In most cases, mixing martial arts and body modifications is not such a good idea. Even if we forget about different injuries that can accrue when somebody is hit directly in the piercing, there are still many threats, such as getting them caught on something, ripped out, or catching some type of infection, especially if the piercing is new or if it didn’t heal completely.
Different martial arts have different policies about body mods and piercings in particular, these rules can also vary from group to group. Also, if you are participating in a martial arts competition, depending on the referee, you will most likely have to take them out and not just tape them up.
A lot of people have to choose between having piercings and doing martial arts, as the two of those often don’t mix well with each other. Choosing between your looks and your hobby is oftentimes a hard decision, but ultimately it is a decision you have to make by yourself. Further in this article, you’ll find some pieces of information that may make that choice a little bit easier for you.
Since Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a full-contact martial art, with a lot of grappling and ground fighting, as well as a bunch of choking and wrestling techniques, having piercings can make you vulnerable. Many instructors of BJJ don’t allow their students to have any kind of piercings, because they know what could the consequences be. Protecting gear such as headgear can lessen the threats of injuries, but they can’t eliminate them, that’s why it is advised to take out all your piercings, and also any type of jewelry during your practice.
POSSIBLE INJURIES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Ordinary ear piercings are the most common, but that doesn’t mean that they are safe. If you have studs in your ears, you’re dealing with the risk of someone kicking you in the ear and a needle drilling into the tissue behind your ear. If you have hoops you can avoid this issue, but the other possibility, that is valid in both cases, is someone unintentionally ripping your earing out, which would leave you with an earlobe split in half.
Taping up your earrings can help with this, and also wearing headgear, but the safest way of dealing with this is by simply taking them out before practice and putting them back in after the training when you’ve cleaned them up.
All the other ear piercings are much riskier as they can’t be taped up that easily, shouldn’t be taken out that often, and the risk of hurting your cartilage is much scarier than just your lobe.
Any face piercings are a safety hazard as they are pretty much out in the open, and can easily get caught up or ripped out. Eyebrow piercing is in the surface area and can get ripped out very easily, which can damage some of your nerves and leave you permanently with lowered lid and different eye injuries.
Nose piercings pose the same danger as earings, suds and hoops, but the damage is much worse. There is a risk of your lip piercings damaging your teeth and inside of your mouth. The same goes for tongue piercings, with the extra chance of you bitting down or choking on them. These piercings can’t be taped up, and, the same as the ear piercings, should not get taken out that often, so the best option is, probably, just to give up on them if you want to continue practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or any full-contact martial art.
Nipple piercings are already complicated by themselves, they take a long time to heal and can get infected very easily. Considering this taping them up with a layer of a gaze between the skin and the tape is an option, but that would increase the chances of infection.
This type of piercing is a bad idea if you are training BJJ, since the possibility of ripping the nipple piercing out is really scary. But if you decide to keep them in and put the tape over them during the practice, you should take really good care of cleanliness so they wouldn’t get infected or irritated.
It’s the same case with belly button piercings. They are pretty sensitive and can easily be pulled during grappling. They don’t have such a big threat of infection, so the option of taping them up is not such a bad idea.
Whichever piercing you have, if you decide to train with it, you should most definitely clean it up immediately after your practice is finished so you can get rid of the dirt and sweat that gathered there during your training. And if you took some piercing before your training, be sure to sterilize it before putting it back in.
One thing that applies to every type of piercing is that you definitely should not train anything if it is new and if it still did not heal properly. They are gonna hurt with every touch, so just imagine how bad would it be if someone kicked you in that sensitive area, or pulled on your freshly done piercing. Also, the risk of getting an infection is much bigger in the beginning than when the piercing is fully healed.
In summary, you have to decide for yourself if you are going to take a risk and do the piercing you’ve wanted for so long, and maybe compromise your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu career. You can talk with your instructor, ask friends for their experiences, read a bunch of articles and blogs on the internet, but in the end, the choice is yours.
Everybody should have complete freedom over their body and the things they want to do with it. You have to figure out which is more important to you, or maybe find a solution so you don’t have to give up on either. Whatever you decide to do, I hope it makes you happy in the end!