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Treating Martial Arts Injuries
Part 3: Prevent martial arts injuries with simple measures.
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Causes of Injuries
• Part 2: Recuperation - R.I.C.E.
• Part 3: Prevention
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"Follow your doctors advice, take the time, let it heal properly, you'll be back stronger than before."
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You can't talk about injury maintenance without discussing prevention. Just as it's always better to win a fight before any blows are thrown, it's always better to prevent an injury rather than treat it after damage has already been done. Three things I could have done to prevent my injury include better muscle conditioning, heightened awareness, and scaling back my ego.

  • Muscle conditioning: Strong muscles help keep your joints in place--in both the normal movements you initiate, and the unexpected tweaking a jujitsu or kung fu technique can cause. Strength can also help you control your opponent so that you don't get into a position where he or she can successfully execute their technique.
  • Awareness: Better understanding of my position in relation to my opponent would have let me see exactly how much danger I was in. This awareness of space and relative position comes best with practice and experience.
  • Ego management: This is perhaps the biggest reason why I got injured. In our previous set, I was able to reverse my partner's takedown and take the top position in the hip grinder, the submission wrestling hold where you are face down on your opponent's chest, holding his belt with both hands to keep him from moving, while you grind your hip bone into his temple. I was pretty happy with that result, being able to pin him even with a 40 to 50 pound weight disadvantage. So when it came to our second set, I wasn't about to tap out that easily. "I can take him again!" I thought to myself. In retrospect, I should have tapped earlier, conceding the victory to my partner rather than holding on and trying to wriggle out of his hold.

With proper care, I'll be back at my next practice--perhaps a bit tentative, but at least I won't miss a training session. Keep these procedures and tips in mind when you get injured, and you'll be training hard again in no time.

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