Is Jiu-Jitsu Dangerous?

By Logan •  Updated: 02/13/22 •  5 min read

Like any sport, practicing Jiu Jitsu has its risks. Incorrect movements, improper training, failing to warm up or stretch out properly…there are a number of hazards involved in learning or practicing Jiu Jitsu.

Though there are risks with any martial art, knowing what they are and how to avoid them is the best way to prevent serious injuries.

Is Jiu-Jitsu Dangerous?

Is Jiu Jitsu Training Safe?

According to many experts, Jiu Jitsu is one of the safer martial arts to train in. It’s low impact, and there are no strikes, which makes for safer sparring matches.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Jiu Jitsu training is completely safe. Incorrect technique or unsafe practice conditions can result in injuries.

Most experienced martial artists advise training with an experienced teacher, especially starting out. An inexperienced teacher can be dangerous, as they may not teach things properly.

Aside from that, there are a few things that you can do to minimize the risks of injuries.

Stretch Out Properly:

Always do a full set of stretches and warm-ups. It may seem tedious, but its better than pulled muscles or worse on the mats.

According to experts, you want to work up a bit of a sweat before you hit the mat. Despite how cliche it might sound, you really do want to ‘feel the burn’.

Otherwise, you may find yourself not as ready as you think you are.

Control Yourself on the Mat:

Even if you’re a beginner, you can still control your actions and reactions. This control is vital to avoiding injury for both yourself and your partner.

Too much strength or pressure applied the wrong way at the wrong time can do a lot of damage. It’s better to take it a little slower and be sure you’re doing the moves correctly.

Pay attention to your instructor and follow their lead.

Choose Your Training Partner Carefully:

When you go to the mat, you want a partner who is controlled and responsible.

It doesn’t matter so much whether they’re a beginner or have trained for years, but whether or not they’re willing and able to use restraint and proper technique.

Avoid partnering with people who have a reputation for erratic technique, carelessness, or excessive roughness. If you aren’t sure, check with your instructor or someone you trust to see if they recommend an individual as a partner for you.

Don’t Let Your Pride Trap You In a Losing Battle – Tap Out When You Need To:

A lot of injuries come from trying to break a hold or submission that is too well locked in place. In Jiu Jitsu, it can be dangerous to try and break a submission you don’t know the proper techniques for, or one that is too strong.

Tap out when you start to feel like you can’t get free. Don’t try to muscle through it.

As one expert said; Tapping out isn’t quitting. It’s admitting you made a mistake and that you’ll do better the next time.

Over-Training is Actually Detrimental:

It can be tempting to train 7 days a week, for hours a day, but it isn’t healthy. Your muscles need time to rest and recover.

Make sure you take time to rest. And if you’re injured or not at your best, take some extra time.

Having to regain some tone and do a refresher on technique is much easier coming back from a week-long absence than it is if you have to take longer to recover from a more serious injury.

Keep Your Ego Out Of It:

One of the key components of martial arts training – and safety during your training – is respect for yourself and those around you.

Respect the rules of your gym, the words of your teacher, and the boundaries of your partners.

Don’t try to tough through things or ‘put on a brave face’. If you’re hurt, step out and see a doctor.

If you need medical assistance, don’t hesitate to say so. And if a health care professional gives you a warning or some advice – listen.

A lot of injuries can be avoided if you leave your ego outside.

What Are The Most Common Injuries in Jiu Jitsu?

The most common injuries are sprains and strained muscles. Lack of flexibility or pushing too hard can result in painful joints or muscles.

Experts say that most injuries occur in fingers, lower back, shoulders, and knees. The list can, and frequently does, include:

Concussions are rare, but they can happen if you come into contact with the mat the wrong way.

Many injuries are due to improper technique. Sometimes, it’s simply an accident that happens.

One recommendation for reducing back and lower body injuries is to train your hips for extra flexibility. The extra flex can help get your lower body into a better position for locking in a hold or a submission.

Is Competing in Jiu Jitsu Dangerous?

Competing in Jiu Jitsu is naturally riskier than other forms of training. It may accelerate your growth, but it can also lead to injuries.

On the other hand, competitive Jiu-Jitsu is much safer than many other forms of competitive martial arts. According to studies, less than 10 out of every 1000 Jiu-Jitsu competitors get seriously injured while competing.

That’s less than a quarter the number of taekwondo competitors, and part of the reason Jiu Jitsu is considered one of the safest martial arts for training or competition.

Final Thoughts

Jiu-Jitsu is one of the safest martial arts. But, like with any sport, there are risks. As long as you follow the guidance of a proper instructor and are aware of your limitations Jiu-Jitsu is relatively safe.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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