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STARTING JIU JITSU AT 50
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STARTING JIU JITSU AT 50

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BJJ derives from an extremely old form of Jiu Jitsu, which began as a system to unarm, and neutralise attackers. Over the last one hundred years the art form has evolved from a hand to hand combat system, into one of the most exciting and formidable forms of combat sport in the world. BJJ uses a series of highly advanced, and dynamic movements which start from takedowns, as they transition into securing dominant control positions. The use of submissions like joint locks, and choke holds are showcased by many of the sports' athletes.

What This Article Covers:

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seems like the young man's game when watching the world championships. What most people may not know is that there are masters world championships, meaning students that feel too old to progress through the art, are dead wrong. Fifty and sixty year olds are easily lighting up the world championship stage, on the masters level. There are many different divisions like jiu jitsu for seniors who will have a more enjoyable time competing against people their own age. Starting out at fifty years of age is not an ideal task in terms of lifespan, but many students of this age have trained hard, and excelled in grappling combat.

It's time to flatten the Learning Curve with the help of John Danaher and BJJFanatics.com!

starting jiu jitsu at 50

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IMPORTANT TIPS TO KNOW

There are a multitude of different tips that can help the older students train more effectively. One of the most important factors for a student over fifty is to train smarter, not necessarily harder. This means not to over train, as this can be a common mistake by a lot of older students. They need to understand their limitations and train accordingly. Rest days are crucial to help these students recover from previous training sessions. Sometimes this means they need a lighter training session, where all they do is practise technique. At the age of fifty these students should be steering clear of rolling against extremely dynamic athletes, instead they should be rolling with more of a purpose in mind. A great tip for students is to pick a specific goal, and practise them during live rolling sessions. This could be specifically targeting guard passing, while their partner practises their guard retention.

Another important concept for older students, and this is also relevant for practitioners training bjj after 40, and that is to strengthen their body with a range of core strengthening, and cardio based conditioning workouts. Once again students of this age need to be careful not to over train, but in terms of durability, and resilience they need to start bulletproofing their bodies. Doing deadlifts is a great exercise, and will strengthen a student exponentially. The main concern is that they don't lift too heavy, or lift too many reps. When it comes to deadlifting, students only need to lift five reps at a reasonable weight, and this is because the body needs to lift in perfect form. Quite often when students lift too heavy, or do too many reps, the last few reps are to failure, which can teach the body bad habits. Older students need to grasp an understanding of functional strength and fitness, as they cannot waste time putting in effort in the wrong places.

Being an older student means training their explosive power will not always be the best option. If a student runs too hard, or lifts too heavy while squatting, this can cause a range of injuries to the older student. Even though running is one of the most notable ways to train cardio, this may not be the best option for students over fifty, especially in males as calf and hamstring problems can be a worry. Most older students also have problems with their joints, and ligaments, as they may have arthritis or just generally sore knees, which again will make running difficult. Students need to train with no resistance on their body, and the best way to do this is by swimming. Cycling can be another good option, as long as they do it methodically, and take significant rest periods.

Starting out in a sport like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can take a considerably long time to reach a student's goals. Training in a large class structure doesn't always benefit every student, and what will commonly happen with students starting bjj at 30 and over, is they will opt for private lessons. If the student decides to take private lessons, this means they will have the opportunity to train in a one on one situation with their black belt instructor. This can be an expensive way to train, as the fees are considerably higher, but the knowledge that a student will receive is instrumental towards building a more solid game style in BJJ.

HOW TO TRAIN FOR LONGEVITY  

Training in BJJ can be extremely demanding on a student's body, as there can be a high impact on many of their joints and muscles. One of the biggest issues for many students starting brazilian jiu jitsu is they don't know how to train for longevity. When a fifty year old begins training for BJJ, they may have significant injuries, or a decreased amount of strength. The need for injury prevention or rehabilitation is vital to the older students, as they must train with a purpose for long term success. Training for longevity means not only will they need to bulletproof their bodies to increase their strength, they will also need to take significant rest periods, as a way of managing their time on the mats. In some cases the students may not be able to piece two training days in a row together, so they may need to take rest periods in between training sessions. This is why it becomes extremely important to use strength and conditioning workouts, as this will help older students train for longer.

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THE HUMBLING EXPERIENCE 

Starting out training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a fifty year old, can be quite the difficult task. How a student integrates into the school is completely dependent upon their mindset. If the student is already humble and open to learning new things, then they will dive into BJJ with the right attitude, and quickly feel great results. There are other students that may not use humility as a strong suit, but in time they will experience what it takes to be humble. For example the older student may not want to learn from a teacher who is thirty years younger, and this can be considered arrogant. Students will need to learn to forget everything they think they know when they step into a BJJ academy. Learning how to grapple doesn't come from rank of age, it comes from time spent training on the mats. Some teachers may be young, but don't be fooled, as they are all wearing black belts for a reason. The best advice any older student can take heading into a new academy, is to respect all teachers, and students of all age ranges.

PRIORITISE WHAT'S IMPORTANT 

Training BJJ at an older age is all about prioritising what is more important. Because an older student has a higher risk of injury, and a shorter capacity in their overall fitness, they will need to train conservatively. Weighing up what are the most important aspects, can prove extremely difficult, because all students need to achieve technical proficiency, while upping their ability for strength and fitness. The older students will not be able to train as frequently as jiu jitsu for teens, as the younger generations have a much higher capacity for strength and fitness. For the older students it's all about picking and choosing a training regime for them. Obviously their training needs to include BJJ, and by coming to an academy, and putting time into the mats, this is the best step forward in progressing through the art. The easy fix for an older student is to not roll hard, or pick the right training partner's to roll with, this is so they don't expend too much energy. The most essential part for an older student is to practise the technique, as this can be done quite often without using much of their energy.

Another extremely important priority is to add strength and conditioning, and cardio based workouts into a student's training routines. This can be the hard part, as trying to balance all of these elements can be risky. A good idea for older students is not to lift heavy weights, as it might be more beneficial to lift lighter weights with longer reps, this is so they don't burn out, and can still increase their strength extensively. Some students may bypass lifting weights altogether, and stick to more simplistic forms of strength and conditioning like isometric strength, plyometric strength, or resistance band training. Core based strength workouts are great, like different variations of sit ups, and push ups, are just what an older student needs to increase their strength, but not wear down their muscles or burn out their nervous system.

What older students will find to be one of the most important factors is increasing their flexibility, and range of mobility. Students should work on their flexibility training, by doing extensive stretching warm ups, and warm downs, as this will be increasingly important the older a student gets. During the later stages of life muscles tend to tighten, and joints tend to stiffen, so to increase their level of flexibility is paramount. One of the biggest hindrances to an older student's training is injuries, and if injuries can be prevented then students need to adapt their training accordingly. Increasing a student's range of mobility is vastly important for injury prevention, as it will improve their overall muscle and joint health. A common problem for older students is the limitations they have on their mobility, so once they have extensively trained different mobility exercises, then they will become increasingly harder to submit, as they begin to showcase a much more agile, and flexible style.

t's time to flatten the Learning Curve with the help of John Danaher and BJJFanatics.com!

starting bjj at 50

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

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  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

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STAY ON THE PATH

One of the more common problems that plagues BJJ is that students will give up too early in their pursuit for promotion. There is an old saying that goes: a BJJ black belt is a student that never quit. This saying it's completely correct, as not all students have the expertise or athleticism to reach a black belt level in BJJ. Students can rest assured if they keep showing up, keep working hard, and persevering through all of the adversity, then they will reach the pinnacle level of BJJ. For the older students, progressing through the ranks may take significantly longer than a younger athlete who is capable of training six days a week. The older generations need to manage their time on the mats, as they might struggle training three days a week, and this will cause problems with their consistency on the mats. 

The key component for these older students to remember is just to stick it out. Getting good at BJJ is the same concept as riding a bike, the more you ride the better you become, and this is apparent in the art of BJJ. Sometimes students might feel like they are not progressing, and these are crucial times for students, as this is how they will learn to overcome adversity. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is like one giant puzzle; it has thousands of little pieces that need to be arranged in order to achieve proficiency. As a student trains for a few years, their problem solving skills will rise exponentially, giving them a much more strategic platform to attack the next avenues of training. One of the most important factors for older students is to make sure they are having fun, because if a student can enjoy their training this will make it easier to keep showing up. A common problem in Jiu Jitsu is students will get into a bad place where training becomes a chore, and this is where their mind has trouble grasping many of the concepts involved. BJJ is a lifestyle and needs to be trained with grace and respect, as this fun filled, and systematic form of combat will help all students become better versions of themselves.

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