I was chatting with a friend at the dojo recently, and the conversation came around to personal hygiene on the mat (or lack thereof, in some cases!). She was wondering why some people just didn’t get it and how we might get the message across to those ‘hygiene holdouts’.

Later, it occurred to me that it’s just like dating; if you present yourself at the dojo in more or less the same way you would on a date, all would be well:

Wear a clean dogi. You may or may not wear your dogi on a date, but whatever you wear shouldn’t smell like it was left under your front porch and used as burrow lining by a skunk.

Brush your teeth. No one’s going to kiss you at the dojo, but panting through kihon dosa sotai dosa with dragon breath is not the way to blend.

Trim your nails, including your toenails. Whether it’s on the mat or snuggled up on the couch, it’s a real mood breaker when you gouge someone.

Use deodorant. Please.

And speaking of hygiene and dating, when last I saw Aiki-Doh!-ka, he was looking very spiffy indeed - clean dogi, fresh duct tape, and a halo of cologne. When I commented on his dapperness, he clammed up on me but I noticed that his eyes cut across the mat to the cute new white belt who just joined the dojo.

“A-D,” I said, “have you got a thing for her?”

His blush answered me.

“She had me at kamae,”  he stammered.

The call to line up ended our conversation, so we’ll have to wait for more information…