BJJ: what you need to be careful about with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

We see people getting injured at BJJ on a regular basis. From our experience, neck and knees are the two most frequent areas of complaint. 

The neck

We so often like to target the neck during BJJ. Whether that’s a blood choke or some sort of neck crank, our neck is always going to be a point of vulnerability. 

So how do we prevent this debilitating injury when everyone is trying to rip your neck off? The key is knowing when and in what positions our neck is at most risk.

Times when you have to be careful:

  • Squirming your way out of powerful neck submissions e.g guillotine.
  • True neck cranks, where you feel immense pressure on your joints (as opposed to a choking feeling).
  • Getting stacked while you’re on the bottom.

The knees

Find me a wrestler with no knee injuries and you have yourself the ghost of a point. There is a reason why many leg locks are not allowed to be performed by white belts. A little bit of push and tug in the wrong direction and you have yourself a 3-month forced vacation from the gym. 

The dangerous thing about knee submissions is that once you feel the pain/discomfort, damage has most likely already been done. ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, patella dislocations are just some of the structures in the knee that can be injured during rolling. A tremendous amount of torque can be applied through the knee joint during a heel hook (as seen below) or a straight kneebar submission. The little ligaments in our knee cannot withstand that much force.

Times when you have to be careful:

  • Leg locks, make sure you roll the right way. Know when to concede and tap when you feel any discomfort.
  • During takedowns.

The most important rule of all – Learn when to tap. There is little point to waiting until the last microsecond to tap into a submission. So unless you’re Gordon Ryan and competing for the ADCC or Henry Cejudo competing for all the belts, tap to fight another day.

Want to chat with us directly?