Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Advice for Beginners in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Soreness and Bruising

I am no expert on Jiu-jitsu. Half the people at Fabio's have forgotten more about Jiu-Jitsu than I've even had the chance to see so far. Still, having the opportunity to see a lot of people come and go in the last two years, I have learned some things that might be helpful for beginners in the sport to understand.

One thing that I remember vividly was how sore I was in the first month after starting BJJ. Everything hurt. My muscles, my joints; I was sore in places I didn't know could get sore. I was 27 at the time and I remember asking one of my instructors, Mario, if I was too old to start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The class I was attending at the time consisted of me, Stephanie, a bunch teenage boys and a one other adult man. I genuinely thought that maybe my body was past the point of getting good at Jiu-Jitsu. Mario threw back his head and laughed. He told me I absolutely was not too old. There are quite a few people at Fabio's who are in their forties and fifties and train hard like everyone else and do well.

How long did the soreness last? I would say around a month. As I kept training, it got to be less and less. I still get sore every now and then if we drill something I'm not used to. But for the most part, my body has gotten used to it.

What can you do for muscle soreness? Ice always my go-to solution. I have heard that taking a bath in Epson salt also helps. I've also been told that Ibuprofen will help decrease inflammation. Stretching helped me as well. You don't have to miss class for soreness. Eventually, your muscles will adapt just like they would from starting to lift weights or jogging.

If you have an actual injury--like a torn muscle or a popped joint--that is a different story. Rest from training is probably a good idea then. :)

The other thing that I remember questioning was how many bruises I used to get. A lot of times I was spotted up like a leopard, especially on my legs. If you are new to jiu-jitsu and you are wondering if you are always going to get bruised up, the answer is...yes.

I will tell you that you will get less bruises as you get better in technique and learn how to move in a way that protects you and your partner better, but you are always going to get bumped and scratched every now and then. That is just part of the sport. I usually have one or two good bruises somewhere on my arms or legs at any given time. I've got a nice bruise on my eyebrow at the moment. But the amount of bruises you get will go down as you learn to move more smoothly.

From all you veterans out there, what are your solutions for sore muscles?


Combat Sports Review said...

I think you covered the big ones. :-)
1. ice
2. stretch
3. epson salt bath
4. ibuprofen

Not really in that order, but that's the four big ones. The only thing I would add is to watch for tears or breaks in the skin and take care of it before it gets infected.

Deborah Clem said...

What Combat Sports Review said. Exactly word for word. I am convinced that Epsom has honest to goodness magical powers.

I'll add that it pays dividends to your body to find a good, no BS, get down to business, sports massage therapist.

Georgette said...

Hell to the yes on massage!

And I have to say, time in the sauna. I find that 10-15 min in the sauna plus ibuprofen or other NSAIDs every 4-6 hours really does the trick.