How To Turn Your BJJ Injury Into A Strength
The inevitable finally happened in 2009. It was a Saturday morning after Thanksgiving and I had just received my brown belt about 7 months ago. I was rolling with a new white belt and he had me in a position called "the lockdown".
It was in such an awkward position--it was a borderline kneebar.
I remember telling myself, "when I get out of this I'm gonna kill this guy, LOL."
I eventually got out and at the end of the roll I had this weird feeling in my left knee. Every second that went by it got worse.
I decided to stand up and shake it off. At that moment it locked up and I nearly collapsed.
And there is was--my first BJJ injury. After months of icing, elevating and keeping it wrapped, it wasn't getting better.
I decided to set up an MRI and it was confirmed--torn medial meniscus.
Ugh--I was heart broken. I couldn't train as much as I wanted to--I couldn't even play my normal game.
At the time I was a pretty good half-guard and spider guard player.
But all that changed after that injury.
I couldn't fully bend my knee and every time someone would stuff my ankles to my butt to attempt passing my guard it felt like my knee would explode!
It kinda felt like I always had a baseball stuck behind my knee--I was fed up and that's when
I decided to use my BJJ injury as an opportunity to turn it into a strength
I never played much from the top. Up until I was injured I played guard for 8-9 years.
I remember my friend, training partner and mentor Aurelio Gallegos once told me of when he broke his shoulder.
He was a big half guard player too.
He mentioned after breaking his right shoulder he would only play half guard on his left shoulder and how it made him more versatile.
So I decided to use my BJJ injury as an opportunity to get better at my top game. I started following some of the best guard passers like:
- Lucas Lepri
- Rafael Lovato
- Fernando Terere
- Andre Galvao
- Ronald "Jacare" Souza
This allowed me to continue to train Jiu-Jitsu while I rehabed my knees. Most of my training at that time consisted of only drills and if I did roll--I only played on the top.
If I got swept we simply started over. My training partners were so understanding plus it made their guard game better.
Aside from changing how I trained Jiu-Jitsu--here's
How i accelerated my rehabilitation using--"mirror neurons"
Mirror neurons are responsible for "mirroring" emotion. Kinda like when you would see someone fall and wince as if you felt their pain.
I remember when my kids were just infants and I would make faces at them and even stick out my tongue and over the course of time they would mimic what I was doing.
Those reactions and responses are a result of mirror neurons.
Check this out:
To the left is brain stimulation from a pianist listening and playing the piano. The pianist listening almost has the same stimulus as the pianist playing the piano.
Pretty cool, eh?
So the pianist listen is almost getting the same benefit as if he/she is playin the piano.
Conversely, the image to the right show non-musicians listening and non-musicians playing--do you see the significant difference?
There was a study done on this by Dr. Lorimer Moseley whom developed a software called Recognize. It's quite fascinating.
In the Ground Force Method (GFM) system we follow the same style of teaching and learning. We use a "follow me" mirroring method which stimulates these mirror neurons.
(You can check out more details on Ground Force Method here)
I decided to do a little test of my own...
Since I was suffering from a BJJ injury and couldn't really train I thought I'd put these little mirror neurons to the test.
I told myself, "If the pianist could get the same neural stimulation as if he was playing just by listening--maybe I could get the same results, improve my Jiu-Jitsu and recover through the power of mirror neurons."
I set a time to get in my daily GFM practice: one day a week of BJJ drills and the rest of the time I would study BJJ.
And by study I mean...
... I showed up for class, observed all the techniques, warm ups, drills and of course the sparring.
I don't have the cool scientific--quantifiable data that GFM or Dr. Lorimer Moseley displayed but...
i was healing!
After a few years I noticed the pain in both of my knees was pretty much gone (with NO surgery). Not only did this work for me but...
Many of my students like, JJ.
I Was On the Verge of "giving up"
When I started working with Hector 18 months ago, I had pains throughout my body running from my ankle and calves through my shoulder and neck. I was on the verge of "giving up" when I was introduced to Hector. Within 6 weeks, I noticing my aches and pains had diminished. After 12 weeks, I couldn't even remember what the aches and pains felt like. I am now pushing 50, and if I had found Hector earlier in my life, I know I could have avoided many years of pain and stayed healthy and in shape for a much longer period of time.Thank you Hector.
After 5 years of dealing with nagging knee injuries. I was able to completely rehab my body with proper nutrition, following the GFM and StrongFirst principles and leveraging the concepts and power of mirror neurons.
*This* is how you can turn your BJJ injury into a strength!
If you're struggling with an injury...
... specifically a BJJ injury.
Be kind to yourself and use your [BJJ] injury as an opportunity to learn, study your art and develop new training concepts.
P.S. – If you liked this post and are struggling to move with the strength and power you once had--I encourage you to checkout my program...