A question about Rickson Gracie's warmup routine on the webinar hosted by the master a couple of years ago yielded a good chunk of advice. The discussion was eventually steered toward the differences between training as a professional and training as an amateur.
Rickson went over a number of topics, even revealing his tricks to always keep training without suffering the same injuries over and over. See his answer below.
"I think, you know, you don't choose when you wanna be a competitor; you pretty much have the opportunity, and you have the possibility to be a competitor. Some people want to be a competitor, but if he has a bad injury, he's just one in his dreams. So the competition mode has to flow with the natural ability you have to become a competitor. You cannot just dream about it and decide to be a competitor from one day to another, and then you're completely out of shape, you're completely out of training.
"So, the training's hard, and the injuries will come; and how special it is to treat your injuries and keep training... My best friends during my career were sport tape and ice, because those, many times, kept me from re-injuring. For example, I have a bad wrist. If I have a bad wrist, either I'm gonna stay away from the mat for a while, or I make a tape job which has to be strong enough to not force my injury, but mobile enough for me to have a real range of motion and not take the circulation away. So, knowing how to do a perfect tape job on my wrist will give me sixty percent mobility, will prevent me from feeling hurt, and will keep me training without re-injuring myself.
"So, when I finish the training, I take the tape off, put ice—I'm keeping healing as I keep teaching and training all day. If I don't have the tape, I will fight—aargh—feeling the pain all the time... I'm not gonna get good. If I make the tape too tight, I cannot train because of the circulation; my hand starts to get purple, and I start getting problems on my... So, it's a [compromise] where you have to protect your existing injuries and keep training in a gentle way. If you have a groin problem, the last thing you wanna do is do guard. So you train being on top, you train passing guard, you train in other things, but you stay away from the positions that'll increase your injuries.
"So you have to be able to keep yourself on the mat, but saving yourself from re-injuring the traumatic points, and be able to be smart enough to train according to... Keep training, saving... Okay, I'm gonna save my arm, keep training the rest of my body—my guard, my legs; I'm gonna save my knee and train more on top, and do this... So you have to sometimes kind of make gentle modifications—but don't forget the ice and the sport tape."