One of the most common phrases uttered in jiu-jitsu is “I wish I would have started earlier.” We often see training partners who started when they were young and already have advanced skillsets before hitting their physical primes. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others in the academy, but it’s very important to remember that jiu-jitsu is an individual journey. Every practitioner will go through different ups and downs and will derive different benefits from their practice. Jiu-Jitsu will, however, give everyone the opportunity to grow and evolve, processes that should be pursued all throughout your life, regardless of age. Learning a new skillset, cultivating a strong community, and building and maintaining healthy habits are three important reasons to consider if you’re thinking it may be too late to start training jiu-jitsu. With more academies and more practitioners than ever before, there will never be a better time to start than today.
Learn A New Skillset
First and foremost, jiu-jitsu teaches us self defense skills. Throughout our practice we learn how to get an adversary to the ground, achieve a dominant position, and submit or completely control them. These skills could save your life if you’re ever in an unavoidable self defense situation. Jiu-Jitsu also provides a competitive outlet. As jiu-jitsu practitioners, we’re constantly testing our techniques against our training partners. Additionally, we may want to test ourselves at a competition. There are currently seven masters divisions that allow athletes to compete against others in their same weight and age categories. As we grow older we often stop testing ourselves physically once we leave school and no longer play a sport. Whether you decide to compete or just focus on learning in the academy, the process will keep you focused, challenged, and on the constant pursuit of growth. These are important concepts to keep at the forefront of our lives if we want to continue to thrive mentally and physically. Not only is jiu-jitsu effective, it’s also highly adaptable. Some techniques in jiu-jitsu appear to require youthful levels of strength and athleticism. In reality, jiu-jitsu is the most adaptable sport on the planet. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, short, tall, light, heavy, flexible, or stiff, there are always going to be plenty of techniques at your disposal.
An often overlooked aspect of health is friendship and community. Staying connected and building new relationships can improve your health in immeasurable ways. Jiu-Jitsu has thousands of practitioners all across the world, and when you meet someone who trains it’s easy to bond over the sport. As you age and time constraints related to work and family become more prevalent, it becomes much more difficult to cultivate new relationships. Training jiu-jitsu requires communication and trust between partners and is an amazing tool for meeting new people and forming friendships. The longer you train, the higher percentage of the people in your social circle will be current or former training partners. If you compete, you’ll likely end up becoming friends with competitors you met at a tournament or even those you compete against. These relationships are a big part of what makes tournaments so special. They’re not only an opportunity to test your skills, but also a great place to meet new people and catch up with friends.
Build And Maintain Healthy Habits
As you age it’s more important than ever to establish and maintain healthy habits. Our physical and mental health often falls by the wayside as we age and it becomes more and more difficult to reclaim the longer we’ve let it slide. Training jiu-jitsu is fun while simultaneously being a great workout. It builds both strength and cardiovascular endurance. Your jiu-jitsu technique can also benefit significantly from your habits off the mat. Eating a well balanced diet, for example, will allow you to recover more quickly from training sessions and will make you feel more energetic during training. Getting great sleep will do the same. As your desire to learn more and continue training builds, so too will your will to create these healthy habits off the mat. This combination of exercise, diet, and sleep will have a powerful impact on combatting issues caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices.
So what are you waiting for? Look up an academy near you and start taking advantage of the benefits of jiu-jitsu training today.