In 2017, approximately 2.38 million Americans age six and older took martial arts training for fitness reasons.
Of course, with serious martial arts training comes the potential for serious injury, if you aren’t careful. And your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class is no exception.
However, there are many benefits of Jiu Jitsu, and one of these benefits is that you’re statistically less likely to get hurt than you are by practicing most other forms of martial arts.
If accidental injury is still on your worry list, though, the following can help. Below are a few steps you can take to minimize your risk of getting hurt while practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Leave Your Ego at Home
When you’re participating in any sport, calmness is key for avoiding harm both to yourself and to others. If you get called out for performing something wrong, or if you feel like someone who ought to be less advanced than you is passing you up, don’t take it personally. Breathe, let it go, and focus on the moment.
Accept correction gracefully, learn from your mistakes and from those around you, and keep your focus on improving yourself, not on competing with others.
Letting yourself get carried away with your pride can cause you to act rashly or perform unsafely. Even worse, getting angry will constrict your muscles, making your movements less controlled and more erratic, as all your energy gets concentrated in your head. This will simply set you up for humiliating yourself further, getting a penalty, or hurting yourself or others.
Make Controlled Movements
When learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basics, one thing you should never do is use brute force to compensate for a lack of skill.
Jiu Jitsu is a refined martial art. Hot tempers and blazing fists have no place in a practice built on discipline and dignity.
Even if you’re just starting out, and you feel like you have to make bold, powerful movements in order to impress, don’t give in to that urge. Place all your attention on listening and learning, and forget about how your performance may look to others. People are more impressed by a humble attitude and a willingness to fail and learn, anyway, not so much by a display of physical power.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up
Any time anyone gets involved in a new sport, at some point or another, they’re going to be tempted to skip their warmup and jump right into the action.
In any Jiu Jitsu class, it’s a commonly known fact that you shouldn’t begin training until you’ve at least started to break a sweat.
When you start a Jiu Jitsu class, you’ll probably have just come out of a sustained period of inactivity — an hour in the car, a day at your computer at work — which means your muscles are tight and cool. This makes injury much more likely. Don’t risk it — warm up appropriately before you start to train.
Work on Hip Mobility
Injuries to the groin, knee, and ankle are usually directly or indirectly a result of tightness in your hip muscles and hip capsule.
Skilled Jiu Jitsu practitioners with flexible hips that place their feet wherever they want without straining or losing their balance. This would be an admirable goal to reach for as a Jiu Jitsu martial artist. Flexible hips is not only a valuable asset in the competitions — it’s one of your best ways to guard against injury.
You should easily be able to find some hip mobility exercises that you can add to your training routine once per week.
Use Sports Tape
As you progress in practicing Jiu Jitsu, sports tape may well become your best friend. Using it can add support to your joints and muscles, preventing injury, and helping you to train around minor injuries.
Fingers are especially susceptible to harm. You won’t realize just how important your hands are until you hurt them from neglect. Use the tape!
Do Strength Training
Young but dedicated Jiu Jitsu athletes are bound to experience a thousand bumps and bruises in the course of their future. Strength training not only increases the power behind your moves — it also solidifies your body to be less susceptible to injury from punches, kicks, and falls.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help avoid injury in your Jiu Jitsu class.