When the pain of injury in BJJ is so great it stops you from being able to enjoy life you need to change what you are doing. You actually need to deal with the injury. Take a step back, in order to move forward. Some of you reading this you might have an active job that requires good physical function so you can pay your bills and feed your family.
No matter how much you love jiu-jitsu if you can’t walk up and down stairs or lift a box above your head then you are in financial trouble.
What can you do? You just have to stop and just rest it right?
Rest is not enough so you need to take action. To make sure a break from the academy doesn’t turn into early retirement. You need to get your aches and pains properly checked. Seeing a Physiotherapist and getting a professional diagnosis is key.
You will most likely need an MRI or Ultra Sound on the suspected injury to get an accurate understanding of how bad it is.
From there the therapist should be able to give you an estimated time to full recovery. The major variable in how quickly you recover is YOU.
The psychological impact of an injury is hard to gauge. One of the major components is the sense of isolation that can come with not being able to train BJJ. Also missing the social aspect of hanging out with your friends and getting your daily dose of dopamine and endorphins.
Understand that what you are experiencing actually connects you to the greater jiu-jitsu tribe. These people go unseen, the wounded warriors. So we can get you off the bench and back on the mat as quick as possible you need to put your injury time out to good use. We gotta get to work!
We want you to keep the habit of going to class. So even if your gym doesn't have equipment for you to complete your rehab, make the effort to be at your academy at least once a week at your usual class time to keep the connection.
How To recover From Injury Quicker
- Have a rehab program and stick to it. I would go a step further to say ask for extra homework. Doing extra rehab sessions and massage will help propel you forward. If you can’t walk, work on your upper body. If you can’t use your arms, then work on your knee and ankle stability.
- Once you have completed your rehab program, you need to start integrating your injured limb/ joint. It's time to do more full body, compound movements. This is to regain your coordination and strengthen the whole chain with the newly repaired link.
- Come Back Slow! When you return to training BJJ start with just the warm up drills then watch the rest of the class. Rushing back to the mats to drill or practice technique is actually a mistake. Adding another human to the equation is a level of complexity you can’t control. Even a good training partner can accidentally twist your injured knee the wrong way setting you back months.
- Maintain your strength training until you are feeling 100% confident in the complete rehabilitation of the injury. Then you can gradually reduce your sessions to a minimum of 2 per week.
Taking a step back to address your injuries is the way forward. Our impatience ultimately cuts short the years we can enjoy BJJ by taking away the freedom to move our bodies the way we want. The harder truth is that in the name of pride or ignorance we are actually shortening our physical ability to enjoy our lives in total; injury unaddressed creates disability which ultimately shortens your life .
Having acceptance of our injuries and the humility to seek help with them is key to staying in the game for the long run. Dealing with injury can teach you a lot about persistence and ultimately the process will make you stronger.