Getting Injured When Training BJJ in Rio SUCKS! But it’s not as bad as it seems..

We all know BJJ can be tough sometimes. It’s a contact sport after all. Buy the ticket, take the ride. We know what can happen on the mats.

Injuries are part of the game.

But sometimes injuries happen that are more than just annoying. A sprained elbow or sore fingers is one thing. But worse things happen, and when they do it unfortunately means no training until you’re better.

And that SUCKS.

Like what happened to me. I always had neck problems, but something really simple and stupid happened once that put me out for over 2 months.

It was a normal session, and we hadn’t even started rolling yet. We were drilling breaking the guy down from turtle position, and as I assumed the position to let my partner try the technique we’d just learned, my head slipped on the mat.

Yep, just that. I put my forehead on the mat, hit a patch of sweat and slipped forward. That stupid little movement caused my neck to go “pop pop pop” and I lost all feeling in my right hand.

Oh sh*t.

My first thoughts were “$%@^@($&%^£” or something along those lines.

My second thoughts were “What the? I’m here in Rio, home of the best BJJ on the planet, and I can’t even train? What kind of sick torture is this?”

This little guy will become your best friend

This little guy will become your best friend

Cue a lengthy period of no training while I rehabbed it as much as possible. And it really was torture. Like clockwork, twice a day every day the guys at the house would throw on their kimonos and head down the street to the gym, reminding me “We’re having an awesome time training BJJ in Rio and you’re not”.


BUT just because I couldn’t train didn’t mean I allowed my jiu-jitsu to suffer.

OK, so I was pretty much crippled but I still went to class. Sitting on the sidelines sucked at first but I went so I didn’t miss out on the technical instruction. I didn’t want to go back and be behind everyone else.

Secondly, it gave me a chance to work on my analytical skills. When you’re rolling, you don’t have chance to watch the black belts there next to you – you’re too busy trying not to get choked out.

I suddenly had a chance to watch high-level guys for round after round and I really got to learn the things they did that made them so successful. It was eye-opening. I’d experienced the techniques they used, but I was now able to look for the fine details that made them work so well.


If you can't roll, you can always drill. That's where our in-house mats come in handy

If you can’t roll, you can always drill. That’s where our in-house mats come in handy

When I started to get a little bit better, I started some privates with one of the best brown belts in the academy, a guy called Thiago. He really helped me work around my injury so that I could not only drill technique, but find which techniques worked for me with my problems, and which ones to avoid.

When I finally made it back on the mat, I felt great. Sure, I was a little rusty but I didn’t feel as bad as you normally would after a long period of no training.

After getting hurt most guys usually resolve to spend the rest of their time on the beach drinking beer and topping up their tan. Any thoughts of continuing jiu-jitsu fades because they think their training is over.


You don’t have to stop jiu-jitsu just because you got hurt. There is always a way to work around these kind of things.

So, if you find yourself training BJJ in Rio and you do get hurt, don’t worry. You’re in the best place in the world to learn, even if you can’t roll.

Don’t let the opportunity go to waste.

Good training to you!

Article written by Hywel Teague,
Connection Rio media guy

From training and accommodation to academy visits and special tours, and even small group classes with the best teachers Rio has to offer, Connection Rio offers everything you need for the perfect jiu-jitsu holiday!


No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment