04 December 2008

Helio Gracie - Training into Old Age

Image by Esther Lin - all elbows

I wonder what systems and styles or whatever I will be training in as I get into my twilight years. Helio Gracie (above) is truly an inspiring individual and still gets on the mat and trains in his 90's! Not only does he still train and occasionally teach, but he is a true picture of good health.

How many people do you know who can not only function well physically and mentally but who actually undertake any form of physically exerting activity? You are an inspiration Helio. Here is a video of him produced recently.

A lot of systems involve a certain amount of athletic ability in order to apply and deliver the moves onto somebody. I wonder how my training today will differ from the training I will do well into old age?

I will assume that striking arts will have to take a back step as it is very likely that power will diminish over time. Some strength should remain, in particular grip strength, but quickness and power are likely to suffer.

I am thinking a soft style definitely whether that be continuing bjj, starting Aikido or maybe even go back to studying a form of Hapkido with less kicking and focus more on the joint manipulation aspects of it.

I took a few moments today to consider things such as this today after watching the above video and thought I would pose the question here.

So what do you think you will doing into old age?

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  1. It is definitly great and a wonderfull inspiration to see Helio still training. Lets hope he carries on for many more years to come.

  2. It's very rare to see someone that age who's still active let alone a martial arts legend who founded his own style that took the world by storm. Props to Helio Gracie for such tremendous achievements and for showing us training, with the proper adjustments, can carry on through old age and even serve as a cataclyst to staying healthy and sane. Too bad he passed away but then again it's a road we all have to take.

    As for me I hope to train in my own personal system by the time I'm past my physical prime: techniques and tactics that fit me, both my body and personality, and are honed through decennia of training and experimentation. I'm not foolish enough to claim I'll found my own style one day but to modify what I've learn and make a creative blend out of it would make me proud and happy, especially when I can use my knowledge to assist others in finding their way and achieving succes and security. Come to think of it this is what Helio Gracie, Ueshiba, Bruce Lee and all the other grandmasters and founders did although I would never compare myself to them. There truly is nothing new under the sun...

    As a form of martial fitness I'd probably take up tai-chi since it's been proven it has major health benefits. As for techniques I'd probably go for a lot of WC to gain an entry coupled with the locks, throws and chokes I learned in JJ, lots of weapons training and for the ground I'd love to explore BJJ or another grappling art as long as it doesn't require heavy physical conditioning and I'd get to train with intelligent, sensible people who don't try to overcompensate with strength. Perhaps aikido would be an option too although I don't know whether all that falling and tumbling is such a good idea when you're older. It's hard enough as it is now but perhaps I need to work harder on my technique and relax more...

    Interesting question and a great video, thanks Adam.


    PS: hope I'm not too impolite but how old are you exactly?

  3. No problem at all Zara. 32 so I am not old enough to get offended by the question hehehe


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