Aikido Black Belt: ‘BJJ Training Destroyed My Leg For Life’

Aikido Black Belt: ‘BJJ Training Destroyed My Leg For Life’

Aikido black belt and martial artist Rokas shared a harrowing experience that left him with a life-altering injury. In a video on his youtube channel, he delves into the details of how a forbidden Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu  move (scisor takedown) caused significant and permanent damage to his leg.

The Incident

Rokas begins by recounting his return to BJJ training after battling long COVID. His wife had taken up BJJ, which inspired him to get back on the mats despite lingering fatigue. He gradually increased his training to four classes a week. However, an Open Mat session—a free-for-all grappling hour—became the setting for his nightmare. During this session, he paired up with a fellow practitioner, who, despite their previous friendly encounters, executed an illegal and dangerous move.

“We started standing… then suddenly I feel him wrap around my leg with his legs… I start to feel immense pressure building up on my leg… until it starts to bend in a direction that it shouldn’t bend and then finally it gives and I hear this loud pop,” Rokas recounts, describing the immediate, excruciating pain that followed.

Aftermath and Lack of Support

What surprised Rokas even more than the injury itself was the response from the other practitioners and instructors. Despite his audible pain and the clear sound of the injury, no one stopped to help him. “No one else from the entire group even stopped to come and check on me, including the instructors. Everyone just kept rolling as if it didn’t concern them,” he explains.

Adding to his frustration was the gym’s lack of emergency supplies. “There was nothing in the gym that could help me out—no cold spray, no painkillers, no crutches, not even ice,” Rokas notes. His injured friend helped him to the changing room, where they improvised first aid with a cold shower until an ambulance arrived.

Hospital Ordeal

Rokas describes his painful journey through the healthcare system, from enduring the pain in his underwear due to lack of privacy, to waiting days for a complex surgery. The injury was severe, involving a broken shin bone and damage extending into his knee joint, increasing the risk of lifelong arthritis.

The surgery itself was fraught with complications. “Turns out that I’m some kind of a drug immune freak as the first dose of anesthesia that they put into my spine didn’t work… They had to inject a second dose,” Rokas says. Despite heavy sedatives, he intermittently woke up during the surgery, experiencing the surreal and unsettling sensation of the procedure.

Reflections on Martial Arts and Safety

Lying in a hospital bed, Rokas reflected deeply on his martial arts journey and the risks involved. “Do I really need this type of risk in my life? What if something like this happens again?” he ponders. He also called for better safety protocols in BJJ gyms globally, stressing the importance of emergency preparedness and proper training to prevent such incidents.

Rokas’s story is a stark reminder of the potential dangers in contact sports and the importance of a supportive and prepared training environment. As he continues to recover, he remains committed to sharing his journey and raising awareness about martial arts safety.