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STARTING JIU JITSU AT 40
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STARTING JIU JITSU AT 40

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Training in Martial Arts is a great way for older people to get into shape. There are many different types of combat sports that offer a great range of high intensity workouts, coupled with strength and conditioning elements. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of those Martial Arts that has a high calibre regiment, which can be sustained by students of all ages. It doesn't matter what age a student is starting brazilian jiu jitsu, as long as they come to training prepared to work hard, and persevere through some of the adversity they may face. 

Although forty may be too old to be a threat in the adult competition division, there are still some genuine contenders that do start later on in life. Taking the time to jump on the BJJ mats at the older age of forty comes with many pros and cons. Students of this age demographic may be extremely blessed with life experience, and usually they have already succeeded at bulletproofing their body through strength and conditioning. The downside for students of this age is that injuries will usually play a factor, as most of these students will already be carrying injuries, or even suffering from injuries during training, early on in their BJJ training. Another pro is even though they may be injured or endure injuries, having longer life experience, means they usually will understand how to rehabilitate any injury concerns they may have.

What This Article Covers:

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HOW TO FIT IN AT FORTY

Students that begin training later on in their life may find the adjustment easier. There is not much difference between starting jiu jitsu at 50 or at 40, as usually people of this age are extremely good at social situations. Fitting into a BJJ academy can be tricky for some, but for the older generations it's as easy as a conversation at the pub. It is usually the older athletes in a BJJ school that will help spread the encouraging vibe, as they have an extremely laid back sense of being. Although they may lack the energy that a young person has, students that are forty and above, will usually work out the less strenuous way to achieve proficiency. Having the life experience of someone who has lived for forty years will become highly valuable towards inspiring many up and coming young athletes in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy.

Bernardo Faria is here to share the elements of his BJJ game that are the easiest and most effective for over 30 grapplers!

starting jiu jitsu at 40

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
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  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

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REPURPOSING JIU JITSU

Starting BJJ as an older person can be extremely different then jiu jitsu for teens, as the teenager has the added bonus of youth on their side. An older athlete is always going to be fighting against the clock, as they may never know how long they have left in their life span. There is one thing for sure, starting BJJ at the age of forty definitely helps them to live a longer, healthier, and fuller life. Usually when people get to the older age they will slow down and gain weight, and this will happen due to their lifestyles. Spending too much time eating good food, and watching Netflix can be an easy way to lose their athleticism. Students that choose to begin training in a highly dynamic Martial Art like BJJ, will soon feel the full effects of this highly beneficial form of combat.

It is common knowledge that students of the older age will struggle with a variety of injuries. Over time the body will break down, as the older students will have less energy, more injuries, and longer recovery times. Understanding the age factor, students will need to somewhat repurpose their Jiu Jitsu. This means they will need to alter certain movements to match their own flexibility, and use a slower methodology, as opposed to a more intense and dynamic style of BJJ. Older students need to train conservatively, and in most cases need to treat Jiu Jitsu as a way of strengthening different parts of their body. Once older students can understand how to balance all of the training aspects, they can forge their best pathway towards enhancing their proficiency in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

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  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
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HOW TO STAY ATHLETIC LATER IN LIFE

There is no real trick to staying in shape, or keeping a student's athleticism, as it all boils down to smart work, not hard work. Although students will still need to work hard to master many of the concepts of BJJ, for the older students it's all about training smarter. Students must understand that overtraining will most definitely cause injuries, which can result in time away from the mats. It is extremely important for the older generations to take their rest days, and know when to train lightly. A common problem that can usually happen when an older student rolls against a younger and stronger athlete, as the older student may feel the need to win the fight. Like most BJJ practitioners, learning how to be humble, and knowing when you are beat is an extremely crucial aspect, especially for older people trying to progress.

Sometimes it is the older guys in the gym who train the hardest, and show the most continuity. This is mainly due to the smart work these older students put into their training, as jiu jitsu for old guys is becoming somewhat of a pandemic. It is extremely important that these students work extensively hard on their flexibility, and their mobility, as usually they are injury plagued. Balancing their Jiu Jitsu with mobility exercises is crucial, so they can keep up with the full range of movements that are involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Another important factor to consider for the older generation is, they may need to keep up with their strength and conditioning. Core workouts, and cardio based training can be beneficial to the older generation, as long as they are not over doing it, and are warming up correctly. One of the most important factors that all older people talk about is to never stop, as the student that stops training due to age will start a considerable decline, as opposed to the student that continues to train, keeping their mind sharp, and their body active.

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

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COMMON GOALS FOR A FORTY YEAR OLD 

All students have different goals, and different reasons for training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For the older generations their goals are mostly aligned with staying active, and maintaining a good level of overall health. At forty years of age a BJJ practitioner is still relatively young, and is still capable of lighting up the world scene of Jiu Jitsu. Sometimes these athletes will have a goal of becoming world champions, as they will aspire to enter masters divisions. Training for competition can still be a high priority for many forty year olds, and this is mainly due to the fact that they refuse to concede old age. Sooner or later the age factor catches up with the student, and they will begin to change their focus entirely. After the realisation sets in, students will focus more on staying fit and strong, and preventing injuries. Training in BJJ can be an extremely fun way to keep all of the students' systems functioning at high levels. Another common goal for an older athlete is to reach their next belt level. It is very common for new students to set low expectations, as setting a goal to become a black belt seems unattainable at such a late age. Once the student goes up to their blue belt, and then purple, they will soon realise that any goal is achievable in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

THE BEST WAY TO PROGRESS THROUGH THE RANKS 

There are multiple ways that a student can progress through the belt ranking system. The best age to start bjj is when the student is a child, as this is the best way to soak in all the knowledge, and become highly proficient in the art. Unfortunately not everyone gets the chance to begin this incredible art at such a young age, as they have to settle for beginning well into their middle ages. Starting BJJ so late in a person's life can be good, and bad for different reasons. Older students have already experienced life, which means in most cases they are extremely mature, and this is a great mindset to have heading into an art form like BJJ. Being older means they will have a deeper understanding of many aspects including social situations, which will make learning a lot easier. 

There are significant downsides to being older, as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be very demanding on a student's body. Some of the movements have a high impact, and can cause some significant injuries to an older person. Of course there are ways to strengthen their body so that the impact is non existent, but for the brand new beginner starting at an older age, high impact can result in injuries. Another problem that older students will encounter is their range of flexibility, as they may find that they cannot move the same way that younger students can. This makes it extremely hard for them to execute movements like inverts, or bridges. These older students will need to find new ways to consolidate their BJJ, and utilise different concepts to help them achieve their desired outcomes.

Once a student has discovered how they can balance out their BJJ, they will then prioritise how they can progress through the ranks. In most cases it will be through repetition of technical movements, as they may find that rolling other members of their academy can be extremely tough. Students of this age will spend more time practising moves, and refining their technical application. This can be a good thing for older students, as it has little impact on the joints and the muscles, which means they can focus more extensively on their technical skills. Older students generally asked more questions, and this is because they are putting in more time into their technical proficiency. Older students seem to have a smarter way to train, and this is because they are always risk managing, and trying to prevent injury. Not as many older students will compete, as the younger and more hungry athletes always fill the stadiums. The older competitors are usually the diehard BJJ enthusiasts who are just destined to progress through the belt ranking system.

WHY EVERYONE SHOULD TRAIN IN BJJ

There are multiple reasons why people from all walks of life should be signing up to their local BJJ academy. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can offer an extensive self defense combat system that will hold up against any attacker that they may encounter. Like any combat sport or self defense, it needs to be practised extensively, as commonly students that train for small periods think they can take on anyone. This couldn't be further from the truth, as even a highly experienced BJJ black belt can find themself in significant trouble in a street altercation. This means that students must not get ahead of themselves, and make sure they put in a lot of hard work, and train with humility and perseverance so they can improve their skills to the best of their abilities.

Bernardo Faria is here to share the elements of his BJJ game that are the easiest and most effective for over 30 grapplers!

starting bjj at 40

Training in BJJ can help people that have many physical health issues like overweight people, people with health conditions, or people who are just uncoordinated. At first BJJ seems very foreign, but it does not take long before a student finds their feet, and begins to move in an extremely functional, and systematic way. BJJ will help students develop significant skills in many of their physical attributes like flexibility, dexterity, agility, speed, strength, and mobility. Many overweight people have come into a BJJ academy looking to lose weight, and after a short period of time they have not only lost weight, but they are feeling strong. The benefits of training in BJJ are incredible, as people from all walks of life should be joining.

One of the most important aspects about a BJJ academy is how caring, and nurturing the community is. It's a well known fact that the instructors, and members of a BJJ school are highly encouraging, and inspiring to all of their students. The atmosphere, and camaraderie inside of an academy is unmatched in all other combat sports across the globe. Students will make new friends, all with the same common goals of staying fit and healthy, and learning to defend themselves. This can be an added positive to students that suffer from different forms of mental health issues, as all they need to help progress their life is a place they can call home. A BJJ academy is like a family, as many of the members are there to support, encourage, inspire, and help students from all cultural backgrounds, mental states, and all walks of life.

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