BJJ Injuries: 3 Risky Situations

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A common topic of conversation on the mats before BJJ class starts is training injuries. If you aren’t the one currently nursing some aching body part, one of your training buddies is just returning from an injury of his own.

This is doubly true if you are a member of the over 35 “Masters crew” — also known as the Silverbacks.

It is an uncomfortable reality of training BJJ. Our minds should turn naturally to how we can prevent these injuries in the first place.

Truth is that some of the injuries that occur are pure bad luck. It is difficult to prevent something like a finger getting twisted up in a gi or the lower back pulling while executing a basic technique.

Others, however, are preventable.

The most obvious way to prevent needless injury is being willing to tap, but I’m going to skip that one in this article.

There are a few higher risk situations where one should exercise a higher level of caution.

1) Warm-ups

Is there anyone reading this that was unaware that we need to do a proper warm-up before an intense exercise? Unlikely.

Yet how many times have we also heard this is response to the question of how the injury happened…”Well, I was running late to class and I guess that I wasn’t warmed up properly and I felt a pop…”

This is something that we can do something about. It takes a little self-discipline to do a short but whole body warm-up before we jump right into class.

2) Takedowns

Stand-up grappling has a reputation for having a greater risk of injury, and that reputation is partly deserved. Bodies striking the mats hard at various velocities are inevitably going to cause some aches and pains. Breakfalls are critical.

The injuries that I’ve witnessed (and been a part of) tend to happen because of a sloppily executed or a forced takedown, or someone awkwardly resisting.

For example, I enter into a hip throw but my entry is not quite clean enough. But if I twist just a little more and try to muscle it I can still get it?

Or maybe I have gotten a deep single leg, but I’m not going to concede the takedown, and by resisting I fall in an awkward position and torque my knee or land heavily on my shoulder. Ouch!

If the takedown is not clean or not really there, it is better to reset than force a sloppy takedown.

3) Environment

Usually guys rolling will stop and reset when they edge too close to the border of the mats or a wall.

But not everyone is that cautious. I witness a surprising number of guys rolling who have zero awareness of their surroundings. Their heads get dangerously close to hard surfaces where the next sudden movement will result in a painful contusion.

I once had to interrupt a pair in an intense roll who were literally rolling on top of a pair of small girls who were drilling. Totally oblivious to their surroundings, they didn’t even stop when I interrupted by tapping their backs while calling “stop!”

Come on, guys! You need to be aware of your surroundings and take care of both yourself and training partners.


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