1 Aug 2007


A nasty injury occurred at my JJ class last night. Daniel and Johan were sparring on the ground together and during the ensuing battle for position, Dan seemed to let go of his arm from Johan’s grip and back elbowed the matted floor. It seemed like such a minor knock, the kind that happens week in week out without any problems, but the look of pain in Dan’s face told everyone it was a lot more serious than it first seemed. The arm lay forlornly and Dan was unable to move his fingers or feel much – my first immediate thought was a broken bone. After waiting an eternity for an ambulance, which never showed, he was eventually persuaded to stand up and, gingerly clutching his arm, taken by car to hospital.
Judging from his comments, it took hours and hours to be seen to, only to be told that he would have to wait until the next morning for surgery. Daniel suffered 3 breaks to his forearm bones just below the elbow. A complicated break requiring metal pins, plates and realigning of nerves. So Dan stayed overnight in hospital only to be told that the surgery was cancelled and he would have to come back in two days. Poor Daniel, as if the pain and trauma of a bone breaking was not enough, he had to endure the farce that is accident and emergency in the UK. Meerkat and everyone at JJ wishes him the best of luck for speedy recovery.

In 20 years of training various martial arts, I have seen a few eye-watering injuries. Daniel is the first to have broken a bone at my JJ class, although it would probably be true to say many have suffered damaged tendons, ligaments and various bits and pieces as part of their training. As a contact sport, sadly, there is the risk of injury. We try our best to minimise this, but accidents do happen.

In my first BJJ club, I sparred with an uke and somehow rendered that person unable to walk with an ill-judged spine lock. It was a bad move from an inexperienced Meerkat and one that still haunts me today (the person was able to walk in the end but it was a sickeningly long wait). I have also witnessed a very senior JJ expert dislocate his uke’s shoulder - his scream of pain brought a packed sports hall to shuddering silence. There was also the infamous episode where a new BJJ student suddenly suffered an epileptic fit. He had unwisely not informed anyone of his condition (for fear of prejudice) and it freaked a lot of people out. I have also seen what happens to a person who does not tap out when choked. The eyes roll back to only reveal the whites and the tongue flops out. It is a horrific sight, but, thankfully, only temporary. Actually now my memory banks are working, here are some more injuries I have seen at first hand in martial arts: an Achilles tendon popping, fingers being dislocated, elbows hyper extended, necks whiplashed, noses bloodied, corneas scratched, ooh and many more nasty things. Nothing of course compares to the sad story of a JJ student who dropped dead during his brown belt grading. I never saw this myself, but many were there and they recall that it was an awful scene. Sorry guys, but martial arts is quite dangerous, stick to knitting – although even here I am sure there are numerous knitting related injuries which don’t bear thinking about.

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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