Is Jiu Jitsu Safe?

There’s a lot of talk about whether participating in sports is safe, including whether Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is safe. I tell my clients in Tempe, AZ that of all the martial arts, BJJ tends to be the safest. Of course, like any athletic activity, you’re using your body and pushing yourself, so there’s more chance of injury than you’d have sitting in a chair. That inactivity of sitting in a chair too long is far more lethal than the bumps and bruises you might get with BJJ. While there’s discussion whether MMA is safer than football, with valid points on each side, BJJ has the lowest rate of injury compared to MMA at 236-286 per 1,000, Taekwondo: 20.5-139.5 per 1,000, Judo : 25.3-130.6, Wrestling : 9.0-30.7 and finally BJJ at 9.2 injuries per 1,000.

Training is different from actual match.

When you’re in training for BJJ, it’s tough work. However, tough doesn’t mean dangerous. It simply means exhausting. Exhausting is very different from dangerous. You’ll probably get some bumps, sore muscles or even bruises, but nothing that’s earth shattering. Training is very different from matches. Everyone is watching out for his or her training partner. You’ll get tough workout, but nothing seriously normally happens. You can’t say never happens because anything is possible. In fact, you could get injured by tripping or getting pushed when you’re just going for a walk.

Your ears may take some punishment.

Cauliflower ear is one potential danger, if you aren’t wearing head gear. When your outer ear gets hit and it tears away at the cartilage, pulling it from the perichondrium, the space between the cartilage and the perichondrium fills with liquid and than can harden into a lump. If it’s drained, there’s no problem. If not, cauliflower ear develops. It looks bad and if too big, can create an obstruction and cause hearing difficulties.

You may end up with tendon damage or hyper extended joints.

The most common type of injury for BJJ occurs in the elbow joint. It’s most frequently caused from the armbar and submissions. While it may keep you from practicing BJJ if injury occurs, if you don’t take time off, it can become a chronic problem. Reducing the chance of a permanent injury by seeking medical attention can help prevent permanent damage.

  • If you have a serious condition, you should always check with your healthcare professional before proceeding with any sport.
  • There are fewer throwing techniques in BJJ than Judo and unlike MMA, BJJ competitions don’t allow strikes. Neck cranks and heel hooks are also disallowed, making it safer.
  • The instructor makes a difference in how safe practicing BJJ is. Part of the focus on any instruction should be on ensuring you watch out for your partner.
  • Focusing on training and the moves you’re doing can help make training safer.

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