I’ve been training BJJ for about fifteen years now. I’ve incurred some notable injuries over time, and I’ve seen the wear and tear that comes with getting older. Most of all, I’ve noticed recovery time (from injury) getting longer and longer. In spite of all this, I am determined to do jiu jitsu for the long haul. The benefits far exceed the detractions, provided you aren’t forced to quit because of a body that refuses to continue training.
Given my family’s history of relative longevity and advances in modern medicine, and given that I am determined to train for the rest of my life, I can only assume that’s going to be a long time. As such, my training has begun to change.
This article will offer three helpful tips for helping to ensure that you can train for as long as possible.
- Transition away from an attribute-based game
Speed, strength, and flexibility are tremendous assets in any jiu jitsu competitor’s arsenal. However, technique is what remains as you approach an older age. If you notice that your guard maintenance relies on flexibility (as mine does, although less so now than a few years ago), consider alternative methods for maintaining your guard. If your passing game is all about being faster than the other person, it may be time to slow it down and see if you are still able to pass.
- Find the amount of training that works best for you
The temptation to train 15 times a week in order to get better at an insanely fast rate is almost overwhelming. However, you have to come to the realization that you simply may not be able to keep up such a robust pace forever. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of what you should be doing based on what keyboard warriors on internet forums think. Likewise, don’t base your training goals on 19 year old physical specimens (who probably don’t have kids, jobs that require more than 40 hours a week, or mortgages) think you should be training. Instead, find the amount of time per week to train that is most conductive to doing this for the rest of your life.
- Don’t worry about winning every Scramble
You may thoroughly enjoy winning the battle during “The Scramble.” The Scramble happens when a position occurs in which the person to benefit the most is not yet determined. The winner can be decided by either superior technique or by reacting quicker. This is the time during a roll when a lot of ties are broken and battles won or lost. It’s also a time that has a much, much higher likelihood of an injury occurring. Don’t fall into the trap of having to win every scramble situation. You can lose some of the smaller battles and still win the wars at the gym. Even if you end up tapping because you’re not reacting as quickly as you perhaps could, you will still be able to train the next day.