How To Never Be Injured Training BJJ Again!Apr 15, 2022
How To Never Get Injured In BJJ!
If you are practicing BJJ, injury is a part of the journey, and getting injured sucks, especially if you are an amateur whose profession requires fully functioning limbs, such as doctors or practically anyone working with his hands. Injury is a problem, so much so that the very thought of not being able to work might create a hesitance to train or even lead to a decision to quit BJJ.
But wait a minute! Don't quit quite yet because there are some adjustments that you can make to significantly reduce the possibility of getting injured.
How to protect your fingers:
So if you train in the Gi, a common injury will come from gripping too much or getting your fingers stuck in the fabric. Luckily there are decisions you can make to prevent this.
Solution: Stop using Gi grips! Use NoGi grips instead and focus on cupping, using under hooks and over hooks. The risk of finger injury will diminish considerably, and you don't have to tape your fingers ever again. If you have ever felt pain in the fingers in the morning, that pain will be gone too. If you absolutely can't refrain from using Gi grips, you can always use them for a brief moment, but 95% of the time, NoGi grips will protect you from finger injuries in the Gi. Some may question the effectiveness of not using Gi grips; however, both Marcelo Garcia and Jean Jacques Machado have proven that you can also succeed in the Gi without the excessive use of Gi grips. (Jean Jacques Machado is a perfect example as he is only using one hand to grip)
How to protect your neck:
Headlocks are super effective and fun to do, but not being able to turn your head left or right after being neck cranked is not cool at all.
Rule #1: is never to allow anyone to grab your head. This might seem obvious, but for many beginners, this is not common practice at all.
Rule#2: if someone manages to grab your head and you start to feel your neck is getting cranked. Just tap! Unless this is the ADCC final and you are a professional BJJ practitioner or fighting for survival, there is no reason for you to remain in a position where your neck is dangerously compromised. Don't try to muscle it out. If you don't know what you are doing and it's starting to feel uncomfortable, just tap and reset. This doesn't make you less of a man or woman. It's all good, and you get to continue training.
How to protect your knees: Knees popping, especially at age forty and beyond, is a nightmare. One of the people who suffered from knee problems early in his career was Roberto Correa, better known as Gordo. Due to an injury, Gordo had difficulties extending his leg, so he started using one leg only. His injury forced him to adapt, ultimately leading him to develop further the world's safest guard - the half-guard.
The Half-Guard is not only great for sweeps, back takes, leg attacks, and various submissions, but it also helps you control the distance to your opponent. This is crucial when it comes to staying injury-free. Because when you are connected with the guy you're rolling with, you also control his range of movement. Also, when you are over 40, it becomes more challenging to keep pace with the younger generations, and the half guard drastically helps you slow down the game. As a result, your chances of getting injured will diminish considerably.
Solution: If you are over 40 and an amateur whose profession requires fully functioning limbs, then the best decision you can ever make is to start playing half guard - Today!
Light rolling: As obvious as it might sound, light rolling means you try to focus more on movement and the mechanics of a technique instead of using static force to immobilize and submit your partner. Excessive force is common among beginners as they still have very few tools in their BJJ arsenal. This is where the word "Spaz" comes from, referring to someone whose instinct for survival is so strong he cannot control his body movements. The "Spaz" is very unpredictable, and this can easily lead to a knee in the face, a cracked rib, sprained wrists, or broken fingers.
Whenever someone is using excessive force, that also shows that they are unaware of the first law of Jiu-Jitsu - the preservation of energy. Because nobody has an unlimited supply of energy, and once it's been depleted, your physical and cognitive abilities are reduced. Yes, once fatigue sets in, it will significantly affect your decision-making process, which is where mistakes happen.
Simple Solution: Only use your strength and explosiveness in short bursts. This way, you will save your energy and be more effective for longer amounts of time, and focus more on technique rather than strength and speed.
How to implement healthy routines that work for you:
Showing up at practice only when it is time to roll is not a good investment because without warming up your body, your chances of injury will increase drastically. The same thing happens when you are not taking your time to stretch efficiently. After all, stretching is not as fun as training BJJ, and usually, we ONLY become reminded of the importance of stretching AFTER we get injured. The best advice for this crucial part of physical health and injury prevention is integrating a stretching and mobility training routine into your daily schedule. Just like you always brush your teeth, stretching and mobility training should be one of those things that you don't even have to plan. Instead, make it into a life habit to always stretch for 5 minutes or more every morning or evening. Preferably at the same time. Protecting your fingers, neck, and knees will help you stay healthy and increase the possibility of continuous, uninterrupted BJJ training forever!
Do you have any other suggestions for staying injury-free while training BJJ? If so, please leave a comment down below.