I began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) at the age of 36, but the idea of joining a BJJ gym had been on my mind for years prior.
Life and my job had always seemed to get in the way, and I never seemed to find the time to pursue my interest in the discipline.
However, during a particularly low point in my life, I found myself with some free time and decided to finally take the plunge and give BJJ a try.
Now, as a 41-year old purple belt, I can say that starting BJJ was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I had been struggling with feelings of depression and unworthiness for a long time, and BJJ helped me to take control of my mental and physical well-being.
As an older adult, I was hesitant to start BJJ.
I worried about my age and my ability to keep up with the younger, more experienced students.
But I quickly discovered that BJJ is a discipline that can be beneficial for people of all ages.
The physical and mental demands of training can be challenging, but the rewards are worth it.
Through this blog post, I want to share my experience as an older BJJ practitioner, and to encourage others who may be considering taking up the discipline.
BJJ is for everyone, regardless of age, and the benefits are well worth the effort.
Table of Contents
The challenges of starting BJJ as an older adult
Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) as an older adult came with its own set of challenges.
Physically, I found that my body wasn't as resilient as it used to be and struggled to keep up with the younger, more experienced students.
I had to adapt to the demands of the training by pacing myself and listening to my body to prevent injuries.
Additionally, dealing with aches and pains that come with aging required me to be mindful of managing pain and taking care of my body.
Mentally, self-doubt was a significant challenge.
I worried that my age would hold me back, and that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the younger students.
And I always felt that I had made no progress whatsoever inside of my mind.
I always compared myself to other students and I often forgot that each of us has different path of journey to find our BJJ game.
Overcoming these challenges
To overcome these challenges, I had to adopt a growth mindset and be patient with myself.
I had to remind myself that BJJ is a lifelong journey, and progress takes time.
I also had to be kind to myself and to focus on my own progress, rather than comparing myself to others.
I had to learn to let go of negative thoughts and to focus on the present moment.
Through hard work, perseverance and positive attitude, I was able to overcome the challenges and continue to improve in my BJJ journey.
Benefits of BJJ for older adults
Despite of the challenges above, I have discovered the magic of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and how it has transformed my life in ways I never thought possible.
Let's start with the physical benefits, which have been nothing short of astounding.
BJJ is a full-body workout that has helped me to achieve a level of strength, flexibility, and balance that I never thought possible.
I feel like I've been given a new lease on life, as my body is now more agile and resilient than it has been in years.
The constant movement and engagement of various muscle groups has helped me to increase my overall fitness level, and the constant adaptation required in BJJ has helped me to improve my balance, which is particularly important as we age.
But the benefits don't stop there.
BJJ has also had a profound impact on my mental well-being.
The intense focus and concentration required in training helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
And let's not forget about the endorphins, which are released during physical exertion - it's like a natural antidepressant that helps to improve mood.
But perhaps the most significant benefit I have found in BJJ is the increase in self-confidence.
As an older adult, it can be easy to feel invisible or overlooked, but training in BJJ has given me a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
The discipline and hard work required to improve in BJJ has translated to other areas of my life, making me more confident in my abilities and decisions.
Finding a new family
When I first started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) as a depressed man, I never imagined the profound impact it would have on my life, not only physically but also emotionally and socially.
I found that BJJ was more than just a physical activity, it became a source of community and support for me.
One of the biggest surprises for me was the friendships I formed within the BJJ community.
I was initially hesitant to connect with others, but through training and drilling, I found myself naturally bonding with my training partners.
I found a sense of camaraderie and belonging that I had been missing in my life.
The people I trained with became like a new family to me, providing support, encouragement and understanding.
Five years ago, when I started training, I felt I was alone in this world.
I was being cheated on, dumped and ridiculed by those who I thought was family. My siblings all live abroad and my parents had been dead for several years.
My closest circle of friends had their own struggles and tribulations.
I felt I had no one until I found BJJ and its community.
The support and understanding of others in the BJJ community have been essential in dealing with my inner demons.
The BJJ community provided a safe space for me to work through my issues, and I found that the people around me were willing to listen and understand.
Through their support, I was able to take steps towards healing and self-improvement.
The BJJ community provided a sense of accountability that helped me stay on track, and the encouragement of others helped me to push through difficult times.
To wrap it up....
In conclusion, BJJ has been an incredibly transformative experience for me as an older adult, and the benefits I have gained from it have been invaluable.
Not only has it helped me to improve my physical fitness, but it has also had a profound impact on my mental well-being, helping me to deal with depression and feelings of unworthiness.
Perhaps the most significant benefit I have found in BJJ is the sense of community and support that it has provided me.
I have found friends, a new family and a sense of belonging that I had been missing in my life.
I understand that for some older adults, the thought of starting a new physical activity can be daunting. But I encourage you to give BJJ a try.
I can assure you that the benefits you will gain from it will far outweigh any initial hesitation or fear.
The BJJ community is welcoming and understanding, and the support and encouragement of others will help you to push through any challenges you may face.
BJJ has been a lifesaver for me, and I hope that my experience will encourage you to give it a try.
You'll be amazed at what you're capable of achieving, and you'll be grateful for the benefits you'll gain.
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