View Full Version : Starting BJJ @ 39 yrs Old

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1/30/2008 10:37pm,
Thought some fellow newbies and, maybe some of the veterans and trollers, might be interested in this newbie's story. I'm not the first, or the oldest, or got the "how I overcame this or that" story. But thought some might relate.

At age 39, I decided a couple months back to start investigatng martial arts as a kick-ass way to get my aging ass into shape, improve my flexibility and acquire some self defense skills.


Wrestled a couple years in high school (admittedly, not too well..got lots of forfeits when you are 91 lbs.!). Played soccer in high school and college, but once I learned that chicks dig muscles...boom, begin lifting heavy at age 15, shot up to 150 lbss, got slow and got..um..priorities my last couple years of high school.

Fast forward a few years later, in college, still worked out. Still liked the results. No hulking cro-mag but got in good shape. Stuck with it for a few years after college...even competing in a so-called "all natural" bodybuilding competition in NYC. (Finished 5th...and felt like I won the Mr. O due to the clear juicers I was up against).

Got married @ 25, lazy, fat and happy. At age 30, 180 out of shape lbs at 5'9", decided to start lifiting again. Fast forward 9 years and happy with the results of the weight lifting, at a solid 205 (yeah, I could lose 10 lbs. and be pretty defined, but realize old man time will catch up to me with diabetes, heart issues, etc...like some family members. Some form of cardio/conditioning was needed.

My search lead me to BJJ...which starts tomorrow (Jan 31st). Locally (Upstate NY...2.5 hours north of NYC), Bruno Tostes, trained under Renzo Gracie, has a reputable academy and, from my observations of a recent seminar and class, a kick ass (but tough-love/friendly in the coach kinda way) training attitude.

I think my limited wrestling experience over 23 years ago will come in handy, but worried about getting up to speed in the conditioning part of the training. Don't want to blow chunks in my first class. Oh yeah, had shoulder surgery a year ago, due to a shredded labrum and torn rotator cuff tendon. Four screw (anchors) and some snips and clips of loose cartilage and tendon. 6 months PT and a year's worth of wacky stretching exercises and pushing myself back into a heavy weightlifting regimem seems to have healed it 99%...just not looking forward to getting an arm bar for the first time. Go ahead, call me a puss.

Look, I'm not looking for praise, "credit" or any other BS like that. So, beat the heck out of me for posting this. I can take it.

1/30/2008 10:38pm,
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Kentucky Fried Chokin
1/30/2008 10:46pm,
You're not the oldest person I've seen in a BJJ class. You'll get tired, but I've never seen anyone puke in their first class and remember to tap early and tap often.

Fighting Cephalopod
1/30/2008 10:53pm,
It's never too early, and it's never too late.

1/31/2008 10:12am,
Man, you could be describing me, except the part about "solid 205". I'm more like "flabby 190". I will have to start up BJJ as soon as I know what's happening with the work situation.

Shall we keep "Diary of Aging BJJ"?

Nobody pukes in their first class eh? Wanna bet?

1/31/2008 10:15am,
You're mince meat!

For real though, prepare to find ways of dealling with being sore and stiff.

1/31/2008 10:22am,
Started Krav at 42. Trying Judo soon. Jump in, the water's fine!

1/31/2008 10:36am,
I started BJJ at 53, currently 54, and love it. Do what you can, push it some but don't over do The wrestling will help, at least it did for me, kind of like riding a bike, it came back quick even though when I was in HS the Beatles were still together!

As a former wrestler the number 1 thing to learn is it is okay to be on your back. Harder than it sounds. The wrestling positional game and being used to being on the mat are both plusses. But, don't spaz. In my opinion BJJ is a smoother game than wrestling. Wrestling is more about explosive power, which you use in BJJ but not to the same extent. Also, get used to the idea that people you would believe have a chance are going to tap you out. Take your time, learn lots and have fun.

Oh yeah, welcome to Bullshido, kid. :-)

1/31/2008 10:54am,
No worries man. Mat time, mat time, mat time, mat time. Go train and have fun. Your gym and training partners will shortly become your second family.

Welcome to bullshido.

1/31/2008 11:00am,
Hey, you're the same age as me. I've been training BJJ solidly since I was 32, and I still love it.

Take the time your body needs to recover, stay away from mat spazzes and tap early and often, and you'll be fine.

Speaking of sore joints and muscles, fish oil with Omega-3 fatty acids is your friend. It works better than Advil as an anti-inflammatory in my opinion, and it's much gentler on your stomach.

1/31/2008 11:00am,
Dude, you sound like you're in better shape than me and I'm 28. Just go for it, but be mindful of where your own limitations are. Test them occasionally, but don't go overboard.

1/31/2008 11:03am,
Dont worry about the arm bar, it gets your elbow not your shoulder. For that you will have to worry about kimura type moves, which I find harder to tap to. They just "feel" like you could muscle out of them.

1/31/2008 3:30pm,
Welcome to Bullshido. :)

1/31/2008 3:38pm,
Same age I was when I started (which is all of 8 months ago) and it sounds like you took alot better care of yourself. Welcome to BS!

And that's interesting JB, I find the exact opposite. Someday I'm gonna get my arm broken because I always feel like I can wiggle out of armbars, but I'm tapping to shoulder locks sometimes before he even has the second hand in.

1/31/2008 3:45pm,
Good luck man. Im 35 and I love it.

Just remember that when you feel to sore to roll, YOU ARE. Take a break. Go watch class, just dont roll or over do it.

Drink plenty of water, and take a once a day multi-vit. Dont be afreaid to tap out , 99% of the people you encounter want you to learn.

1/31/2008 5:10pm,
I am 37 and feel much the same as you. I have been working my ass off the last few years to try and stay in shape. I have been doing stand up MA for the last couple of years and sometimes when you working with a young punk (anyone younger than you) I want to just scream because I wish I had started this about 10 years ago. I am also looking at beginning BJJ. My dojan has a decent program that I have been avoiding, I am going to give it a shot in the spring