In 2013 I moved out to a rural spot and found I had to cut hedges, fine, a lot of hedge but the next day may back was on fire and I could barely move
I visited a doctor and, later, an osteopath who recommended that I gently bring myself back to a bit more physical activity. She asked me what I had been doing before or even when I was younger as I had hit my 50s. I mentioned weights and ju-jitsu. She said I needed to keep my muscles mobile and should train a little bit. I checked my weight which was’t that great.
A long way from the Gym in rural Sussex, I began to do a few weights and kettle bells each morning at home and combined this with some stretches and Yoga. My fitness and flexibility started to improve, Cut to three years later and I am cutting down on my Carbs and taking my 9 year old daughter to Judo Classes wondering what else i should do?
As I watched, I wondered… whether I should begin training in Ju-Jitsu again, which I had one in my youth and enjoyed, no not brazilain jiu-jitsu with all its ground work but traditional Ju-Jitsu. So I looked for a Class found one for a while in Maresfiedl which got me back on track and then wandered down to the Landport Community Centre one Tuesday and found Sensei Ray Twitchen, someone who had dedicated his life to self defence, judo and ju-jitsu.
With Ju-Jitsu I found that my natural advantages – size and strength – could be easily nullified by someone with technique. The whole enterprise was intriguing, I had bought a GI, dug out all my old stuff, including my qualifications and decided to give it a go.
Part of me is also a realist and Ju-Jitsu is something you can train for your entire life; Sensei Ray is proof of this. I also found my flexibility, agility and strength were entirely different…bring on that hedge.
So at 55 I have committed myself to this Ju-Jitsu thing again and I work and learn, which is what matters. I’ve made ju-jitsu a habit, even if circumstances sometimes make it tough to come as much as I want. I’m convinced that ju-jitsu should be embraced by people at mid-life, and not for the reasons you often hear (self-defense). Here’s why the training is so valuable:
Why walk away from the truth? Ju-jitsu is challenging. It’s challenging technically and sometimes feels like being a rubber man. It’s tough physically, even if you are bigger (like me). Some classes are an hour of frustration. There are plenty of books about Ju-Jitsu but they can’t get you the feel, the psychology, the craft of working with another person. But the fact that it’s hard is a good thing if you are over 40. As people start to age our culture wants to make things easy. You can play golf instead of something physically challenging. When you play golf, you can use a cart instead of walking. Ju-Jitsu is the perfect challenge because the art is about seeking the most efficient and methodical way to defend yourself. It’s not about being strong; trust me, I know. It’s about being able to spot opportunities. One of these years I hope to start spotting them.
You will build a community.
As our club grows so the ju-jitsu and self defence community grows form ages 5 to 75 Because bushido Kwai Dojo teaches kids as well. Ju-jitsu will offer a community, that in todays working from home, business of one society can be a real stress release.
Your doctor visits will be happy.
Stress, Weight, Cholesterol, heart lungs , go for that well-woman or eel-man test on the NHS its free. And without radical diets, abstinence or avoiding food I like (although I am more prudent). I’m about way lighter and fitter than I was 3years ago. Your doctor will probably tell you to continue what you are doing I will you will be able to say to him i am training in Ju-Jitsu.
Difficult emotions will be easier to manage.
Getting older in our culture means you have to handle a lot: traffic jams, bills, deaths in the family, too much work, financial concerns, bad news.
When you train in ju-jitsu you enter a place where it is easy to unplug from the internet world and the stresses and strains. All that matters is what happens on the mat.
If you are distracted, during training , it will become quickly evident.
Your age will be an asset.
Everyone talks about the shortcomings: reduced flexibility, less muscle mass, more aches and pains. I’m often dog-tired the day after training. But thee really are upsides. At 40 plus you know that life is about the long haul, not the short term. You stay on track and continue to train, little by little, more by more. You will be able to deal with setbacks because you’ve probably encountered many in other parts of life.
You won’t get bored.
This might be the most important fact. Everyone is telling you to diet, cut cholesterol, go for a walk, and avoid challenge. So what about a smart challenge? I might have been confused, even a bruised, not always enthused. But I’ve never been bored.But then I also get a good workout.
Going to the gym and standing on machines gets boring really quickly. Good Ju-Jitsu is like play, it brings you back to yourself . Then you learn to regulate your breathing and pace yourself. The more I’ve tried to do that, the more I’ve enjoyed training.
I recently listened to a mate who complaining about weight training , it meant nothing to me because Ju-Jitsu is not like that.
If you are 40 plus, try Ju-Jitsu with Bushido Kwai Dojo – Lewes, or your nearest Ju-Jitsu Dojo. We meet Tuesday evenings at 8pm, give it a go. If this article doesn’t convince you then ask me in person I’m usually in class on Tuesday evening. Come when you want; I plan on doing this for a long time.