How to Minimise Injury Risk when Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training

by | Dec 18, 2020

injured knee

The most important component of any session is to minimise injury risk when Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. To state the obvious, we can’t train effectively when injured and if we can’t train effectively we can’t progress. We can’t improve. Injury prevention is key to progress. 

Warm Up Properly 

Who has trained without a significant warm up? I’m sure most of can raise our arm in admission of guilt. Too often we don’t treat the warm up seriously. We may skip it altogether or rush through it impatiently. Bad move. Give the warm up the attention it deserves. At a minimum, it should be 5-10 minutes of mixed movements — keeping in mind that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can place unique demands on your body. When rolling with another, you may find yourself in weird positions, challenging muscles and joints here, there and everywhere. A comprehensive warmup should address the unpredictability of Jiu Jitsu. So, mix it up with routine stretches, cardio drills and movements that are specific to the sport such as shrimps, bridges, break falls etc 

Unnecessary Aggression 

Training is not competition or a life or death situation. Training is learning and applying in a controlled manner. It’s not one-hundred-percent-full-throttle aggression — so don’t treat it that way. Try to relax and flow and move around your opponent and experiment with new moves rather than remaining fight-mode tense and statuesque rigid; refusing to budge an inch for fear of getting submitted. Treat submissions as learning experiences. Of course, do your best not to get submitted but not at the expense of avoiding or not attempting your latest or newest move. If you get submitted, so what. Will your world suddenly collapse? Of course not. Brush it off and move on. On the flip side, if you’re in the driving seat and in process of finishing or submitting your training partner is there a need for all-out aggression as you fully crank that armbar or figure 4 shoulder lock? Respecting your opponent means respecting their safety. Furthermore, there’s nothing to be gained by comprehensively dominating a new starter and crushing his or her confidence. Don’t be a bully on the mat. Egotistical grapplers have no place in Jiu Jitsu. 

Know When to Tap Out

Don’t let macho bravado override common sense. Yes, do your best to combat and kill a submission attempt but know when to swallow your pride and acknowledge defeat. Tap out before it’s too late. A wounded ego recovers far quicker than a hyperextended elbow. 

Positional Awareness 

Positional awareness or body geography refers to knowing where your body and your training partner’s body is in high risk or danger of injury. Be mindful and aware. Learn when to back off and let go.


Long finger and toenails can scratch and/or be torn off. Either way, the end result is painful. Trim regularly.


We should all strive to minimise injury risk when Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. And the good thing is that most injuries are preventable. Removing carelessness and ego, being hyper aware of position and body geography, and engaging in a sensible warm up should cover it. Of course, injuries can happen even when you think you’ve covered all bases. Nothing is full proof.

Train hard. Train smart. 

Yours in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,