Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) is particularly hard on the practitioners body. Now, who would have thought a martial art that’s made to break someone else’s body can simultaneously break their own body? Crazy thought right? Well the truth is, BJJ is riddled with injuries (dramatic gasp). They can go from mild strains/sprains to tearing a muscle tendon completely off the bone (speaking from experience). So how do we train this fantastic martial art and limit our liability of becoming injured?
One of the best pieces of advice I give to all my students is; Be aware while you are rolling. This means you are fully aware of what is happening to your body as well as your training partner. Being aware will help you avoid those weird positions where an injury is likely to occur. These odd positions are where the majority of injuries happen. This could be as simple as realizing your foot is caught inside a gi, or that your hand is trapped behind your back. Well, instead of allowing that heavyweight try to pressure pass through your foot and onto your shoulder you should either try to remove your foot from the gi or say something. There’s no problem tapping early if it keeps you training. Besides he wouldn’t have passed anyways if you’d really tried.
What you do off the mat matters. What does your workout routine look like? Do you have another routine? This is where corrective and strength based exercises are fantastic. One of the best ways to keep you training consistently is to bulletproof your body. The best way we can do that is getting strong. Well, how do I get strong, and what type of corrective exercises should I be doing?… Well…. I know someone who can help (long dramatic pause).
With everything said, BJJ is a martial art you can train safely and effectively into your older years. This is one of the reasons I’ve personally continued to practice and have no plans to stop practicing. That’s not to say injuries won’t happen, but we can minimize the dangers of significant ones and avoid some of the smaller ones. You can do this by following those two simple rules when you’re training.