I recently turned 32, and I feel great!
I used to hear my older students complain about “getting old,” even though I wouldn’t consider being in your thirties “old.” They would say there cardio has dropped off, reaction time has suffered, and complain of injuries.
I won’t lie and say there is no drawbacks, but there are some serious benefits. For one, my techniques have never been more refined. Even after training for over 18 years, I am constantly learning new things everyday. My level of understanding behind the mechanics of certain techniques has skyrocketed – allowing me to innovate and experiment with new techniques at a much faster rate.
My strength has also increased significantly. I am not doing anything drastically different than in the past, but I can feel the “silverback” effect kicking in. I also feel a bit wiser, having experienced a lot more in my life (I can imagine when I am 70!)
I remember that I could be like a cheetah, and go 100% sparring at the drop of dime. Now, I need a real warm up to loosen me up before I get into battle. A good warm up and stretch is much more important these days and not something that I can afford to skip. This is not a big deal, but it is a noticeable difference.
However, the real drawback I am experiencing is recovery time, when I was 18, an injury was something that would cost me one day of training. It was almost impossible to be hurt. Now, not so much, LOL! Making a bad move can cost me weeks of nursing a limb if I am not careful. This has resulted in me being much more careful in training, and tapping sooner.
Overall, I am happy with the way my body is adjusting. In my eyes, I have yet to hit my peak and I look forward to continually improving my skills.
Apparently, our muscle strength can increase as we get older but our ligament strength will decline at some point. Hence, necessity for stretching and warm up as we get older. Perhaps nutrition can also help with this. No expert in this field.
I say, your never too old for this shit, father time is your greatest adversary, fight him with intelligence, conditioning and determination. This is one opponent that we should not tap out to.
To use another cliche, “use it or lose it”.
Almost 50, training in Martial Arts for half my life.
Started training BJJ at 53. Recovery is definitely longer from when I was younger doing martial arts. Also my heart doesn’t handle a load as well. This can be worked on by training for these deficiencies but my health is a lot better than it was before taking up bjj. It takes a lot of determination to keep at it especially when rolling with the younger guys. I have to depend on leverage and technique more. This is another dimension of bjj – the mental toughness to be persistant and find ways to adjust.