BJJ is a lifetime activity! (its like shuffleboard)


Brown Belt
Jan 18, 2006
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So i was thinking about the black and brown belts at my school. they are all 35 or older. made me start wondering, what is it about bjj that makes you get better even though youre getting older? Im 30 and I just started bjj last fall. i got my blue belt in february. im hoping to continue rolling and competing for 30 years.

i have been wrestling all my life. i would say i had a "black belt" knowledge of wrestling techniques when i was 23 or so. but i didnt continue to get better, i peaked at about 21, and could tell my skill was declining. there is a marked difference in my wrestling ability today as opposed to 10 years ago, even though i know more. maybe its because i lost some speed or aggression after that. so even though i have more knowledge i would get my ass handed to me by a decent college wrestler, maybe even a really strong HS wrestler.

but in bjj it seems like you can continually get better, up to a point. there a several 40 and 50 somethings at my school that can still whoop ass. a 50 year old wrestler would get killed. granted these guys arent out there competing against other brown and black belts, but they whoop ass on blue belts. in wrestling, i would take an athletic 20 year old with 3 years wrestling over a 50 year old with 40 years experience. in bjj, it wouldnt be close, ill take the old guy.

what is it about bjj that makes old guys last longer? do you agree knowledge peaks after 7 or 8 years in wrestling, then there just isnt much else to learn?
It is a sport that has always been centered around technique. The whole point was to develop a martial art that could use technique to overcome power, speed and strength. It has allowed people to progress and learn even though their body may not be as tough as it used to be, and as far as grappling is concerned it has a low injury rate as well. All these combined allow people to train for a long time without all the stresses of most of sports and martial arts.
Well I am a beginner myself, but it would seem to me that in Jujitsu there is so much emphasis on using technique as opposed to athletic ability that there is a lot of opportunity for people with diminished athletic ability to still perform well. Also, it would seem in general that people training for wrestling are almost always doing it for the purpose at competing in either High School or College so they are always training at a pretty intense level and are capable of really pushing the pace beyond what an older person is capable of keeping up with.

jiu-jitsu doesn't require great amounts of strength and speed. Then, when you get old, weak and slow, the technique still works.

I believe wrestling puts a heavier emphasis on strength, speed, and conditioning compared to BJJ.
haha, shuffleboard? i dunno about that...

i would compare it to golf, where wrestling would be like, i dunno, hockey?
BJJ is great when you get older. I love judo and wrestling, but takedowns and throws (actually, just the part where you're on the receiving end :icon_chee) gets harder as you get older. I can roll for an hour and come out of it feeling exhausted but great. Fifteen minutes of randori in judo as often as not leaves me wondering if I'm going to need a body cast at work the next day :redface:

The problem isn't strength (strength doesn't really fall off for most people until they hit 60 - the first guy to squat 1000 pounds did it in his late 40's), though speed, flexibility and agility fall off faster. And top level BJJ'ers like Jacare and Roger Gracie are as athletic as top level judoka or wrestlers.

The problem is recovery time ... it takes much longer for your body repair itself as you get older. Judo and wrestling are also very technical in nature, which is why you can't just go to the gym, get the strongest, most athletic guy in it and have an olympic caliber wrestler or judoka. But being thrown wears down the body, and as you get older it wears you down faster than your body heals.
haha, shuffleboard? i dunno about that...

i would compare it to golf, where wrestling would be like, i dunno, hockey?

That's actually a really good analogy.