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Why Competitive Training Probably Isn't for You

Mark Zuckerberg tore his ACL “training for an MMA fight”.

Yes, that Mark Zuckerberg. And you read that right. He was training for an MMA fight. No, wait, it gets better. He was due to fight, and I am not making this up, Elon Musk. Ridiculous.

Why would the wealthiest men in the world want to have an MMA fight with each other? This, I do not know, but I’ve seen videos of “Zuck” as his mates (?) call him, and he’s doing Jiu Jitsu the way I teach my students to do it. Fair play to him. This is not a celebrity version of the art. I hope he makes a full recovery. He's pretty good from what I saw.

But I would also say that a torn ACL in a previously untrained 39 year old man who has suddenly decided he’s going to become an MMA fighter is not a surprise. MMA is a combat sport. So is competitive Jiu Jitsu. We weigh risks vs rewards when we do things like this, and like it or not, the risk of injury increases as you age. So does recovery time, if indeed there is a full recovery.

Now why am I saying this? Am I trying to scare you from starting Jiu Jitsu later in life?

No, the opposite.

There are 2 ways to train Jiu Jitsu- as a martial art that improves your life, and as a combat sport. They’re not mutually exclusive, you can do both. But you can also just do the former with relatively low risk of injury.

Nothing is without risk, but when I watch my Mixed Level Class training, I frequently step in and ask someone to relax. If they want to spar hard, I say, come to Competition class. I’ve got plenty of guys and girls who will put it up to them there. But if you want to learn Jiu Jitsu and not run the risk of injuring yourself or others, train light and regularly. Relax. Enjoy.

Competitive training isn’t for everyone. I’m using Zuck as an example, but I don’t mean to run down his goal of fighting. I’m just trying to point out that just because you do Jiu Jitsu doesn’t mean you have to become the whole package and start training like you’re going to the World Championships.

There are levels, and you can just leave those young guys and girls to it and enjoy your training. Get fitter. Get better. Stay injury free. Let the risky and young take the young risks that training intensely and competitively brings with it.

See you on the mat,



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