Am I Too Old for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

I remember the first time I watched a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament 5 years ago – my nephew was one of the participants (he was 10 at the time) and all of them were very young – at least half my age! The combat sport inspired me to join but at the same time I was also worried that I may be too old for it. Long story short, I decided to join anyway.

So if you’re in your 40s or 50s and are also wondering if it’s already too late for you to learn BJJ, the answer is a resounding NO.

Trainers say no one is ever too old to start learning this martial arts. Age will be less of a factor since it prioritizes technical skills over athletic ability, strength and speed. Older individuals, however, do need to train correctly in order to prevent injuries.

Of course, just because you are able to train in BJJ, does not mean you will be able to keep up with everyone. Depending on just how old you are, there are probably some techniques and drills you will want to avoid or limit. That said, there are many drills and techniques you will still be able to learn.

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

BJJ is a great combat sport for people of all ages, but older individuals will have different training methods and considerations depending on their level of physical fitness.

Developed at the start of the 20th century in Brazil by 5 Gracie brothers who adapted it from a Japanese judo sensei, the word Jiu Jitsu literally means “the gentle art.” It does not involve striking, punching or kicking but instead, only grapples, holds and chokes.

Unlike Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, BJJ is designed more for self-defense and sport while the former is for combat and military training.  As long as you are able-bodied you can still start learning jiu-jitsu no matter your age.

Will Age Affect My Abilities in BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu jitsu bjj black belt teaching class or private lessons to his students at the academy martial arts ground fight

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you’re probably aware about how age can affect the body, especially when it comes to physical fitness. Recovery time will take longer, you’ll have reduced strength, agility, and flexibility compared to 10 years ago.

Your life situation, such as your career and personal life might be considerably different compared to younger students. With all the responsibilities you have to deal with everyday, you won’t have as much time to train as 20 year old students.

That said, it would not be fair to compare yourself to younger grapplers. Just work on improving your skills and aim to progress every week.

Things You’ll Need to Get Started

Older individuals need to train smarter, not harder. To start, you’ll need the following protective gear:

  • Knee pads
  • Wrist supports
  • Ankle braces
  • Mouthguard

You also need to make sure you warm up properly to make sure your muscles are activated and stretched appropriately. This reduces soreness and prevents injury.

Eat and sleep well. A balanced diet and sufficient sleep can help quicken your body’s recovery time.

Set realistic expectations. If everyone in your class is under 30, don’t compare your progress to theirs. You will likely not be able to keep up with those half your age. Just focus on your own improvement and have fun! Check out the BJJ classes in UFC Gym in your area and enroll today!

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