Protecting Hands During Training

This is for Matt or anyone else who might have some insight:

My training has been on and off over the years (boxing, BJJ, san shou...all depending on my location and work hours) and it's something I very much enjoy. In about a month or two, however, I'll be graduating as a Massage Therapist. I was basically wondering if there's anyone out there training who works a similar profession (or if you have someone at your gym who fits the description) that could give me some pointers on protecting my hands.

Are certain types of training comepletely off limits? Any good tips for precautions? Is standup more of a risk than clinch or ground, or vice versa? Any ideas would help.

I've had some minor injuries to my hands from training in the past (and I notice a lot of guys taping their fingers), but now that my hands are my livelihood, it's a bit more serious.


Brian Martens

You have to take the risk. And be very careful and aware yourself. My gf does BJJ and is studying to be a vascular surgeon. She is quite scared of hand injuries:(

Hi Brian,

When boxing make sure you always wrap your hands well, and wear at least 14 oz gloves. This is especially true when hitting a heavy bag. The best way to wreck your hands is to hi a bag minus gloves or wraps. Clinch wise, no worries. Regards the ground, gi work can be hard on your fingers and hands. But it does give you a good grip in time. No -gi offers almost no risk imo. But keep in mind all functional training will be a contact sport. So there is always the risk of jammed fingers, bent wrists, etc. Many people here at my Gym do massage, play instruments, paint, or do other activties that require the hands and it seems to work out fine.

Thanks guys, especially for the gi/no gi tip....

Hm. I have LOADS less experience than Matt but I do not agree on the groundgame... I mean from that post it seems that gi/nogi are far less dangerous on the hands than they are in my opinin. All hand/finger injuries that I've had (including one broken metacarpalis) have come from ground training. All hand injuries I've seen during our classes (a broken finger, snapped finger joint and smaller things) in 3 years have come from ground training.

Maybe it's that to us it seems pretty obvious not to hit the heavy bag hard without protection:)

It's that gi is probably harder on the wrists and fingers long term... but the injuries mostly come when you post out your hand wrong or it gets stuck somehere or you make a frame and your partner shakes it off with your hips so his whole bodyweight accidentally lands on your wrist etc... no difference gi-nogi imho...

saxon: I mean I don't want to scare you or anything:) As Matt said it is a contact sport and (almost) anything can happen:)

But a good start is that from the beginning you develop an AWARENESS of the danger to your precious hand and therefore avoid the more dangerous situations as stuffing fingers in a gi in a way that you can't get them out or making frames with a bent or could-be-bent wrist.

The risk is worth it:) But heck what do I know - I study to be a psychologist - my only problem is that my jaw isn't knocked off or my brain becomes loose or something...;)

Actually from one psychologist to another i found that my boss wasnt keen on me getting black eyes and a swollen nose...

Thanks rudi:)

However if my boss would be smart he would NOT ask about my black eyes and swollen noses:)

But to tell for real I have some 3 or more years before I can practice on my own and for real until then I couldn't care less about my facial features being slightly damaged in training:)

i think then you'll care even less..

I meant on my own as in under a real boss in a real place being a real psychologist:) Not on my own as totally on my own. I'm a student right now and though I have gotten some queer looks from professors when I come to classes with a black eye or swollen nose... they also always ask me questions when it comes to discussing agression:)