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Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu bad for your back? If you focus on learning the general basics and practice correct form, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is perfectly safe for someone with a healthy back. However, BJJ is a combat sport and during intense training or competition there’s always a chance of injury.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) can be intense. For those with a bad back, it is probably not the best choice, as it can cause strain to your lower back and spine, even when done correctly.
However, there’s ways to practice BJJ that can help protect your back from a related injury or strain. But how do you do that? First let’s start off by telling you a little about what BJJ is.
What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Most martial art forms are reactive in nature when it comes to self-defense. You will usually learn mostly reactive moves to help you stun, shock, or disable your opponent, therefore giving yourself time to get to safety or find help.
The difference with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that you are taught proactive steps, through grappling or ground fighting to establish control.
BJJ moves force your opponent to submit or surrender. You are also taught skills that allow you to have more control over the fight and the outcome.
While Jiu Jitsu still maintains the theme of self-defense, it allows you to dictate the outcome of the situation as well as maintaining a higher level of safety.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also great for staying active. So rather than going to the gym or participating in other hobby sports, more adults are turning to BJJ for something new.
Ground fighting in BJJ
Many striking martial arts focus on being able to attack your opponent and defending yourself from a standing position. Most of these martial art forms will usually teach you a few things in case you are knocked down, but they normally teach you to get back to your feet.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a grappling style martial art and teaches it’s students to fight on the ground.
Either it will be helpful when needing to take your opponent down to the ground, or when they take you to the ground and try to use their weight or stature against you.
Winning the fight will be done using wrestling type moves and forcing the attacker to submit or surrender.
In the most basic terms, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches you to use your hands, legs, weight, and leverage to pin and immobilize your opponent and uses joint locks and choke holds to incapacitate attackers. With BJJ even the smallest of people can force attackers to submit or surrender.
It’s been said that most street fights end up on the ground. So being able to control a fight on the ground or having the skills to take someone down and control them in a dangerous situation is what makes Jiu Jitsu such a great option for everyday self-defense.
Why Jiu Jitsu Can Cause Back Pain
Sparring in BJJ is referred to as “rolling” because it looks as if the two people engaged are rolling around on the ground. Rolling is where most injuries are likely to happen. So it’s good to be aware of the potential injury risks involved when training.
There are only a few positions in Jiu Jitsu that can really put you back in risk of injury. These are likely to affect your lumbar, spine and neck areas or the muscles around them.
There are three positions to be on the lookout for when protecting your back
- Getting stacked
- Bow-and-arrow and Twister submissions
- Inverting (Getting stacked and inverting put you in the same general position)
Keeping your back, hips, and core tight and engaged helps out with protecting your lumbar spine from over-extension or being compressed too much.