Guest post by 5x BJJ World Champion Bernardo Faria, who achieved a phenomenal double gold medals in the BJJ Mundials in 2015 after coming back from an injury filled 2014 season. Be sure to check out Bernardo’s new DVD instructional series on the Faria Guard, The Z Guard, escapes and pressure passing.
Let me tell you about my injury that I suffered 2 days before the ADCC. I was teaching a seminar at The Alliance School in Sao Paulo owned and operated by Fabio Gurgel, and the seminar student I was showing a technique to (double leg takedown) fell over my foot, and it broke. Just like that, my dreams of winning ADCC 2015 were over; I was very sad after all of the work I had put in training for the event all summer.
(This pic was one day after the Injury)
So I want to share with you guys how I’m recovering, and some tips about how to deal with injuries.
During this long journey in BJJ I have learned so many things on and off the mat. The most important thing I have learned is that If you are healthy, put on your gi and go train, because many times we will get injured beyond our control and we will be forced to rest. During this “rest” period we will have no chance to train, so I believe that these are the periods that we have to focus on recovering all of our little pains not only the major injury which sidelined us; and this is what I tried to do during this rest period while my foot recovered.
There is a difference between being “banged up from training” and being injured. Before the ADCC my neck was very sore (from competing at Worlds in June), my elbow hurt too, and my knee always gives me some pain, but this is pretty common for someone who does BJJ all the time, so when I was too injured to train with my broken foot, I took this time off really to focus on recovering not only my foot but these little nagging injuries too.
So how should we come back to training after the injury heals? Its very common when we are injured to have a lot of pent up mental energy and come back training faster than the body is ready, but this can be a big trap that can hurt your career. In my case I hurt my foot and I had to wear a “robot foot” protective boot, so my knee got a little weaker from its limited mobility and I compensated all my weight on my other leg, so I believe that it is very important when you restart training to go slow and to do some type of conditioning to make sure you make your muscles are strong before you start training hard again. It would be silly to get re-injured unnecessarily.
Last week for example, I restarted training and I just trained 3 classes during the week and I just rolled with the training partners I trusted to train in a controlled manner, plus I went to the fitness gym twice and worked on my leg, and little on upper body too. I hadn’t done weights in almost one month and half. This week, starting yesterday (Monday), I started going a little harder, calling the tougher competitors to train with, but this week I will do only one class per day, to make sure my body adapts to the competition routine again.
Its always good to remember to respect our bodies. Sometimes we just remember how only the most injured part of the body is important when we get injured, so its always important to have balance between training hard and training intelligently. Its better to sustain training 12 months at 90% intensity , then it is to train 4 months at 120%, get injured and be out many months. The goal is always to train 12 months per year, so everyone has to find their own balance. I see many people who train super hard before some important tournament 3, 4 times per day, and then they get injured seriously, they have surgery and stay out for a long time… So its always better to balance so you can handle your training for 12 months of the year.
- Bernardo Faria is a 5x Black Belt World Champion.
- Bernardo is infamous for his over/under pass that he has utilized countless times at the highest levels.