Why Strength and Mobility will save your BJJ

Is your car insured?

What we’re asking is do you make extra effort to protect what you value?

Would you take your car Rally Driving?

Are you prepared to seriously risk damaging or potentially destroying something you value?

Every time you step onto the mats for a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class you are taking your body rally driving. Whether you are conscious of it or not the risk of injury in any given BJJ class –casual or competition, regardless of experience, the risk is always there. The fine print, which you have never read is as follows:

If you are planning to stick around long enough to get good at “ The gentle Art” you are going to get injured.

The same is true of driving- the longer you are on the road you increase your chances of having an accident by pure exposure. This is not a reflection on your own ability to drive, sometimes someone will rear end you, not look while turning or just plain scratch your car while you are parked- then not leave a note! You need protection and insurance from the true unknown variable in any given situation, Other Humans.

Because you can’t always control who you get paired with in class and you don’t get to choose the positions or techniques you are practicing you have to prepare your body for a potentially rough ride.

The day you don’t pay your insurance is usually the day you need it.

You come to class late, you are tight from sitting all day at work, you don’t warm up and the only person free to train with is the HUGE, white belt, ex-footballer who only knows 1 training mode = Crush! What could go wrong?

This may not be the exact scenario you face when you show up to your jiu-jitsu class but there are universal elements here that do occur in every BJJ gym. The key to reducing your risk of injury is well and truly within the realm of your own control. A lack of preparation leads to big pain and time off the mats. Just a small amount of effort on a regular basis will save you.

Let’s break down how you can protect against injury

The Tune Up: Showing up to class 10-15 minutes early to prepare your body for the yet to come physical chaos that is BJJ, is essential. Think of it as a tune up, a way that you can better understand exactly what is going on in your body that day, specific tightness you may not have been aware of, addressing an aching joint by doing mobility or self treatment massage using a lacrosse ball. Getting weaker muscles engaged so you can perform at your best. Overall checking that your rig is running in the way you expected it to or becoming acquainted with a real time update of where you are at currently. This allows you to make better decisions in the moment when rolling to tap earlier, roll lighter or not roll at all just practice technique and then call it a night.

This is in the name of Injury prevention and it only takes 10-15 minutes.

Reinforce the Rig: Strength equates to control under resistance. This can be seen as a stronger person controlling a weaker opponent while rolling. It can also be expressed as your ability to control the movement of your own limbs against an external force- a dumbbell, sandbag or someone trying to Kimura your arm off!!

There is a Triple benefit to being the stronger person in a physical exchange

     1) The more control you have over the positions you are in, dictates that you are less likely to be in compromised situations where you could be injured.

     2) If you find yourself in a less than favourable position, you will have a better chance to protect yourself  against joint damaging submissions by controlling where your limbs go.

      3) Stronger connective tissues, tendons and ligaments are less likely to break when stressed. If under the circumstance you do suffer an injury while rolling, stronger tissues will be more resilient and quicker to heal, speeding up your return to training.

This only takes a 2 x 45 minute sessions per week. This is a small investment for a huge return. Strength training gives you an Insurance policy for your body with a Small cost, maximum protection and a very minimal excess.

Lifetime Warranty and Free Repairs: If you could have a lifetime warranty and free repairs on your car would you take that option? Hell Yeah!!!

The true cost of anything is in the upkeep and maintenance. The 10 minutes you spend after class or at the end of your day before you go to bed is that repair and maintenance to keep your warranty. You can’t replace it so you have to maintain it. If you want keep your function and pain free enjoyment of this incredible machine for as long as possible you need to stretch. The Post Jiu-jitsu class heat and sweat is the perfect opportunity for stretching and mobility.

Your core temperature is elevated, the adrenaline from rolling has all your tissues at their most elastic – your internal environment is basically a Bikram yoga studio. Make the most of it.

There is a powerful double benefit to the post class warm down.

  1. This allows you to improve your circulation to tissues that need it the most for repair from the beating that they have just taken, also this activity helps smooth out the kinks you may have incurred while rolling allowing for improved recovery and less soreness the following day.
  2. This is an opportunity to down regulate your breathing and reset your nervous system. This will enhance the flow of oxygen to muscles that desperately need it and will also help you be less wired post training. This  improves the quality of your sleep, which in turn will turbo charge your memory and retention of lessons learned that day.

This very simple activity which requires a very minimal effort (10 minutes) will help repair your body and ensure that you can come back day after day to do the thing you love – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Unlike an insurance policy there is no Lump sum option. One big effort will not pay the due required to protect your body from Injury. Small Payments made daily is what it takes- a small amount of energy combined with a degree of organisation.

Your reward for this investment is a body that will serve you for as long as you maintain it. The older your rig the more maintenance required – there is no other way. We want to keep you exploring the many maps that Jiu-Jitsu and life offer, not broken down on the side of the highway. Now you have read the fine print and know the true costs of pursuing the BJJ path, enjoy the ride and get the best insurance you can- subscribe to www.Bulletproofforbjj.com