Medical Advice in BJJ: An Anecdotal Account

Quick, name a contact sport where you don’t have any risk of injury.  Stumped?  Ok, what about a non-contact sport with no chance of injury?

Tough isn’t it?  Even the emerging field e-sports comes with its own set of injuries that its practitioners face.  The reality is that sports carry a risk of injury and BJJ is no exception.

While BJJ is not unique in its risks, the BJJ community does anecdotally seem to be more willing to espouse training while injured, unproven medical treatments, and has a reluctance to seek professional medical opinion.

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Grappz – a replacement to finger tape?

If you play jiu-jitsu long enough you’ll probably encounter some finger pain.  Whether it come from over-gripping, aggressive grip fighting, grip-intensive techniques like spider guard, or just accidentally getting a finger caught in the gi, jiu-jitsu will find a way to make your fingers ache.

Traditionally there have been two ways to deal with finger pain.  The first way is to just treat it like every other jiu-jitsu related injury and ignore it.  The second way is to tape your fingers.  Neither way is particularly desirable…the ignore it method of injury management – despite widespread use – is not particularly efficacious.  Tape definitely helps cut down on the pain and can protect fingers from further injury – but to properly apply it takes practice, time, and patience.  I’d rather spend my time on the mat instead of sitting next to it – and thus Grappz were a product I was excited to try out when they came on the market last summer.

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Women and Community in Jiu Jitsu

Community and the jiu jitsu lifestyle are discussed a lot.  But does this community extend to women in jiu jitsu?

In my experience – yes.  Meeting another woman who does jiu jitsu is like making an instant friend.  Even though I have been a part of my new school for less than a year (and have only been able to train for six of those months) I feel like I have a bunch of friends there – men and women.

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The Difference between Stretching and Yoga – For Jiu Jitsu!

I was talking to a fellow teammate and his wife at a party and was part of this conversation (its paraphrased because this happened a couple of weeks ago).

Teammate: I’ve been doing yoga recently to increase my flexibility for jiu jitsu!

Teammate’s wife: You haven’t been doing yoga, you’ve been stretching.  They’re different.

Teammate: What?  How are they different?  I’m using a yoga mat.

Teammate’s wife: Just because you’re using a yoga mat does not make it yoga.  Yoga involves more, like specific poses and breathing exercises.

Teammate: I breathe while stretching.

I don’t think my teammate left the conversation with any greater understanding of the difference between stretching and yoga.  But what is the difference?  And does the difference matter?

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Tactics in BJJ: Are you playing checkers instead of chess?

The subject of BJJ and chess is one I have written about before.  I think the subject is worthy of further attention because the metaphor is such an alluring one – but pinching metaphors until they squeal is all too easy.

Recently my coach made a comment about a roll, saying that one person was playing chess while the other was playing checkers.  For the sake of science, discovery, curiosity, and pedantry, I’m going to attempt to unpack all that is contained within this statement.

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