Staying injury free is essential if you are going to train week in, week out. Something worth remembering when you’re training – is that you are doing just that. When you’re sparring at BJJ Lifestyle Team or any other club, you’re not in the UFC, it’s not a real fight, you’re not fighting for a medal at the IBJJF world championships in California and getting injured is going to keep you out of training for a long time. There’s a saying in BJJ – ‘leave your ego at the door’ – it’s true, you should, but it can be hard to do. We all want to do well, we all have pride and we all want to be successful when sparring – but if you don’t tap out when you should, you could be out of training for many months.
When I first went to Brazil in January 2007, I trained at Gavea Jiu-Jitsu with José Leão Teixeira who is very well-known in the Jiu-Jitsu community – when I trained with him he was a 5th Dan with 30 years Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience, an incredible achievement. I was sparring one morning and he said to me ‘my friend, if he straightens your arm, you might as well tap, the arm is straight’ – wise words, indeed.
I have unfortunately been injured many times – some of those injuries I could have avoided, some were unavoidable. If you want to get as technically good at BJJ as possible, you need to train consistently and being injured does not allow that. Stay injury free and you will accelerate your game just because you can continually build up your skills and won’t need time away from the mat to recover.