Injuries are unavoidable in life, especially if you’re involved in a combat sport. After doing Jiu Jitsu for a few months you start to have a new idea of what feeling comfortable means.
What are some things that make getting injured more likely? Participating in a competitive sport, especially martial arts that include sparring. Out of those sports Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ranks pretty high on the injury occurrence scale; but that doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a bunch of sprains and broken bones. Knowing that you’re at risk for injury is a great tool to use to help you prevent them to your best ability. How, you ask? Roll smart!
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We’ve all looked around class and seen taped fingers and toes, wrapped ribs, knee braces, ankle braces..the list goes on. I’m not going to try to tell anyone reading this to take rest days because the nature of anyone doing jiu jitsu completely counteracts that. What I will suggest is to learn how to roll around your injury. No matter what’s holding you back, if you completely ignore the issue, don’t tell your partners, and just roll all out then it’s just going to get worse. If your ribs are bruised from someone coming down hard into scarf hold, or hitting just the right spot with knee on belly, then crossing your fingers that people stay off of your ribs for a few days isn’t going to cut it!
You got your finger stuck in someone’s gi and bet it backward, so you buddy tape it and hope for the best- wrong! Your elbow is sore because you had already been tapped out 3 times that night and you held out on an arm bar just a little too long, just for the sake of being stubborn. If any of these sound familiar, congratulations you definitely have the jiu jitsu bug!
In order to keep rolling, we all have to accept that occasionally there will be days we have to take it down a notch, or there will be weeks that we’re out completely with a serious issue. This means we have to learn to roll light when we need to, how to pick partners in a smart manner, and how to recover at home.
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Roll Light: If you have a sore spot, are exhausted, your hands or feet look like they’re made of tape, or just feel off one night there’s always the option to just drill. Try to get better at a technique you haven’t been able to pull off in matches, or drill through the basics again to continue adding to your muscle memory. Not rolling all out doesn’t make you less of a student in your coaches eyes, I promise!
Pick wisely: If you’re fresh off of an injury and raring to go, don’t go straight back to the toughest person in the gym. Start slow and flow, work with someone your own size and skill level (or above) so you get back into the swing of things before you really test your reflexes again.
Recover: Prioritize yourself at home too! Sleep well, eat well, don’t over exert on a regular basis. Learn when it’s time to push and when you need to have a netflix night at home to let your body recoup.
Follow these simple rules and hopefully your jiu jitsu dings won’t ever turn into anything serious!
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