#6 The Dojo With a lot of Old Guys
Posted on 2014/01/12
From this year we have started a class for “Over 40s”. This is a class only for those members who are over 40. The class content won’t vary all that much from the regular classes. I was just thinking that it would be good for the older guys to be able to practice in a relaxed environment without any young guys around. First off, you have to keep in mind that our dojo doesn’t have all that many young members. Most of our members are in their 30s and over. We even have a lot of guys in their 50s registered. And even some in their 60s.
At the moment I’m 38 years old, a so-called “Ara-fo” [Around forty]. It is sad to say but I can feel my body getting older. I can’t move like I did in my 20s. I can still give a good run against the young guys when I spar but while I’m collapsing at the sound of the buzzer and thinking, “Maybe I can go again!” I look at the younger guy and they are already sparring with their next partner. ☺ I guess that can’t be helped.
I wonder what it is that motivates older guys? Presumably we don’t have any older guys who are thinking, “I want to be a world champion!” or “Someday I want to make BJJ my job!” I guess it’s likely the case that many older guys are just thinking, “I just want to get stronger than I am now.” When it comes to guys, no matter what the age, we want to be able to say, “I’m strong!” There isn’t anyone that is going to be happy about being weak.
Some guys say they are training for their health but I don’t really think that’s all there is to it. That may have been the impetus for them to first start to train but then it becomes a case of them working hard to get stronger or to get their next belt, I think.
It is extremely difficult to balance both work and home with coming to the dojo. But it is possible if you are really into it. There aren’t many guys who have this kind of passion about their hobbies though. I think these guys are cool and very happy.
Thinking of our young instructors that are teaching these old guys, they are novices in life. Actually, before and after class, young instructors often get life advice from these older life “Sempai” I think this is a wonderful thing. Even I am learning stuff from them.
Ok, so I keep saying “Old Guy” this and “Old Guy” that but in truth these “Old Guys” are often beating on the young guys. ☺ Anyway, There are a lot of strong and healthy guys at our dojo. I reckon that a dojo with a lot of strong and healthy older guys is a good dojo. Even if you just leave the young guys to themselves they will still get stronger. I am focusing my instruction on the old guys.