A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt at our school, Manassas MMA, who may be called Billcelo Garnagle (to protect his privacy), posted the pic below on Redditt, which got more than 1 million views within 24 hours.
It has been over a year since I blogged on OldManJiuJitsu.com. As can be read in the Facebook post above, I have faced those dreaded or character building life scenarios of middle age. Father heart attack, take care of him for 4 months, in-home hospice, death, estate executor (thanks to O'Toole Law Office), left software company that I founded (C2Logix), started new search engine optimization (SEO) company (SeeYouSEO), got active in All Saints Catholic Church parish, 12 yo daughter sagas, etc.
Doing BJJ over 40 has a lot of obstacles in the way of dedicating time to the sport. Regardless, it is pure, a sanctuary, and one of the best things that I have been involved with in life after 40. I have not had much time for the sport in the last 15 months, but it is still an important part of my life.
At 44 yo my order of priorities is the opposite of BJJ, Work, Family. Thus, being injured again (knee this time doing judo) intensifies this dilemna of priorities. Regarding the injury, dumb-me...I didn't fully warm up and I should have not sparred as my training had been limited at the time. I also have not done any weight training in over a year, which I think helps protect from injuries (and I have started again). The worst part of the injury is not the rehab. Its the wife and workmates essentially calling me an idiot for continuing to train BJJ after having 4 significant injuries in the last 28 months, since I started (that resulted in a surgery and 2-4 months off in each case).
Now, 3 of the 4 injuries came from my, albeit successfull, use of the seio nage. Thus, to me, the solution is clear, no more judo and seio nage. I am inherently clumsy anyways. Thus, I do not blame the sport. I also point out to people that I (slightly) injured myself by falling down the stairs twice and kicking a chair playing Kinect in the same 2 year period.
Other BJJ Over 40's must also be experiencing many more injuries than our younger counterparts. I will post that question on the BJJ Over 40 facebook group. For this blog, we focus on the humor of age, injuries and BJJ. Thus...
OMJJ's Top Ten Comments of Friends and Family to BJJ Injuries
10. You are too old for that (yes, boring comment, but by far the most often heard comment).
9. Did you ever think of taking walks at the mall instead?
8. For what you get out of it, it can't be worth it... retire! (a comment from an overweight 300 lb. guy)
7. Do something easier. What do you have to prove?
6. Your body is not flexible like it used to be. Your tendons and ligaments are like beef jerky now.
5. Get a grip, your days of glory and competition are over. (ouch)
4. You may suffer from arthritis later in life due to that injury. (comment from my new buddy, the orthopaedist...not funny at all)
3. Getting pudgy shows that you are a content father. You don't need to be in shape like a twenty year old. (no need to worry about this one, I still look like a content father)
2. Why don't you be a normal person and buy a sports car or get a mistress and have an affair for your mid-life crisis? (I tried that, I bought a Camry)
1. Jiu Jitsu will not make you any younger.
I was looking for a place to train on Orlando (while there for work) and came across the new Alliance Orlando. I walked in to a building that wasn't yet a full operating gym, but knew they had classes going from their facebook post. The General Manager was very welcoming, very engaging, and offered me to come back for the class in a half hour or so. When I came back, I know that I was in the right place when most people waiting were speaking Portuguese.
The class was run by BB Michel Langhi, brother of Michael Langhi. Michael Langhi is the head instructor, but was back in Brazil. It was a "real" training session with long warm ups and 3 or so rounds of 7 minute sparring. They are just starting, so the class sessions have not been separated between experience levels, but the drills were in separate groups.
For me, this was the first time that I had trained BJJ with Brazilians. Its not like it is any different for me, the noob, but there is a novelty. More experienced people will gain a lot from training with the upper echelons of the sport.
The important thing for me was that this place was great experience (instruction, welcoming-ness, facility). I look forward to training here again. To train with the sports elite gets me thinking a lot about the sport. Think about it (ca. Falling Hard), can you ever train with professional football/basketball/baseball players? No. Here is the chance to train with BJJ's professionals. It makes that training session different. Even if you are just here as a BJJ tourist.
I was in Denver and had the opportunity to train at Easton BJJ in Littleton. Easton BJJ has six branches, which I was at a South Denver suburb branch. This was my first time training at a larger school, but there was little difference except in their being a well organized curriculum. My impressions:
Very welcoming to a drop in - it is a little intimidating/awkward showing up at a new school to train just for a night - they were very friendly and accommodating. Thanks!
They required an instructor to watch you roll before attending class or sparring - meant to monitor the spazzes - safety measure.
Floated/elevated springy mats were very nice.
They had separate Beginner (up to 3 stripe white belt), Intermediate (above 3 stripes), and Advanced classes, which seemed like it could make it easier for a beginner to start training to only spar with fellow noobs (or more spastic).
My biggest impression was the uncommon number of Over 40 folks. I asked Head Instructor, Chris Stolzman, about the gentrified popularity of his school. He noted that they had a well attended kids class and many of the older folks were parents. Another instructor responded to my question on the percentage of aged students, "this intermediate class here is pretty typical, it has 2 of 10 people over 40, so 20%."