Avoiding Training Injuries!

Avoiding Training Injuries!
03 Jun 2015

So you love going to your martial arts class! It’s fun, intense, and you learn something new everyday. Then you come home and ice every joint in your body. Sound familiar?

It’s a common story amongst many martial artists. We push our minds and bodies to the limit night after night, and often for we do it the wrong ways. Most of us aren’t professional fighters, and if you are you still shouldn’t be taking on injuries. Granted, it is a physically demanding activity, but that is no excuse.

First let’s understand a few common pitfalls of training that are almost at the root of EVERY injury that happens on the mats. Once we go thru a few….it’ll be evident what is going on.

Warm-Ups:
When I was younger, I could do almost any physical activity with a “cold” body. I didn’t have to stretch out or get any blood flow going. It was 0 to 100mph instantly and for extensive periods of time. After bad shoulder injuries, neck pains, lower back pains that leave me crawling thru the house on all fours…I realized that the cold start was simply a stupid idea. Now I make sure I get to my academy earlier and stretch out my muscles, warm up all joints, get a little blood flow going by doing some very light shadow boxing or jumping jacks or maybe running in place. Since I began doing this I have had a significantly less amount of pains.

Competition or Cooperation?:
Whether we are in our Jeet Kune Do classes, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, or even our Fitness classes we use partnered training methods often. It gives us a great energy and is never repetitive. It’s also a great way learn how to apply lessons we’ve learned. Sounds good right? Answer….sometimes! The problem is that when we partner with people it becomes a competition at times. We want to tap someone out, or score that secret kick or finish our reps before our parter. The question I ask is….”Why?” Not every drill is sparring! Calm down! I know it gets a bit more fun to raise the intensity….but that is typically a trait of hiding our own lack of skill. The idea is never to work hard, but work smart. Be a bit more cooperative in your training, and you’ll get much more out of it and not feel like an anvil landed on you the next morning.

Instructor’s Instructions:
This one is a pet peeve of mine! Martial Arts of all kind have training methods with built in safety methods. These training methods are designed to deliver a specific attribute or skill in a fun, safe manner. Often many students come away from the training method and do what they want to do at the moment. Follow the instructions of the instructor and the design of the drill….more often than not you will be just fine. Fall of the path, and prepare to take on those injuries!

Let’s Talk:
Communication is always key. If you have an existing ailment….tell the instructor and tell you partner. That way everyone is aware and will not do anything to agitate the issue. In the flip side, if your partner is moving too hard or fast for you….speak up! Nothing wrong with asking someone to slow down a bit, and it goes both ways….you can also ask someone to slow down if they are moving faster than their skillset allows.

The Main Goal:
Often in class I remind everyone what their main goal is and always should be in training. “Your goal is to make sure your classmates walk out of here with no injuries. And if they do the same for you then everyone is all good!” Aside from learning and developing skills, a big part of martial arts training is learning to respect the human body even if it is not yours! So next time you are on the mats, look at your classmates and tell yourself that you will do your part in their safe being, and they will do the same for you.

Most injuries in martial arts/fitness training are related to one of the above. And when you recall your classtime and have in instant replay moment…you might realize that there are couple of the above mentioned reasons. It’s ok….happens to the best of us! But know that your time in class is solely about YOU, and YOU want to walk out of there everyday without unnecessary injuries. So take your time, get your head on straight and follow a more mature approach to training.

Stay Safe!

Sifu Nik

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