You’re never too old to start Jiu-Jitsu

You’re Never Too Old to Master BJJ

Unlike many sports or activities, the thoughts of someone in their 30’s or 40’s picking up an entirely new sport and eventually becoming a skilled practitioner and competitor is relatively unlikely.  This is one of the beautiful things about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Regardless of ones age at the time one begins, with mat time and dedication, everyone who starts has the potential of achieving their black belt and developing a high level of mastery. 

The art has the power to help develop and maintain muscle strength, flexibility, overall fitness and keep the mind active learning techniques and positions. Even though as an older grappler, you may not feel that your athleticism, stamina and strength can match the younger students, there are some advantages that you bring to the table.


There is more and more science that shows that “old man strength” is not just an mat myth and could actually exist and be explained.  Studies have shown that as the male body, in particular, ages, there can be a surge of reproductive hormones like testosterone which can cause an increase in strength.  There are also signs that muscle memory seems to improve with age and that allows for more efficient use of complex groups of muscles that can actually make one stronger.


The mature grappler, no matter how experienced they are on the mats, brings with them an innate bodily awareness that allows them to often train smarter than their younger counterparts.  The older grappler is also more likely to be patient with their techniques and positions.  As a younger BJJ athlete, we commonly rush from position to position, utilizing too much strength.  

In the video below, the inimitable Chael Sonnen narrates a roll with his BJJ instructor, the legendary Fabiano Scherner. Fabiano Scherner, as an over 40 grappler, demonstrates the possibilities available with BJJ training for the masters level athlete.

There is no time like the present to start BJJ.  While there are plenty of excuses that people uses to not begin their journey to black belt, each with their own lack of validity, the “I’m too old to start” BJJ excuse is one of the most easily refuted when you see all of the benefits that jiu jitsu can offer the older grappler.

Fabiano Scherner is an absolute legend in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. He is the coach of multiple mixed martial arts stars like the UFC’s Paige Van Zant and the inimitable Chael Sonnen. In his newest BJJ instructional, he brings his decades of knowledge to all of the older grapplers out there.

Four Reasons You’re Never Too Old for Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu -JITSU is becoming more popular, but many people wonder if they are too old to start training.

This question is simple enough to answer. No, you aren’t. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is truly the most egalitarian martial art in the world. Anyone can practice it, no matter their age, gender, or current physical ability.

Rather than preaching on and on about how jiu-jitsu is for everyone though, I would rather argue that questions about how old is too old for jiu-jitsu should never be asked at all.

Here are four reasons that you’re never too old for jiu-jitsu.

It is Baseless

There are several worries that older people have about jiu-jitsu, including;

  1. They might be hurt
  2. They don’t want to be the old person in the gym
  3. They won’t live long enough to earn their black belt (which is genuinely something I’ve heard!)

To those people, I say;

  1. Roll lightly
  2. No one there cares about how old you are
  3. So? Die wearing a purple belt then.

I could keep talking about all the reasons I hear from people who feel they might be too old to do jiu-jitsu, but none of them have any real weight to them.

You should give jiu-jitsu a try for yourself. It’s something that everyone should try out for themselves at least once just to see what it’s like.

If you were to ask a search engine if you were too old for BJJ, no doubt you would get a lot of articles; none of which would say that you were.

Any questions about age and Brazilian jiu-jitsu have already been answered countless times. If you can read this, you can do jiu-jitsu.

It Focuses on (Perceived) Disadvantages

If you are wondering if you are too old to do jiu-jitsu, then you are assuming that being old would be a disadvantage.

Is it really one though?

There are definitely benefits to youth, but there are positives to getting older. You’ll have years of experience and wisdom behind you, and older people have proven themselves to be better decision makers; something that can help with jiu-jitsu.

Even if being older was a disadvantage, would it actually matter?

This isn’t the Hunger Games. You aren’t fighting your way through a brutal competition where you have to kill or be killed and only one student gets to leave the gym at the end of the class.

There’s only one thing that jiu-jitsu is about; self-improvement. That’s it.

It Cuts Into Training Time

Time that you spend wondering if you are too old to train in jiu-jitsu is time that you aren’t training. Not training gets in the way of training, and anything that cuts into your training time is bad. Therefore, you should stop wondering if it’s too late to start practicing jiu-jitsu and just get on with it.

Apologies if this sounds blunt, but the reality is that things are that simple. The more time wasted wondering if you should start training or not, the less time you’ll have to actually train.

The road to the black belt in jiu-jitsu is one of the hardest there is, but also one of the most rewarding. It’s an incredible journey to go through, but you can only do it if you take that first step and enter the gym.

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