Forever Young

There used to be a Karate class at the dojo called “Executive Karate”, for students who were 35 and older.  Even though I started training Karate when I was 35, I never attended that class, but now that I’m 43, I sometimes wish we had one like it for Jiu-Jitsu.  The only problem is I think I would be the only student.  It would just be me and Old Man Conan, and that doesn’t sound like very much fun!

Alright, alright, alright!

To paraphrase Matthew McConaughey in his iconic role as Wooderson “I get older, the new students stay the same age.”  He wasn’t complaining and neither am I, because Shihan says that one of the quickest ways to get old is to hang around old people, so I figure since I train Jiu-Jitsu with a bunch of young folk, that means I will never get old, right?  However, I swear that the next twenty-something in class who says “I’m too old for this!” is going to get punched in the spleen.

I am glad that at least Conan’s older than I am, and he reminds me to try not to play a younger person’s game, but to develop one that will keep working for me as I continue to age.  Sometimes I have a tendency to try to match the intensity level of my young partners, and I end up tiring myself out, so it’s important that I learn to grapple as efficiently as I can.  No wasted energy, no unnecessary movements.

I usually end up competing against women who I could have given birth to, and age does make a difference, but if you learn how to play your own game, you can negate much of the advantage.  At the last tournament I competed in someone yelled out to one of my competitors  “Come on, you’re younger and stronger than she is, you can beat her!”  It kind of annoyed me when they said that, but it didn’t stop me from winning.  This old lady fights younger, stronger people almost all of the time.

“The older you get, the more rules they are going to try and get you to follow. 
You just gotta keep on livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N.” -David Wooderson

8 comments on “Forever Young

  1. It has been pointed out to me on a few occasions that I was the oldest guy on the mat at the time at 34. Ken, I believe is 38. So I gladly look up to you, Conan, and Ken to remind me that I'm not that old. ;)

  2. You're in my head this week Gina! Love it! We were just talking about that in class last night. Got a couple of guys that are "almost" my age, but are new to the sport and haven't quite goten used to all the aches and pains and things that come from training jiu jitsu. The biggest thing for me at 45 is to not overtrain. My body needs more time to repair and rest. I get antsy wanting to train too much and then I usually end up sick or injured. You really do have to play a different game as you age. No crazy, flying, pretzel moves for this old girl…good, solid, basic jiu jitsu. I want to live to roll another day. There's lot of beautiful jiu jitsu I've yet to learn! :)

  3. Josh, you are older than I thought you were! I rarely get to train with Ken, but even he makes me feel like an old lady. ;)"The biggest thing for me at 45 is to not overtrain." Yeah, that's a really hard one, Debra!

  4. For the record, I am only 45 years old, and have been for the past four years. One of the cool things about getting older is that I've developed an incredible amount of "old man strength."

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