Roll Forever Starting Today
In this installment of the BJJ Fanatics blog, we take a look at the how BJJ stands apart from other martial arts and competitive endeavors because of it's adaptability and it's unique ability to be used by practitioners at any fitness level, age level, or of any gender. The foundation or principle that BJJ builds its entire art upon is the idea of the weak overcoming the strong or the lever overcoming the heavy weight. It is said that Helio Gracie, one of the arts main developers with his brothers was able to train well into his 90's and actually trained on the day he died at the age of 95 years old.
With this news, there really are no more excuses to keep one from stepping on the mats. Whether you are in your 20's, 30's, 40's or beyond--it doesn't matter. Everyone can benefit and everyone can improve their health and confidence through the study of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
What Benefits Can BJJ Bring to the Older Practitioner?
Whether you like it or not, stepping on those mats and working those shrimps and basic body movements, your flexibility will improve. As we grow older, perhaps working sedentary jobs or leading sedentary lives, our muscles tighten and shorten over time from lack of usage. BJJ can be like a dynamic, moving yoga class where you will find yourself doing things with your hips and limbs that you never thought possible and this can have an amazing effect on your overall health and fitness.
Increased Muscle Tone and Strength
BJJ requires the movement of one's own body, as well as the movement of a training partner or opponent's body. This can lead to an increase in overall muscle strength and tone. This increase in strength and muscle tone can also go a long way to helping lose excess body fat as muscle needs energy to fuel it.
BJJ is an amazing activity that blends the aerobic with the anaerobic which gives the best of all health benefit worlds. You must develop a certain level of increased cardio that will allow you to explode when you need to and not gas out when put in bad spots, making you an easy prey to your opponents and training partners.
As we grow older and our responsibilities change, the stress of work, school, and family can sometimes seem to be overwhelming. One of the key benefits to training for many practitioners is the overall sense of calm that one is left with after a tough training session. Comedian and host of the wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, Joe Rogan has often said BJJ has the ability to help one deal with anything that life can throw at you.
The BJJ Community
One of the best indirect benefits of training BJJ is the community that you join the first time you step on the mats. The BJJ community is an extremely close knit group of athletes that the average person can interact with through seminars, social media, or visits to different academies. Your teammates and peers can also become some of your closest friends over time as you share with them the journey to black belt and beyond.
An Opportunity to Reinvent
There are thousands of stories of BJJ practitioners who started training and competing at an age when most competitive athlete's careers are winding down. Every year the sport continues to grow and age gracefully as more and more practitioners find their place as competitors or perhaps as simple blog writers or BJJ meme makers looking to express themselves and their place within the BJJ world.
In the video below, world champion Bernardo Faria meets with Betty Broadhurst, founder of the "Roll Forever" movement shares her thoughts on how impactful BJJ can be at any age and also the primary vision of her "Roll Forever" movement.
About Betty "Roll Forever" Broadhurst
Betty Broadhurst is a 61 year old purple belt who works full-time as a pharmacist in North Carolina. After work each day she drives 40 miles one way to train. Often times on weekends, she can be found traveling long distances to attend seminars or visit other academies. She is an avid competitor who many times must move down in her age division to find opponents.
For Betty, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu keeps her body limber and flexible. The more she trains, the better she moves and the better she feels. At 61 years old, she is proof that unlike many combat sports and martial arts, BJJ is easily the best for maintaining a person's long term involvement.
What is the goal of Roll Forever?
Betty's goal with her Roll Forever program is essentially three fold. First and foremost, it is a movement meant to inspire and support local BJJ practitioners in North Carolina who wish to compete. In addition, Betty and Roll Forever work hard to bring world class competitors to areas like hers where there might not be easy access to those athletes. This also goes a long way to supporting the growth of BJJ because not only does it support the athletes themselves with a good source of income, but it also expands the community and introduces world class athletes to practitioners who may never have an opportunity to visit the BJJ hotbeds of southern California or New York City. A third mission of Roll Forever is to bring more competitions into areas they've never been before to give local athletes more opportunities to compete.
So if you're currently training, kudos. If you're not and are contemplating, do not hesitate. Get to your local academy and begin the journey. The best time to plant an oak tree is 20 years ago. The second best is today! Start now and roll forever.
Check out the "Masters Guard" system from over 40 grappling sensation Daniel Beleza here at BJJ Fanatics and begin today to develop the type of guard that will be scaring opponents for the coming decades!