Training With an Injury in BJJ.
Today I’d like to talk about how to train with an injury and why it can actually help broaden your game. This will be the first in a series of posts related to energy, ego and flow, and how these factors affect your growth.
As discussed in my previous post, I feel it is important to begin training again once you have recovered to about 70% from an injury and inactivity is no longer assisting with recovery. That being said, you’re definitely more at risk of re-injuring yourself if you return to the mats before you’re all better. So how do you reconcile the two?
Most importantly, be very specific about who you roll, and even drill with. It is important to do both with people you know have experience and control. Next, let everyone you train with know about your injury.
Once you can ensure no clumsy noob is going to accidentally gramby over your broken toe, or some hot shot blue belt try out his new reverse inverted squid guard on your torn meniscus, then its time to ensure that you, yourself don’t do anything to increase the likelihood of re-injury either. This is the hard part. It has to do with ego and it will require you to do what my wife tells me when I get all upset she doesn’t treat me like the amazingly-awesome, brilliant, ruler of the universe that I am: “Get over yourself.”
You and your opponent respond to each others “energy.” This is something that for most people happens only sub consciously at first, but it is also something you have a choice as to how quickly, if ever, you develop a sensitivity to. The sooner you develop a sensitivity to this, the faster your jiu jitsu will improve and the more fluid your transitions will become.
A carefully picked, controlled opponent with otherwise no need to prove he can submit an injured You might suddenly find it a lot more appealing to hear you say “TAP TAP TAP” when you’re grunting and putting all your strength (energy) into ensuring he doesn’t pull off an otherwise excellently executed, super smooth arm bar that he purposely opted for instead of driving his knee into your sternum because you told him you have a tweaked rib.
A great way to help ensure your opponent doesn’t feel the need to use all his might letting you know he’s boss is to show him you realize it’s okay if, for example, he puts you in side control.
Accept the fact that you are of limited physical ability and will, as a result, have to acquiesce to certain more disadvantageous positions, or even submissions than you would otherwise have to if you had all your tools at your disposal. Be “forced” to find escapes, sweeps and maneuvers you wouldn’t normally resort to when playing your A game. You might not be honing your strengths, but you’ll broaden your repertoire, smooth out your transitions and you just might find that a technique not normally part of your tool kit can actually become your bread and butter.