Below is just some friendly advice. Each suggestion varies from case to case, but if you speak to a great number of people in jiu-jitsu, they will tell you that their injuries occurred because of these reasons. If you avoid certain situations in jiu-jitsu because you don’t want to get injured, it doesn’t make you a ‘chicken’ or a coward. The goal in jiu-jitsu is to train long term, but in order to do that, you have to take care of yourself and make sure you avoid high-risk situations. Every time you get injured, you interrupt your progress in jiu-jitsu - it’s just not worth it.
- Avoid the “Spazzes”
To begin with, a ‘spaz’ is someone that goes 100% without any control or real strategy. They are the ones that are most likely to accidentally deck you in the face with their knee, heel, elbow, and even head. Usually, we’d like to think that this kind of behavior goes away once someone reaches purple belt, and often, it does.
Spazzes are easy to spot, and it is recommended that you don’t roll with them.
An alternative option, if you do choose to roll with them, is to play a very defensive game and just work to catch them if and when they make a mistake. It’s not worth it to get your teeth knocked out by someone that doesn’t know how to technically control their body in jiu-jitsu.
- Avoid the ‘newbs’
Another type of clumsy practitioner is the total novice. It’s more understandable that they will do things that could potentially harm you, but a ‘newb’ isn’t just any typical beginner. They are the ones that may have an especially bad balance or try to utilize so much strength that when they slip, you could end up getting punched straight in the face. Again, depending on your technical level relative to their clumsiness, you could control the situation. The ‘newb’ is almost always a white belt and in their first few months of training.
With both the “spazzes” and the “newbs,” try to use your experience to help them understand the riskiness of their rolling nature and have them learn to slow it down and focus more on technique (at least until they have a solid understanding of the fundamentals).
- Avoid risky positions
This is an interesting one. You’d be surprised to know how many self-induced injuries there are in jiu-jitsu. For example, often guys will watch some Eddie Bravo videos and think they are naturally made of rubber and have the powers of Mr. Fantastic. So very often practitioners will pop their knees trying to bring their foot to their chin or damage their spine because they think they can be stacked by 250-pound men. The truth is, you need to gauge your abilities and know their limits. If you feel your leg can’t go any further while you’re trying to play rubber guard, then stop. If you’re being stacked and you feel your neck can’t handle it, tap. Sure, it might be embarrassing to tap from a stack, but guess what? You shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place, and it is better to tap than to face potential serious injury. It’s not worth permanently damaging your body out of pride.