Many times training BJJ for longevity is overlooked, and the focus is put more on the younger competitors. However, it’s important to also look at the older experienced black belts who are still able to get out there, and compete even into their late 30s+. What are they doing different in order to maintain such longevity? Here are some helpful tips if your goal is to train BJJ for a lifetime.
1. Learn a style based on technique rather then athleticism: This is not to say that you shouldn’t use athleticism, especially if you are still young and perusing BJJ competitively. This is a suggestion for those who are getting older and want to train for longevity. It’s important to focus on technique rather then just strength and athleticism. Technique will not fade with age, and it can help keep you on the mat for the long haul.
2. Tap early not late: Sometimes in the moment it’s hard to tap before an injury happens because you just want to win so bad. However, it’s extremely important to know when you can fight out of it and when you need to tap in order to protect yourself. Take it as a learning experience, and replay what happened leading up to the submission. If you can do that and figure out what went wrong, you can address it, and avoid the submission in the future. Doing that will benefit you much more then not tapping, getting injured, and then not being able to train at all.
3. Be picky with your training partners: It’s okay to be picky with your training partners. If you feel someone isn’t a good roll for you and they may put you in danger of injury politely decline, and pick a different partner. Your goal is to train for the long term, and picking dangerous rolls is not the way to do it. It’s your training so it’s important to be smart and choose your rolls wisely. It could be that some days you’re up for testing yourself with that younger former wrestler, but then other times you’re just too beat up from training. Be smart and listen to your body.
4. Supplemental training: In order to keep your body strong and healthy it’s also a good idea to do supplemental training, which includes strength training and stretching. In Jiu Jitsu it’s extremely easy to develop imbalances because many things are done only to one side. If you don’t correct these imbalances it can lead to injury. Strength training is a wonderful way to correct muscular imbalances and increase strength in order to help protect your joints and ligaments from injury. Stretching and/or massage therapy are also great ways to help keep your body healthy, and working as it should. Recovery is just as important as the work out or training session.
5. Have fun and always keep learning: Jiu Jitsu is a complex sport with an endless supply of techniques to master. Just when you think you know it all someone will show you something that totally blows your mind or a whole new guard is suddenly invented. Keep training for fun and always strive to continue to learn. There are endless possibilities, and if you can keep your mind active you can avoid stagnant training periods.
If your goal is to have fun and learn every training session, you will be doing Jiu Jitsu for a lifetime. If your goal is to always win every roll, the chances of training BJJ for longevity are slim. That mentality can get you injured or too frustrated to train. If you can go home with a smile on your face and goals for the next training session, even after getting your butt kicked, you will be training Jiu Jitsu for the rest of your life.
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