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The Chiropractic Lifestyle and BJJ

My Story

I have been training in the martial arts since 1988.  Over the years, I have studied: Kenpo, Karate, Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, Kendo, and Iaido: just to name a few.  During my Christmas break in 2009, I decided to try a new school that teaches BJJ.  I was instantly hooked and realized that fighting on the ground was much different than anything else that I have tried.  Over the past 18 months, I have learned a lot of technique and concepts.  The one concept that stands out the most is that BJJ is a lifestyle and not something that you just do.  Every aspect of my life is affected by the time spent on the mat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mark Romano and Kevin Morey

I recently spent a week up in Camden, Maine for the Fourth of July week.  I had the opportunity to train at a new school in Booth Bay Harbor ( I was welcomed openly and treated like family.  I am just amazed to the fact that complete strangers are instant friends once you step on the mat.  It must be the fact that BJJ is a very intimate martial art.  Besides wrestling during my Sophomore year in high school, I can’t remember rolling around on the ground with sweaty, full grown men who in a very nice way are trying to choke me or bend my limbs in ways that are not meant to be bent.  After the class, I was able to go out to lunch with the instructor, Aaron and really got to know him.  It was an awesome experience overlooking Booth Bay Harbor while we talked for about an hour about the BJJ lifestyle, as well as health and the chiropractic lifestyle.  There is value of combining the chiropractic lifestyle into the BJJ lifestyle.   

Chiropractic as a Lifestyle

One aspect of health and strength that people do not often think about is chiropractic. The spine is the life center of the human body. It controls every human function, such as, digestion, hormonal balance, muscle contraction/recovery, gallbladder and liver function, etc., just to name a few. The spinal cord is protected by small round bones called vertebrae. These bones are stacked on top of each other like doughnuts and form a tunnel that the spinal cord travels through. Because of stress, these bones constantly misalign or dysfunction and produce tiny nerve interference that is call vertebral subluxations. Vertebral subluxations interfere with proper nerve function on the spinal level and this interferes with the function of the whole body, causing damage and destroying proper body function/health.   If you're eating right and exercising to stay healthy, but are not getting adjusted regularly, you're missing out on THE main aspect of optimizing your potential. Take care of this keystone weekly and experience true benefits.

How many times in the practice of BJJ have we been told by the instructor that it's a lifestyle and to be good at it takes consistency? That statement is actually true for anything that deals with the health and strength of the body.  Food, exercise, rest, positive mental attitude, etc. require consistency of a lifestyle to build strength and make change in the body.

Causes of Spinal Misalignments

Chiropractic is a lifestyle and not something you so do occasionally if you want the full health benefits.  Your spine should be checked on a regular basis from the time you are born until the time you die.  Depending on how stressful your life is; depends upon how often you need to be checked by a chiropractor.  A good rule of thumb is that you should get checked once or twice a week. 

The number varies because of the amount of physical, chemical or emotional stressors that are present in one’s life.   For example, if somebody cranks on your neck, you get stuck in a triangle or if you get stacked (physical stressors), chances are you might have created a misalignment that may cause problems down the road.   We are also bombarded with many chemical stressors that the body has to deal with.  Medications, artificial sweeteners, growth hormones, antibiotics, smoke, pollution, alcohol, and the list goes on and on.  We also have emotional stresses as well.  These include stressors form work, finances, spouse, kids, and any life stress that you can think of.  The point that I am trying to make is that the more stress you have in your life, the more often you should get your spine checked.

Decreasing Healing Time = Less Time off the Mat

Vertebral subluxations are caused by stress and we are under stress every day. Chiropractic, like all things dealing with health and strength, needs to be a lifestyle to be of most benefit to the body and your life. In fact, chiropractic is the most underutilized necessity of human maintenance. Without chiropractic, your body is forced to live with the damage created by vertebral subluxations and your body will never perform, recover, or experience the highest qualities of life.

It has been my experience of people that get adjusted on a regular basis, heal a lot quicker and get back on their feet (or mat) quicker.  The less the nerves are irritated, the better the body will heal.  The healthier your nervous system, the stronger your immune system will be.  This is important because if someone’s body is dealing with a cold or flu symptoms, the healing time will decrease which will allow them to get back on the mat faster.   A strong immune system will also allow you to be resistant to the germs that are always around us.

Optimal Performance

People are always looking for the magic pill, supplement, technique, exercise or whatever you imagine to give them the one up on their opponent.  There has been a lot of talk about the Paleo diet.  At my school,, they offer conditioning classes that are very beneficial for BJJ training and overall health and well-being.  Many people who are eating well, training hard, and doing the functional training are missing an important part of health.  If you are not getting adjusted regularly, you are missing out on the main aspect of optimizing your potential. Take care of this keystone weekly and experience true benefits.

A growing number of chiropractors are running their practices like gym memberships.  Members of the practice can get unlimited visits for a fixed monthly fee.   Having access to regular chiropractic care, with affordable monthly fees like a gym, allows your body to receive the chiropractic care it needs to perform, at high levels and tap into incredible potential.  It is a model that makes chiropractic care more affordable for the average family.  Instead of seeing people when they get injured, this allows a more pro-active approach to keeping your spine and nervous system functioning optimally.  As many grandmothers have said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  My message to my BJJ friends, “A healthier spine = a healthier you = Better BJJ”

Chiropractic is perhaps the most important discovery to health and strength in the past 116 years.   Add it to your game; you will be glad you did.

Kevin Morey DC is a chiropractor and martial artist.  He has been in private practice for the past 15 years in his hometown of Leominster, Massachusetts.  He has been studying the martial arts since 1988 and is currently training as a blue belt at in Acton, MA. You can email him with any questions at

Mark Romano DC is a contributing author of this article.  He has been a chiropractor for the past 17 years.  He has three offices in Mississippi.  He is currently training as a brown belt.  You can visit his office website at