If you’re going to claim that you’re “too old” to start jiu-jitsu, don’t do it in front of Roberto Aguilar. This Gracie Barra student just got his blue belt — and he did it at seventy years old.
Aguilar says that he got his start in jiu-jitsu after watching his grandson roll for about a year and a half before being asked by Romulo Barral’s wife if he’d like to give it a shot himself. He had no idea that he was taking the first steps toward a love for a brand new sport.
He claims that despite what people may assume, his greatest challenge is mental rather than physical. He also has to make sure that any training partners he pairs up with understand how to roll with someone who’s his age. As far as his physical condition goes, though, he’s good to go. “I was in good shape and had proper nutrition prior to jiu-jitsu, but I have really worked on my conditioning, cardio, and endurance. Yoga, meditation, the ocean, stretching, amino acids, and BCAAs aid the recovery of the mental and physical,” he says.
The road to blue belt wasn’t easy, but now that Aguilar has it, he sees that it was well worth all the struggles he put himself through. “The blue belt demonstrated that I did the work that was necessary, and it was very satisfying on a personal level. Especially that I am 70 years old and overcame my fears and doubts,” he says. Still, despite knowing that his age would affect him, he never let it stop him. “Age is a frame of mind. With jiu-jitsu, you don’t know unless you try it and can’t try it unless you want to. To be successful in anything you have to be willing to sweat and push yourself to your limits if need be.”
While no one would blame this wise warrior for considering his blue belt the end of his jiu-jitsu journey, he has no intentions of quitting. “My jiu-jitsu goals are to learn, stay healthy, stay flexible, and roll as far into my 70s as possible,” he says. “… And I wouldn’t turn down another promotion.