View Full Version : Preventing joint injuries in BJJ?

10/04/2005 10:28pm,

I've recently (a month or so ago) started BJJ lessons which have been great fun. First was a no-gi class which was very interesting and certainly physically demanding. Sadly, my second lesson (3 weeks ago) ended very painfully as my training partner that I was rolling with accidentally sprained my ankle when he was getting out of one of my attempted submissions.

For about a week the pain was quite severe and I had to take time off work etc and rest it. It's getting a lot better now but will still mean I have to take another week off lessons.

I am going to be hopefully going back to classes soon but I wanted to know how you guys avoid joint sprains etc whilst rolling as I really don't want to have to take off another month (or more) from training again. I seem to heal quickly with bruises and cuts, but soft tissue damage really sucks.

I don't know if a lot of it is because I am so new at BJJ that i'm getting myself into akward positions or if it just comes with the territory.

Any ideas?

10/05/2005 12:14am,
Just comes with the territory man. Some of it can be prevented, much of it just happens.

Heh.. kind of a sucky answer but others will be around to give better ones.

10/05/2005 12:39am,
Be careful. Beginners tend to injure themselves more because they have not conditioned themselves properly.

don't muscle through techniques; learn proper form and allow yourself time to recover.

Training "through" injury or returning too soon can lead to catastrophic gradual onset injury. you don't want to end up with permanent joint/tendon/ligament damage.

warm up carefully.
use wraps if needed.
use ice massage to speed recovery.
get eight to nine hours sound sleep EVERY night.
drink plenty of water.
avoid caffiene, alcohol in excess and junk food.

mainly though, don't be in a hurry to get in shape; if your gym is good, that part will take care of itself.

learn to listen to your body so that you will know when you are doing damage to joints and connective tissue.

Good luck, noob.

10/05/2005 12:40am,
Wait a minute, WING CHUN?????

Oh, nevermind.

10/05/2005 12:49am,
Wait a minute, WING CHUN?????

Oh, nevermind.

hahah - don't go there! :)

As far as I can remember, I got underneath him going for a choke hold - had my hooks in and he rolled over to the left (can't remember what I did) and then he kept rolling to the left and somehow my foot got caught up with his legs and hey presto instant pain!

I certainly don't work through soft tissue pain as i've had it before and I know that is something you just have to let heal and not push it.

I do heaps of stretching before class but I haven't used strapping before. I think (once i'm back at class) i'll be strapping up both ankles and keep working on the ankle exercises my physio gave me.

Thanks for the answers!

Poop Loops
10/05/2005 1:04am,
It's called tapping. If it hurts, tap. If you feel pressure, tap. If it looks like he has a good hold and you can't get out, tap. If he's a blue belt, and you're still a white belt, tap. If he's a purple belt and you're a white belt, don't come to class that day.


10/05/2005 1:15am,
Be extremely careful when you are rolling. Newbies tend to injure themselves and others because they flip out and muscle through techniques or just plain spaz out. So my advice is:
Make sure that you are calm and relaxed when rolling.

Tap early and tap often while you are figuring out how flexible your joints are.

Be careful.

Finally, make sure you are rolling with solid guys. There are a lot of assholes that just want to beat you/make themselves look good/whatever.

For me at least, the scariest part of BJJ is watching two aggressive newbies go at it.

10/05/2005 1:47am,
It happened very quickly unfortunately so there was no chance of stopping him.

He is a white belt 1 stripe - don't know how long he's been there.

But, i'm not gung ho with any of this. As soon as I realize there is real pain I tap out. I've already been subjected to a few triangles, rnc and a crotch in the face so I know when to tap out and start over :)

If I am in an uncomfortable position but they haven't got a lock etc, then I keep going. So far I haven't been able to submit anyone alas. Although I had one dude in a choke hold (mustn't have been hard enough) for about 30 seconds and he wouldn't submit. Maybe he was just being a turd or I just didn't have the choke hard enough.

But yeah, I am still using too much force instead of getting the angles etc...but i've only had two lessons so i'm not going to cry about it.

10/05/2005 3:37am,
Lesson I learnt the hard way: find a good physio, discuss what sort of movements you will be required to do, and they can teach you exercises to strengthen the muscles that support those movements, so that you can be more flexible and strong.

10/05/2005 4:23am,
yep, good call. I went to a physio last night actually. She's given me a few exercises to start off with but I'm going back to see her later this week or next week. Speaking of exercises, better go do them now...

10/05/2005 5:08am,
Good to hear, hope it all works out.

10/05/2005 7:44am,
Lesson I learnt the hard way: find a good physio, discuss what sort of movements you will be required to do, and they can teach you exercises to strengthen the muscles that support those movements, so that you can be more flexible and strong.
There's your answer. Strengthen those joints and maintain flexibility.

Injuries are just part of the game, especially when we train with a lot of intensity, but we can certainly work toward minimizing them.

IMO, yoga can be helpful in minimizing injury, but a properly designed routine would be better yet.