Thursday, February 18, 2016

Are you too old to begin competing?

I get this question occasionally,

"Am I too old to begin competing in combat sports?"

and I am usually tempted to just respond,


Actually, I think that is the right answer but that would make a very short post, so let me elaborate.

First of all, the correct answer is:


It is not true that the worst thing that could happen is that you might lose and be embarrassed. The worst thing that could happen is that you could get injured, incur some hospital bills and miss work. The insurance that the judo organizations insist you pay for as part of your membership is to protect THEM from being sued. Good luck with those medical bills.

If you have good health insurance and sick leave, then, go for it. If you have a family that depends on your income or you would be very hard-pressed to pay an extra grand in medical bills, then maybe you shouldn't compete.

Yes, the odds of being injured are not high, but I've been attending judo tournaments for 45 years and at least half of the time, someone gets injured. That might be one out of 300 or 500 people at the tournament, but that is still odds significantly different from zero.

There is some scientific evidence that suggests "weekend warriors", that is, those who compress most of their physical activity into the weekend, are at greater risk of an injury.

So ... if you really do want to compete, and you are not concerned about the minor but non-zero risk of injury, I'd say, go for it BUT be sure that before you do compete you get into good physical condition by training regularly during the week.

Personally, I quit competing when I was 26 years old, but that's a post for another day.

What I'm doing instead of competing 

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Joe said...

Great post, thank you! I started BJJ at 46 and have been competing since, in what we call the "masters" divisions, which are separated in 5 year increments starting at 30 years old. Lots of camaraderie in the old men and women divisions -- we'd love to have you. :)

Anonymous said...

Conversely, would 3 years old be too young to start training?