If you just became eligible to begin rolling, keep in mind that if you don't take some precautions to protect your most valuable asset, your body, it will be a matter of (short) time until you begin experiencing injuries, especially when rolling with another inexperienced practitioner. These are in no specific order of importance.
1. Clean your diet - stay hydrated. Look to consume high Ph waters. The more alkaline your body is, the less inflammation and the stronger your cells will be against the strain of athletics. Cut processed sugar and salt. Use raw sugar and Himalayan salt, instead. The Gracie Diet consists of mixing the proper foods to oxygenate and raise the Ph levels of the blood. We have Gracie Diet recipe books for sale in Brentwood and Napa.
2. Enhance your intake of Vitamin C, but be careful with the synthetic kind. Take joint supplements such as MSN and Glucosamine. Look them up.
3. Listen to your body - when you are too sore, skip live training. Drill instead, or even take a day off.
4. Stretch (preferably after a short warm up session, which is when your joints and muscles are warm).
5. The more repetitions you do, the cleaner and more precise your techniques will be when rolling. You will maximize the efficiency of the move and minimize the effort, also minimizing the risk of injury.
6. Train your brain to avoid panicking when rolling. Don't get too emotionally involved. Learn to think methodically and apply what you were taught in detail. Intense drilling will help provide that.
7. Back to #3. If you are already injured, DO NOT ROLL. Unless you are a Black Belt or are rolling with a Black Belt, it's very likely you will make your injury worse.
8. No, you will not go 50% when injured. Neither will your partner. Again, unless you are a Black Belt or are rolling with a Black Belt, you won't develop and carry on that kind of control when rolling.
9. Always listen to your instructor.
10. Learn to attend practice injured (depending on the injury, of course). One of the greatest things Jiu-Jitsu has to offer it's the multitude of things you can still drill to improve, with most injuries. There are dozens of variations for each move that is taught. Let your instructor know what you are unable to do and he or she will find something for you to drill and continue your progress.
11. Supplement your training with weight lifting - this is to strengthen your joints, not to hurt them. So no crazy Olympic weightlifting on unexperienced Crossfit gyms where everyone thinks you are a world class 25 year old power lifter. Lift light weights with high number of reps, super sets is ideal (one set of 15 to 20 reps per exercise, three different exercises back to back).
12. Supplement your training with a 45- minute minimum of cardio- vascular activity. This can be alternated with weight lifting. Two, three days a week of Jiu-Jitsu, one day a week of weightlifting and one day of cardio.
13. Tone down a bit, When rolling with someone that is not as athletic or technically gifted as you. Get your work out, work on sharpening your attacks and escapes but allow them to work on a thing or two as well.
14. We say this all the time: train differently with different people. Not everyone has the exact same body type, age, weight and etc... Some techniques will work on some easier than others. Some techniques will only work on a small percentage of people and vice versa. It's your job to find out which ones they are and apply (or avoid) the right ones on the right body types.
15. MAT TIME. Be it stretching, drilling, assisting with a private lessons, studying moves, helping with a group class, etc... Whatever time you spend on the mat adds up to your skill set somehow. Think longer term. At the end of the day, it's always about helping you relax during the live sessions and act less spastic, subsequently helping you avoid injuries.
16. When caught on a bad position, don't force your way out 100% of the time. Think creating a reaction from your opponent to then attempt an escape. Remember every action required a reaction. Use this when you notice you can't accomplish the next step of your move. Distract your opponent by making them react to something else, when they do, you move on to your original goal.
17. If you do get injured (sprains, torsions, bruises) - 20 minutes sessions of ice (not a frozen corn bag), an actual icebag. Available at any Walgreens or CVS (look up Body Glove ice pack with a wrap online). Then off for 50 min before another icing session.
18. Don't get frustrated when you are injured. Accept reality and focus on your recovery. Keep a positive attitude and take one day at a time. Talk to your instructor about your injuries and ask for advice what you can do and what you cannot do.
Follow these as closely as possible and be sure to keep away from silly injuries and maximize your fun!