Self-defence mentality goes beyond the all too obvious dark alleys and rough neighbourhoods; directly into your friendly, neighbourhood Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy. Here we see people wrenching limbs in contorsional feats and squeezing necks until heads seem to pop off. So how, you may ask, is this by any stretch of the imagination considered safe?
Here we practice Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. We practice self-defence. We practice self-preservation. In order to be prepared for the bully on the street, we must practice with live training partners. This is one of the advantages that training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu offers over other martial arts; the continual testing of your skill set against fully-resistant opponents.
But we must train with injury prevention and longevity in mind as well. All too often, practitioners go to such great lengths to beat their training partners that they injure themselves and others. Pride, the pursuit of becoming the gym’s top dog or to win a white belt medal can cloud our judgement. Twisting their knee to finish the sweep, pulling their head out despite the resulting cauliflower ear, and resisting the submission to the point of joint hyperextension. Does this sound like you? These obvious injuries aside, the body will begin to break down and joints will become inflamed if overworked, with common symptoms such as ‘tennis elbow,’ joint inflammation, knee pain and shooting nerve pains through neck, shoulders and legs. Does this sound familiar? It is not sustainable, and over a long period of time, the body will degenerate as we move into old age, injuries add up, arthritis sets in and multiple knee and neck surgeries rack up a hefty bill. It may sound scary but don’t be intimidated. Just remember that self-defence starts with one’s health and protecting one’s body at all times. If you live and roll by that guideline, you can be training Jiu-Jitsu until you’re 100 years old.