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Gracie Barra Belfast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy: the oldest and most successful club in Northern Ireland.

Am I too old to start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Something strange starts to happen to guys once they get past thirty.

All those pints and pizzas over the years suddenly don’t seem to disappear as quickly as they once did, but instead hang around, usually around the gut area.

The girls that they try to chat up aren’t as interested anymore, usually because they’re in their early twenties and think of you as the same age as their dad.

Time waits for no man, and as we get older, our perception of time literally goes faster.

If you thought the years between 25 and 30 went fast, then just wait until you see how quickly 40 gets here!

It’s that realisation that we are getting older which leads to a renewed interest in sports and exercise, with many people looking at martial arts as a way to keep in shape.

Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai… these are all possible sports to take up, but it’s not surprising when many guys are put off when they look at the average age of the practitioners.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the other hand is for everyone, with many people not starting until they are well into their 40s, 50s, or even 60s!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The late Anthony Bourdain took up BJJ at 58

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for everyone

We keep saying this because it’s true.

A quick look at any BJJ club photo will show a wide range of diversity amongst members.

Age, size, gender, ethnicity, culture, experience level… they are all there in that photo.

They say age is just a number – well, it’s not. You do get older and you do take longer to recover, but regular exercise will ensure you are fitter than other people your age.

And you may not have the same body as the 20 year old running about with limitless energy, but the beauty of BJJ is, you don’t have to be faster or stronger than him.

Jiu jitsu was created to fight people bigger and stronger than you, so fitness and strength aren’t the biggest advantages.

BJJ is physical chess, with moves and counter moves.

Controlling your mind is just as important as your body, and let’s be honest, if there’s one thing you have over a 20 year old it’s your mind.

What to consider for the older beginner

If you’re thinking about taking up BJJ or have just started it’s important to remember a few things.

First off, don’t try to compare yourself to the younger guys who eat, sleep and breath jiu jitsu. Proceed at your own pace, especially if you haven’t been particularly active recently. A balanced, patient approach is required, which will allow your body to adapt to the physicality of it and to recover faster.

Secondly, know your body. If you have an old knee injury from football, then don’t let anyone put you in a knee lock! If this means letting them know beforehand or tapping out when it’s obvious what’s about to happen, then so be it. BJJ is supposed to be fun, not a path to serious injury.

And thirdly, look after yourself more. Eat well and get plenty of rest. Leave enough time between training sessions so you can recover fully. As we get older our bodies need all the help we can give them. The days of having 10 pints and a kabab, and still going running the next day are well and truly over!

Well help you start your BJJ path, no matter what your age

So if you’re asking if you’re too old for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, then the simple answer is no.

Everyone who walks into our BJJ club will be welcomed, regardless of age.

Our programs are designed for you, so you’ll learn and progress at the rate that suits you and you alone.

We have a free, no obligation two week trial for anyone who wants to come along and give it a go, so give us a shout and let’s get the ball rolling.

The best time to have started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was 20 years ago.

The second best time is today.