Many wonder if it’s possible for people to take part in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu if they are well into their adult phase i.e. around 30 to 40. After all, BJJ is a sport that lays emphasis on strength, flexibility, and concentration and it is natural for people to doubt if anyone who lacks these characteristics can fit well into it.
Are You Too Old to Start with BJJ? – Answer is NO
The truth is that you can practice BJJ regardless of your age but you would have to do it according to your condition. If you are past your young adult days or if you have never participated in any sport in your life, then it is better for you to start a slow pace. You will get better eventually, even on par with some top-level athletes but only if you take calculated decisions. Speaking of top-level athletes, let us take a look at some examples of aged people that are popular in BJJ.
There is Master Carlos Gracie, who is still active at the age of 60 and another example was late Anthony Bourdain, who was renowned TV show host and author; he started his training at age 58 and was the owner of a blue belt. There is even more incentive for older people to do BJJ because it is such a great workout for your mind and body. It is fun, it keeps you engaged and gives you great self-defense and that goes for people of all ages. Another advantage of BJJ is that you can adjust or tune the workout according to your needs, unlike other sports where you have to follow defined rules. BJJ also targets almost every part of your body, it can develop your stamina, strength or focus just by having the right type of exercise. So if you are planning on starting BJJ and feel like you have wasted your youth, don’t worry and consider the following things
Focus On Your Positives
There is sufficient research on the topic that as the body ages, particularly in males, it gets stronger and your muscle memory increases. So, even if you think that you will not be able to perform certain moves as you are not as active as the younger athletes, your strength might be enough to compensate for that. This happens due to an increase in reproductive hormones, like testosterone which is linked with increasing strength. Other than that, that improved muscle memory also allows for more muscles to be activated in an efficient way, who might even be able to perform some of the more complex movements. Another thing that people have observed is that older athletes are more patient with their techniques while the younger ones tend to be more aggressive and brute force their way to failure. All of these innate qualities should give you enough confidence to stand on par with your younger counterparts.
Keep Your Body and Recovery In Check
As we have discussed before that practicing BJJ can bring about great physical improvements in our body, we also need to make sure that we are not overdoing it. Pushing the body over its limit, especially at older ages, can make matters worse instead of improving them. If you train at an appropriate pace, you will find your stress levels being low. If you are overweight or have high blood pressure, you will find the diets and healthy mindset of BJJ bringing about positive changes.
A very important thing to avoid doing, that most older athletes end up doing, is to make comparisons of themselves with their younger colleagues. You have to understand that your body works at a different pace than theirs and thus your training styles have to be different. It takes time for your body to get used to the rigorous lifestyle of BJJ, especially if you have been much into physical activities. So, it is highly recommended that you get enough sleep, take enough rest between training sessions and maintain a diet that is rich in nutrition.
Train at a Proper Place
It is important to pick a place where you are most comfortable and where the people are experienced enough to know what will work best for you. You would not want to spar with people who are inexperienced as they might cause more damage due to them being unaware. A much better choice would be to train with people in upper belts because the people in lower belts are trying to do the same thing as you, figuring out how to perform their techniques, learning about body mechanics and physiology, they are simply not experienced enough to be fruitful to your growth.