It’s not like it was when i was a kid….
“It’s not like back when I was a kid…”
How many times have you heard this saying, or better yet how many times have you used it?
Growing up the youngest of 5 boys, I started competing in sports at the age of 4 – swimming and soccer early on, then came basketball, football, ice hockey and lacrosse. I’ve coached and participated in sports ever since. At the age of 28 while personally struggling with career direction and purpose, my wife encouraged me to find a hobby and “go try that thing you always talk about when you watch the fights”. She was referring to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and there happened to be a gym about 6 blocks from my job so I took a chance – hey, Columbus did. I called and scheduled a class for the next day during lunch.
My first exposure to BJJ: I took an extended lunch break and raced a few blocks to the afore mentioned academy for an introductory class. It was my first time on any sort of mats, first time in a gi and here I am learning the Americana and Rear Naked Choke with none other than Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro himself. From that moment on I was hooked. The next day I signed up at a gym 3 miles away from my house, Mrkulic Brazilin Jiu Jitsu.
Trying to start something new at the age of 28 is no easy task – and jiu jitsu is very demanding of both the mind and body. You will get tired, you will be sore, and you will ache in places you didn’t know you had thanks to a new training technique. Now at 34 you might think I’m past my prime athletic years, and you’re probably right – however since I started training I have maintained better physical health and improved my overall physique simply by putting in time on the mats. I didn’t run, didn’t lift weights for the first four years I trained. I relied solely on having better technique than my opposition. Now I realize the benefit of putting in additional time off the mats to ensure longevity on them.
If you instill a few mindful habits early on you will be able to practice jiu jitsu well into your later years, and you will reduce the soreness and aches endured over time thru more effective use of energy – both yours and your training partners. Here are a few things to consider, in no particular order:
- Stretch / Yoga daily – no substitute for increased flexibility/mobility, not to mention the breath control
- Foam roller / lacrosse ball daily – work out the kinks before they work you off the mats
- Weight lifting – functional strength to augment jiu jitsu training, not for looks
- Cardio – a great way to connect with training partners off the mats – go for a hike, bike, run, or swim.
- Diet – Take care of your meat vehicle, put good fuel in the tank. You can’t expect to train hard on an empty stomach, or on a stomach full of crap food.
Last year I started doing some running and focusing on my diet more – it’s hard not to when your wife runs ultramarathons – and this year I’m getting back into weight-lifting and yoga. As we get older it’s imperative to incorporate other training methods like these to help stay healthy and on the mats.
Time to get ready for tonight’s training – first teaching beginners, then taking the intermediate class with Professor Charles. Circle back for the next post exploring the lifestyle of a mid-30s jiu jiteiro. #TheJourneyContinues
Published: January 3, 2023