Protecting Yourself During Sparring
I thought about posting this in the physical conditioning forum, but my goal is something more bjj specific. Old-timers may forget about their many early injuries, minor and not-so-minor, but injuries are a real fact of life for beginning jiujitsu students like me and make it hard to practice consistently (I got back from Kaiser yesterday for another rib injury). Please list common injuries, especially the "that was stupid!" ones because those are the ones that always catch newbies by surprise.
Here's some stuff I came up with so far:
1. The "craw of death" - hands with much reduced grip power because most of your digits are sprained from gripping too tight. I don't know what to do about this, aside from soaking in hot water and taking up any of the many grip/wrist exercises out there, but Aeso DID suggest (in his sleeve drag technique thread) using a "pistol grip" in lieu of a different grip in order to reduce finger stress when the gi is ripped out of your fingers. Similar tips welcomed....
2. The "spewing my guts out my anus" effect when a fellow beginner applies his first knee on stomach - full force (unlike the blues and above who make you feel the pain, but don't bruise internal organs).
3. The "how many broken ribs do I have" effect when a former high school tackle footballer with little technique but a lot of athleticism come sailing in directly from knees into a side mount in knee-based sparring - his butt lands on the floor, but a lot of weight from the side of his body comes down on my chest (I think I need to use my elbows to protect myself). No broken ribs yet, mainly due to luck, I need some way to protect.
4. The "hyperextended, you sure that doesn't mean broken?" effect when a beginner decides the last few inches of an armbar are where he's really got it right and comes down hard (it's not only me on this issue, I drilled with a blue belt who was being really cautious about his arm when I was learning how to arm bar him).
5. The "funny I can't do a yoga plow (touch toes behind you while back is on the mat) during warm up, how come my chin is buried in my collar bone now" effect when, never having literally "rolled" before (over the shoulder roll), you get rolled over and every thing gets squished down really tight - feels like your neck is going to break.
6. The "feet flat on the mat, matburn, or on the toes, sprained toe" one-two.
Please tell me what to watch out for - what stretching I need to do (most critical), what core strength exercises are critical, how to hold my body during practice.
(Yes, beginners can even hurt themselves just holding guard. I recently I got better at keeping posture in guard and using my arms to hold the person pulling guard down. My practice partner worked really hard to break my posture or sweep me, all without success - yay - but then got an enormous muscle cramp from his efforts and had to sit out a round. And this guy is young and well conditioned, and I wasn't doing ANYTHING except keep my base and hold posture.)
That about covers it.
The key imo, is prevention and protection while healing. Atheletic tape is your friend for you fingers and hands. If my toes get banged/burned up, I wear wrestling shoes for a while. Protecting your other joints is usually about tapping quicker. When you're caught, you're caught. If someone is tweaking a lot of people's elbows the coach should know about it and address it with them.
I'd suggest trying alternating hot/cold water in the shower for your arms and neck - it worked for me a lot better than just heat. Do a minute or two of really hot then go cold for a minute or two and repeat. When I started out grappling I had to come up with a way to sort my hands out as I play guitar and wouldn't have been able to jam for days after otherwise. I found one stretch also helped me alot, it's basically making goose necks with your wrists, ie. with your elbows in and fists clenched, move your hands toward your face with your palm parallel to the ground, hold it for a few seconds then extend your arms with your fingers spread, hold and repeat a couple times. Hope that makes sense, lol.
I think it's also worth mentioning that what you eat plays a big part in how well you recover. Also when drilling some moves, e.g. armbars, I go through the full move the first time and apply the submission, but after that I'd just do it up to the finish but not extend the arm out as IMO it's not required and leads to unnecessary wear on your parter's joints.
Last edited by kiai_killer; 9/29/2006 1:51pm at .
particularly in relation to your #1, but it applies to pretty much everything: fucking relax. unless you're in a formal competition, you're rolling to practice and improve skills, both yours and your partner's, not to "win." if you're constantly clenching your hands so hard that you're losing grip strength, you're way too tense, and it's probably not just your grip. slow down, breathe, lighten up a little, and think about working your game. most of the other problems you list are typical effects of noob spazzing; whether it's you or your partner, or both, whoever's doing it needs to relax, back the **** off, and think a little.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN I'M NOT RELAXED! OF COURSE I'M RELAXED! WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU THINK I'M NOT RELAXED!
Originally Posted by G8
:happy11: Just kidding. Good advice. I have slowed down. But my partners haven't.
Related to this - Know when to tap - one of the guys in my class tried to fight a biceps crush, refused to tap, and got his arm broken for the effort. Now he's out for at least 6 weeks. And for the guys who have the submissions locked in - know when to let go. Rolling should just be about learning and training - leave the killer mentality for tournaments or NHB fighting.
Originally Posted by OldDog53
I got a taste of hyperextended elbow in my second Judo class from a partner who seemed to genuinely not understand why or how an armbar could injure someone. My arm was fine in a few minutes, but I was scared for a second there.
Definitely just have respect for the potency of the submission move and apply it a little slower than you might think is proper when you or your partner are new to give ample time for the tap.
Great timely post for my purposes. Did my second BJJ class EVAR!1 tonight and I'm definitely feeling at least #s 3, 5 and 6. Fortunately, the instructor is just having me roll for positions and not submissions for the first few classes. Get used to the guard (basically the guy escapes every time, little effort), passing guard (or, more accurately, me failing miserably to do so), and transitioning between guard, half-guard, side-control, etc. (me flopping around like a complete moron).
G8 good advice, even though it sounds so obvious. I can tell I'm trying to muscle through most moves since I have no technique (or muscle, for that matter). And tensing up just makes it easier for me to get rolled over (whee! there's the ceiling again!). I found that I looked less like a 'tard and did a pinch better when I slowed down, relaxed and didn't try to tense up.
I'm going to try the hot/cold technique in the shower as well. Thanks to all for some good advice.
More recently I've been trying to relax a lot more in rolling. I find that if I'm tense at the beginning, I'll be very slow in transitions, but if I'm relaxed, I can see an opening and hit it quickly. I like to give up positions to newbies too to see where I could escape in transitions and get better defense.
Oh, and on this topic I'd recommend Roy Harris CD seminar for 40+ people too. He shows some good stuff.
5a. The "I'm breathing through a straw!" feeling while getting stacked.
-I used to panic when compressed, as your breathing is seriously screwed up. It sort of feels like being held under water. I've heard that sitting neck deep in a hot spa is good for conditioning...but I'd rather spend that time training.
7. The "I didn't know a chiropractic back adjustment was included!"
-After a much needed break in training, I went to open mat at a local BJJ place and was rudely shown how stiff my spine was when a blue belt hooked my legs and stretched out from the mount. My spine popped very loudly in a rolling crescendo that made both of us laugh. I was a bit nervous, as I've had back issues...but I should have stretched out better before rolling.
8. The "Look at the pretty stars!" feeling of getting dumped on your head while practicing takedown grappling.
-This sucks. I suppose I just need to practice breakfalls more and learn to exhale when hitting the mat. Of course, I could always tell my partners to take it easy on the impact.
9. The "My knee isn't supposed to bend that way!" feeling when a new white belt attempts leg locks without proper training.
-I have bad knees, so I tend to panic when a new grappler gets a hold of my ankles. I've rarely had blue belts or higher use leg locks on me, and they apply them really slow when they do...but those overeager meathead white belts nearly always play "Spin the Bottle" with my ankles.
10. The "Deadly Pressure Point Eye/Throat/Groin Gouge of Doom!"
-Again, mostly a white belt tactic, but one that sucks nonetheless. Some new students tend to view their first grappling sessions as "Tests of Manhood" (in my experience, at least), and the idea of submitting seriously freaks them out. As such, I hate it when I'm attempting to secure a legitmate submission and I'm suddenly accosted by a variety of ear pulls, eye gouges, groin kicks, and hair tearing. Here I am working towards a half-power arm triangle while my "partner" is trying to blind me for life. Very uncool.
10 is a good number to stop at, I think.
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