Old Lions!

Manoel TavaresWhile I recently watched the IBJJ Worlds Master/Seniors tournament I wondered how many of these “Old Lions” structured their day-to-day training as they advance in age.  When I started BJJ I was already in the “Master’s” division.  I have had my fair share of injuries that have taught me how to train smarter and hopefully for life.  Below are my guiding principles when it comes to daily training.  These principles will not necessarily make me a black belt world champion but will allow me to be a life long martial artists, which is my personal goal. 

1. Have a Goal when you roll.  For me the goal of training is not to win but expand skill-sets…training is not a competition.  When I spar I always have a training objective in mind.  This allows me to make the most of the mat time and ensures I am keeping the right perspective while training.  Every match is not the Mundials!

 2.  Be Humble.  Your ego has no place in a learning environment and will hamper your progress.  You will eventually stagnate if you only play your “A game” because you’re afraid of loosing or what people may think.  This is why it is important to have training partners you trust.  Every gym has guys that treat each sparring session like the World Championships.  Don’t let these guys be your primary training partners.  Rolling with these types of guys has its place in training but not as a steady diet.  Injury prevention is the name of the game for Old Lions!

 3.  Fitness. Try to conduct cardio training outside the gym at a minimum 3 times a week.   As you get older your stamina naturally starts to decline and I have found that putting in the extra physical training in addition to regular mat time helps maintain baseline conditioning.  Stretching is also important.  There is a saying…”The fountain of youth is located in the spine”Stretch often to keep your back flexible. Stretching will help prevent injuries while keeping you loose, flexible and young!

4.  Moderation.   Jiu Jitsu is a journey…not a destination.  It is important to have a healthy balance between training and other things in life.  I usually don’t train more than four times a week.  This keeps me from feeling drained both physically or mentally and gives me more time for other things in my life.   A black belt in jiu jitsu is the hardest to obtain in martial arts…averaging 10 years. Maintaining a 5-day a week schedule for 10 years is not realistic for most people and will likely lead to burnout and quitting.   Bjj4life!

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