Injuries happen at jiu-jitsu, even though it’s called “the gentle art” (unless you’re like me and they ONLY happen outside of jiu-jitsu). I recently talked about mat rust, and for many, injuries can be a reason that mat rust appears in the first place. Deciding how injured is too injured to roll takes a little more decision than say, evaluating playing basketball on an ankle sprain.

Evaluating Your Ability to Role Injured

Here are five things to consider when you’re thinking about rolling with an injury.

  1. Are you listening to your body? – A 1950s football coach would ask “are you hurt, or are you injured?” Focus on what your body is telling you. If you feel like you can roll, great. If you think “I can roll, but if my leg bends this way, I am going to be in a lot of pain”, it’s probably best to give some rest. 
  2. Partner selection –  At Neutral Ground Jon has cultivated an atmosphere of respect for one another. If you’re worried about making an injury worse there’s nothing wrong with respectfully declining a roll. Especially if that partner isn’t as fluid and careful with their movements.
  3. Speak Up – Don’t be afraid to make your partner aware. If you have some neck soreness, tell your partner to ease up around your neck. 
  4. Tap Quickly if Needed – Peace of mind when rolling injured is huge. When you’re less anxious about making an injury worse, your movements are going to be more fluid and relaxed. If that means you tap quicker than usual in a submission, so be it. 
  5. Take Breaks – Feeling good? No need to redline your body and see how much it can take. But I guess that reverts us back to #1. 

Take time off if you have a serious injury. I’d recommend showing up to classes and watching. It will help keep you learning by observing and nothing cures what ales you like Jon making fun of your outfit or haircut.

Here are Jon’s thoughts on why you should show up if you’re injured.