Jiu Jitsu is a full contact sport and even that statistically the risk of injuries in BJJ are way lower than other martial arts, sometimes they happen. The injuries in the “gentle art” are something that most of us face and we even like to brag about them when they happen, however being away from the mat makes us miserable.

What are the most common jiu jitsu injuries

  • Lower Back injuries

Certain positions can put your back in flexion which can cause irritation and micro-injuries that may become chronic over time. The most important thing to do to prevent yourself from back injuries and in fact any type of injuries, is to check your ego give a position or tap early, otherwise the pain will give your ego a lesson.  In case you do get injured, you need to know if it is a muscle or a nerve injury and make sure you are properly diagnosed and get treatment.

How to roll after having a back injury or during one?
Very simple – avoid the positions that can compromise the spine: Closed guard, Back Mount and bridging.

  • Neck injuries

Neck injuries are one of those that you don’t realize at first and don’t feel, but then it sticks with you for 2-3 months. A common situation is when you get your opponent in an arm bar or a triangle but the person is heavy and defends with pressure, then better let the submission instead risking to stay off the mat for long time. In the video below Alex Ueda and Rener Gracie stress how neck injuries happen and ways to avoid them. Neck injuries are an ego thing when people usually do not like to tap.

Man with neck injury doing yoga

How to roll after having a neck injury or during one?
Be sure to let your partner know that you have an injured neck, and take it easy. Second, don’t use your head as a base point. Last but not least don’t put yourself in any positions where you can’t control your opponent grabbing your head.

  • Knee injuries

They are the most common injury that’ll put you away from the mat for a very long time. Unfortunately it doesn’t go away as easily and you will have to treat it.

Knee injuries maybe the worst of them all. You know, the knee is held together by four ligaments, if you put too much pressure on it, or weight, for example: jumping guard, flying submissions, scissor takedowns, or heel hooks, the ligaments might break. The thing is, ligaments don’t heal as fast as other injuries and they might need surgery.

Joint pain, sports injuries, At gym, damaged section, Sportsman, knee bone injury, sports accidents

From a mechanical perspective, the best thing you can do is strengthen your hamstrings, quads and glutes with lots of squats, horse stance, leg press, kicks etc. Get yourself into a gym. Train the hell out of your legs.

How to roll after having a knee injury or during one?
You should let your partner know about your injury, avoid the risky moves we mentioned above. Other solutions are the knee pads that will protect your knee from future damage.

  • Shoulder injuries

Most likely these injuries occur from arm attacks, twists from rolling, or prolonged active posting. Everyone know the phrase “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your elbows closest.” If something like muscle strain happens, the shoulder should be iced and treated with plenty of rest. If severe dislocation happens, you should definitely consult a doctor before returning to the mats.

bjj shoulder muscle injury

How to roll after having a shoulder injury or during one?
Try tying one hand up with your belt and rolling that way. We know it is hard, but so extremely good for you in BJJ.

  • Cauliflower ears

There are few sports that can cause this injury to your ears, like wrestling, rugby, MMA. What happens is the cartilage of your ear bends and breaks. This causes internal bleeding in the ear tissue and from the outside your ear looks swollen. If it is not drained right away, your body starts to heal it and forms scar tissue in the form of cauliflower. The draining must be done by a medical professional, not by your buddies at the gym.

Ice helps as well, but be careful not to leave the ice on your ear for too long because this might cause other problems.

One way to prevent “cauliflower ears” is being mindful and not smash your ear. The best way to prevent is to wear headgear.


Alex Ueda and Rener Gracie talk how to adapt your movements when you have BJJ injury

Alex Ueda and Rener Gracie sit down and talk about the importance of taking BJJ injuries seriously, but also how to adapt so people do not have to stop learning even when they are hurt. Jiu jitsu injuries can be a blessing in disguise or a very negative experience. How to avoid them is important. Knowing how to deal with BJJ injury is also as important. None of the guys in the video are doctors, so don’t take them for granted, if you are injured you need to consult a medical professional. They do however have practical experience with injuries and share their point of view.

In order to have a healthy body and be able to continue practicing Jiu jitsu one has to make adjustments to their training. The two black belts in the video above will give their best recommendations on how to do that. Rehabilitating injuries is crucial. People should not resume training after an injury before going to physical therapy. They will only re-injure themselves. Rener shares tips on which muscles to strengthen in order to prevent specific injuries and the importance of not having muscle imbalances.