We do our best to make sure that our students are safe in training. We require safety equipment and practice self-defense only under extremely controlled conditions. That way our students learn the necessary skills while minimizing the risk of injury.
In the real world, that's not how it works. Fights, muggings, or other violent encounters happen on concrete, frequently with weapons. Risk of injury increases when the victim is unarmed. Our hope is that martial arts training will reduce the risk of injury in real life situations, but unfortunately this result cannot be guaranteed.
Head and Concussion Injuries
According to a report published in the NCBI, head injuries are most common among those caused by violent crime. Across six different studies, head injuries were found in 68%-78% of such injuries, with concussions making up between 3.8% and 20.4% of all cases.
Wrist and Hand Injuries, Fractures, and Lacerations
The NCBI report noted above also revealed that injuries to the hands and wrists make up the second most commonly reported type of injury resulting from a fight. About 6% to 12% of all injuries are located within these anatomical regions. Additionally, fractures make up 7.4% to 43.4% of all injury cases; while lacerations makeup 36.7% to 59.4% of all cases. Again, weapons increase the risk of lacerations significantly.
In self-defense situations, there is a high risk of whiplash, or neck injuries. These type of injuries can vary, but Dr. Sinicropi says some of the most common are slipped discs, spinal cord injuries, and vertebral fractures. Spinal injuries can last a lifetime, and it could result in serious pain.
In understanding how common these serious injuries are in real life encounters, the next step is learning how to prevent them. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the prevention of spinal injuries and other injuries in martial arts practice relies on paying very close attention to using correct techniques, and exercise extreme caution when it comes to following the safety rules of combat sports. In the event something does happen, rest and recovery are necessary for you to get better.