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Appreciating Your Older Training Partners
They Possess More Than You Think…
Jiu jitsu practitioners come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders. From the 100 pound female that has a wicked armbar, to the 250 pound brown belt that has the most top pressure you have ever felt. The gym is made up of all types of people, from all walks of life. But, we sometimes forget about the older practitioners that are present with us on the mats. The older gentlemen that skips some of the warm up, or is just having a good time around the gym after class. Maybe the skip rolling on most, or all days. Some people may see these teammates as inferior, or that maybe they have nothing to offer your jiu-jitsu. Well, we are here to tell you different.
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If you are not getting the most you can out of all your training partners, then you are missing out. Everyone has something to offer you. And the older generation of jiu-jitsu practitioners may not give tough rounds, but be sure that they will have technique and experience behind them. They may not give you a tough, fast paced roll. Maybe they will slow you down a bit, and allow you to see some mistakes that you are making. Rolls with blood thirst are good at times, but we need to take time to slow down. This is important for your jiu-jitsu. And it is just one of many things we can learn from the older generation.
And, do not forget to give them their credit where it is due! There are a lot of young, spry, in shape, young people that are too scared (or have too big of an ego) to get on mats. It can be tough as an older person to make it to the mats. The young kids crushing you. You do not recover as fast as you once did when you are younger. They do not move as quick. They may have joint pain from years of hard work. They are probably working through a few more physical limitations then you are. Appreciate and understand this. When you are tired, I bet they have you beat!
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And, if nothing else, they can be great friends. Older folk tend to have a lot of advice and life experiences to offer. You just have to listen to them. They may not have the answer to your inside sankaku game, but they can make your jiu-jitsu experience a lot better. They add fun, insight, and a different dynamic to the room. They can be more understanding, and have better words of advice when you are struggling.
Get what you can from them, and do not overlook them. They are people, and practitioners, just like you. They struggle, probably more than most other people on the mats. So, be an asset to them, and I am sure, in one way or another, they will be an asset to you.