Most sports that one plays run the risk of obtaining an injury. Martial Arts are no different. However, there are key components to minimizing risk.
To prevent serious injuries begins with the Instructor and how the Instructor facilitates a safe environment. Are students being watched to make sure they are safe? Does your Instructor make you feel comfortable in the learning atmosphere? How about the other students? Do they just care about winning or do they want to learn? As the saying goes, are the egos left at the door? The Instructor creates the environment; the feeling of being safe/not getting hurt begins with him/her which creates a domino effect in his/her students.
This over time has been forgotten in the martial arts. The bow, the mutual respect, discipline, and courtesy to one another. These actions are by no means a way to demean one another but another tool to build a positive environment. When a student’s mindset becomes the determination to learn with one’s partner versus having to prove that they are “toughest” on the mat, then student growth can occur. If there is no respect between Martial Artists, then a competitive environment occurs. A competitive environment can cause injuries, can create drama, and can make the school less fun.
Think of Judo throws. If you are taught a technique- let’s say neck hook throw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqIcjrxHjzI
What happens if you are just taught the technique and you perform it incorrectly. Many things can happen when you are taught any martial arts technique without a foundation.
1. You exert to much muscle and can get hurt
2. If your partner is unaware of how to react (ie: proper falls, blocks, tapping, proper defense), they can get hurt.
3. You cannot expect a proper technique to be executed without developing strength and foundation.
I cannot do the throw above, without building my upper body, my lower body, and my core. I have to understand foot position and the leverage points. That means conditioning/strength training must be developed first. That means basic positioning must be understood first. I have to learn the proper fall and condition my body to react with muscle memory to falls so that I don’t get hurt when being thrown. My partner needs to understand grips such that they protect their partner in the throwing process. You cannot learn techniques without understanding foundation.
If techniques are all you learn, then you are only scratching the surface. Seek to learn all components of Martial Arts because then your knowledge will expand exponentially.
Instructor asks for etiquette and teaches/creates a strong foundation which equals to a safe and welcoming environment which results in less injuries. Simplified, this is the “DO” of martial arts.
If this is not happening at your school. Ask why? Take care of you!
Live the DO.