Grappling Fatherhood: Am I Too Old For BJJ?
There’s always a reason not to do something and BJJ is no different.
Full time job, family, bad back, sore knees, just not enough time… I’ve heard them all, I’ve said most of them too.
BJJ, however, is not bounded by age. 60 and 70-year-olds are awarded black belts. There are World Championships dedicated to age divisions over the age of 30.
Even Helio Gracie, one the founders of BJJ and the patriarch of the sport’s most legendary family was on the mats literally until the day he died at the age of 95. Smaller, weaker and older that anyone else on the mats, his chokes were still something feared by his world champion children.
It’s not an easy sport, but for all the physical aspects that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu embodies, it is the mental side that sets people apart. There are practitioners with cerebral palsy, amputated limbs and down syndrome. Age? Age doesn’t mean anything.
We all have a reason to step on the mat, we all have a desire to go back day after day. It’s an outlet, therapy and a self-contained reward system. It’s not just about attaining rank, but realizing that you are doing something more with your life than jogging on a treadmill or lifting weights over and over again.
This is sport. This is self-defense. This is a lifestyle.
It doesn’t matter your job. Blue collar, white collar, students, retired persons, they all train. Every walk of life is in some way represented in this sport because the most difficult part about it is just stepping through the gym doors the first time.
Actually, maybe it’s the second time.
You will feel tired. You will feel sore. But you won’t regret it.
The older I get the more I see my friends or former classmates gain weight, grow lethargic, just sort of give up.
Meanwhile, I’m on the mats. I stopped thinking about age, because what I lack physically, I make up for in experience. I can outwork the young wrestlers, I can outlast youth. I can survive because I have survived.
Because I stepped on the mat that first time. And then I came back.
Bills, family, work, these are all things that can make the idea of BJJ seem like a stretch, but it is within reach, because you have time. Your age doesn’t eliminate you from this sport, this game, this lifestyle.
You can still train and compete and step on the world stage to test yourself, to become a world champion.
At 30, you aren’t too old.
At 40, you aren’t too old.
At 60, you aren’t too old.
The only time we fail is when we refuse to start in the first place. Don’t let a number keep you from something that improves you inside and out.
Even if it isn’t today, don’t be afraid to step on the mat tomorrow, next week, next year.
We will still be here and waiting for you to join us on the journey.
See you on the mats.