Top reasons why over 50 should train BJJ, by Pete Griffiths
You can have enormous enjoyment from BJJ, get those endorphins cruising round your body and experience a great sense of well being.
You will enjoy camaraderie and friendship across the age groups at the BJJ academy itself and out at competition, pub night, BBQ, etc.
We may not all be instructor material but should, in effect, be coaches in giving feedback to training partners. With the altruism and maturity that hopefully come with your seniority, your junior partners may be more inclined to take advice from you than their mates. Thus, provided your comment is sound and the partners are receptive, you are in a position to make a valuable contribution to their development.
Perhaps you no longer cut a dash sparring, but if you are experienced you may be the one-eyed king in the land of the blind when the instructor has just given the class a complicated manoeuvre to try. Thus, you are still keeping your hand in the game and are being of service too, if only to your immediate partner. Members of the class looking lost while waiting for the instructor to get round is not unknown.
Unless or until there is a massive culture shift to over 50s engaging in BJJ you will be in a minority age group. Interacting with younger people helps keep your outlook younger and in tune with a broader section of society than would be the case if you finished employment and only had a few old pals to see.
It is said that stimulating the brain at all stages of life has ongoing benefits, and continued into later years in particular it can fend off ‘loosing your marbles’. It could be that learning new and complicated patterns of movement during instruction and reacting to constantly changing situations when sparring and competing could count as such an activity.
From the warm ups through to sparring, even if you cannot manage all of it, you are benefiting your health. Do I have to spell it out? You are keeping the heart and cardio-vascular system in good condition and maintaining strength and flexibility. You are fending off obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, loss of muscle power and you are maintaining bone density. I guess you are also relieving the stresses of life and keeping depression etc at bay.
Many of us starting fitness regimes on our own eventually fall by the wayside. In BJJ the discipline of being in an instructor-lead group will help to keep you at it. Even when I was much younger, yes, there was such a time, I would sometimes not feel like going out of an evening but how many times too, face glowing, was I so glad come bedtime that I had made the effort. This continues to apply.
AT YOUR OWN PACE
BJJ is one of those pursuits you can usually manage to engage in at your own pace according to your ability; and you are not letting any team down. Some ‘get it’ immediately during instruction; others are very slow learners. From the outset some are inherently strong tough guys; others gradually develop such a status. Some put up with disabilities such as arthritic joints (mainly older people) and there are splendid guys out there with an artificial leg or a hand that does not function properly all managing to compensate as best they can, in some cases with amazing success. All are part of the total picture and the over 50 individual fits in there somewhere. What more could you ask for: health, fitness, fun and ongoing social interaction with the most ‘sorted’ bunch of people you could hope to meet.
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