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Preventing injuries in martial arts

December 21, 2015

Learn how to reduce the risk of injury while practicing martial arts.

Although martial arts can provide many physical and mental benefits, including increasing your strength and improving your focus, you could easily injure yourself if you’re not careful. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could be out of commission for a while. Whether you practice karate or jiu jitsu , you can do several things to reduce the risk of getting injured:

Improve your flexibility

The more flexible you are, the less likely you are to suffer injuries while practicing martial arts. In Breaking Muscle Magazine, Orion Lee, a martial artist with two decades of experience, suggested two exercises to increase flexibility in your hips and shoulders.

To stretch your shoulders, put your hands and knees on the floor and lay one elbow on a Swiss ball. As you move away from your center with the supported elbow, let your chest fall to the ground. Stay in the position for about 45 seconds before repeating on the other side.

If you want to improve the flexibility in your hips, get into a lunge position, flex your glutes, slowly push your hips forward and hold for five seconds. Then, allow your hips to fall forward. Repeat this stretch two to three times.

Don’t forget to warm up

It’s important to warm up for five to 15 minutes before engaging in martial arts practice. Doing so will increase blood flow to your muscles, reducing the risk of injury. For example, you can jog in place, do jumping jacks or squat jumps.

Go barefoot

Matted floors in martial arts studios can be quite slippery, so you should avoid wearing socks or shoes that can make you fall. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, it’s best to practice martial arts barefoot.

Practice with an experienced martial arts instructor

If you perform martial arts moves with an experienced instructor, you will be less likely to experience injuries, especially if you are new to the sport. A trained instructor will make sure you do each move correctly and prevent you from training too hard. Before you attempt a new martial arts move, ask your coach to spot you.

Martial arts injuries can’t always be avoided, but following these tips can make them less likely. If you ever feel any pain or discomfort while practicing, stop what you’re doing until you are evaluated by a physician.