Although people assume Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an injury-prone sport, there is a sure way to minimize the risk of any serious injury: Tap! If you feel like your opponent is hurting a joint or hyperextending a limb; there is no shame in tapping.
- Leave your ego at the door.
Accepting defeat is part of the sport. Even the best Jiu-Jitsu athletes in the world get submitted. No one is impervious to getting caught in a submission. It is a pathway all must go through to see growth in their Jiu-Jitsu.
The tap is a sacred rule in Jiu-Jitsu that advises your opponent to let go. Tapping gives you the opportunity to recognise your mistake and grow from it; so that you may learn to avoid that mistake the next time you find yourself in a similar position.
Failing to tap and fighting a tight submission is a choice that leads to a high risk of injury and sometimes even surgery. Always tap and live to train another day.
- Warm-Up before class
Your instructor will often have a recognised period of time during his class that he will allocate to warming up.
It is important to have a diverse warm-up; prepping the muscles and getting those neurotransmitters firing to signal to the brain that exercise is on its way.
Stretching as part of your warm-up is a fantastic way to limber up the body ready for all those compact and rigid movements that come with training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
- Use technique, not force
“Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger and faster than you; so that you learn to rely on technique, timing, and leverage rather than brute strength.” – Hélio Gracie
Perfectly worded by Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. Not only is it unpleasant training with someone who forces their way through everything, it creates a higher chance of injury. Less technique means less control; less control means risk.
If a move or a sequence isn’t working, try transitioning to another position or submission instead of forcing your way through to what you want.
- Strength and conditioning
A stronger muscle results in less stress being placed on joint capsules, ligaments or labrums. If possible, it is advisable to seek out a strength and conditioning coach or sports scientist to write out a program to help develop your body outside of Jiu-Jitsu.
There are weights available inside the Academy for all members to use. An adequate program with plenty of isometric exercises can develop strength. However, it can also increase the ability of your body to adapt to specific Jiu-Jitsu training – therefore, also aid recovery!
The heart is one big Muscle, there is great benefit to aerobic muscle fitness. A run on the beach or a bike ride in the park are excellent ways to help the body’s muscles increase the maximum consumption of oxygen during exercise.
- Choose your training partner
Nobody wants to train with someone who might hurt them. Although everyone is usually very friendly in the Academy and well supervised by the instructors; it is possible to come across individuals who are a little rough or who may not have the same goals as others in their training.
There is no shame in using proper etiquette and politeness or to ask specific training partners who are known to look after other members to train with you.
Some members share the same goals and enjoy training together. Some have different styles and therefore provide a good challenge during sparring. It is important to train with partners that are responsible and safe.
Train hard, stay safe!