Could I start BJJ at 20 and become an amazing grappler?

Could I start BJJ at 20 and become an amazing grappler?

1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a non-aggressive martial arts and combat sport that serves as the foundation for ground fighting ( ne-waza ) or submission grappling.

It is regarded as “gentle art”, and it revolves around the concept that weaker and lighter individuals can successfully dominate the larger,heavier and stronger opponent. BJJ grappling supports self defense mechanisms without using any weapon. Live drilling phenomenon is vital for the practitioners growth and development. Alongwith, Jiu-Jitsu promotes balance, physical stability, builds character and teaches a disciplined life.

So, when you say “Could you start jiu-Jitsu at the age of 20.” The best answer is you can start Jiu-jitsu at any age.

2. How To Start BJJ at 20?

If you want to be a part of the BJJ family and become an amazing grappler then we can provide you with a guide to take further steps.

2.1. Finding and selecting a BJJ Gym

Finding and selecting a BJJ Gym

Photo credit: @atosjiujitsuhq

Once you have decided to practice BJJ the next step is to find the best gym in your area.
Following tips can be helpful:

  1. Use google map to find the gym in your area. Opt for the BJJ gym which is nearby your locality as you have to attend the training sessions may be at early morning or late night due to your college or university. Distance may not demotivate you for rolling on the mat.
  2. Check for the real business gyms. The gyms which are in the running state. Gyms having up-to-date websites and social media accounts are the real gyms.
  3. You can find the map on the social media account showing the location of the gym, their class timings and the facilities they are offering.
  4. Look on the social media page for the current reviews and testimonials. You can contact the individuals who are frequently seen on the social media account for the feedback of the gym.

It's not uncommon on social media to exhibit a gym with a large number of highly skilled instructors. So, it is most important to look for organic reviews. Primarily focus on the gym that allows you to train as much as possible.

2.2. Arrive Early On Your First Day

The first day in the gym can be overwhelming, arrive 15-20 minutes early to meet the instructors and sign the membership and waiver form. Waiver form waives from any liability that may incur during BJJ training. If you are concerned about the injuries, talk to your instructor to find the solution. In case, instructor is not helpful then better find the other gym.

2.3. Take a Trial Class before Signing Up Membership

You know very well that BJJ is not a cheap sport. The membership and contract criteria varies from gym to gym. Some gyms sign month to month contracts but on the other side some sign long term contracts with the students. Due to the growing popularity and the demand of the BJJ there comes now the punching card contract. You will purchase a set number of classes for training so that you have time to search for another working gym in your area before signing the contract with the current one.

2.4. Hidden Charges

When you are asked to pay charges for the gym don't forget to ask whether it is final or more charges will incur in the middle or end of the month. The last minute fee is always annoying. So research regarding gym fees in all aspects and then plan your budget accordingly.

2.5. BJJ Gear

Every component of the BJJ Gear is important as the training days go on.

2.6. Gym Bags

The Gym bags may include laundry and Hygiene bags. While choosing a gym bag they are easily washable and have separators to place your flip flops, Gi, water bottle and other related items. Separate laundry wash bag is also required to place the GI after the training session. This makes it easier to wash the GI.

2.7. Footwear

Flip Flops and wrestling shoes are part of the foot wear. You have to take off your shoes at the gym entrance or at the specified area. The only thing you can wear on the mats and training area are the flip flops. Check whether the gym allows you to wear wrestling shoes on the mat.

Mostly, wrestling shoes are allowed in MMA focused gyms.

2.8. Water Bottle

Reusable water bottle in the BJJ gear is the essential component. Jiu-Jitsu is a physically intensive sport, so you need to stay hydrated all the time and keep your water bottle filled with sparkling water all the time. Rolling and wearing Gi on a hot day will definitely make you thirsty and tired.

2.9. Take Care Of Body Hygiene

Hygiene is vital to keep yourself safe from various diseases that may attach due to skin contact. Taking a warm water shower after training kills the germs and keeps you germ free. To ensure body hygiene the following accessories are required

  • Antibacterial Soap and shampoo
  • Washcloth
  • Towel

During grappling, you are close to your fellow grapplers. For maintaining oral hygiene, keep the following items with you.

  • Mint Toothpaste
  • Tooth Brush
  • Mint Floss
  • Spearmint Mouthwash

2.10. Uniform Gi

Uniform Gi

A quality Gi is costly. If you are a beginner then you can find many affordable options. A good Gi lasts for many years. The other accessories which you have to wear with your Gi uniform or Gi jacket are:

2.11. No-Gi Uniform

In No-Gi uniform the following items are included:

  1. Rashguard
  2. Trouser
  3. Compression shorts
  4. Boardshorts

No-Gi uniforms are fascinating because of their variety and different colors. They are not heavy and expensive like Gi.

3. How Can Be Your First BJJ Class

You may be expecting a lot from your first class. But all of a sudden scenarios may change when you step first on the BJJ mat. The warm up session is mandatory here. After that instructors may guide you in a couple of drilling techniques and then teach you sparring with resistance.

3.1. Warm up

On the first day of training, keep your mind open. Do not bother with stuff like whether you are performing well or not. The warm ups may vary from gym to gym and instructors requirements. Some follow the same plan daily and some may change the plan and go for a full body workout before training.

3.2. Different Techniques and Drilling

The instructor will enact the techniques in front of the students or repeat the technique till all the students fully understand it. Don't panic if you are finding it hard to understand or you feel that you are not following the steps properly. Wait for the instructor or ask the coach to guide you. For your guidance your instructor may couple you up with the individual who already knows the move very well.

3.3. BJJ Rolling and Sparring

In BJJ, rolling is similar to drilling except if you are engaged in free fighting. No techniques applied, no submissions. You may get exhausted in the whole process. But as time passes, you may find relaxation.

4. How do I learn BJJ if I don't have a school near me?

Let's get some solutions. Click on the link below.

You can take help from digital schools. Check for the training partners in your area. Practice with them. Look for the shortest distance and cheap transport which can take you to the BJJ school. Couple of days training in a week is suitable for beginners.

Other than this, schools have digital copies for sale. Search on social media, if someone can share the instructional videos with you or you can purchase online.

5. You Are Never Too Late To Start Jiu-Jitsu

The one combat sport for which you are never late is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You can start practicing it at any age as a toddler or even if you are more than 70 years old. The remarkable benefits attached with the BJJ training are highly desirable for parents to learn Jiu-Jitsu with their children to ensure self-defense and to restrain their children from IT gadgets and social media. The long term exposure to computer screens is a real thing called Screen Addiction.

Not only does Jiu-Jitsu help to improve physical posture, it guides you in your eating routines. According to US researchers, the ratio of obese and diabetic children is increasing day by day due to unhealthy lifestyle. So, we can say thay Jiu-Jitsu is a lifestyle that helps you build strong physical structure, supports moral development and helps you to cope with the stresses associated with your daily routines.

In each training session of Jiu-Jitsu you are better than before from many aspects. If your age is the big concern refraining you from Joining BJJ then disregard it. It's never too late for BJJ. The other factors that may come with your age are:

5.1. Your Health Status

At the age of 20, health is primarily good. Your body engine is running well. The joints and muscles are active and any physical activity or BJJ training can be performed easily without stressing out. The young body can adopt the pressures to achieve the desired goals. Moreover, your body is flexible enough to indulge in training sessions one after the another.

Due to aging, the risks are associated with your health. You may experience a number of diseases like blood pressure, arthritis, coronary infection, and mobility issues. BJJ has the quality to bring your health on the right track. The physical activities help to balance your body, regulate your blood and lower cholesterol level. Above all, a good social interaction is promoted which engages your body in something constructive.

5.2. Recovery Rate

Its natural, the human body at the later stage slows down in the recovery process. But deciding to practice BJJ at the early 20’s or in 20’s seems pretty decent and rewarding. Yes, BJJ is a difficult sport but it is a lot of fun to compete and train in Jiu-Jitsu.

All you need is to change your thinking style. If you train your mind and body that you are young enough to start BJJ then you can easily fulfill your aim. Do not count on the numbers on your Birth certificate. That will keep you seated on the couch and keep you engaged in day dreaming and regrets.

5.3. Body Conditioning

In early age training, you don't have to struggle for the factors that a middle aged or old age person might go through. You are now at your fullest potential. You will have plenty of time for training and sparring and even you can pursue your career in Jiu-Jitsu.

At the age of 20, the strength and conditioning programs are ideal to adapt and train your muscle memory and reflexes to behave in a certain way.

5.4. Persistence is King

Don't ever think that you cannot do it. In BJJ, you are never late for anything. Consistency and persistence is the key to success. Never lose hope at any stage of life.

Select the best gym nearby your area, fill the subscription form and start your training. You are definitely going to earn and benefit a lot from the Jiu-Jitsu training.

6. IBJJF Graduation System

The IBJJF Graduation System may help you to understand that starting BJJ at an early age is beneficial.

IBJJF Graduation System

The time required to gain the specific belts may vary. Sometimes people start practicing BJJ in their teens but due to some personal, family or financial issues they leave. After their life comes in the relaxing phase, they start practicing again.

7. Why is BJJ so effective?

The physical and mental benefits of jiu-jitsu are immense. The development of strength and cardio keeps the individual fit, weight remains under control and the muscles are toned. Training the grappling art helps to understand your body requirements. Body awareness is essential, it improves the balance and reactive ability of your body.

BJJ is a mental activity, it promotes the following aspects in your body.

  • Develops reasoning skills
  • Keeps you calm in the defensive position
  • Relaxation from stresses
  • Mind and Soul Coordination

8. BJJ fighters who started at the age of 20

The data gathered from the report which analyzed the starting ages of Jiu-Jitsu champions reveals that the world class champions like Rolyer Gracie, Chiquinho Cuiaba or Mackenzie Dren were toddlers when they became part of the BJJ family. Fabricio Werdum started practicing BJJ around his 20th birthday and Rubens Charles Cobrinhas joined the BJJ team after his 20’s.

Then comes the female grapplers. According to the report, around 23% females started practicing gentle art after their 20th birthday. Karen Antines and Venla Luukkonen started at the age of 23.

9. How can you become an amazing grappler?

How can you become an amazing grappler?

To become an amazing grappler, the grappling background can give you an edge rather than focusing on one specific style. Whether you want to takedown your opponent or want to apply any submission technique, you can be an amazing grappler by practicing different martial arts but do not limit yourself to the rules attached with every martial art.

9.1. Grappling with GI or No-GI

Training with Gi has a long list of techniques which are not available without it. Gi allows you to control your opponent by holding their Gi collar, cuffs and pants. It grants many survival chances to escape from the submission attempts. Applying grappling techniques with Gi also requires some methodical strategy to break the grips and to get out of the submission holds.

Training with No-Gi makes you a little quicker to hold the opponent with alternative grips. The GI grips are missing in No-Gi sparring. No-GI has the quality to promote athleticism, enhanced reflex system to handle opponent’s movements. Some No-Gi sparring techniques and grips cannot be applied in GI training sessions.

9.2. Cross Training

Many benefits are attached with cross training and you can become an amazing grappler at the age of 20. A grappler proficient in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and wrestling is considered proficient enough to win BJJ competitions.

Practicing your favorite sport no doubt enhances your skill level but training in other martial arts does not let you lose interest and the variety in sports never makes you dull. Lauren Kim wrote in her article that “Cross-training allowed me to explore passions, step outside my comfort zone.”

Following benefits are attached with cross training.

Physical fitness

Different exercises, sparring, and rolling improve your physical fitness.

Lazar says,
“Fitness and strength come in many different forms, so mixing and matching your exercises will help improve power and efficiency,”
“By mixing a variety of cardio, strength, and stretching into your workout regime, you’ll be working on many muscles and ensuring overall fitness.”

Injury Prevention

A specific blow may hit you hard at certain parts of the body. Practicing in other martial arts helps you learn different techniques to keep yourself safe from unexpected strikes and injuries.

“By mixing up your workouts, you’ll be able to avoid injuries that arise from the overuse of certain muscles,”

Improves Posture

Cross Training helps you to balance your body by working on the areas which are less involved in the movement of the body. Over reliance on a specific part of the body causes injury. Coordination among all the muscles improves body posture.

Enhance Mental Strength

Cross training boosts your mental health. One can gain calmness in life by indulging in different physical activities. The exercise releases a hormone known as endorphins which releases stress and depression from the human body.

10. MMA Fighters With Jiu-Jitsu Background

Following is the list of grapplers with Jiu-Jitsu skills

11. MMA Fighters With Judo Background

Following is the list of Strikers with Judo techniques:

  • Ronda Rousey
  • Kayla Harrison
  • Karo Parisyan
  • Rick Hawn
  • Yoshiihro Akiyama
  • Manny Gamburyan
  • Satoshi Oishi

Reading next

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Luta Livre: Introduction, Background, and Major Differences
Essential Rules for No-Gi BJJ for Beginners to Know

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