A Legendary BJJ Instructor is Being Sued by White Belt for Injuries Sustained in Competition
We have to assume that when we start training BJJ we must be willing to accept a certain amount of risk. After all, BJJ is a martial art, and regardless if you’re there as a hobbyist or putting yourself in the lion’s den on a regular basis, there will always be a possibility of an accident or the chance that you’ll sustain an injury. If you wish to compete, those chances will more than likely increase, as competition can be very unpredictable.
A story out of Canada has piqued the interest of the BJJ community. Marcus Soares, an 8th degree black belt under the legendary Carlson Gracie with decades of experience, is being sued by his student, Joe Peters for injuries he apparently sustained in competition. Peters, a white belt under Soares, claims his injuries stemmed from not being properly prepared for the competition, as well as being placed in the wrong weight class. Peters allegedly tore his meniscus at competition, and is now seeking to hold Soares liable for his injuries.
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Peters had allegedly been training for 8-9 months before deciding to register for his first competition. I can’t speculate to the details of his training or preparation, but with the deep roots of the academy, it seems that there would have been lots of great resources to help prepare Peters for competition. There seems to be a disconnect here that lead to this unfortunate set of circumstances.
What do you think? I have never heard of a case like this. Its interesting to note that the lawsuit is being allowed to proceed because the waivers that were signed when Peters began training did not include competition related injuries.
Regardless of how we feel about this instance, this may be a wake-up call to academy owners all over the world. Do your waivers include injuries sustained at competition? How much experience do you require of your students before they compete? Are you preparing them properly? Asking yourself these questions, and having clear concise answers may become even more important as BJJ grows and we take on more students. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
If you are into competing and training hard the best way to avoid injury is to train smart and use your Jiu-Jitsu Instructionals like Gordon Ryan's or the Danaher Series will prepare you for any level of competition.