We purposely don’t write rules or create mandates on most dojo norms and customs. However; we quickly enforce a stop to certain behaviors that are rude, lazy, or dangerous. In this case, being dehydrated is immediately dangerous. There is no dojo rule book or poster that dictates that we need to drink ‘x’ glasses of water a day. But, most of us appear to take hydration rather seriously.
There are certain groups of people who believe that drinking more water than our level of thirst is detrimental. I haven’t noticed this kind of view on water in my dojo, specifically. There is a thought that drinking certain large amounts of water leeches minerals from the body. While the reasoning appears to have flaws and contradicts my own perspective on drinking water, I personally find it is acceptable to allow people who feel this way to continue their habits of low water intake. The unwanted conflict and imposing of opinion does not seem to be worth a slim chance of changing a person’s level of health.
Many students bring water bottles on to the training floor and in their bogubukuro. As part of the teaching group, I personally decided to develop the habit of always having a water bottle out and visible during training and teaching. Hopefully, this example will allow students to notice that teachers bring water bottles. The students that notice this may apply the unspoken norm by bringing their own water. The overlap (and differences) between enforced rules and emergent social norms are generally fascinating to me. Each dojo appears to be an observable microcosm of larger scale society with a complex system of propriety and unspoken rules.
In a perfect world, where everyone takes in multiple liters of water throughout the day, I’d guess that there would be no reason to have water bottles on the training floor. Perhaps, people would simply have drank enough water throughout the day to have adequate stores of water and relatively lower concentrations of cellular waste stored in their bodies. After a 2 hour training, they would all simply drink water outside of the training floor to replenish and aid in the removal of increased cellular wastes from the training. There would probably be no dehydration or symptoms caused by dehydration in this utopia. However, people often don’t have such habits in reality. This is probably why even the day-long hydrators in the dojo still carry those special water bottles with mengane penetrating straws around.