Always Protect Yourself!

Recently the Jiu-Jitsu Times recently posted a story about a BJJ competitor who suffered a neck injury after attempting a triangle in a tournament match.

BREAKING : Joshua Hahm To Make Full Recovery

Joshua Hahm suffered a neck injuring after being spiked onto his neck while holding onto a triangle choke. Fortunately, Joshua is going to be okay. It is unlikely that his opponent had any ill intentions in attempting the escape, but it resulted in a potentially life changing injury.

My first thought upon reviewing the video was something that fight sport referees caution fighters before every bout: protect yourself at all times. In that context the words mean that it is the fighters’ responsibility to defend themselves and not rely only on the bell sounding to end the round or the referee to shield them from late blows.

I look at those same words in a slightly different context. It is your responsibility — and certainly in your best interests of self preservation — to keep your body in safe positions all of the time in any type of match.

This means being aware of positions where your neck might be vulnerable to being stacked in the guard and potentially dangerous force applied to the cervical spine.

This means being aware of situations where you could be injured if your opponent used an illegal technique like slamming or spiking.

“But that’s illegal!” you might protest.

And you would be correct. But you might be correct and injured!

This means avoiding situations where inverting could place your upper spine in a dangerous position. If your opponent suddenly sprawls or unpredictably drops their bodyweight, a dangerous amount of force could be directed on your neck.

In any situation where you are susceptible to injury, your first priority must be to protect yourself regardless of whether the technique is illegal under the sporting rules or not.

In the specific situation of the triangle neck injury, Hahm could have protected himself by:

A) hooking the inside of his opponent’s leg preventing himself from being lifted and potentially slammed or spiked; or

B) releasing the triangle when his opponent started to lift his body up

Admittedly there is no way to 100% prevent injuries in combat sports due to the unpredictable nature of fighting. We cannot forget to guard ourselves against illegal or unexpected techniques. The price for ignoring this reality could be a serious injury that affects your life.

Always protect yourself at all times!



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