Beyond Grappling – dedicated to improving your Judo » How to Age as a Grappler
It is common that when you hit your 30s you see certain changes in your grappling game. For example, you can't quite use the same techniques that you used to use. Or, recovery after...

It is common that when you hit your 30s you see certain changes in your grappling game. For example, you can't quite use the same techniques that you used to use. Or, recovery after training takes longer and longer. Unfortunately, you can't just get back on the mat and do whatever you want.

If you don't learn how to make the appropriate adjustments physically and mentally, you could have big surprises (eg, injuries). That's why it's important to review your training and recovery methods as you get older. These tips will keep you happier on the mats so you can keep working out for years to come.

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Check your ego

As they age, it is more difficult to cope with young kids in the gym who are in their athletic heyday. Accept that you are no longer the spring chicken that you used to be. Often times, nothing good can come from accepting every challenge. Yes, you could beat your opponent or win, but you should also ask yourself if your body will feel like crap from the intensity of the workout. Additionally, you need to understand what you are going to get out of each intense round and if it is worth it for your development.

Depending on the context, you must learn to say "no" to a challenge. Know that you have limits. Even if you accept a challenge from someone, “checking your ego” can also mean that you are reaching your skill level and intensity level and accepting that you will likely be exploited. There is no shame in this recognition.

Do this by comparing yourself to people of the same age and skill level. If you compare yourself to young, high-level competitors, you'll want to constantly test yourself, but you'll end up feeling bad about your inability to reach their level. Avoid frustration by checking your ego and accepting your current state, whatever it is.

Consider alternative sports exercises

Jiujitsu is great for fitness, but it also beats your body. Your body needs to recover to keep you fit on the mat. Fortunately, there are many alternative forms of exercise that complement jiu jitsu.

Find an exercise that will allow your body to heal. This may be kettlebells, pilates, etc.

Stretch forms tend to be a favorite among judo and jiujitsu practitioners. With proper exercise, your body will learn to heal and relieve tension in your muscles. Consider alternating your BJJ training days with your exercise / recovery days. As you do this your body will start to rebuild itself and your overall BJJ performance will improve.

While we tend to think about jiujitsu equipment like gis, rugs, and rashguards, but you should also invest in equipment that is good for your recovery. For example, try to find a (hard) foam roller, which can help relieve your fascia after training.

Lily This article for more tips on recovering from a BJJ workout.

More targeted turnover

Sparing is an important part of jiu jitsu training. Although it is crucial to improve, combat is very hard on the body. Hard rolling should be limited for older grapplers. The intense rolls will zap you forcibly, may result in injury, and require you to spend more time off the mat recovering.

Instead, lower your combat level and give yourself certain goals when you go up against someone. Maybe you can just play a certain position or use only a certain technique. By focusing on a specific area of ​​your game and rolling for a specific purpose, you will avoid injury and improve faster.

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Get the right training partner

Choose your training partners wisely. The purpose of training is to improve, and growth requires a challenge. As grappling is a sport that must be played with another person, it is essential that your the training partner knows how to challenge you in a safe and appropriate way. Often times, training partners just want to go 100% to test the outer limits of their strength and ability. These types of partners are not good for grappling the older one.

Avoid new wrestlers trying out jiu jitsu for the first time or the four stripe white belt who likes to be aggressive so they can reach blue. Instead, develop a good relationship with the person in the class who enjoys technique rather than pure muscle. Finally, remember that the best way to find a great training partner is to be one, too. If you have a bad reputation on the mat, start changing that by being more considerate of your teammates.


For just over 3 years I have been training in Kung Fu and Muay Thai. Learning any martial art is a physically and mentally challenging process that takes years of practice to master. Here are 4 tips I wish I had known that can improve your training and reduce the time it takes between novice and grandmaster.

Flexibility is a fundamental trait of any good martial artist. Having this early on in your training will help boost you ahead for many reasons. Firstly, the more advanced techniques in martial arts require you to be extremely flexible, it’s impossible to begin learning them without the required flexibility to do so, and thus you will be learning advanced moves earlier in your training if you’re already performing a perfect split. Secondly, you need to kick high, sometimes higher than your own head. If you’re training in a martial art that is fight orientated, such as kickboxing, being able to kick your opponent in the head is one of the best moves you have in your arsenal of attacks. If you are studying an art such as Kung Fu, flexibility will dramatically improve your technique in forms, helping you to score those extra points in competitions for your technical ability.

One of the best ways to learn, I have found, is directly from the horse’s mouth, in this case your master. Typically, in your classes, your master will demonstrate a technique that they want you to practice with a partner. If they don’t ask for volunteers before performing each technique, go ahead and tell them before the chic starts that you would like to be involved in the demonstrations. This will help you get a real feel for what they’re trying to show you, as you can miss subtle techniques that may be out of your vision. Volunteering to be demonstrated on can seem scary, but remember that they are a master of what they do, and they won’t actually be performing the move with the intent to hurt you.

Hitting pads is good for when you’re learning a new move, but you will find you begin performing the technique in a much different way when faced with something that will hit back. Simple things like remembering to cover your head when throwing a kick or punch will become deuxième nature after being punished for dropping your guard, even for a split second. You may be asked or required to participate in a fighting tournament at some point of your martial arts journey, and the best way you can prepare for this is sparring. Remember that it is for the purpose of learning, not knocking each other out as quick as you can. You will begin to learn how to spot and react to your opponent’s openings, and how to defend against different moves. Forget being stronger or faster than your opponent, being an éclairé fighter is what will give you the advantage come fight night.

Your training doesn’t begin and end when you enter and leave the doors. My Kung Fu master always told us that “practice is good, but perfect practice makes perfect”. When you train at home make sure you are performing each technique properly, as if you were in class, bad vêtements form fast and are extremely hard to be undone. Purchasing a large mirror is a great investment so you can l'étude yourself at home. Also watching scènes of other people performing techniques will help you to see how different techniques should look when you’re not at chic.

Did you set a new year resolution this year ? If so, do they happen to be martial arts related ? Do you think you will actually achieve them ?

Statistics for failed New Year’s resolutions run anywhere between 45-80%. Now that another new year is here, it’s time to focus and set our eyes back on the prize in order to not become part of this rather bleak data. to help you, on this post, I’ll be highlighting a couple personal tips that may help make both your short-term and long-term goals stick

Focusing on small milestones, following your motivation, challenging yourself, and finding what inspires you can help you make improvements for the rest year and meet or even surpass your martial arts goals and beyond !

You’re much more likely to stay motivated and make improvements if you’re doing something you enjoy. What is your absolute favorite thing to do at your martial arts school ? If you love to spar find ways to push yourself harder. Ask your instructor for pointers. Train with higher-ranking students. Seek out tournaments in your area for a challenge.

What if you’re doing what you love, and you’re already good at it, but you don’t know how to improve ? Avoid stagnation by digging deeper into your favorite activity. Find ways to go out of your comfort zone. Ask for help and feedback even in areas where you feel you are at your best. For example, if you enjoy doing forms, ask your instructor to work with you on finer details.

Play around with timing and emphasis. Enter or at least attend a tournament to see how other martial artists practice forms and see what you can learn from them. Seek out master classes, seminars, and clinics in your area. If you want some fun and relaxation while you practice consider taking a martial arts holiday.

Alternatively, you can also work on your training from the comfort of your own home by joining an online martial arts training. As you won’t even have to step foot outside, there’s simply no excuse not to keep up your practice !

Think about your long-term goals and then break it down into small milestones. Do you want to be able to do fifty push-ups in one set, but right now you can only do ten ? Don’t burn yourself out on day one trying to do all fifty. You may injure yourself or simply become discouraged that you can’t reach your goal immediately.

Slow down. Scale back. Try adding five extra push-ups per week, and over time you’ll build up the strength and stamina you need to meet your goal.

Maybe you have transferred schools and need to relearn the particular forms or self-defense techniques practiced at your new school. I have seen this happen with black belts and higher-ranking color belts who have transferred to my dojang. For example, a fellow black belt practiced Taeguk taekwondo forms at her old dojang, but now she needs to learn the Palgwe forms that we practice.

Rather than trying to learn everything at once, which will likely feel overwhelming, start with one technique or one form. Ask an instructor or another black belt for help. Watch scènes online. Move on to the next technique when you are able to perform the first one without any guidance or prompts.

Sometimes you have to do things in martial arts that you don’t enjoy as much but you still have to do due to coutume, chic schedules, and keeping your practice well-rounded. Martial arts may be the hardest thing you do, but it shouldn’t feel like drudgery. Think about what you don’t enjoy as much in class or what you dread doing, and try to figure out why you avoid it. Perhaps you don’t like it because you’re not very skilled ( yet ), you don’t do it very often, you find it stressful, or you simply find it boring.

Challenge yourself. Find the “fun” in something that has simply felt like work. It’s easy to get better at something you enjoy and you’re naturally good at doing. Just think of how it will feel when you make improvements in an area where you have continuously struggled.

Leveraging your strengths can help you develop skills in areas where you struggle. For example, if sparring is particularly challenging, be mindful of other times when you use blocks or strikes such as in forms or self-defense. Make them as sharp and powerful as you would in a faster-paced sparring match. Ask your instructor to incorporate quick reaction drills into classes. Attend extra sparring classes, and if you are a black belt or higher ranking, attend lower ranking sparring classes and offer to coach or referee. Teaching a skill can help you make vast improvements in your own practice.

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