Jorge Nakamura: competing with an injury with no cure
While still a purple belt back in 2008, Jorge Nakamura suffered a serious knee injury in training that resulted in three torn ligaments and peroneal nerve damage in his leg.
Nakamura managed to undergo surgery on his knee, but the nerve damage was irreparable. The peroneal nerve provides sensation and motor function to parts of the lower leg, and the injury gave him a permanent case of “foot drop”. It affects how he walks, and he is prevented from flexing his foot.
Even with the injury Nakamura was able to develop his jiu-jitsu and earn his black belt. Despite the permanent injury, he would go on and to win many gold medals in the adult divisions.
“After my injury, my teachers, Marcio Tubarao and Julio Cesar, helped me to readjust my game in order to minimize the chance that my opponent attacks my injured leg during the competition“, – Nakamura said.
Now, nine years after the injury, not only does Nakamura compete in the regular divisions on Brazil’s national scene, but he is a common sight in the UAEJJF para jiu-jitsu divisions as well.
“The para jiu-jitsu came to show that jiu-jitsu is for everyone, no matter their age nor limitations”, – Nakamura said.
Para jiu-jitsu competitors are separated by the disabilities, with up to 13 categories including amputees, spinal cord injuries, motor disabilities, and more.
“They have specific rules, where we can’t attack the opponent’s injured areas”, – Nakamura said. “We follow all the other rules on the mat and fight like a conventional category”.