What To Know Starting BJJ At 30

October 1, 2020

Every year you say you’re going to start BJJ. Now you’ve turned 30 and realized it’s finally time! Walk into your local jiu-jitsu gym and you’ll find practitioners of all ages and all levels. It truly is a sport that everyone can do no matter the age.

When starting BJJ at 30, how you approach your training is going to be dictated by your training background. If you’ve been very active all of your life, you’ll be able to handle training multiple times per week. If you are coming from being a couch potato, then you have to be careful with how hard you train.

Age should never be a limiting factor in what you decide to do. As they say, age is just a number. Your biological age is far more important and luckily for us, it can be changed based on how we live our lives.

So what are some things you should be aware of starting BJJ at 30?

Is It Too Late To Start BJJ At 30?

It’s never too late to start BJJ! BJJ gyms are filled with people from all walks of life. Male. Female. Older. Younger. Bigger. Smaller. Different professions. At 30 years old, you still have the rest of your life to train the sport that you will fall in love with once you start.

It’s important to stop thinking about your age as being ‘old.’ You only get old when you stop moving, playing, and training. Many athletes peak in their 30s in their respective sports. Now that’s not to say you’re coming into BJJ at your peak and you’ll take over the competitive scene. It means that if you come in with a fragile mindset, you will likely be fragile.

If you’ve been actively strength training or performing other cardiovascular activity, you will be able to train more often than someone who hasn’t done any formal exercise in the past 10 years. You will adapt quickly to the training.

Now, if you have plans on becoming one of the top BJJ practitioners and taking out ADCC and EBI, then you may have to adjust your goals. This isn’t impossible with hours of dedicated training and some talent, but for many of us, this isn’t likely.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t compete or even win competitions. Most states, countries, or even cities host IBJJF competitions as well as other organizations. There are also national competitions hosted every year.

There is EVERY CHANCE you can compete and win these competitions if that is a goal of yours. Even starting at 30. If winning competitions and competing aren’t your cup of tea, that is completely fine. The great thing about BJJ is that rolling in class can be done at 100% without the high risk of injury like in striking sports.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Start BJJ At 30

Learn A New Skill

What makes BJJ so addictive and enjoyable is the fact you are learning a new skill. That means there is measurable progress every training week. Did you land a specific submission for the first time? Or land a sweep that was just taught in class? These are measureable results that will keep you in the sport for a long time.

While learning a new skill, you’re also improving cardiovascular health and developing upper body strength.

Find Enjoyable Exercise

Many people enjoy going for a run, swim, or bike. Or enjoy going to the gym and getting stronger. And these are great activities to keep you young and healthy. But some people just don’t enjoy those activities.

They can be boring… monotonous even. BJJ is the complete opposite. Every training day provides you with a new challenge. Whether that’s learning a new technique. Rolling with different training partners. Or drilling positions that you are poor in.

Improve Self Confidence

Knowing that you have the ability to defend yourself and your family will carry over into your everyday life. There’s no need to show ‘you are tough.’ You will develop the confidence to carry yourself knowing you have the skills to deal with many situations.

Take You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Life can be easy in this day and age. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Watch Netflix. Sleep. But an easy life makes us soft. Any adversity is likely to cause more problems than it should. Starting BJJ is a big step out of your comfort zone. It could be why you haven’t started already.

Taking this plunge will teach you things you never knew it could. Like patience. Turning up every single week even though you are getting beaten by everybody in the gym. Continuing to train even though you don’t feel like you’re improving. Not giving up just because it is hard.

These things you can only learn outside of your comfort zone and being pushed.

Create A New Social Circle Of Like-Minded Friends

It’s always nice to have a group of friends that share the same interests as you. Especially when those interests and hobbies are positive. With how busy people get with life, you may not see your childhood friends very often.

With BJJ, you’ll see your fight friends every week in class. Eventually, you’ll be watching fights together or training in each other’s garage setups.

At 30, you may have even moved countries for work. Joining a BJJ gym allows you to meet new people quickly that will share the same love for BJJ as you.

It Can Become A Family Affair

As you won’t stop talking about what you learned in class or about BJJ in general, you may drive your significant other mad. Mad enough to join class with you.

I’ve seen many people start BJJ, fall in love with it, and then bring their significant other to class who also falls in love with it. Then they also bring their kids!

It can be great family time together learning how to murder each other safely.

You Will Regret Not Starting Now

Every time someone starts BJJ, they always regret not starting earlier. If you don’t start now, you will regret it when you eventually start the following year or even later in life. As they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. Don’t let now pass you by.

Tips For Starting BJJ At 30

Start Slow

If you haven’t been formally active for a while, make sure to start slow! It is easy to get injured performing a sport of awkward movements when you haven’t trained for a long time. Start with class 2-3x a week. You know that you’ve adapted to the training when you’re not as sore after each training session as you were in the beginning.

Don’t Only Do BJJ

What I mean by this is don’t just go to class and do nothing else. Make sure you look after your body outside of the gym. Whether that is massage, yoga, or just going on walks. Doing something that is light and active can help the recovery process between trainings.

Make It A Lifestyle

Being consistently active is a lifestyle in itself. Let it carry over into how you eat and go about your day. Get more sunshine and fresh air. Eat more vegetables and less takeaways. Watch less TV and read more books. All of these things can increase the quality and longevity of your life.

Be Aware Of Your Recovery

Sadly, you’re not 20 anymore. It may take a little longer to recover between sessions than it used to. If you’ve kept an active lifestyle, it may not affect you. If you haven’t you may have postural issues that will cause you pain and discomfort after training sessions. Check out my article “Stop Stretching To Get Flexible For MMA” to find some techniques that make you more mobile for BJJ.

Look After Your Neck

Even if you’ve stayed active over the years, the neck is something you probably haven’t trained. Performing some remedial neck exercise will help strengthen it and provide some therapeutic benefits especially when it’s sore after training. Avoid doing the typical neck bridges that are popular in wrestling.

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


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