Recently, the Integrated Combat Centre (ICC) attended the Grappling Industries Sydney tournament. The ICC was proudly represented by a mix of seasoned veterans and first time competitors.
In over 16 years of attending/participating in BJJ competitions, never had I witnessed such a high injury toll as I did that day. We witnessed a myriad of dislocations, hyper-extensions, accidental heat hits and broken bones. The injuries were all experienced by novice competitors and largely came down to two reasons:
Competition beginners are most susceptible to injury. Without causing offence, this is generally because they lack the technical knowledge and physical conditioning to handle the rigours of BJJ competition. A BJJ tournament is not reflective of a normal BJJ class. The intensity, speed and strength (but not necessarily the technique to support these traits) means that novice competitors will move with more aggression, overreach beyond their range of normal motion and resist harder than normal.
If you are considering watching a tournament to see whether or not to take BJJ as a sport – this would be the wrong approach. BJJ class is nothing like competition. In class you are taught to practice techniques slowly and gently and provide your training partner ample opportunity to tap out. That courtesy disappears on the tournament’s mats. Having said this, it is also the responsibility of the person having the submission applied to know their body’s limits and tap before passing out and getting injured.
Scheduling challenges at a tournament often means that competitors may pre-emptively warm up but not step on the mat for their match before their body cools down again. Or a competitor may not get a chance to warm up sufficiently before they are called to step up. There’s no warm-up roll to rely on – these competitors go from zero to 100. And that’s when injuries can occur.
Injuries are inevitable in BJJ – it is after all, a contact sport. However, if you are looking to complete, you should consider choosing a gym experienced in competition. This ensures you develop the techniques to warm up and compete safely.
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"Attending a martial arts gym as an "older" novice student can be quite daunting. I found ICC had a very professional and welcoming atmosphere. Having attended other martial arts gyms over the years its great to attend one where ego is left at the door and all students are treated with respect, be it the novice who takes the plunge to learn a martial art all the way through to the high level competitors. In conjunction with the atmosphere having highly technical and detailed instruction by Professor David and Steven make learning really enjoyable. Fantastic place to learn and train."
"I've trained with a few martial arts instructors before and i have to say Mario is one of the best i've trained with. He clearly knows what he's talking about and has a great teaching style that is both serious and light hearted at the same time, which was exactly what i was looking for in a club. In the adult classes they aren't too strict with the traditional rules (which is a nice change) and focus more on effective techniques. Ann-Marie and the rest of the black belts also help to make sure each individual is getting as much attention as possible in each class, which really helps to accelerate your learning.I did both karate and kickboxing and recommend both - karate for the the focus on technique/self defence and kickboxing for smashing pads and fitness. Also, both my kids also love training at ICC - it's really helping with their confidence.David and the entire ICC team also do a great job of managing the club. It's been an overwhelmingly positive experience from day 1."
"i just wanted to say how impressed i am with ICC. You guys run a great show. All your students are respectful and courteous. I am very impressed and pleased with the way Mario and his team run their classed He keeps the class engaged in a strict but fun way. Teaching techniques but also how to be a good person too. To have respect for others and yourself... keep up the great work. The kids are really benefiting from it."
"As someone who was completely new to BJJ, when I first entered ICC I discovered a gym with high quality teaching and a friendly culture. Every student was friendly, welcoming and helpful which is a reflection head instructors David and Steven Tong.At ICC you can train to suit your interests whether its for fun, fitness, self-defense or competition. My only regret is not starting sooner."
"I have been going to the bbj classes at ICC for almost a year. I think it was the best decision I made to join ICC. The instructors Prof. David Tong and Steven Tong are awesome with their teaching and catering for people with different abilities and for both self defence and competition. I highly recommend ICC for all sorts of reasons either for fitness reasons like myself or wanting to advance in competitions as they have produced champions."