How Common Are Injuries in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

roll3By this point, you’ve likely watched the YouTube videos showing crazy flying arm bars and tight submissions, and you’ve come to think: “Wow, Jiu-Jitsu must really be a dangerous sport”. And anyone who’s never participated in the sport would probably agree. However, if you compared Jiu-Jitsu, statistically, against other sports and other forms of martial arts, you’d come to see that there aren’t nearly as many injuries per grappler as you might think. In all seriousness, you’re more likely to hurt yourself cheerleading or playing basketball at the park.


Why is BJJ So Safe?

There’s a reason why Jiu-Jitsu is known as the “gentle art”, and it’s because all moves are down in a seamless fashion. In BJJ, if you find yourself in a position that’s uncomfortable, all you have to do is “give up” by tapping or verbalizing that you want to submit to your opponent. Since Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t include any heavy blows to the face (like boxing), any crazy throws (like Judo), or any hard hits (like football), there’s a relatively low chance that you’ll get injured, or rather, seriously injured throughout the course of your grappling career.


Minor Injuries Can Happen (But They’re Rare)

Granted, BJJ isn’t 100% risk free. There are a few minor injuries that you might experience. Some of these include:

  • Bruises (primarily on your thighs or calves)
  • Sore back
  • Lightheadedness (from not tapping in-time to a choke)
  • Sore ankles (from not tapping in-time to an ankle lock)
  • Bloody nose or lip (wear a mouthpiece to prevent this)

Other than this, there are really no serious injuries that you are likely to experience. Some older competitors have been known to tear ligaments in their knees during practice, but this is more due to previous life experiences and rather than BJJ itself. Depending on how frequently you train, and how hard, you might experience a minor injury once or twice per year (sometimes more and sometimes less).

How to Protect Yourself

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to lessen the chances of injury in BJJ:

  • Tap Quick: Don’t tap when you’re already in a submission- tap before the submission gets tight. This will avoid any unwanted injuries.
  • Stretch: More specifically, stretch your lower back and thighs, as these tend to be the muscles that you will use the most in Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Don’t Spar Too Hard: You’re probably training BJJ to have fun, so don’t try to “kill” your opponent by sparring very aggressively against them. Thiscan sometimes lead to an injury.

Overall, by following these quick and easy tips, you should be able to participate in BJJ without experiencing any serious injuries over the long run.

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