Dealing with Injuries!

Let’s face it, Jiu jitsu is a contact sport and if you train long enough there’s a good chance that at some point in grappling journey you will suffer an injury. Now dont get me wrong, when I talk about training long and hard enough, I dont mean training to win every fight like an MMA fighter or training recklessly. Sometimes you just have a long, tough week at work, you lose focus for a second and bang you post awkwardly on your wrist or ankle and end up with a light sprain. Or even worse you really do a good job of spraining a wrist or ankle that gets caught in the gi or trapped underneath your opponent! Unfortunately for most people, contact sports and injuries go hand in hand but it is how you deal with them that will make or break your career! I’ll start with a waiver, I am NOT a Doctor or Medical Professional. If you are in any doubt or serious pain, please seek immediate professional medical attention!!!

Let’s start with the basics, if something feels painful or you hurt yourself on the mat then STOP training immediately! Tap, scream, do whatever you have to do to get yourself out of danger. Take a couple of minutes to assess, did you just hurt yourself, for example tweak an ankle or stub a toe? Or have you injured yourself? I generally define something that just hurt or hurts a little as a minor type hurt. Where as something that is instantly painful, pops, cracks, snaps or just doesnt feel right is probably a more serious injury. If you hurt yourself, take a few minutes to check that you have pain-free range of motion, that there is no obvious swelling or anything out of the ordinary and alert your instructor immediately! If after the initial assessment you feel ok and it was just a scare, make sure that if you choose to continue training, that you take greater care of the affected area just to be safe and err on the side of caution! If however you feel you have injured yourself more seriously it is important to forget about your ego, stop training immediately and follow the R.I.C.E.D. principle which stands for:

Rest the injured body part immediately

Ice the injury 10 minutes on 10 minutes off until you can seek professional medical attention

Compression if the injury allows it to reduce swelling and inflammation and speed recovery

Elevation of the injured body part if possible also to reduce swelling and inflammation

Doctor! Most importantly, seek immediate professional medical attention!!!

Rhadi Determination

Rhadi Ferguson overcame major knee surgery nine months before the Olympic trials in 2003 to become a 2004 Olympian in the sport of Judo! And in doing so he showed the grit and determination to overcome adversity and become a champion!

Now that being said, if you are training smart with a good group of training partners that you trust and respect and under the supervision of an experienced coach injuries should be a rare event! Most injuries occur because people either get to competitive or are reckless when they are training. If you train under the supervision of a good coach they should recognise this immediately and put a stop to it. It’s okay to train hard as long as you are going about it with control, technique, in a safe environment and devoid of ego! If a student injures others and does not take care with their training partners, they will have no one left to train with or may be asked to leave the gym! It is the duty of care and responsibility of the coach to look after the group’s safety !

Okay you are injured. Think about the injury, does it require time off training? Or can you come into the gym and work lightly on your technique while avoiding using the injured area. If you are able to do this, you will probably find that you will heal quicker due to the increased blood supply through your body brought about by exercise. Also it will help you keep your mind fresh, skills sharp and help to avoid complacency, resentment and even possibly depression. Another thing you will be doing is building your skills, increasing muscle memory and putting yourself in a positive training environment both mentally and physically!

However if the injury is severe and you just cant train then I recommend that you still to attend class and watch. It will probably be difficult at first but it really does help if you can watch, study and learn from your coach. Observe how your team mates move when rolling, find out how they set up their attacks, become familiar with their strongest positions and try to dissect their games as if they were opponents that you were planning to compete against. How would you tackle their strengths, what moves would you use against them? Another thing that you can do to keep your head in the game is watch instructional dvds and competitions, study the top Jiu jitsu players, learn from them and keep your mind sharp! Read books, magazines, watch you tube clips etc and stay focused.

We in the Jiu jitsu community have lost too many talented fighters, instructors and students to injuries who never returned to the mats! Keep your head in the game, be smart and ease back into it while developing and strengthening the injury until it becomes a strength! Believe me, it is possible. I tore my pec tendon completely off the bone a couple of years requiring major surgery and was told that I would never play sports again! Since then I have gone on to earn my brown belt and open my own school so I really believe we can overcome almost any injury if we stay positive and keep our head in the game! 

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom

P.S. For information about Rhadi Ferguson please check out his website at 


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11 Responses to “Dealing with Injuries!”

  1. Lawrence Lai Says:

    Dayme! How much gear was Radi on?!

  2. Lawrence Lai Says:

    Great post though Felipe! I’ll be back reading again!

  3. jiujitsukingdom Says:

    :-), thanks Lawrence. You know they test for steroids in the Olympics and as a Martial Arts, health and fitness guru I definitely think gear could hurt his career!!! Rhadi has been through a lot injury wise and still managed to reach te highest levels in his chosen sport of Judo!
    Kind Regards

  4. jiujitsukingdom Says:

    P.S. And yes he’s a beast!!! A very highly conditioned athlete!!!

  5. Lawrence Lai Says:

    I agree that they do test for steroids…and its true that Rhadi worked really hard and is definately someone to look up to in terms of what he’s accomplished.

    Let us not forget that Marion Jones won 5 gold medals in the 2000 olympics and wasnt stripped of them until 2007 when she admitted the use of PED’s!

    • jiujitsukingdom Says:

      Sad but true about Marion but you know what, I really believe Rhadi is 100% clean! I look up to him and hive a lot of respect and admiration for what he has achieved and from what I know about him I seriously doubt that he wold take that path! I just think that he’s obviously gifted physically and works extremely hard and smart to achieve his goals!
      I mean look at some one like Marcus (Man Child), he’s that much of a physical specimen that many people would accuse him of being on the gear too when in fact he is not or hasn’t ever been! Oh and I hope Marcus doesnt read this cause he’ll get a big head! 🙂
      Anyway how’s your training going? I’d imagine you’re back in the gym this week correcting a few little mistakes from the weekend. Good fight by the way and I agree with Owen in the sense that fixing those errors could easily turn the tide of the match! Chin up mate and you’ll get him next time!
      Kind Regards

  6. Lawrence Lai Says:

    Thanks Felipe!

    Yeah straight back into the gym on Monday and starting address a the issues with Owen and Liam.

    Haha how come you guys all call Marcus Man Child? The guys a beast.

    Hows your school coming along? When are you going to see more Jiujitsu Kingdom boys around?!

    • jiujitsukingdom Says:

      Nice!!! Good to hear, you’ll only come back better than ever! Oh and regarding Man Child, of course he’s a BEAST, he just IS the “Man Child”!!! End of discussion! 🙂

      Anyway the school is going great and coming along nicely, I should have a few guys competing next year which will be really good! So far I’ve only had Ryan compete in the Royler Gracie Cup which was a real good learning experience for him! I may even put a couple into the cage if everything goes according to plan!!! I’m loving every minute of training and teaching, now I just need to get back into competition myself and then we’ll be in business!!! Hope all is well mate and feel free to send me some more questions, I’m kind of suprised that I haven’t got many pertaining to competition!!!
      Kind Regards

      • Lawrence Lai Says:

        How about a blog on your perspectives of competition?

      • jiujitsukingdom Says:

        Honestly Lawrence, I dont think that I have competed enough for it to be a great perspective or learning experience for others however that will change in 2010. I hope to not miss a single competition all year, maybe then I’ll be worthy 🙂 Have a great week at training!
        Kind Regards

  7. boston apartments Says:

    Thanks for this post. I definitely agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my father so hopefully this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

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