I’m looking at my copy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt Requirements by Roy Dean. As I ponder what Mr. Dean is teaching I found myself wondering how he has managed to stay injury free. When I get to the level of a black belt I don’t want to be a physical wreck. How do you achieve that level without being screwed up in some way?
Miles, one of my friends at BJJ posted on Facebook "The pain’s of being a grappler! Added a hyper-extended elbow to the list of nagging injury’s occurred during No Gi training!”. I felt his pain. I have my own list of “nagging injuries”. I added to it the week before with a simple accident at class. While doing a drill my class mate preformed a “Baiana” or double leg takedown on me but failed to lift me sufficiently before twisting to take me down. With my legs still firmly rooted this put all the force against the side of my knee. I heard a small pop and experienced a little pain. Now I’m having sharp pains when I bend over to pick something up. It was a accident.
How can you make a profession out of teaching BJJ, practice at least a short while once a day and not end up needing therapy or surgery after a while?
Here are some things I’ve been doing that have helped:
Tap early. Forget the pride! You want to keep doing this for the long term. If I feel its good I tap. No need to risk injury.
Give yourself rest. If it means sitting out for a while then do it.
Protect your joins. I had stopped wearing a leg brace. I’m going back to it.
Learn healing methods that speed the process of recuperation. The proper use of ice and heat are doing wonders for my back.
Please share with me any insights you have. I want to be doing BJJ until I die like Heilo Gracie.
I haven’t been wearing ear protection when I roll or practice. I haven’t up to this point got any thing more then a sore ear now and then. Last week that changed with the "black beauty" you see in the picture. It is in a shadow in the picture but it is still black enough to stand out. I don’t know how I got it. I know my ears got mauled at practice but nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not vain but I don’t want cauliflower ears. I wondered if I was going to have to do something like Georgette talks about in her post "How to Drain Your Cauliflowering Ear". I asked around at practice the next chance I got. After everyone getting a good look at it and pinching it to see if it was ballooning the consensus was it would be fine. A few of the guys had experience with cauliflower ears that were much worse. I was relieved. I’ll have the black dot for a few months before it heals up. My ear doesn’t hurt and there isn’t a bubble where the injury is. I hope this helps my readers diagnose their own ear injuries. I think its time to get some head gear. So stay tuned for the review.
Royler Gracie said in his book Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Grappling Techniques, “Over the years, I have learned that one of the most important things you can do is to allow your body and mind to rest. The natural tendency is to simply ignore the body’s messages.” (pg. 23)
I have seen a guy dislocate a elbow and be back in class the next week. The addiction to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that strong. I have seem people training with a broken toe and sprained ankle. I myself tore my MCL. I sat out for about a month and a half. My instructor told me to come during my injury and take notes. I just could not. I can not stand to just watch. I tense up. I want to be in the action.
We have to fight another battle when we are injured in BJJ, MMA, or another martial art. The battle to allow ourselves to recover physically. Winning one battle doesn’t usually win the war either. There is the mental rest we need too. As much as we would like to spend all our time on grappling, take downs, arm bars, and chokes we need to give ourselves some mental rest too.
Royler also says farther down the page “Grappling is not a sport that you need to train for every day all day. In fact, some of my top students prefer to train only a few days a week – except of course when competition nears.” I find that two days a week is enough for me. I put in only two and a half hours of physical training and the same for mental training. It takes me the rest of the week to heal from bruises, pulled muscles, and other injuries throughout the week. If I let myself think about Jiu Jitsu I’d do it all the time too. I find that when I reset my mind it helps me to better absorb what I learn. It all comes down to all things in moderation, even BJJ or MMA.