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Treating Martial Arts Injuries
Part 1: How Injuries Happen -- Causes of Martial Arts Injuries

Injuries are a natural byproduct of hard training. However, training injuries don't have to keep you out of the dojo--here's how to treat your battle wounds so you can get back to working out.

 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Causes of Injuries
• Part 2: Recuperation - R.I.C.E.
• Part 3: Prevention

I got injured in our regular workout the other night. After all these years of training, I've suffered only a few injuries that have kept me from returning to our regular workouts. Since this is a subject that at the moment is very much on my mind (uh...or on my elbow), let's go over what to do when you get a martial arts injury.

How Injuries Happen

Early in my training career, I found that most of my injuries were caused by beginner mistakes, like not pulling my toes back properly when kicking, or failing to keep a straight wrist when punching. Experience and training took care of those mistakes. Contrary to what you might expect, I never received any injuries, even bruises, caused by my fellow novice students. I started out in shotokan karate, and with that style's emphasis on non-contact sparring and drills, there never was any more contact than a light touch. In later years, as I started training in my current style, I began training harder. In my current style, we give each other light to moderate contact when sparring, and take submission holds to the point of pain before tapping out.

That is, of course, if you remember to tap out. The injury I'm suffering from now is a hyperextended elbow, received during a grappling set. My partner had me in his guard, he on his back with his legs around my hips. I did the usual break-the-guard tactics: knee strikes to the tailbone, elbows in his thighs, annoying pressure point pinches and pokes. When he went for the straight armbar, I was content to let him work on the move while I switched to working on countermeasures. I attempted to hang on to my arm with my other hand, but with weighing 40 pounds less than my partner, got outmuscled. Luckily, I tapped before it got too painful, but I did hear that funny fabric ripping sound for an instant--and it wasn't my uniform.

Next page > Recuperate with R.I.C.E. > Page 1, 2, 3

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