Continue To Train In A Limited Way?

The majority of us have dealt with a training injury at some point. Perhaps it kept us off the mat for a short period before we could return to training.

I have met a number of guys who have suffered injuries to their cervical spine. Some of the injuries occurred outside of BJJ. An injury to your spinal chord is significantly different than trying to train around a sore elbow or twisted ankle.

What if your doctor came to you and said, “Mr. BJJ, you could potentially make your neck injury worse if you continue to train. No more rolling. I would recommend you look for another sport.”

What would you do?

Would you still want to continue to be involved in jiu-jitsu even if your ability to train was significantly reduced?

Would the fear of reinjuring your neck prevent you from training again?

* Mandatory disclaimer that I am not a doctor.

I recall having a chat with an older black belt that told me that he had quit training due to severe pain in his cervical vertebrae and was no longer going to the academy.

I was disappointed to hear that his neck was giving him so many problems, but I was nonetheless surprised that he made the decision to stop going to the academy entirely.

I suggested that he had a lot of valuable experience to share with the students in the academy and that it would be a shame that they would lose him as a valuable resource.

He explained that he felt that in jiu-jitsu, we were judged by how well we could perform on the mat. Without the ability to roll at full capacity, he felt that he would not have credibility with the students.

I respectfully disagreed. I said that I felt the students would understand the reality of his situation and would be appreciative of his experience. He was not convinced.

Fortunately, some months later, we spoke again and the black belt indicated that he had reconsidered and decided to return to the BJJ academy and teach some classes without rolling.

What would you do if you faced the same scenario? Do you train in a limited capacity?


  1. As a white belt with less then a full month on the mat i am looking at almost a year off.

    I am currently rehabbing a completely torn achilles tendon and am not training or going to classes. It’s mostly to protect myself from myself. The last thing I need it to try and bridge or get caution in a scramble and retear.

    Now 4 months from the time of the injury, I have thought about going in and just doing positional drills but when I can even do the warm ups feel like this is also not in my best intrest.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here