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Can I Train When Injured? Is It Worth It?
Ideas on training when injured and leveraging your passion for Jiu Jitsu into your recovery.
Recently, someone asked me, “I hurt my rib, should I still come in and train?” Let me state first and foremost, I am not a medical professional. If you are injured go see your doctor. Get the treatment you need.
Injuries in life are inevitable. In my mind, I always see it as a tradeoff. Would I rather suffer the injuries and difficulties related to an inactive lifestyle or the injuries and difficulties associated with Jiu Jitsu? To me, the choice is a no brainer. Beyond that, taking time off the mats terrifies me. In addition to Jiu Jitsu, I have been an on again and off again runner for the last 10 years. When I take time off from running, it is extremely difficult to get back into it. I never want that for Jiu Jitsu.
So what is a good strategy to deal with injuries? Every injury is different and the strategies certainly vary. It is important to understand your injury. A sunburn from the beach will afford a different set of options than a torn MCL. Talk to your doctor and do your research to see what is possible.
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Beyond understanding your injury, a second component that should be utilized when injured is taking an active recovery. By active recovery I mean put the same time, effort and passion into your recovery that you would into your Jiu Jitsu. If the doctor prescribes physical therapy, become king of that physical therapy. Beyond physical therapy or whatever the doctor prescribes; do yoga, get a massage, try cryotherapy or an isolation tank. Leverage your passion for Jiu Jitsu into your recovery.
Third, it is important not to get disconnected from Jiu Jitsu. Go to class. Watch Jiu Jitsu videos. They are a great way to plug holes in your game and expand your technique. If you are not able to physically train, you can still exercise your mind. Be an active student. Take notes. Figure out how you will implement the new material into your game. You can have the best instruction in the world but if you are not actively learning it is of little value.
Fourth, depending on the injury, limited training may be available. Positional drilling may be a good solution. If your arm is injured, can you do some leg lock drills? Work around the injury. In my opinion, flow rolling is great for Jiu Jitsu and may be appropriate when injured. I love the death matches too. Perhaps, it was the steady diet of 80s movies that I was raised on where the underdog always triumphed, that instilled in me a passion for the hard rolls. But I believe flow rolls are great to both expand your game when you are uninjured and provide an avenue of training when injured. Lastly, choose your training partners carefully. Communicate your injury. You should know who will work around your injury and who won’t. You are under no obligation to roll with someone just because they ask.
Ultimately, Jiu Jitsu is something we all love. For many of us there are a myriad of reasons not to train. Be intelligent with your injuries. Understand the injury and develop a strategy for both recovery and training. Don’t let an injury become a wedge that separates you from Jiu Jitsu.