A significant portion of any bjj academy is guys is over 40 and fondly known as “the old guys”.
Along with that comes along the jokes about the Nen Guay rub and teasing about the old school.
A BJJ forum topic cane up discussing “Old Man Jiu-jitsu” and there are some worthwhile points for the “senior” grappler.
A great video by the Gracie brothers : Jiu-Jitsu Over 40 (5 Rules to Roll Till 95)
The best summation of the guidelines for “Old Man Jiu-jitsu” was this post:
“Roy Harris started the trend of discussing “old man jiujitsu” a few years back. The primary ideas behind the way he presents it include (1) avoiding injuries, (2) surviving while using energy frugally, and (3) evening the playing field against “youthful” attributes.
It’s worth mentioning that this goes hand in hand with Mr. Harris’ overall presentation of BJJ, which is one that emphasizes the development of awareness and precision, along with the cultivation of timing and sensitivity, over the attributes of speed, strength, explosiveness, and stamina.”
“twinkletoes” Bjj Black Belt – UnderGround Bjj Forum
Roy Harris has a great app out there titled Bjj Over 40
The psot contained some great descriptions of how an over 40 bjj shpuld look to adjust their grappling style and philosophy
Here are some of the best points:
1) I have heard it said that as one gets older, they should start placing a different focus on their grappling, and play more of an “old man jiu jitsu” style, which focuses less on “winning” and more on defense and not being submitted.
The problem is that you often don’t have a choice about being on the bottom. Learning defensive strategies that minimize risk and the increased use of timing and patience will go along way, not to mention avoiding dangerous positions and pressure on key areas such as the neck, etc.
There is the bigger picture too, as far as partner selection, training methods, emphasis during training, etc. But learning and reducing exposure to dangerous things vs. winning, is the main emphasis.
* protecting yourself and avoiding potentially risky positions
2) This old man likes to play a shut down game while slowing the overall pace of the roll. I prefer to focus most of my energy during my opponent’s transitions and always try to move my body around my opponent, rather than to move him.
I also have learned to breath and pace myself more effectively than I used to.
3) Old-school style jiujitsu imo is the best because it has less attribute reliance….I like the concept “everyman jijitsu”, where a person with average attributes can train and enjoy jiujitsu for fun and defense.
An attacking style with emphasis on top, pin, pressure, control and submission is very much part of an old-school/old man style imo.
The foundation is defense/survival and use of “ju” when forced to the bottom…
* Less athleticism and more technique and leverage
4) For me it’s being patient and avoiding scrambles and explosive moments and wait for my partner to make a mistake.
I take my escapes as they are given. I take the submissions as they are given.
* Timing and patience!
5) Creating a strong but flexible body structure so you can handle incoming forces much better and with less muscular effort.
* Using structures and brackets to carry the opponent’s bodyweight
My favorite quote on the topic by Carlos Gracie Jr.
“I don’t get this obsession with all of the acrobatic guards.
They are efficient, sure. But they’re fleeting. Your body has difficulty understanding them for too long.
I say this from my own experience. The lumbar region, for example, as strong as it may be, will never be armored against the passage of time.
Jiu-jitsu is for your whole lifetime, and by that line of reasoning you can rest assured that the basic techniques like the closed guard or this open guard I enjoy doing, will never abadndon us.
At 70 we’ll still be capable of performing them with plenty of mobility.
That can’t be said of the tornado guard or the berimbolo.”
What are your “Old Man Jiu-jitsu” tips?