Now before my fellow grappling aficionados show up at my school with their torches and pitchforks, I will acknowledge that Brazilian Jiu JItsu is undoubtedly one of the safest contact sports there are as far as injuries go. According to the Orthopedic journal of sports medicine, the risk of injury in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is significantly lower than other contact sports like Taekwondo, Wrestling, Judo, Mixed Martial Arts, American Football and Rugby. [Link To Study Here]
That being said, there are some pretty gnarly, albeit rare ways to get totally effed up in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training and competition, below is a nice little listicle of some of those ways along with some videos for your viewing pleasure.
1. Pulling Guard
Pulling guard is what you do is you’ve never wrestled a day in your life and always start on the knees while training. People have no idea how to execute a takedown so they literally jump and try to wrap their legs around their opponents back while in the air so that they land in the guard. Problem is, if the opponent is not bracing properly it can result in absolute destruction of the knee-joint.
2. Waiting Too Long to Tap to a Leg Lock
Besides some ancient Brazilian politics, there’s also a good reason submissions like heel hooks are illegal in many federations. Leg Locks tend to not hurt until it is too late and your knee is destroyed. A submission like a knee bar or heel hook doesn’t come on slowly like an armbar, it goes from ‘doesn’t hurt‘ to ‘still doesn’t hurt‘ to ‘slightly uncomfortable‘ to ‘total knee replacement‘.
3. And the same goes for armbars…
According to the study listed above, elbows are at the highest risk for orthopaedic injury in BJJ training and competition. Most of the time it is abundance of pride rather than lack of pain that causes people to not tap to these. If you ever get caught in one, do yourself a favor and just tap.
4. Not Knowing How to “Breakfall”
I’ve used a video of a wrestling match as an example, but the principle remains the same. “breaking your fall” is the act of dissipating your force of falling by smacking the mat in such a way that an outstretched arm does not meet the mat instead. “Reaching” as you fall can and will result in a dislocation of the elbow. [Heres a bonus video of when this exact thing happened to me]