Starting Jiu Jitsu on medication? I’m on statins, blood thinner, and blood pressure medication. Been on them after my heart attack some years back. They’re also responsible for me not being on the mats the past two years. I burned out, hated my body not working the way I wanted it to. Bruises lasting for weeks. Not being able to last the warm ups or drill. I’ve changed a couple of meds, and so far it’s been working for me. I would be lying if I said they don’t affect my performance. I get winded quickly, still bruise easily, and get light headed if I push too hard. Or at least when I started back training. It hasn’t been too bad lately, but that would have to do with what we all deal with getting back on the mats, the body toughening/hardening to the rigors of Jiu Jitsu. Still, when I don’t feel it, I don’t spar. Today was an example of that. Didn’t get much of a warm up, and spent the drilling sessions with a new student going over kimura, hip bumps, and americanas.
What you should do before even contemplating training Jiu Jitsu on medication, talk to your Doctor. You should also ask if you are healthy enough to participate. Jiu Jitsu is intensive, even if you don’t spar. While drilling is at your pace, if your cardiovascular system isn’t ready for it, it can tax you heavily. Trust me, I talk from anecdotal experience which you should consider gospel. Be smart, get a check up first.
So you pass all the checkups, Doc says it’s okay to train, you signed up and gung ho. Things to consider. Depending on the gym you join, warm ups can be intensive. They are done so to prevent injuries to you during the course of training. A warmed up body is a pliant and ready body for contusions. Be prepared to sweat, and more important, don’t think you have to keep up with the Twenty somethings. One day sure, but not today, or next week, or next month. Warm up at your own pace.
When it comes to learning a new move and drilling, being twisted up and put in crushing positions can be a pain in the ass. If you’re like me and work a desk job, you most likely suffer from tight quadriceps, calves, hip flexors, have anterior pelvic tilt, and tight hips. Yoga and stretching are your friends. Your BFFs for life type of friends. I’ve found that after class is a fantastic time to work on flexibility. You’re already warmed up, sweating, and pliable. I’ve found the free videos on youtube by the people at Yoga For BJJ is a superb place to start. They are full time BJJ players and certified yoga professionals.
I’ve touched on sparring on my last blog post, won’t delve into it too much in this one. Sparring is what Jiu Jitsu is all about. This is where you pressure test your technique against a training partner of equal or greater skill level. Starting out, I’d suggest you take it easy, and see how a few rolls affect you if you are on medication and have an existing health issue. Ramp up as you see fit, and how your body feels. It is rough, it is fun, and it is an integral part of your journey.
Sure you can go to the gym and lift weights, run on the treadmill. Or you can get all of the benefits training BJJ while learning to defend yourself. There’s so many positives in training in Jiu Jitsu, decrease stress levels, getting fit, mental toughness, losing weight, and getting flexible. If you have the access to a great BJJ Academy, do it. Bodybuilding is so passe, we don’t lift weights, we lift people. Get on the mats and train – But get your Doctor’s recommendation first!