BJJ's renown is well-established. It's one of the most effective combat sports out there and is widely regarded as among the best for self-defense.
But if it's that good for self-defense, then just how safe can it be to practice? You're probably going to hurt your attacker when you use these moves, so who's to say you yourself won't get hurt while you spar? After all, all those locks and grapples just don't look very safe, do they?
Today we'll be looking into just how safe BJJ is, as well as whether it's the safest combat sport of all... or the most dangerous.
How Safe is BJJ?
Rest easy, because BJJ is a very safe combat sport overall. In fact, when it comes to martial arts, BJJ is among the safest out there.
A look at some of the research indicates that during competitions, only about 9.2 injuries will occur for every 1,000 athlete exposures. Smaller injuries are more common, but they're very rarely a cause for concern.
This is a marked improvement over most other combat sports, such as taekwondo or karate, which involve more injuries than BJJ despite being very safe themselves.
Often referred to as a "gentle art," BJJ lends much of its safety to its lack of striking. Moves like the armbar or the rear naked choke will only bring bodily harm when its practitioners don't know what they're doing, which your instructor will ensure never happens.
Precautions are always put in place in your dojo. Training is oftentimes very slow, as your instructors will drill you for each move before allowing you to go at full pace.
Although this does mean you'll run into a boring, repetitive session or two every now and then, this makes sure that no one will ever be put in a situation that they can't handle.
What to Keep in Mind Before Training
Don't get too excited though; just because BJJ is safe doesn't mean you can let your fellow jujitsukas throw you around willy-nilly. There are some caveats you'll need to keep in mind.
First, the risk of injury isn't the same for everyone. Age, gender, fitness level, and a variety of other factors all influence the odds that you'll hurt yourself while training.
Older people, unsurprisingly, are much more likely to get injured than younger folks. Those who are physically unfit may also struggle with the intense physical demands of BJJ, thus hurting themselves during training.
Experience, technical proficiency, and level of intensity also matter. For example, inexperienced jujittsukas may slip up at times regarding their ukemi, which is how to breakfall properly, leading to an easily avoidable injury.
Even setting matters quite a lot. Sparring in the dojo, for example, is much less likely to lead to harm than competitions. Practicing at home can also be more dangerous, usually because of the lack of proper gear and equipment.
The Benefits of Safely Practicing BJJ
Practicing BJJ safely will provide you with a number of wonderful benefits, both physical and mental. First and foremost among them is that your risk of injury will be drastically reduced.
Apart from that, it'll also reduce stress, anxiety, and fear, which will allow you to remain calm even in difficult training situations and let you perform to the best of your ability.
This is something jujitsukas learn very early on. The grueling nature of the sport requires its practitioners to stay focused at all times, maintaining steady breath while still being on high alert. Negating the fear associated with practice will be beyond helpful to you in this regard.
Apart from that, many of the things BJJ offers you, such as teaching you self-control, patience, and discipline, will be much easier for you to learn--a wonderful thing, considering these are traits that you'll find useful not only in martial arts but in everyday life.
How To Stay Safe When Practicing BJJ
At the end of the day, BJJ should be a fun activity, not something you're scared to do. Taking extra precautions will help mitigate the dangers in the sport and assure you that you have nothing to worry about in the dojo.
First and foremost is to listen to your instructor. BJJ can be thrilling, and it's often easy to get ahead of ourselves and assume we're ready for a more complicated move.
Or maybe we see something we find cool and we become eager to try it, or perhaps we're curious how a particular move is done and want to give it a whirl.
When your instructor tells you not to try any of those moves, it's always best to listen. They've been training for years, to the point that they're allowed to teach others the art. They'll always know better, and it's always a good idea t
Also be sure to wear proper gear and follow proper form. This includes wearing knee and arm pads, training with the right equipment, and strictly following technique for each move.
Overall, if you implement the proper precautions, follow the right mindset, and give your fellow jujitsukas the respect they deserve, then you'll definitely feel safe, secure, and happy while you practice BJJ.
Conclusion: Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu The Safest Combat Sport?
BJJ has been around for decades now, almost a century even, and its continued popularity is a testament to just how effective it can be.
And on top of that, BJJ is a very safe combat sport. So long as you adhere to the right precautions, then you have very little to worry about. It's likely not the safest sport out there--no one will be able to decide that--but you can rest easy that the odds of you getting seriously hurt are very low.
Always remember that these precautions are there to help reduce the chance of harm while training or competing, and they're not meant to stifle your fun or curiosity.
So rest easy, don't worry, and most of all, have fun!