3 Tips For Safer Rolling

Photo by: Blanca Marisa Garcia

Our number one priority on the mats should be the safety of both ourselves and our training partners. There is an inherent risk of injury in any combat sport, but there are things we can do to reduce that risk.

Here are three of them.

1) Use caution with dangerous positions and submissions 

Certain positions and submissions – e.g., neck cranks, heel hooks, heavy pressure stacking, and leg entanglements – all carry a greater potential for injury. When you have your training partner in a risky position, pay extra attention to their body and limb position.

You might have to suddenly release your pressure if a limb or neck gets put in a position where it is under stress. It is better to let things go if in doubt than to hang onto something that ends up going wrong.

By that same reasoning, protect yourself when you feel your fingers or wrist are in danger. Give up the pass or release the grip instead of hanging on and getting a painfully twisted joint.

Live to fight another day!

2) Stay aware of your environment 

In an ideal world, we would be rolling on a football field sized mat with zero obstructions.

But we don’t live in an ideal world.

Many times we collide with other rolling pairs, the wall, support pillars, or the edge of the mat.

You may be so intent on completing a sweep or rolling armlock that you can end up catapulting your partner right into an unpadded surface – BANG!

Thrashing wildly with your legs and kicking other nearby rolling pairs is not cool. Sure, concentrate on your roll, but if you feel your foot kicking something warm and gi covered, that is probably another person!

When your opponent is shrimping away in guard and his head is close to the wall, pause and reset. You are watching out for his cranial health!

3) Tapping 

The old cliche goes, “The saddest thing about this is that it could have been prevented!” How many sore shoulders and elbows could have been avoided by tapping a little earlier?

We all have been guilty at one time or another, usually with a strained joint as a reminder afterwards.

The easist way to prevent these injuries is to tap when you need to and let go when an inexperienced partner stubbornly refuses to tap.

Ego or inexperience both are reasons that people refuse to tap early enough. People say to themselves, “I can get out of this if I just bridge a little more” . . . POP!

More experienced guys will have to release submissions when a less experienced opponent just refuses to tap. You COULD hang on and really prove to them that you had them . . . or you could release, continue the roll, let them think they escaped, and then later explain to them that their joint was in danger.

Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times : The Most Important 6 Submissions that White Belts Should Learn in Bjj


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