etc. are hazards, but I can only think of a handful of people at our gym who have ever had any issues that way and those are rare.



Yeah mate. We clean the mates before every practice. In the past 12 months there have been number of skin infection incidences, including another student who required surgery on his hand.

There are a few “shady” characters at the gym, but most of them are reasonably clean. There are also a few students who just have NFI and turn up to training suffering with a cold/flu. It’s almost impossible to point the finger at one person.

It’s in my nature to burn both ends of the candle. It’s normal for me to weight train 4 times a week, train BJJ 3 times a week and box twice a week. On top of that I obviously work, usually 40 hours a week, in a office situation consulting with many people. Maybe I have pushed things too far and my immune system could not cope and this was the straw that broke the camels back.



If it’s Martinovka lets just say that I’m not surprised by the recurring staph.

Change clubs. Find the one where they clean the mats with industrial alcohol after each practice.




I don’t think its worth quitting the sport over a little speed bump like this.

To me it seems strange that mats are getting washed before practice and not after. Letting all that sweat fester on the mats for the 12 or 24 hours between classes does not sit well with me. If there have been multiple incidents the gym ownership needs to be made aware of it and make some changes. If they do know and they’ve done nothing then train somewhere else.

As far as your own hygiene, you can always be more diligent. I used to get more minor skin infections; nothing as serious as requiring surgery or lancing, but they were painful and frequent. All that went away when I started using antimicrobial soaps in the shower and disinfecting my gi with vinegar. Take special care to wash any open wounds you end up with after training. I’ve never used rashguards or compression pants, but those help many people as well, especially if your gi is rough enough that its cutting into or burning your skin.



Thanks for the advice. General aenethesia, 3 days off work, 2 weeks off any training… that’s more than a minor speed bump.

I already wash my clothes with a disinfectant. I think I will invest in som full body rash guards, although I’m not too sureness they would make a significant difference?

I will look into upgrading my soap.

Do you think maybe washing too often is making me more susceptible? On days that I train BJJ in the evening I often go to the gym in the the morning and obviously shower straight afterwards. There is a good 8 hour time difference between my shower after the gym and BJJ, but maybe I am cleaning off the he “good bacteria “?

Anybody have any luck with probiotics? Are they proven to do anything?



Honestly, if there’s a staph outbreak in his gym, and it looks like it is, the best option is to change gyms.

Eradicating staph in a gym setting is not easy and perfunctory swabbing won’t do.


Maybe the fact you are wet or sweaty so often and long could make you mkre likely to get an infection and as they say the superbugs are taking over so get yoursslf dirty and covered in as many germs as you can to crowd o u t the staph. But not to dirty


I had recurring MRSA infections for YEARS. The question isn’t, are you getting lots of staph infections, it’s, are you the only one at your gym getting them that you know of? You’d be surprised how resilient staph infections are. If it’s MRSA, you might have to kill it with Sulfa, but there are staph infections that Sulfa wouldn’t be effective on and would require Augmentin, etc.


@flappinit: That sucks. Did you require surgery multiple times?

I’m pretty sure that it’s not MRSA. Isn’t that much harder to treat and much more severe?

There has been a handful of cases at the dojo. Our sensei black belt who has run this dojo for 10 years, had even made the comment he had not seen so many infections in such a short time span in the past 6-12 months.

I’m not sure what to do. I want to keep training, but I can’t afford to be in hospital under general anaesthetic every 6 months for drainage of abscesses.



MRSA is not the terrifying thing most people make it out to be. It’s serious, and can, in some cases be life threatening, but it just refers to a staph infection that is methicillin resistant. Still treatable, but must be diagnosed properly. It sounds like there are multiple indications that somebody there has a persistent staph infection. Sad to switch dojos if you’re attached to this one, but continuous infections are not supposed to be a guaranteed part of BJJ. We did a shit ton of grappling in the Marines, and most of us were super sweaty, dirty, and barely sanitized anything, ever, and outside of boot camp, where cellulitis seemed to be the most common thing ever, nobody had a ton of staph or anything.


Swapping dojos is not an option. Only place in town that does BJJ.

Is it possible that it is me, who has the persistent staph infection. My last staph skin infection was about 7-8 months ago. Since then I’ve had no other indications of an skin infections. Can a staph infection lay dormant for that period of time?

Is it worth considering daily chlorahexadine washes? Probiotics?



This seemed strange to me as well. Everywhere I’ve trained washes the mats right after class is done. This seems to make the most sense. It gives the antibacterial/antifungal agents time to work and if it isn’t being used prior to class, it’s not getting dirty.

It’s like pretending that your gi will be just as fresh if you leave it in a gym bag overnight and wash it the next morning instead of washing it ASAP. I only did that once on accident, and boy was that garment ripe. Extra vinegar in that wash.

Good luck man I hope you can find a solution.


We train at a multipurpose venue.

Usually our mats are not used by anyone else, but are occasionally used by a kindy gym class, and often walked on by people who attend the place for random functions etc who end up accidently walking into our room and all over our mats.

Hence it was decided that it was best to wash the mats before class as we didn’t know exactly what and who has been on our mats.

mini-update: antibiotics have seemed to do the trick. Some redness around the area but the infection has seemed to clear up. I now have to attend the hospital for re-packing and redressing daily for another few days. My incision is about 1.5 cm deep and 2 cm long, and I expect that will take about 2 weeks to close up.



I’ve wrestled, cross trained in judo and trained gi and no gi bjj and dabbled in almost every other form of grappling for over 10 years. I’ve quit bjj myself for the moment due to financial reasons, but staph infections or ringworm is a terrible reason to quit if you truly enjoy it. If your gym mats are that dirty offer to clean them before/after class, they’ll usually give you a bit of a discount for doing so. If not, find a different club that is more sanitary. If you find you are prone to getting skin infections easily, wear rashguards and shower immediately after class. There’s some medical grade anti mircrobial soap you can buy on amazon or lots of bjj stores online have it as well


@witchfindergeneral: Our mats are cleaned before every session. Most of the guys at the gym appear to be relatively clean, although I suppose that is one aspect that is difficult to control. I don’t have the option of joining another club as I live in a small isolated town.

I think I just got unlucky. I was feeling a little run down. My immune system was most likely compromised at the time.

I really do enjoy BJJ, and I don’t want to quit, but I cant afford to deal with a staph infection every 6 months.

I’ve heard variable reports regarding the effectiveness of rash guards. I usually wear a rashguard top, but not a rash \guard bottom underneath my gi.

Any recommendations on soap? I usually shower straight as soon as I get home, which is a 10-15 minute drive from the dojo.



Showering at your BJJ club would be the most ideal if you can. I know a lot of guys use tea tree oil. When I was in high school wrestling my mom would get me the stuff they used from her hospital to wash people before surgery, it was some medical grade antibacterial wash. I only used it for one season because one of my wrestling partners was a smelly dirty pig that got ringworm and gave it to me. I would use it in the locker room immediately after practice and I never got ringworm after that. That 10-15 min ride home might not seem like much but it’s more than enough time to get a skin infection. If you think it’s your immune system, your body is trying to tell you to slow down a little. Take a day off your class or off lifting. Or at least dial the volume down for one or both. Don’t spar every time you roll, have one day dedicated to just technique, or if you’re rolling 5 rounds a class every class lower it to 4. Do a set less for you main lifts when you train. When I was serious into grappling I followed Glen Pendlays MMA routine. 3 exercises for 3 ramping sets of 5 for a push, pull and squat 3 times a week. That’s plenty if your grappling 3 or more times a week, grappling is skill and a strength. It’s very taxing to try and balance both out at the same time and be proficient. It’s hard to be proficient at lifting or a martial art alone, but doing both is not so simple


Thanks mate.

That’s great advice and I think you have hit the nail on the head with your suggestions.



Update: Finally recovered from my minor surgery. Wound is now all healed and I am ready to return to BJJ.

I joined my BJJ comrades for a “busy bee” clean up of our dojo on the weekend. We ripped up all of our mats, scrubbed them all clean, scrubbed the floors and then rearranged a few things. Apparently last week there was another case of “Staph”.

Another thing we are considering is improving air flow through the dojo. Our room is enclosed and stuffy, and often gets steamy. Apparently fresh air flow is a vital factor in preventing infections at hospitals. We are looking at opening certain doors and trying to get some windows opened.