48-Year-Old Master 4 Competitor Wins Pans Gold & Gets Promoted To Brown Belt

We all know by now that there’s no age limit when it comes to jiu-jitsu, so it’s not that uncommon to see students and competitors who are years past their teens and twenties moving up the ranks in jiu-jitsu. Still, it’s always highly impressive to see the progress and accomplishments of jiu-jitsu athletes who started their BJJ journey later in life, and Madi Kahan showed just how far she’s come in a very special moment over the weekend at Pans.

Kahan was a purple belt competing in the Master 4 lightweight division last weekend. She started jiu-jitsu when she was forty, and eight years later (with some time off due to injuries and personal responsibilities along the way), she’s still rolling… and now a brown belt.

Kahan won gold in her division at Pans over the weekend, winning two matches to get to the top of the podium. Then, as she stood there, her professor Yuri Villefort promoted her to brown belt.

Both achievements were huge for Kahan, who says she hopes to get her black belt the year she turns 50. The markers of her success are even more impressive when you consider the fact that she never thought she’d progress past white belt or compete, having started training BJJ to break away from her normal exercise routine. Now, she’s earned gold at one of the biggest jiu-jitsu tournaments in the world.

“I have an amazing group of people around me that push me every day like [Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu], Yuri Villefort, Gesias Cavalcante, my boyfriend Shawn Ambrosino, and all my teammates,” Kahan told the Jiu-Jitsu Times. “Jiu-jitsu truly changed my life. It has empowered me and made me realize that I’m a strong woman and I can push myself beyond what I thought possible. It’s also blessed me with an amazing support group of friends.”


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