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Top 5 Tips for Preventing Injuries in BJJ (for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Practitioners)

Tip 1: Framing the Hip Correctly in Bottom Side Control

You’re stuck under side control, you frame the hip incorrectly, the drop their weight, and now your wrist is sprained. This is an injury you hate to see, and have likely experienced. It occurs when you frame the hip with your palm, but your arm is not fully extended. It is best to frame with the bottom side of your hand, so that if they drop their hips, the weight of their body does not sprain or break your wrist. Chewy briefly shows an example in this timestamped video. If you are is fully extended it can be safe use your palm, but the best practice is to avoid framing with the palm until you understand when it is and is not safe. 

Tip 2: Lockdown (Recognize the Position and Passing Safely)

If you have trained for a while, inevitably you have a horror story of someone blowing out their knee in lockdown. Most commonly a beginner or someone not experienced in the position may try to knee cut or resist and can tear their ACL. The video below discusses how to safely pass from this position, so this preventable injury doesn’t happen to you.

Tip 3: Safely Entering Saddle  

As many know, there are paths to saddle, and forms of elevating our partners that can cause a partial or complete tear of the LCL. This injury is most famously known due to Gordon Ryan’s rupturing of his LCL against Joao Gabriel Rocha. This topic is a bit complex, so I will let a PHD in physio therapy explain why and how to avoid movements that cause inwards pressure on leg and outwards pressure on knee.

Below is an example of the injury, and video on prevention.

Tip 4: Establishing Rules To Prevent Avoidable Injuries

The most common theme on this topic is uncontrolled body weight from movements causing injuries, whether it be from your direct rolling partner, or the rolling partners around you. Movements such as jumping closed guard, flying submissions, and takedowns on crowded mats. Below is John Danaher’s list of banned moves and best practices, along with a video explaining his reasoning.

Danaher’s List of Top Preventable Injuries

  1. Jumping Guard/ Flying Submissions, such as scissor takedowns
  2. Poorly performed Tani Otashi
  3. Not being aware of the space around you

Tip 5: Train Smart, Tap Early, and Tap Often

Training Smart means increasing training volume and intensity intelligently. Literature supports the idea that the number one predictor of injury is an increase in training load, be it through volume or intensity. Any increase above 30% of your baseline is likely to yield an injury.

Another part of training smart, is how you approach training with your partners. Training with a partner you trust is always a good call. As is tapping early, tapping often, and informing your training partner of an injury you are working around.

 

Hope to see you safe, often, and healthy on the mats!

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