An article by Revolution BJJ black belt instructor Daniel Frank
Whether you are a seasoned veteran, with many years of experience on the mats, or you are brand new to jiu jitsu, you have more than likely come to realize that the ‘gentle art’ sometimes is not so gentle on your body. There are many ways to make the inevitable bumps and bruises that will occur not so serious. The methods listed below will assist in keeping you off of the disabled list and make sure that you are dressed and ready for the next class.
- Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salts are made up of the compound magnesium sulfate. They derive their name from the area in England where the compound is found in natural springs. Epsom salt baths help to restore magnesium and sulfate levels in your body by absorbing the minerals through the skin. Four to six pound bags can be purchased at the local pharmacy at a low price. Mix 2-3 cups of Epsom salt into a hot bath and soak for 30-45 minutes to soothe sore muscles and help to refresh your body.
Adequate rest is vitally important to all jiu jitsu practitioners. Taking a day or two off between hard rolling sessions will save on the wear and tear of training, especially so for older students. If taking days off is not a feasible part of your jiu jitsu schedule, getting a good night sleep each night is important to keep your body functioning properly.
Proper stretching is valuable to jiu jitsu students in that it will help to prevent injuries while preparing muscles for the rigors of training and improve range of motion. A kinetic (active) stretch before class will get the practitioner’s heart, lungs, and muscles ready for the class. A static stretch after class will help the student calm the body down and help to increase flexibility.
The sauna is an excellent place for a jiu jitsu student to relax and refresh after a couple tough training sessions. Saunas can be wet or dry and vary in temperature. The purpose of a sauna is to heat up the body causing it to sweat and allowing the muscles to relax. Precautions must be taken though and guidelines should be followed. Stay hydrated and listen to your body while in the sauna. If you feel dizzy leave the sauna. Be careful, if the sauna is too hot it may cause burns or hinder breathing.
There are many different kinds of massages: Swedish, Thai, deep tissue, hot stone, and more. Prices and length of sessions vary, but the result remains the same. Your bumps and bruises will be worked out while any, more serious injuries, will be discovered. Over time this might be a more expensive way to keep your body healthy and sound, but is worth every penny.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin and Ibuprofen, have benefits and hazards. When a jiu jitsu student is sore from training, or even sustains a minor injury, NSAIDS can help to curb swelling and to manage pain. There are hazards to taking too many NSAIDS or to taking them daily. Allergic reactions can occur along with gastrointestinal problems, even severe kidney problems. Follow directions carefully and use the product wisely.
Jiu jitsu is meant to be enjoyable whether you are young or old, a hobbyist, or an athlete striving for a world championship. All students experience the bumps and bruises that come from training, some more serious than others. By using one, two, or a few of the methods above the jiu jitsu student can overcome those bumps and bruises that they experience. The less pain that the student feels, the longer and more often they will be on the mat. The more mat time a student receives the better they will be. The better the student, the better their teammates, the better the academy. That is what we are all striving for.