Grapplers Graveyard

3 Things You Need To Know When Starting Jiu-Jitsu at 40 (or After)

starting jiu jitsu at 40

Time really does fly, doesn’t it? It is easy to feel like you are “too old” to start your journey in Brazilian jiu-jitsu but I want to reassure you that no matter your age, you can train BJJ. Now, you are not 20 anymore obviously, so you have different goals going into this sport. Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be a physically taxing sport to pick up especially later in life but many people have done it and completely turned their life around.

If you want a real story about someone who started in their 40s and turned their entire life around, look no further than our old coach Alex Martinez. We talk about him here.

starting jiu jitsu at 40

Starting Jiu Jitsu at 40 (or After)

Starting anything new, especially at a later age in life, can be a daunting task. We run into so many obstacles in life and it seems that age is always a factor holding people back from fulfilling their potential. Every excuse under the sun could be used. You could be out of shape, haven’t worked out in years, or “don’t have enough time”, whatever it is, know that it is an excuse that needs to be laid to rest.

We want to meet you where you are and help you achieve your goals, no matter what they are and what they look like right now. When you are starting BJJ at 40 (or later) there is a foundation that you need to build after all the years of bad habits that you may have picked up.

Building a consistent habit of showing up, eating proper foods that fuel you, and stopping things like excessive tv watching (to train) or smoking may be called up. If you let it, martial arts training can impact your life in many ways.

Looking to lose weight? Well, we got you.

Looking to feel more confident in your own skin? We got you.

My personal jiu-jitsu journey (and many of my friends) have been completely transformative. This whole business was built off of that idea, we want to help the world in the same way BJJ helped us in our darkest moments.

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Every Grappler Needs A Solid Foundation

Okay, so you may be starting training without having any kind of physical exercise in years. While this is not ideal, it is also not the end of the world. The best way to get dials in and build a solid foundation for yourself so you can stick around for the long haul is the following:

  • Get clear on your goals

  • Start eating and fueling your body better

  • Build consistent habits with yourself and show up to training at a minimum 3x per week for the first couple of months

  • Stretch and warm up properly

  • Take recovery and rest very seriously

BJJ is hard for everyone

Being an older guy (or girl) starting your jiu-jitsu journey can be challenging especially when you have quick athletic training partners that are much younger than you. At first glance, it may be tempting to say “BJJ is just too hard for me” but the reality is that it is hard for everyone, no matter the age.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu does a great job at weeding people out over time. Training sessions are not going to be “easy” but they will be rewarding. Something you will learn, especially was you transition from beginner classes to intermediate classes, is that the harder the class the better you feel about yourself afterward.

The best thing about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it has millions of parallels to real life. So many lessons that are learned on the mats can carry over to real life. We like to think of the mats as a battleground for you to build your mental fortitude for real challenges that come up in everyday life.

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Rest, recovery, diet

If you are starting later in life, rest recovery, and diet are going to be way more important for you than you think. Do not underestimate this part or you may be in a world of pain. Ground fighting is taxing and the body of yours is not getting any younger anytime soon.


Start training as frequently as you possibly can. We recommend spending at least 3 times a week for the first 4 months for those who are looking to take their training seriously. If you are super new to the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, we want to welcome you to the community. Grapplers Graveyard is the #1 resource for all kinds of beginner questions that are hard to get answers to from coaches and hard to find online.

Beginner Questions Answered

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you start Jiu-jitsu at 40?

Yes, you ca start training jiu-jitsu in your 40s. Setting realistic goals for yourself, eating properly, resting, and getting strict on your recovery will need to be more of a focus for you over someone who is starting at a younger age. There are many examples of people starting much later in life and getting very good at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you are not alone.

Can you compete in BJJ in your 40s?

Yes, you can compete in BJJ tournaments over the age of 40. At the age of 40 you will be competing in the Masters division.

Is 50 too old to start Jiu-Jitsu?

50 is not too old to start training jiu-jitsu. There are plenty of examples out there of people who started this late in life. If you plan on starting jiu-jitsu at the age of 50 be sure to examine your body’s capabilities and not to push yourself too hard. You will adapt overtime but to prevent any kind of injury, start off slow and work your way to more time on the mats.

How hard is it to get a black belt in BJJ?

On average, it takes practitioners training 3-5 times per week about seven to ten years to get their black belt in BJJ. Getting your black belt in BJJ is a big deal for many and takes a good amount of sacrifice and effort to do so.

Will BJJ change your life?

Many practitioners have stated that BJJ has changed their lives but we lie to argue that it was not BJJ that did it, it was their own choices that changed who they were. The funny thing about when you start incorporating discipline and a practical way to work your mental fortitude is that you instantly find a new outlet to get into a better headspace. When you show up for yourself consistently and push through challenging things your confidence does increase and in turn, people like to give credit to BJJ for doing that in their life.

We like to give power to people and say that it is your choice on how BJJ can impact your life.

  • Cameron Allen

    Cameron is the Founder of Grapplers Graveyard. He is an entrepreneur, athlete, and life-long learner. His goal is to build businesses that help people become smarter, healthier, and happier. Avid Cold Plunger, Blue Belt, and Tech Sales Professional who has a passion for building websites.

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