This article consists of the following:
—What is an injury?
——Scientific training session
——Mastering fundamental movements
——Wearing protective gear
——Other preventive measures
—Treatment of injuries
—Coming back after an injury
Injuries in martial arts/ sports may happen and every martial artist/ athlete needs to prevent them. Martial arts may be practiced as a full-contact art, or a semi-contact art, or a no-contact art. A wide array of injuries may occur in a full-contact martial arts, while a somewhat smaller array may take place in a semi-contact martial arts. A no-contact martial art, although features zero contact, yet may have injuries caused by own self, like falling due to loss of balance, or executing techniques incorrectly. All types of martial arts may also have overuse injuries due to using any single technique or a group of techniques, over and over again.
What is an injury?
An injury is damage to the body. It is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and more.
Rehealthify video “Wounds and Injuries – What You Need To Know”:
Martial arts may use external weapons or may condition the body, so that the body can serve as a weapon. Depending upon the type and style of martial art, an injury may be anywhere from mild to severe, or from immediate to developing later. Injuries can be classified in various ways.
pdhpe.net video “Ways to classify sports injuries”:
Commonly, injuries may be classified according to the affected body part.
Injuries to the skin may include cuts and bruises. Besides these, the skin may also be injured by infections. Skin infections may occur from wearing unclean uniforms, dirty training mats, using unhygenic training equipment, or coming in contact with a training partner who already has some skin infection.
Dr. David Geier video “How to prevent the spread of skin infection in sports”:
An injury to the head may be to the brain like concussions, or to the skull like skull fractures, or the scalp like scalp wounds. Head injuries may range from a bruise or a mild bump to a painful brain injury. Generally, head injuries are caused due to blows or due to shaking. If blows are given by the head or are received by the head, then a head injury may take place. Sometimes, a martial artist may experience falls, resulting in a violent shaking of the head, which may also cause a head injury.
It should be noted that visual inspection of a head injury may not determine the severity of the injury. Some minor head injuries may result in a lot of bleeding, while some major injuries do not bleed at all. A head injury may result in disorientation, confusion, headache, lightheadedness, inability to focus the eyes, a spinning sensation, temporary ringing in the ears, vomiting, nausea, or a loss of consciousness. Any head injury should be given prompt medical attention from a doctor.
Brain & Spine Foundation video “What is a head injury?”:
Injury to the eyes/ ears/ nose/ mouth/ tongue/ teeth, may be caused from jabs, blows or falls. Such injuries may result in cuts, bruises, abrasions, bleeding, disorientation, fractures, or any other traumatic experience.
American Red Cross video “How do you care for an eye injury”:
Neck injuries may arise from blows resulting in sprains, strains, bruises or cuts. Choking and throwing techniques of some martial arts may result in head/ neck/ spine injuries or loss of consciousness.
Dr. Chris Raynor | Not Your Everyday Ortho video “Orthopedic Surgeon Reacts To 7 CLASSIC WRESTLING NECK INJURIES – Dr Chris Raynor”:
Extremities are limbs of the body, such as arms and legs. Injuries to limbs may include cuts, bruises, strains, sprains, fractures, or joint dislocations.
Relic Wessels video “Relic Wessels: Judo Throw Breaks Arm”:
To pursue martial arts, a martial artist needs to prevent injuries as far as possible. Prevention may be done in various ways. Few effective ways are given below.
Scientific training session
A scientifically structured training session can help prevent injuries in martial arts. In all traditional martial arts, a training session always starts with adequate warmup and stretching exercises. This prepares the body to undertake the intense training of fundamental movements, patterns, sparring, or self-defence. Similar to the beginning, a training session always ends with adequate cool down and stretching exercises. This normalises the body functions and prepares the body to undertake day-to-day activities. Thus, a training schedule may consist of the following:
1. Warming up and stretching
2. Fundamental exercises/ patterns/ sparring/ self-defence
3. Cooling down and stretching
Advanced students may also practise meditation and breathing exercises, in which case the training session may be as follows:
2. Warming up and stretching
3. Breathing exercises
4. Fundamental exercises/ patterns/ sparring/ self-defence
5. Breathing exercises
6. Cooling down and stretching
Oleg Solovey video “itf korea”:
Mastering fundamental movements
Blows and falls are the major causes of injuries in martial arts, and these can be avoided or minimized, to a very large extent, by correct execution of fundamental movements like punches, kicks, blocks, and stances. To make progress, any sincere martial artist needs to master the fundamental movements. Mastery of fundamental movements leads to mastery in sparring and thereby mastery in avoiding injuries to oneself. The mastery of fundamental movements is clearly seen in the scenes of the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. Notice that it is due to the mastery of fundamental movements that Bruce Lee skillfully avoids the opponent’s moves and thereby also avoids injuries.
Top 10 video “Best Kung Fu Fight Scenes: Bruce Lee”:
In the absence of mastery of fundamental movements, it is most likely that one may hurt oneself only. An incorrect punch might hurt one’s own fingers, or the wrist; and likewise, an incorrect kick might hurt one’s own toes/ ankle/ knee. Similarly, an incorrect pivoting may result in spraining one’s own ankle/ hip joint, while an incorrect stance would result in a loss of balance, which might end in an injurious fall.
MaharlikaAWA video “Sky High Taekwondo Board Break Injury Ouch Instant Knee Surgery”:
Besides one hurting oneself with incorrect movements, it may also be possible to get hurt from an opponent. Improper landing after a kick is blocked by an opponent may hurt the ankle or the knee. Not knowing how to fall, might result in fractures from a throw by the opponent, or not knowing about joint locks might result in joints getting dislocated. These injuries can be avoided, to a very great extent, with mastery of fundamental movements.
Haiko – around the world video “Karate injury – looks painful”:
Wearing protective gear
In sparring or competitions, wearing protective gear is usually compulsory. Helmets protect the head/eyes/ears, mouth guards protect the tongue/teeth, chest guards protect the upper body, gloves protect the hands, groin guards protect the groin, padding protects the thighs, while shin-ankle guards and shoes protect the legs. Different martial arts use different types of protective gear and the protection from injury also varies accordingly.
Nora TKD video “ITF Taekwon-do Sparring Equipment – Try On & Explanation”:
Other preventive measures
—Practice under direct supervision from an experienced teacher. Books and videos can serve only as references, but actual learning can only come from an experienced teacher/ instructor/ trainer at a high-quality martial arts school. At any good martial art school, injuries rarely happen, if at all. For example, at Pacific International Taekwondo, students comprise of kids, teens, and adults, and all of them train regularly without injury. This is possible due to the excellent certified trainers and the proven scientific training methods employed by Pacific International Taekwondo.
Pacific International Taekwondo video “Pacific International Taekwondo – Kids Classes”:
—Train in a training hall, where a first aid kit is readily available.
The First Aid Show video “Learn about Martial Arts First Aid”:
—Train with an instructor/ school where a ready emergency action plan for addressing any type of injury from mild to severe, is followed.
Pa Emergency Health Services Council video “Student Athlete Injury Collaboration: EMS & Athletic Trainers”:
Treatment of injuries
Treatment varies with the type, location, and severity of the injury. Always consult a doctor regarding the treatment of any injury.
Generally, the common injury treatment protocols are R.I.C.E, P.R.I.C.E, and P.OL.I.C.E as follows:
—R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
The Center Orthopedic & Neurosurgical Care video “Using the RICE Method for Injuries – Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate”:
—P.R.I.C.E (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Mayo Clinic video “Home Remedies: The PRICE strategy for first aid”:
—P.OL.I.C.E (Protect, Optimum Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Sussex MSKPartnership Central video “P.O.L.I.C.E – managing your acute injury”:
Coming back after an injury
An injury takes time to heal and knowing about it, prepares the mind to accept the loneliness, patience, fortitude, will, and strength required to come back to training.
Klassen Exercise video “INJURY MOTIVATION – The Hardest Part”:
After an injury has healed and before coming back, one should have a physical exam and a clearance evaluation from a doctor.
Twin Cities Orthopedics video “Athlete Takes Return-to-Sport Test After ACL Reconstruction”:
An injury is devastating for any athlete and sometimes the chosen martial art or sport may no longer be continued. However, life goes on and any other suitable sport may be chosen, which can be performed with the injury. Alternatively, one may become a coach/ trainer/ leader/ captain/ organiser, so as to remain with the practiced martial art/sport and also contribute to it in a meaningful way.
Michigan Medicine video “How Injury Affects Mental Health | Athletes Connected”:
Michigan Medicine video “Coping with Career-Ending Injury | Athletes Connected”:
An injury is an unfortunate happening. Any and all types of injuries should always be taken very seriously and immediate medical attention from a doctor should always be sought. Only after obtaining a satisfactory clearance from a doctor, should training be resumed.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute medical advice and the reader should always consult a qualified doctor to gain information, understanding or treatment regarding any type of injury from martial arts or sports.
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