Injuries, Oh The Agony!

As many of you know Jiu Jitsu is a somewhat full contact sport, intentionally you may not set out to injure your training partner or opponent, but it happens. Like the old saying goes  you can’t make an omelet without cracking some eggs” . Well for the most part Jiu Jitsu is the same.


We set out to train and train hard giving it 100% on the mat , but sometimes that can be counterproductive. We think we need to go fast and hard( usually happens with white belts or beginners )  to gain the upper hand, but in most cases, we can be slow and methodical to gain muscle memory and sharpen our technique. Now i don’t say going fast isn’t a good thing, but when technique is new and fresh, hitting those moves with laser guided accuracy may be more important.

Ok rant over .

Now back to injuries.  As in all sports in some form or another we will get hurt or injured, hopefully not too seriously, hopefully not too life changing. Injuries can happen at any time at any place at any moment, it just so happens if you train in Jiu Jitsu, you are almost certain to get injured in some form or fashion, whether it be getting an arm taken when you’re gassing or that neck crank by the new wrestler on his 1st day sparring, injuries are commonplace. What i have spoken to Jiu Jitsu guys ( and girls too ) about being injured more often than not it is when sparring quickly, going at white belt level 100 mph not realizing until later than night that a toe feels more swollen than normal or your shoulder feels tight and stiff.

I myself suffering a ligament tear in my knee, but most of that was my fault. Taking my opponents back i made the mistake of crossing my feet ( very bad no no ) and got my leg trapped and got leg locked. OUCH! as i felt something shift.  I immediately got up and tried to walk feeling something strange. A few days later after doing the R.I.C.E  method of swelling reduction i felt better and brushed it off as something not so serious.

Fast forward 2 months of solid training, putting in work when live grappling came around, on my back my opponent advancing, i went for a leg trip and felt what sounded to me ( at the time in my head ) like rubber bands snapping. All in conjunction with each other, i mean think when you take 4 or 5 rubber bands and stretch them to the point of breaking when one snaps then another , then another all within split seconds of each other, well that was the same feeling i had. I didn’t know this at the time but it felt like my kneecap had ” popped ” out of place. The pain being unbearable and beginning to throb like nobody’s business , was frightening to say the least.

I drove home not being able to walk or fully stretch my leg, unable to put weight on it i went and laid down in front of the tv not knowing what was in store for me the next day.

Woke up to what felt like a honeydew melon on my leg, the tightness , the stiffness, the inability to stretch my leg out and the throbbing wow! I figured my future would have to be in a wheel chair. After about a week of not being able to move i finally went to the doctor and was prescribed 800 mg of Ibuprofen for the swelling.

After attempting to roll with a bum knee over several months , i had it checked and found out had a torn meniscus. So moral of the story kids , is listen to your body! I have been there where i did not want to stop rolling and training because i loved to do it, but i paid the ultimate price and didn’t listen to my body and didn’t get it checked in time . For all the progress i had accomplished in such a short amount of time up to that point, i backtracked.

Not being able to train for months i lost motivation, i lost desire, i became gun shy and stopped training altogether. So the advice i give to newbies who just started or are researching the pros and cons regarding starting Jiu Jitsu training, i say open your injury report and listen to what your body says, we all love to train and train hard , but sometimes if you take a step back and take a deep breath, you’ll be in fine tune with your injuries as to not further derail your progress by continuing to train even though you feel you should not.

Be safe and be courteous, if you take an arm don’t crank it to high heaven and try to rip it off the socket. If you take a leg and go for a knee bar remember, you are training and not competing, you don’t want to take out your training partner because if you take them out, who’s left to train with?

My coach Din Thomas always says ” if you feel you have completed the move even if you don’t crank it, let it go”  which makes perfect sense, you want to be able to have healthy training partners and want to stay healthy to train. Nothing worse than showing up at your academy only to find out you took your training partners out. So stay safe, be safe and be courteous to your training partners, because in the end you are both on the same team!

The road to black belt is a long and tedious road, it can take years to acheive , but with hard work anything and everything is possible.

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