Now that I have completed my latest degree, our move, and my rental has tenants again, I now find myself in possession of spare time. I decided to fill some of that time by taking up Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The gym that I joined lets you attend unlimited sessions for $200 per month, with an extra $100 if you want to add Muay Thai. The two together are what comprises MMA. There is no contract, it is a simple month to month deal.

For now, I signed up for the BJJ, with the intention of adding the Muay Thai at a later date. There are two types of classes: one group practices with the intent of competition, the other with the intent of self defense. Different approaches. There are different classes at different times each day, so you can go every day, if you so choose.

I have only gone to a couple of classes so far. The classes in the middle of the day are small, with the instructor and just three or four students. They last 90 minutes, and we spend most of the class mastering a move and the counter for it. We end each class by sparring in 5 minute rounds. (Called ‘rolling’ in BJJ). The rules for rolling are simple:

  • No striking. That includes knees, feet, hands.
  • No gouging of eyes, or grabbing the throat.
  • No genital strikes.
  • Nothing that is intended to injure or disable your opponent. This isn’t a street fight, its practice.

It makes the fight purely one of strength, endurance, and skill. Skill is a HUGE part, and a good fight is like a chess match. Move, countermove. The more skill the two fighters have, the faster and more complicated the ordeal.

Today, I was matched up with a 20 something year old who had more experience with MMA, but was about 70 pounds lighter than I am. I am very flexible and I weigh over 200 pounds, so I have advantages there. He was younger and more skilled, so there were his advantages. It turns out that his biggest advantage was endurance.

He made first contact, and I managed to throw him to the mat and land on him before he could react. I had him pinned and kept my base wide, so he couldn’t reverse or throw me off. He tried several joint locks and throws, but I was stronger than he was and kept him pinned for the next 3 and a half minutes. Then he managed to reverse before pinning me to the mat and I had to tap out. He was surprised that I was strong and flexible enough to get out of most of the holds he tried to use. In the end, he just outlasted me because my endurance ran out.

It was a lot of fun, but was very tiring. I was completely out of breath by the end of the five minutes.

By the time I got home, the right side of my chest hurts every time I move. It hurts to breathe, to bend over, and it’s even somewhat uncomfortable to type this post.

I really hope I didn’t break a rib. Even if I am still hurting, I will still go tomorrow. Today’s biggest lesson was that I need to do more cardio. I am going to work on that.

Categories: MeTraining


Jonesy · May 13, 2024 at 12:33 pm

Knowing self defense, especially as we get older is very important. Without youth on your side, skill must fill the void. And as most of us here have some firearms training, having some additional tools to use is prudent.

I started Hapkido at 45 (working on 2nd BB), added Filipino martial arts a year later and now have added Silat to the mix and am approaching 51. My existing disciplines have some crossover with BJJ. Ground work is very hard. Cardio is king there.

You have to train hard to understand how to apply the art when it matters, but you do have to moderate it such that you don’t get hurt. I’ve thrown out my back(instead of throwing an opponent), broken 2 toes, hyper extended my elbow, sprained my shoulder, and been choked out. Things do happen. And there is no shame in toning it down. Just make sure you and your sparring partner are aligned.

Kudos for trying BJJ. Its a difficult to master but effective art. In competition, the primary use is submission, hopefully your instructor is showing useful adaptions for self defense. I’m sure you got this part….don’t rely on a tap-out in a street fight.

Elrod · May 14, 2024 at 7:47 am

“No Pain, No Gain” has some degree of truth to it; sometimes the pain is mental, sometimes emotional, sometimes financial, often physical. And, sometimes, “discomfort” is mislabeled as “pain” when it should really be called “the challenge of growth and learning.”

Congrats on continuing the challenge; I suspect, however, that despite your gains in the mastery of force, leverage and momentum, you will, as you climb the calendar, eventually come to more appreciate the value of 45 Caliber Leverage.

    Divemedic · May 14, 2024 at 11:06 am

    This is another tool in the toolbox. The one skill you gain today may be the one skill you need tomorrow.

Will · May 14, 2024 at 9:24 am

Regardless of the rules, I’d still wear a cup.

Craig · May 14, 2024 at 7:33 pm

So much for the old saying”old age and treachery beats youth and skill”. I’m 58 and should follow your lead in adding tools to my toolbox.

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