65-Year-Old Black Belt Says Age Isn’t “Just A Number” In BJJ, And That’s OK

The following is a guest article submission sent by black belt Master competitor Igor Andrade, who recently won the 2020 European Master 7 black belt division representing Gracie Barra. The post has been edited for grammar and clarity.

Have you heard the expression “Age is just a number”? Well, I couldn’t disagree more. At least in my own experience, age is a huge factor.

People often ask me what my secret is, how I am able to keep doing all that I do at 65 years old. After all, I not only teach, train, and compete in BJJ on a regular basis… but I also do a bunch of stuff like surfing and yoga.

Truth is, folks, when you get to my age, you are going to feel it!

Image Source: Igor Andrade

People usually don’t get the whole picture when they see an older person. They just see an old body, the wrinkled skin. What they usually don’t see is that age will hit you in ways you never expected. You will not only age on the outside, you will also age on the inside. Your organs will weaken, you will lose muscle mass, flexibility, stamina, endurance. In other words, every part of you will be affected by the aging process.

Now think about an aging but avid jiu-jitsu practitioner. I know, right? Just the thought of not being able to keep up with the younger guys is scary, isn’t it? I guess our ultimate goal is to roll forever, smashing others more than being smashed ourselves, tapping people out more than getting tapped out.

Remember, we are talking about competition level athleticism, giving anyone and everyone you grapple with a hard time. Is it possible? Heck no! But was it ever possible? Did you ever beat everyone in your gym, in the tournaments? Well, unless you are Roger Gracie or someone like that, the answer is probably ‘no’ anyway. There will be the ones you either can’t tap out or it’s extremely hard. But if it wasn’t that way, we wouldn’t love jiu-jitsu like we do. I believe the common denominator among all BJJ-ers is that we can cope with and love challenges.

Image Source: Igor Andrade

Well, I don’t have a secret formula, but I can say that I feel like I can still perform on a satisfactory level (at least for me), and I can share what I’ve been doing to stay that way.

So what do I do? Pretty simple:

  1. Do not wait until you are in your forties or even fifties to get in shape. Again, we are not talking about the regular guy in his forties who is overweight and wants to lose some weight, we are talking about you wanting to be on a top athletic level.
  2. Eat healthy! We are what we eat.
  3. Plan on exercising every day. Life happens, so we may end up working out about 4 to 5 days a week, which should be more than enough.
  4. Practice yoga. Believe me, it will benefit immensely your body, mind, and spirit.
  5. Meditate. Meditation reduces stress levels, enables us to have a deeper understanding of ourselves, quiets the mind, and helps us gain spiritual awakening.
  6. Push your limits. We all know that’s how champions are made!
Image Source: Igor Andrade

That’s it, guys. I”m not perfect. I have my indulgences. But I hope I have inspired someone to keep performing at a high level in spite of aging.

Come say hi, roll with me at Gracie Barra Kissimme, FL!


  1. Thank you for this article. I am a 63 year old black belt. Age is more than just a number. It is unrelenting, unforgiving and cruel.


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