Jiu-Jitsu for Old Men (Benefits, Age Division, Recovery Tips)

Jiu-Jitsu for Old Men (Benefits, Age Division, Recovery Tips)

“You don't stop training jiu-jitsu when you get old. You get old when you stops training jiu-jitsu’’

(Helio Gracie)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu involves harsh physical training. Yet you are never too old to learn and practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; it is a martial art ideal for inexperienced people. There are differences in characteristics like training period and intensity based on age, but improving one’s skills and competing in tournaments is possible at any age.

1. BJJ Is For Everyone

Most older people reject the idea of starting jiu-jitsu due to their old age. They underestimate themselves when they enter any gym and compare themselves to younger athletes. They have this mentality that they require certain skills to initiate their training. However, this is not true. BJJ is for everyone, regardless of age, gender, shape, size, and level of fitness. If you are consistent, devoted, and passionate, you can start your training tomorrow by joining a jiu-jitsu school.

2. BJJ for Older Men

For older men, staying active is just as important for them as it is for young adults. Between the ages of 60 and 70, the body starts getting physically weaker, and most elderly people believe they should live a more sedentary lifestyle. In all other sports, there is an age limit. However, BJJ has no such age limit.

3. Benefits of BJJ Learning in Older Age

BJJ can be complex and challenging for older people. However, there are many benefits that show how BJJ is beneficial for older people.

Exercise and Fitness:

BJJ is an active martial art, including different physical activities that encourage muscle development. BJJ exercises improve your cardio, fitness, mobility, flexibility, balance, and stability. Practicing BJJ will help you lose weight.

Health Benefits:

Regularly practicing BJJ helps improve immunity and lessens the chances of contracting diseases like heart problems, obesity, diabetes, and strokes.

Mental Stability:

When you become older, you start feeling mental pressure that can affect your mental stability. However, your concentration will improve if you start learning the BJJ.

You become more focused, confident, and develop problem resolving skills. A study conducted in 2019 shows that practicing BJJ helps lowers the risk of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).

Relief from Stress:

There is a lot of stress when it comes to familial and health issues as you get older. Practicing BJJ will focus all of your attention towards your opponent and how you can stop your opponent.

Accepting Failures:

Most older individuals have difficulty controlling their ego, but when you start learning BJJ, you start to accept your failures. BJJ encourages you to overcome any blows to your ego and to learn from your mistakes. With time, you learn to control your emotions which can help you in aspects of daily life.


Older practitioners can defend themselves against stronger opponents if they know how to apply BJJ in self-defense. One of the best things about self-defense is that it doesn't depend on size and strength no matter your age, you can also benefit from learning self-defense techniques.


Joining BJJ is like joining a family you will have a whole class of people with similar goals as you. You will learn and practice alongside them; practicing BJJ will boost your confidence and allow you to make new friends.

Knowledge and Learning:

You will learn different techniques when you join a BJJ academy or school. With time, your knowledge of BJJ techniques will improve and you will become a more competent fighter.

4. Age Divisions in Older Men

There is a different age division for those older than 30 years old. This is also referred to as the senior or master division. As you grow older, you will move up into higher-ranking master divisions. For example

Age Division
30-35 Masters 1
36-40 Masters 2
41-45 Masters 3
46-50 Masters 4
51-55 Masters 5
56 -60 Masters 6
60+ Masters 7

These age divisions ensure that a 50-year-old will not compete with 25-year-old athletes. Your opponent will always be close to your age group. These age divisions follow the rules of the North American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Your master division will be determined by what age range you fall under. If you are a belt holder, then your belt rank will determine which level you will compete at.

5. Recovery Tips for BJJ Older Men

After a long training session, it's important to take care of yourself. As age increases, there will be more need for nutrition and self-care. Here are recovery tips that will help you maintain your strength long after you have finished your training.


Warming up before intensive BJJ training has its benefits. However, many adults skip warm-ups and go straight to exercises. For older individuals, it's necessary to do warm-ups before beginning practice. Otherwise, they may have to face serious injuries and soreness, due to their tissues being weaker and requiring more time to recover. Always set aside a certain amount of time for warm-ups.

Hydration and Electrolytes:

Make sure to drink an adequate amount of water so that your body doesn't get dehydrated. Always maintain a balance between the amount of water you drink and the amount of water you lose. Drinking adequate amounts of water will maintain the appropriate level of minerals and salt in your body and help improve digestion. Proper salt levels will help reduce muscle cramps.

Adequate Sleep:

Adequate sleep is necessary, especially for older people, as it releases hormones that control appetite, fat, and mood swings. When you rest after a hard day, the pituitary gland releases hormones that help with muscle repair and healing injuries. Proper sleep can increase your BJJ performance and help you feel fully rested.

Healthy Diet:

Eat a calorie and macronutrient diet to help with recovery after a tough training session. There are many different diets for BJJ athletes, but you should only consume 0.6-1.0 g for each pound of body weight.

Heat Therapy:

Steam rooms have been used for centuries to relax muscles and relieve stress. If you have any injuries or soreness, heat therapy will help speed up recovery. It would be best if you used this type of therapy twice a week. It will increase recovery speed by 25%.

Ice Packs:

You can also use ice packs to relieve pain. Cold temperatures reduce inflammation, soreness, and improve recovery time. Apply ice for almost 15 minutes on the injured spot. Using ice packs promote constricting and dilating blood vessels, helping to remove metabolic waste and giving you relief from inflammation.

6. Is BJJ Training Different for Older Men?

Yes, as they are not as physically and mentally strong as young adults, there is difference in training for older men.

Older athletes should always be mindful of the speed and intensity of their training sessions to better maintain their physical fitness. They should always find a balance between practicing and resting to prevent serious injury and allow the mind and body to rest.

Older BJJ athletes learn to practice patience as they can encounter people who cause them to become more aggressive. They should try to set a good example for younger athletes by being respectful and disciplined. Older BJJ athletes also would benefit from focusing more on recovery methods.

Many older athletes are financially stable which allows them to try many different therapies. Moreover, they can join a BJJ school that has regular physical training sessions.

Older athletes can perform tasks just as well as young adults. However, their training pace recovery is slower because of their bodies weakening with age.

7. What is the Best Way to Practice BJJ If You're Over 50?

There are a few factors that can help men over 50 years old better practice BJJ.

  • Always consult your doctor first, go for medical exams to see if there are any health issues or injuries.
  • Search for an instructor that is already teaching BJJ to older BJJ athletes.
  • Ask the instructor if he/she is willing to teach at a slower pace.
  • Concentrate less on learning difficult techniques and focus on practicing sweeps and movements that are less likely to result in injury.
  • Be consistent and passionate. Do not let your actions be determined by your ego and focus on just making progress when learning techniques.

8. How Many Days A Week Should Older BJJ Athletes Train?

As an older BJJ athlete, you should spend at least three hours on the mat per week. This is the minimum amount of time that an older athlete should spend exercising. However, if you think your recovery period is speedy and you can mangage to train longer, you can increase the length of your training sessions.

If you decide to increase the length of your training sessions, then make sure to monitor for soreness and inflammation. Keep the following tips in mind while you are doing a BJJ workout:

  • It will take time so train at a slow pace
  • Don't overtrain and work till exhaustion
  • Monitor your progress

9. Old Man Jiu-Jitsu - Training Tips For Older Grapplers

If you are an old grappler, there are strategies you can use to avoid serious injuries.

Always Select Your Techniques Accurately:

As you grow older, your speed, flexibility, and strength start to diminish. For older grapplers, you should not always practice techniques that require more flexibility.

Choose techniques that you can comfortaly pull off and with less chances of injury. You can practice simpler and safer BJJ techniques like the armbar or the triangle.

Never Compare Yourself to Younger BJJ Athletes:

When you're 65, you should not compare your physical strength with that of 25-year-old athletes. As you grow older, your physical capabilities becomes affected. Instead of trying to compete, you should focus on what you are currently capable of.

Select a Compatible Training Partner:

BJJ is a long journey that requires a lot of hard training. Make sure to choose a training partner that can go at the same pace as you. In old age, progress and healing can take time, so choose a partner who is understanding and patient.

Focus on Your Defense:

Learning to defend yourself is an important skill for everyone. For older grapplers, it is especially important as learning proper self-defense will increase the longevity of your training. It would be best if you also practiced offense to reduce the risk of injury. If you know how to use defensive techniques at any moment, you can protect yourself in difficult situations.

Your Practice Goals are Different from Young Adults:

You cannot compare your training regimen to those of young adults. As you have just started, your primary goal is to learn defensive techniques so you can better protect yourself and help increase your current level of fitness.

Young athletes practice and train hard to compete in tournaments, but that level of intense training may not be ideal for older men who have just started to learn BJJ. Although there are divisions for older men, it is best to start slow and learn the basics.

10. Conclusion

You are never too old to set another goal for yourself or to dream a new dream. BJJ is one of the best opportunities for those who want to practice a martial art at an older age. You are not too late to start learning. It's not your age that decides what you are capable of it's your devotion and motivation. If you want to do exercise, you should give BJJ a try.

 Photo Credit:  @ricksongraciejj

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