In most sports, athletes have to retire at a certain age. In Jiu-Jitsu however, you can train well into your 50s, 60s, and in some cases, 70s. There have been participants as old as 90 years old entering tournaments! Granted, they aren’t as agile as younger competitors, but it just goes to show that BJJ isn’t a sport limited to only the young.
Since Jiu-Jitsu revolves primarily around technique, these older competitors can often handle themselves well against younger ones. As long as you apply the techniques taught by your instructor, there should be no reason why your age should be a factor when learning self-defense and being able to apply it.
Are Older Grapplers More At Risk For Injuries?
In general, BJJ is considered a relatively safe sport. The reason why is because you can always “tap” (or submit) if you find yourself in an uncomfortable position. Plus, your training partners at the gym aren’t trying to hurt you, so the risk of experiencing injury is drastically lessened, even if you are a bit older. The most important thing to remember is to stretch daily.
As you get older, your ligaments and muscles tend to tighten up. Give yourself enough time to warm these muscles up prior to sparring. Another important thing to remember is to leave your pride at the door. More specifically, don’t ever feel ashamed to tap out. Everyone taps out at some point. It shows that you’re human, and that you still have things to learn.
Is it Too Let to Get My Black Belt?
It’s been estimated that it can take anywhere from 8 to 15 years to acquire your black belt in BJJ. For some older competitors, they may feel as though they are too late in life to acquire their black belt. Even if this were true (which it certainly isn’t), BJJ isn’t about your belt color- it’s about what you learn. By participating in BJJ, you’ll ultimately end up developing a new perspective on life- even if you’re older and have already “experienced it all”.
As an older individual, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to a local academy today to see how you can get started in signing up. You’ll be surprised by how many grapplers there are of around the same age! In the end, participating in BJJ, even if it’s later in life, is better than never have participated at all.