Words by Kid Peligro
In my seminar travels, I seem to run into a very common question about training; “How many injuries have you had training and how do you avoid them?”
Having had my fair share of injuries, this is a subject that, unfortunately, I consider myself an expert on. Injuries are a natural part of training, after all, there are two bodies rolling around and trying to apply holds that are designed, in principle, to hurt a joint. When rolling, sometimes you are late to “tap” or part of your body gets stuck on - or under - your opponent and you get hurt. It’s not ideal, but it is unavoidable for the most part. The problem is when you are getting injured because of poor decisions, such as training with partners that are much bigger and stronger than you, training with partners who are reckless, or worst of all, being a problematic training partner yourself.
It is relatively easy to address the first two problems; Start by selecting training partners that are well-suited to your size and weight. Someone who has twenty or thirty pounds on you is probably still OK for you to train safely, and you’ll even benefit by having to deal with that extra weight and strength. But someone who has forty, fifty or sixty pounds on you is just going to leave you sore and very likely injured, even when rolling at less than 100%. Once you’ve got the sizing sorted out, you should then keep an eye out during your classes for those training partners that you can see are careful when rolling - you can always tell which guys are going wild and hurting people in the process, so either steer clear or ask them to try not to rip your head off, as you are in class after all and not in competition. It’s never worth having to sit out of a big tournament because of a silly injury sustained in class.
The last possible reason for constant injuries involves your ego! If you are constantly getting hurt, there is a distinct possibility that the problem may just be you! You need to take a good look at yourself and your game to see if you are letting your ego or your pride get the best of you during your training. Maybe you don’t want to “tap” or maybe you want to win every sparring session. Maybe you roll too hard all the time and force your partners to roll just as hard to meet your level of power. Regardless, it’s important to check your ego and make sure it’s not the reason for your injuries. If you can’t make a fair and honest self-assessment, ask your training partners or your instructor if you are going too hard, if you are too hard-headed or too competitive for your own good. If this is the case, then you need to change! Moreover, you will be forced to change, because at some point you might realize that your team mates are not wanting to train with you, or your own injuries that resulted from your reckless rolling have stopped you from training. Believe me, I’ve seen many good people quit over the years because of injuries, and it’s a shame.
(below) Kid Peligro
If you believe that you need to train at 110% all the time in order to simulate real life or competition situations, you are fooling yourself. Unless you are a super active competitor, you’ll gain much more from training at 80% or 90% than you will by going all-out all the time. That is because you will hone your technical skills rather than your power, and of course you won’t get hurt as often - allowing you to be sure to make those important competitions.
Real-life situations, of course, are a completely different story. If you find yourself confronted with an aggressor in a street situation that is threatening the safety of you or your family, then you may have to use your 110% in order to augment your technique and neutralize the threat. So in order to make sure you are always ready for those real life self-defense situations - and not limited by an injury - training at an ‘optimum’ level, rather than a ‘maximum’ level is ideal.
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