Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Alright, before I proceed, I gotta put in a disclaimer: I ain't no doctor, nor do I hold a physical education degree. So, what I'm about to share here is solely my opinion based on what I've learned from experts, my own experiments, and observations.
Now, one of the major concerns when starting BJJ is the fear of getting injured and not being able to work or enjoy other things we love. That's a legitimate worry 'cause it can happen depending on how we approach our BJJ training and how the classes are conducted.
As we gain expertise in BJJ, we come to realize that we can prevent many dumb injuries by being mindful of our bodies. We start thinking stuff like, "I won't spin that way 'cause it might twist my knee" or "I better tap out quicker 'cause this position can mess up my shoulder."
But as beginners, we lack that awareness, and sometimes we only learn through our mistakes. However, there are things we can do to put beginners in a better position to avoid injuries.
First off, know thyself.
What I mean is, you're the only one who truly knows your lifestyle, activity levels, previous workouts or sports you've done (if any), and your overall health.
If you're living an unhealthy life, your approach to starting BJJ needs to be different from a military guy takin' it up. You gotta pace yourself more than anyone else and pay extra attention to warm-ups.
Focus on learning core BJJ moves like hip escapes, bridging, front rolls, breakfalls, back rolls (but be super careful with these 'cause they can strain your neck), basic stretches, and bodyweight workouts. Getting good at Jiu-Jitsu can come later.
I even recommend practicing specific workouts at home or cross-training. U Natural or Ginastica Natural are my go-to recommendations 'cause they improve core strength, flexibility, agility, breathing, speed, coordination, and reduce the risk of injuries.
But whatever you do, if you're outta shape, take it slow. Give your body time to adjust. Also, don't be afraid to embrace failure 'cause it's a surefire way to learn faster.
Secondly, just tap out.
If you find yourself in a position that's uncomfortable for your joints or squeezing the life outta you, don't wait to see what happens next. Tap. With time, you'll gain more knowledge about when to tap or not, but for now, put your ego aside and surrender. One day, you'll be the one making people tap out too, so no worries.
Lastly, make sure your muscles get enough recovery time before hitting the mats again, especially if you're 30 or older. If your muscles are feeling tight and fatigued, take some time off or train lighter until you're back in form.
When it comes to preventing injuries, let me start by saying that it's impossible to avoid them altogether in any sport (heck, even football players wearing helmets still get concussions).
However, there are some nifty gears that can help lower the odds.
Let's focus on what I consider small injuries, like toe and finger injuries, bruises, chipped teeth, cuts, cauliflower ears, bloody noses, mat burns, and such.
Sure, they sting, but they never kept me off the mats for more than a few days or weeks. Hence, I classify them as small.
Nowadays, you can find extra gear to assist in preventing these injuries, such as mouthguards (I personally use the Gladiator brand), finger sleeves (try LIONTEK BJJ on Amazon, the three-finger ones work well for me), headgear, BJJ finger tapes (Amazon has them), thumb, wrist, ankle, and knee braces, and more.
These gears don't guarantee you won't ever get injured, but they sure can help minimize the risks. Definitely worth considering, folks!