Advice for a 63 year old beginner

RacecityUSA

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Hello all: I'm 63 years old and considering starting Muay Thai and BJJ. There is a good place right here in my town. TBH I'm a little fearful to start, I'm decently strong as lift fairly heavy multiple time per week and also know that I need to work to improve flexibility and figure the training will help with that. I went to the school to check it out and will most likely be the oldest guy there. A few of the Muay Thai people there are not in as good of shape as I am so I think I can probably keep up somewhat while I build conditioning and endurance. Not sure about the BJJ folks. Am I crazy to start at such an advanced age and do y'all have any advice for me? Thx
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I'll suggest that at your age, fighting may not be your thing. You may still be able to develop/polish/enhance your MA skill, but you have already lost that window for testing (in the ring, or on the mat).
 
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Monkey Turned Wolf

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I'll suggest that at your age, fighting may not be your thing. You may still be able to develop/polish/enhance your MA skill, but you have already lost that window for testing (in the ring, or on the mat).
Depending on the style, this isn't necessarily true. BJJ has some senior divisions, I believe karate does as well, and my old fencing coach was still competing at ~70. @RacecityUSA you can absolutely start now and still learn plenty. Like flying crane said just make sure you understand when to rest. For Muay Thai, stick to light sparring, and with BJJ tap early, tap often. You can still learn the skills.
 

JowGaWolf

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Hello all: I'm 63 years old and considering starting Muay Thai and BJJ. There is a good place right here in my town. TBH I'm a little fearful to start, I'm decently strong as lift fairly heavy multiple time per week and also know that I need to work to improve flexibility and figure the training will help with that. I went to the school to check it out and will most likely be the oldest guy there. A few of the Muay Thai people there are not in as good of shape as I am so I think I can probably keep up somewhat while I build conditioning and endurance. Not sure about the BJJ folks. Am I crazy to start at such an advanced age and do y'all have any advice for me? Thx
Has long as your heart and other organs are healthy then enjoy the training. Enjoy learning something new.
I'm decently strong as lift fairly heavy multiple time per week and also know that I need to work to improve flexibility and figure the training will help with that.
None of this matters when you first start Martial Arts. No matter how fit you think you are, martial arts will introduce you to a new type of fitness. You are correct that the training will help with it. When people tell me that they are out of shape, I always remind them that's what the training is for. Just have fun with the experience
 

Kung Fu Wang

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my old fencing coach was still competing at ~70.
The OP is thinking about MT and BJJ. The

- MT roundhouse kick on the head,
- BJJ shoulder throw,

can be risky for 63 years old.

MT_head)kick.jpg


Chang-outer-bow.gif
 
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Monkey Turned Wolf

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The OP is thinking about MT and BJJ. The

- MT roundhouse kick on the head,
- BJJ shoulder throw,

can be risky for 63 years old.
MT I can't say anything about, beyond that I knew people at 60+ who trained it. But BJJ you can definitely compete in it. You just have to know what stuff your body can/can't do. So if you can't do a shoulder throw, you have to figure out other options.
 

Damien

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I say go for it! It's never too late to start learning. Martial arts are great fun and good for improving mobility and fitness.

Just go at your pace, listen to your body and start cautiously. You'll soon learn what you can and can't do. If you've got any injuries, long term aggravations etc. let your coach know right up front. A good coach will listen and adapt for you.

Sure you probably don't want to be doing a lot of very powerful kicks on hard heavy bags (bones get increasingly weak from your mid 30's onwards), or sparring hard, but if you're sensible and you have training partners that will look out for you, you should be OK.

I would say you should probably get a check up from your doctor first though. Same goes for pretty much anyone starting a new exercise regime that is going to put stresses on their body they are not used to.
 

Dirty Dog

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I've wrapped black belts around more than one person older than you. I think the oldest was 76 at the time.
A friend who runs a dive shop in Cancun certified a guy at 78, He had to teach him how to swim first.
 

Instructor

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I've also promoted people in their 70's, generally they could do all the things the other students could do. Just remember that if the person training you doesn't know your physical state he might ask you to do more than you can do. Communication is key. Also it's okay to move at your own pace, flexibility takes time.
 

SgtBarnes

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nothing wrong with training as you age but there are limitations. Maybe go for a less dynamic style. I see no point in a 70+ year old training in say taekwon do. I know Dirty Dog will disagree with me but what織s the point if you can織t do the dynamic kicks in the art which is what taekwon do is known for. I saw a guy trying to kick in karate who was just not up to it. It looked like he was trying to kick a Pigmy (the instructors words) felt sorry for the old boy.
 

JowGaWolf

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It looked like he was trying to kick a Pigmy (the instructors words) felt sorry for the old boy.
This is me all day. Nothing beats a sneaky low kick to the legs. Knot that muscle right up. Do it correctly and the person will never see it. Works great as a short range techniques.
 

SgtBarnes

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This is me all day. Nothing beats a sneaky low kick to the legs. Knot that muscle right up. Do it correctly and the person will never see it. Works great as a short range techniques.
i read that bruce lee never used high kicks in a real fight.
 

Tony Dismukes

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BJJ (and occasionally Muay Thai) instructor here. I'm 6 years younger than you, but I'm on track to still be active on the mats when I get to your age.
  • Take time to warm up thoroughly before class. Not stretching, movements to get the blood flowing and your muscles physically warm,
  • Immediately after class (while you are still warm) is the best time to do some stretching and work on flexibility.
  • Never stretch so that it hurts. Just go to the point where you feel resistance, then hang out and breathe until you can relax into the stretch a little further.
  • Tap early and tap often
  • Don't be embarrassed to take extra breaks during class if you need them. You want to push out of your comfort zone, but you don't want to injure yourself or have a heart attack.
  • If you do have end up with some sort of mild injury (like a pulled muscle) talk to your instructor about the possibility of showing up and doing just those exercises you can do safely or doing modifications rather than skipping class entirely. Don't just ignore the injury and make it worse. At our age, those heal a lot more slowly than they used to.
  • Don't worry about "winning" or "losing" when you roll (i.e. free-grapple) in BJJ. Just try to relax, keep moving, and remember the techniques you've been shown. If you can choose sparring partners who like to "flow roll" it will help you adapt to the environment.
  • You'll likely have extreme muscle soreness (and possibly achey joints) for the first few weeks. This is normal, even for younger folks. I recommend hot baths, massage, ice, healthy diet, and yoga to help manage this. I also recommend training 2-3 days per week in the beginning. If you do less than 2 days your body won't make the adaptations you need. If you do more than 3 days at the beginning then you'll probably overload your recovery capacity.
  • Focus on technique. You don't want to be trying to beat the 20 year olds on pure athleticism.
  • Consistency is king. You are much better showing up every week and getting in some technical reps than throwing yourself in 100% right away, injuring yourself, then being out for a month.
  • Cardio will probably be the toughest thing for you in the beginning. If you try both Muay Thai and BJJ, you'll likely find that they hit your cardio differently so that you can be conditioned for one but not the other. The more you can relax, the longer you will be able to go.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
 

jayoliver00

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Hello all: I'm 63 years old and considering starting Muay Thai and BJJ. There is a good place right here in my town. TBH I'm a little fearful to start, I'm decently strong as lift fairly heavy multiple time per week and also know that I need to work to improve flexibility and figure the training will help with that. I went to the school to check it out and will most likely be the oldest guy there. A few of the Muay Thai people there are not in as good of shape as I am so I think I can probably keep up somewhat while I build conditioning and endurance. Not sure about the BJJ folks. Am I crazy to start at such an advanced age and do y'all have any advice for me? Thx

BJJ will usually hurt you more than Muay Thai. At your age, BJJ will hurt your back first, esp. lower back (not including submissions & injuries b/c you didn't tap early). Muay Thai, then it'll be more cardio and pain to injury on the ankles, knees, etc. Don't be shy about wearing a brace for the back, ankles & kness right away.... later, shoulders, elbows....

It also depends on the gym and how hard they go. Most old guys don't last long when they start out if they try to keep up with the rest of the class. I bet many people here can't do the full BJJ warmup exercises w/o taking a rest. Nothing wrong with that, just take it slow.
 

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