BJJ: Is it worth the risk of injury?


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is my favorite martial art. With so many practitioners around the world, clearly I’m not the only one. However, it is a rough contact sport, and injuries are an unfortunate but quite common occurrence. I mean, you have people bending each other’s joints and choking each other out until the opponent submits. So yeah, you might get hurt. Let’s talk about injuries in BJJ.

Benefits of BJJ

First, lets talk about the benefits of BJJ. Personally, I train BJJ because I was bullied as a kid, so I feel that it is absolutely necessary that I can defend myself. I feel that BJJ is one of the more efficient arts one can train in. It is a great way to get in shape, a great self-defense skill, and helps you gain that much needed self confidence that might otherwise be lacking. Additionally, BJJ provides a pretty cool way to make friends as rolling (sparring) is a great way to bond with your teammates and training partners. Finally, it’s a lot of fun, like wrestling when we were kids.

Risks of Injury

While the benefits of BJJ are clear, there are also risks associated with training. Injuries are common, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious torn ligaments, and even fractures. As I edit this piece here, I just took two Tylenol because my C3 neck herniation is killing me. I also have a torn shoulder ligament that I received due to a bad armbar being applied. Injuries happen, but it can be helpful to take proper precautions when practicing BJJ, stretching, yoga, corrective exercises, and taking rest days when needed could go a long way in keeping you healthy. Also, always tap!

Is it Worth It?

Despite the risks of injury, BJJ is still worth it for many people. I’ve been training on and off since 2004 despite having sustained several life altering injuries. The physical and mental benefits of training far outweigh the risks for many of us, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering the techniques is unparalleled. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to practice BJJ should be made on an individual basis. At this point in my life, I’m being much more careful and have pretty much have ceased sparring, despite loving it very much. My neck and shoulder can’t handle that anymore.


Getting injured in BJJ is a risk that should not be taken lightly. However, the physical and mental benefits of the activity outweighs the risks for a lot of us. The best advice I can give is to stretch, do yoga, don’t get caught up in the ego of it, and tap when caught. Also, be careful with your training partners. One of my worst injuries was due to an overzealous brown belt. Choose them wisely!

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