Injuries: An Ounce Of Prevention


Injuries are the bane of the BJJ student’s existence. A training injury keeps you off the mat, stops you from seeing your friends, and causes your hard-won conditioning and skills to erode with inactivity.

This isn’t an article about how to deal with an injury once it has occurred. This is about that old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

What can we do as BJJ practitioners to prevent injuries in the first place?

Here are a few tips:

1) The boxing referee cautions both fighters “protect yourself at all times” and this holds true in BJJ rolling as well! Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t injure yourself or your partner by going hard near the edge of the mat and risking a hard impact with the floor or cement wall.

Be aware of limbs in awkward positions, wrists bent the wrong way, or your shoulder twisted in a painful position. Tap before the position progresses further to prevent any accident. I especially see this with inverting and getting stacked. Maybe you can withstand the pressure on your neck, but perhaps it is better not to take the risk and not allow yourself to be put in a compromising position at all.

2) Pay attention to some mobility body work. The majority of us favor one side of our bodies (ex. right handed stance) and over time we develop imbalances between the right and left sides of our bodies, or we avoid certain movements because we lack the mobility in our joints. As time goes by, this situation worsens and sets us up for a potential injury.

BJJ black belt and conditioning expert Steve Maxwell has a ton of resources on YouTube for grapplers to check and correct their mobility.

Also, the book “Becoming a Supple Leopard” by expert Kelly Starrett is an excellent resource to learn more about proper body mechanics and correcting mobility problems.

3) Know your limits. Here is how a million training injuries happen while rolling: “If I just twist a little more, bridge a little higher I can escape!”….POP!

The same goes with over training. The Miyao brothers may live in the gym and train umpteen times a day, but that doesn’t mean your body can withstand that training load. Chronic over training leads to overuse injuries and is susceptible to even larger injuries.

Protect your body (it is the only one that you have and it needs to last you through a lifetime!) and stay on the mat by preventing injuries.

Read also : 3 Tips On Learning From Your Training


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