How To Deal With Potential Road Blocks For Older Grapplers

As we get older, the term “life happens” becomes a part of our day-to-day activities.  The sport we once loved so much, or the show we pined to watch at night slowly become nothing more than a time-filler as we proceed with our jobs, families, kids, etc.

However, there are some out there that choose to keep playing their desired sport as they grow older.  Basketball and baseball are two notorious sports for having “old men” leagues, where the participants seem to do just fine when balancing their time.

One sport that fits that mold is Brazilian Jiu  Jitsu.  While I try my hardest to jam-pack my day with BJJ, I can see where it would be difficult for the older crowd.  Recently, I sat down with Mark Hopkins to discuss how the 40+ year old grapplers out there can manage potential road blocks that could hinder their progress in the sport, or even keep them away completely! I also interviewed multiple other 40 plus year old black belts and you can check out what they had to say here!



Potential Deturants For Older Grapplers

No matter how old we get, or much life lessons we have learned, there are still moments in life where we can get nervous and uneasy.  When you start something new, or are progressing in a specific field, the unknown can take you back a bit.  With this in mind, I discussed how—if at all—this effects older grapplers with Mark.

He discussed how most of these guys have probably seen an MMA fight or two in their day.  During most fights, guys like Joe Rogan LOVE to discuss the background of each fighter, and when they heard him say “so-and-so in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt,” they begin to make a correlation between MMA and BJJ.

Sure, they go hand-in-hand, but they are polar opposites!  Imagine signing up for a class, and the hours before hand all you can think about it Anderson Silva front kicking people in the face, thinking  you’re next!  It’s an easy mistake to make. In my other article about an interview with Michio Grubbs, a 40 plus black belt, he talks about how to mentally be prepared for BJJ.

Don’t Allow Your Ego To Interfere With Your Progress

When you begin to become a better grappler, you will have to continue to make steps towards specific goals if you want to continue your growth.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone can cause you to become unsettled.  Let’s say that you begin to step up the ladder and start rolling with better guys at the gym, there are some things you must do to get better.

  • Embrace the physicality: You’ll get dinged up and you’ll be in tight spots with other people, just get used to this feeling.
  • You won’t be the best on the mat: These guys will likely tap you with ease, just be aware it’s all part of developing as a grappler.

As Mark put it, “it’s tough for your ego.”  You must be willing to check it at the door, and be ready to learn and to not be the best on the mat.

There are so many things that can keep people away, but if you have the proper mindset and approach, then who can say you can’t grapple?

-Dan Faggella

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