Is starting judo or jiu-jitsu at age 45 too late?

I don’t think so.

I started around 38 with jiu-jitsu and I didn’t have any grappling experience. After a year I wanted to learn judo too, so I moved to a school that did both.

I currently train both although I spend more time doing BJJ.

What are your concerns? Getting hurt?

You can get hurt. These activities are not as safe as playing table tennis, but many sports are dangerous.

Life is dangerous.

Even if you try to play it safe and hide out at home something else will get you, like disease…

I have received a few injuries mostly minor, but a few that took me out for a while. You got to watch out, especially for the big and strong guys.

You also have to watch out for your ego.

Your passion or will can’t compete with someone who has years of experience so my advice is…

Take it easy.

Cross train: workout, do other exercises.

It takes a lot of time to learn these martial arts and there is always something to learn regardless of your level. In judo the term for a black belt is “shodan” which actually means beginning degree.

I have heard plenty of blackbelts in jiu-jitsu say the same thing.

Think long term. But 45 is not that old.

Initially it’s all going to be new and there are so many movements which you aren’t used to. I train quite a bit now. In the past I was doing 4 days a week with 2 of those days being for a mix of judo and jiu-jitsu.

Now I am doing like 6 days a week for jiu-jitsu and 2 days a week in judo when I can.

Which is harder?

Most people I know who do jiu-jitsu say judo is harder. I spend more time doing jiu-jitsu so I am not really sure what the judo folks think of jiu-jitsu.

Although..

I know my judo teacher would sometimes make comments like jiu-jitsu is more for “animals” – as there are fewer rules. Or you have to use technique in judo where jiu-jitsu is all muscle.

But…

I don’t agree with that. I think that was his bias. I see it the same way and that’s that it is all technique, but strength is an attribute too.

Strength and size matter in both.

If they didn’t matter there wouldn’t be separate weight divisions in competitions.

Anyways…

You get impact with judo cause you get thrown and sometimes it’s hard and unexpected. It’s a little faster and probably demands better conditioning than BJJ.

Jiu-jitsu is slower so you tend to get less impact and collision, but you can get strain and injuries too.

But again make sure you start slow and learn how to fall. Find a good school that is looking out for you.

I also recommend doing some yoga to stay limber, but not intense yoga. I do about 15 minutes of yoga for jiu-jitsu a day and I think it helps balance out my body and then a few days a week for strength training. I think all of those things help.

There are a lot of guys in my current jiu-jitsu school who are in their 40’s, some in their 50’s, a guy who is really strong and agile in his 60’s and even a guy who is 70 (in the video above).

Just start slow and take it easy.

Find a good school for either one and tell them your concerns.

I think for starters judo is better to learn as it is a little more well rounded. You learn the basics like falling, plus judo is where BJJ came from, so I think it’s good to know the tradition.

But either one could work depending on what you want. Also I would do some cross training with other exercises.

Here’s a tip for judo to remember.

Tuck your chin!

Remember that when you fall or get thrown because if you don’t you will get a bit of whiplash on your neck or hit your head on the mat.

And as one teacher said, “tap early and tap often”. And as I always tell myself, “play smart”.

And…

Don’t resist.

So here are some tips again to repeat over and over again in your head.

  • Tuck your chin (when falling, but also helps to prevent some chokes)
  • Don’t resist
  • Tap early and tap often
  • Play smart

And lastly

Don’t just take my word for it.

I tried Vegetarian, Vegan, Keto, Fasting, The Plant Paradox Diet & How I Lost Weight

I have tried many different diets and in this video I go over which ones I have done and which ones made me lose weight.

Vegetarian (10 years) 00:58
Vegan 03:27
The ketogenic diet 03:58
The Plant Paradox diet 05:14
The Warrior diet 08:46
Various fasting & time restricted feeding diets 09:40
My current diet and feeding schedule 11:30
KEY MESSAGE if you want to lose weight 16:08

And I wasn’t actually trying to lose weight, but that’s what happened. My intention for trying the different diets was to optimize my body and get in the best shape possible.

I think they all affected my current diet which is 95% vegetarian and that’s just my natural diet.

I was a strict vegetarian for 10 years (about 20-30 years old). In that time I didn’t eat any meat. And for much of that time I didn’t eat eggs either.

Periodically I have tried vegan diets and cutting out the dairy and eggs. But honestly I didn’t notice any changes.

I did the ketogenic diet for 6 months. It was difficult to transition to and it took like a month or so. I might have lost a bit of weight initially, but when I came off of it I weighed the same as when I went on it.

I didn’t notice any difference in performance after I had been on it for a few months either.

I tried the Plant Paradox diet too and I didn’t really notice too much of a change. However, I think I did cut back on eating night shade vegetables. I didn’t eat that many but I don’t eat any more now.

I never had problems with them.

There are foods like that.

Like wheat. I never noticed any problems from eating wheat, but I have read a lot of negative stuff about it so I rarely eat bread or pasta.

These days for carbs I eat mostly sweet potatoes and bit of rice flour in this kind of pancake that I often make with sesame flour, egg, cinnamon and sometimes raisins.

I have done different kinds of fasts too. I started with the Warrior Diet and that took off some weight, but I didn’t stick with it for very long as it was tough.

Then I did occasional long term fasts 2-3+ days which help stimulate autophagy.

And then for a long time (like a year or more) I did once a week fasting for 21-24 hours. It might have been good, but it didn’t take off weight.

Then I would also frequently not eat in the morning and do time restricted feeding.

So what really worked?

That takes me to where I am now. Fukuoka, Japan. I decided I would try some fasting and training while in a fasted state.

What do I do?

I get up, drink tea and work on my website for a few hours and then I ride my bike to jiu-jitsu which is 6km from my house. Then I train jiu-jitsu for 1-2 hours and then ride to Japanese class. Two days a week I also do a simple body weight workout usually after jiu-jitsu or sometimes after class.

After Japanese class I ride my bike home.

When I get home it’s somewhere between 4 and 5 and then that’s when I start cooking and eating. Then I’ll eat a lot of food between then and say 10pm at night.

I do that probably about 4 days a week or so.

So the bottom line is that I exercise in a fasted state. I don’t eat anything until much off my daily physical work at least is done.

It’s not that hard.

It’s the hardest in the morning sometimes when I am at home. But after I start riding my bike, doing jiu-jitsu and going to class I am usually not thinking about food.

But…

Yes, I am excited to go home and eat.

Tea helps me too. I drink matcha early in the morning and then rooibus, barley tea and sometimes others.

Anyways. I am just sharing on what I noticed to take weight off from me. My waist line feels a little tighter and there is less fat. I never had much fat to begin with, but more than what I have now.

Maybe 5-10 lbs as I used to weigh about 158, but the other day when I weighed myself I was 68.5 kg with my gi on in the morning and they say you weigh less in the morning.

The abdominal workout that I do at Axis jiu-jitsu (5 exercises & 500 repetitions)

This is at Axis jiu-jitsu in Fukuoka. On some of the weekdays we do an abdominal workout with about 5 different exercises and on this day it totaled about 500 repetitions.

The larger the class the more sit ups we do.

It’s a really awesome core workout.

I think my stomach actually got a little more cut from this, the intermittent fasting I do, and the exercise I sometimes do when I am fasting: jiu-jitsu, riding my bike 12km a day, working out, etc.

Related:

My Simple 11 Minute Full Body Weight Workout

I like body weight exercises because they are simple and I can do them almost anywhere. You don’t need a gym to do push ups, squats, sit ups, planks, and/or jumping.

And those exercises right there are a basic full body workout.

If you have access to a bar or a playground you can usually do some pull ups or leg ups which I’ll show you in the video.

And remember you don’t need a gym or weights. So that’s not an excuse!

This body weight workout will work your upperbody, core and legs and it only took me about 11 minutes and nothing else other than a swing set that I used as a pull up bar and a stone wall to jump up on.

Here I do some:
-pull ups (upper body)
-leg ups (core+arms)
-planks (core)
-frog jump squats (legs)
-jump ups or box jumps (legs)

I do 2 sets of each exercise for the most part. I usually go for fatigue and stop and then do another exercise and then come back.

Here I do about 25 pull ups, 20 full breaths of planks, 15 leg ups, 40 frog jumps, and maybe 70 box jumps.

Doing another set would probably give me more muscle development, yet I can get bored doing a lot of repetition so I keep it simple. Also I don’t like to spend a lot of time doing this.

Have knee issues?

Box jumping up does not hurt my knees. Jumping rope can hurt my knees and squats can hurt my knees and if I jump down from the box that can hurt so I step down and jump up.

This was shot in Fukuoka, Japan. My current home.

Related:

My monthly food expenses in Japan

*My monthly food expenses in Japan was originally posted on ESLinsider. The original post is as follows: 

Last month I kept track of my receipts where I am currently living here in Fukuoka, Japan. I wanted to see how much I spent on groceries. I was thinking that I spent about the same or maybe a little less.

Well, it seemed like things cost about the same as they do in San Francisco where I was living before Japan.

So how much did I spend?

Well, I spent about 30,000 Yen which is about $270 USD. That’s about the same amount that I would spend in Trader Joes in San Fran.

I think next month I can lower it. I might try to get it down to about $200. I think the most expensive things that I was buying was nuts. MMMM, I love nuts, but I will try to cut it down and see what happens.

Also I found a cheaper store for some things, so I could probably shave off a few more Yen.

What sort of food “can’t” I find here?

No complaints, really, but I will try to compare this to Trader Joes where I used to shop mostly in San Fran. There is a slightly different selection of fruit and vegetables. The fruit selection is smaller and at the moment it’s mostly apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, cumquats, grapefruits, etc.

I think what you don’t get is all the international foods stuff like: hummus, guacamole, Thai spices, salsa, Italian foods, a bunch of different chips, etc. I don’t remember seeing anything like power bars and the like. I remember at Whole Foods there was nearly a whole aisle for these.

It’s mostly just the basics. There are some organic foods too.

This is just based on where I have been shopping mostly at this place called AEON Max Value. Which is funny cause AEON is also a company in Japan for teaching English too. But anyways I think there are probably places out there where you can get more international foods probably, but I don’t know where they are.

I have no problem eating the basics as that is what I usually do anyways. My diet didn’t actually change much since I came to Japan.

I am mostly vegetarian and eat:

  • vegetables: cabbage, spinach, sprouts, broccoli, etc.
  • sweet potatoes
  • eggs
  • nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds
  • rice flour
  • milk or occasionally yogurt
  • rarely-occasionally chicken or seafood

I had no problem finding those things. Some other things I have been eating since I have been here are miso, soba noodles and daikon radish.

In the video above I give some prices. Here are some rough estimates of costs:

  • Milk=$1.50 a pint
  • Yogurt=$3
  • Sweet potatoes=$2-3
  • Almonds=$5
  • Walnuts=$5
  • Soba noodles=$2
  • Miso paste=$3
  • Daikon radish=$1
  • Cabbage=$1.50
  • Sesame seed flour=$1
  • Chicken=$1-3
  • Eggs=$1.50-2
  • Shrimp=$2-3

Lastly there is not much for cheese. I tried this one “cheddar cheese” but it didn’t quite taste like cheese. There are a few options, but don’t expect much.

Inside the sharehouse where I am living in Fukuoka, Japan

In this video I take a look inside the sharehouse where I am living in Fukuoka, Japan.

I moved here in January and started in one sharehouse and then moved into this one which is a little better. It’s quieter and I have been sleeping better.

It’s pretty cheap and…

Things are going pretty good. I like Japan and I have been training jiu-jitsu a lot, learning Japanese and working on ESLinsider.

1st Impression Of Japan

This wasn’t my first time to Japan, but it is the first time back in Asia since 2011. My first time in Japan was actually in 2008 after I found a teaching job in Korea I went to Fukuoka, Japan for a visa run.

I made this video a few weeks ago actually. I talk about Japan, Fukuoka, culture, compare it to San Fran a bit and then watch some cool koi and check out some gardens in late January.

7 Reasons to do Yoga for Jiu-jitsu and MMA

Here’s a video I made about practicing yoga for jiu-jitsu and martial arts. And following the video are 8 reasons why you should practice yoga or at least consider it if you train martial arts.

1. Increase flexibility and mobility

Increasing your flexibility is a perk in jiu-jitsu. There are a lot of factors that can make in difference in BJJ or judo and flexibility is one.

The others are strength, weight, speed, and skill.

But with flexibility…

Maybe you can do rubber guard, avoid painful stack passes or just sneak your legs into just about everywhere. Many people that I roll with tell me that I am pretty flexible. I think I am somewhat, but I am not extremely flexible.

I know people who are definitely more.

But the thing is you can always get more flexible if you focus on it and you are patient.

And remember if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.

I started to lose some flexibility in my knee. When I first started BJJ I realized I couldn’t kneel without pain. Closed guard escapes and just seiza hurt. I thought it was arthritis from injuries and old age, but I had stopped doing certain poses in yoga too.

So I started to do deep squats, some kneeling and then gradually I was able to kneel without much pain in my knee.

2. Reduce recovery time

If you are sore after practice then yoga is a great way to speed up your recovery time. But don’t over do it. Some yoga classes are too intense and with other people around you can overstretch trying to compete with others.

I do yoga every day and only for about 15 minutes. That’s enough. I don’t do yoga for exercise. For exercise, I do body weight exercises like push ups, pull ups, leg ups, squats, box jumps, etc.

And I suppose you could say the jiu-jitsu and judo I do is exercise too, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s fun.

Yoga is something I do for maintenance. It’s like brushing my teeth.

If you want to reduce your recovery time and not feel sore and stiff the next day then do yoga, but take it easy. I don’t actually suggest a class for that. I mean you can take classes like I did in my first year to learn, but choose wisely as some are pretty intense.

I think more frequently and less intense is better. That may also be the case for martial arts training in general as Firas Zahabi said.

3. Get centered and calm down

For balance I think you need something soft to complement the martial arts. Jiu-jitsu, judo, MMA, etc. are all hard on the body. If you exclusively do hard training all the time you will burn out and your body will fail.

Don’t be too tough.

Take it easy and take care of your body.

4. Improve your breathing and cardiovascular system

Yoga isn’t just stretching and yoga isn’t yoga if you are not doing the breath work. In jiu-jitsu you can find yourself in a lot of tough positions where you can easily freak out or panic.

But that is not going to help. You need to focus on your breath, be patient and then maybe you can get out of that terrible position. But if you panic you will gas out and probably have no chance.

The practice of deep breathing will also improve your cardiovascular system.

5. Control your mind

Your breath controls your mindset.

Think not?

Then pay attention to your breath the next time you are:

  • angry
  • depressed
  • anxious

Now breath.

Take deep steady breaths for an extended period of time and notice how it helps control your mind and body.

6. Prepare for competition or anxiety

Light yoga and/or meditation with a focus on your breath can help ease the anxiety that fills your body before competition.

Here’s a simple technique to ease your nerves.

Deep belly breathing.

Place your hands on your stomach and then breath in for a 5 count and expand your belly. Pause for a 5 count. Exhale for a 5 count and contract your belly. Pause for a 5 count.

Repeat and continue.

Or do some yoga and focus on your breath.

Activating your body somewhat might be an even better way to calm down whether you are preparing for a competition or dealing with general anxiety.

7. Help heal injuries or prevent them

If you injure something your body can get out of whack. It might lose proper alignment or function. Yoga is a way to activate muscles that may be out of balance, tight or out of shape.

8. Cross train

I think a lot of benefits come from cross training. If you train exclusively in one domain you may become one dimensional and parts of your body may get out of shape or suffer from over use.

What do you think?

Any other reasons you should do yoga for martial arts or jiu-jitsu?

NSJ Sharehouse – My experience

UPDATE: Maybe 3 or 4 days ago I moved into a different NSJ Sharehouse and so far it’s better. I like my room better, it’s less noisy and my annoying neighbor is gone which is the biggest perk.

Original post…

I have been living in this place for about 2 weeks and honestly I think it’s a piece of shit. I was planning on writing a review later, but this just triggered it. It’s 2:32 am and I am up because I can’t sleep.

2 out of the last 3 nights I have been listening to my neighbor go in and out of his room at 1, 2 and 3 am. When he shuts his door it sounds like he is shutting my door.

This place is very fragile. It’s like I could jump through the wall.

I do yoga in the morning and vibrate my legs on my mat and when I do that the whole house shakes.

I can hear my neighbor through the wall talking to himself. I can hear him push the button to turn on his heat. I am surprised that it is still standing. The wall between us is more like a curtain and I am surprised that this place hasn’t been destroyed by a typhoon or earthquake.

It’s not made out of cement. It probably is thin wood framing with thin walls, but nothing like 2×4’s. It’s really wimpy and COLD because it’s not insulated.

Even the shower water doesn’t get that hot. It gets kinda hot, but not that hot so you end up spending a longer time in the shower.

Supposedly someone cleans the place too for a discount, but they don’t do a very good job. Well, the surfaces are clean enough, but the toilets aren’t cleaned.

It’s cheap and well you get what you pay for.

I am the oldest one living here. There’s like a kid living next to me who is still in college.

Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for my neighbor. But it’s like you have pseudo privacy. I have turntables and do some music and other creative stuff and just feel that is unsuitable in this house.

Oh yeah the other thing that she said before I came when I was asking about how soundproof one of the rooms was something like, “if you want soundproofing then maybe Japan is not for you”.

Like all houses in Japan are like this one???

Not.

Maybe if you read this you might find the place to be o.k. for you, but don’t expect much. Expect something like a dormitory room hostel with curtains between the rooms. Remember you get what you pay for.

It’s on the cheaper end, but actually it should be cheaper considering the quality of the place. And from what I have heard from other people living in Fukuoka it’s not that cheap. I have lived in a lot of places across the USA, Taiwan, China, Korea and now this crappy place.

Honestly I don’t really have anything good to say about this place. There’s other people and well I don’t really give a fuck. I’d rather live alone and have a more simple life instead of living with random people and neighbors that complicate your life.

Training jiu-jitsu at my new dojo in Fukuoka, Japan

So I have been in Fukuoka, Japan for a few weeks training jiu-jitsu and learning Japanese. It’s going good.

I started training at a new dojo called Axis jiu-jitsu Fukuoka. It’s a nice small space near Ohori park in Fukuoka.

It’s fun training at a new place too.

I chose this place basically cause it was the closest place to where I live which is like 7km away and the owner let me train there on my first day for free.

Before that I went to a couple of other places in the city to check them out.

The first place said there was no free class and that it would be 2,000 Yen which is about $20 and if I wanted to train for a month then it would be 20,000 Yen.

What?!

I had already done some research on places around Fukuoka and knew a few were around 10,000 Yen a month which is about $100.

I went to the next place and they seemed more friendly. They didn’t invite me for a free class, but said it was 10,800 Yen.

I was thinking that maybe things in Japan were different with no free first class.

So then I was thinking of going to another place, but just decided to go to Axis jiu-jitsu since that was closer anyway. When I did the teacher Kanda invited me to the mat when I walked in the door for free.

So after class I rode my bike home and pretty much decided that was where I was going to train at. And that’s where I am now.

Some customs remind me of my first school in San Fran, Romulo Melo as everyone seems to shake hands when they greet each other on the mat.

Maybe that is a Gracie thing I don’t know.

It’s nice to be able to train everyday too. I hurt my knee, but other than that the vibe seems mostly pretty relaxed too.

More on Axis jiu-jitsu in Fukuoka.