The benefits of the martial arts are well-documented. In addition to its many physical benefits, the martial arts also allows for greater mental concentration and provides stress relief.
When trained by an expert, there is a very low rate of injury associated with the martial arts, especially when compared with other contact sports. Further, most injuries sustained as the result of martial arts training are relatively mild. The most common injuries include the following:
- Cuts and bruises
- Sprains and strains
- Knee injuries
- Dislocations and fractures
- Overuse injuries
When trained correctly, these injuries are generally very avoidable. This is because a well-qualified instructor will take into account a student’s experience during training and would never recommend, for example, a hard-core workout to a beginner in poor physical condition. Further, since many injuries are caused by poor technique and use of excessive force or overtraining, a quality instructor will prevent such issues. Such an instructor also will guide you through proper warm up and cool down techniques.
However, there will be times when you are practicing on your own without your instructor present. During these times it is vital that you abide by the following safety precautions:
- Always obey the rules of your particular martial art
- If you believe your technique is wrong, don’t continue until you can seek the advice of an experienced instructor
- Wear appropriate clothing and, if necessary, protective equipment
- Use your peripheral vision
- Do not try to train through pain
If you find yourself in pain or injured it is important to stop what you are doing so that you do not cause additional damage and then seek proper treatment. Remember, the earlier a sprain or strain is diagnosed, the faster it will heal and you can get back to training. Likewise, avoid resuming your training until you have recovered fully from your injury.
Most soft tissue injuries, including sprains, strains and bruises, can be treated with the R.I.C.E. method, or rest, ice, compression and elevation. For the first day or two following an injury it is important to rest the affected area. Forty-eight hours following an injury apply ice to the area for 20 minutes every three to four hours. Compress a sprain or strain using a bandage but never wrap it so tight as to cut off circulation. Finally, elevate the injured area higher than your heart if possible.
The martial arts are great for your mental and physical well-being. Thankfully, they also have a very low injury rate and when injuries do occur they are usually quite mild.