Is 40 too old to start BJJ?

Being the manager of a MMA and BJJ gym, a question I have heard countless time over the last 12 years is “is 40 too old to start BJJ?” and I always answer in the most succinct way possible, “No, 40 is not too old to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”.

BJJ is a physically demanding martial art, but it is also a sport that can be practiced and enjoyed by people of all ages, including the over 40’s. Although it is not the most common demographic that walks into the gym, there are many people, men and women who begin their BJJ journey later in life.

Starting BJJ at 40 may come with some challenges, such as potentially being less flexible or having a slower learning curve compared to younger practitioners, but these factors should not deter you from pursuing BJJ if you have an interest in the sport.

BJJ offers numerous benefits, including physical fitness, self-defence, mental resilience and toughness as well as strong and supportive community that can be found in almost every BJJ gym.

To make the most of your training, it’s important to listen to your body, train at your own pace, and prioritize proper technique over strength or athleticism. It is also advisable to communicate with your instructor about any concerns or limitations that you may have, as they will provide guidance tailored toward your individual needs.

Here are a few other reasons why starting BJJ in your 40’s can be beneficial.


As an older practitioner,  you may have a better ability to understand and apply concepts, which can be advantageous in BJJ. You can leverage your life experience, problem-solving skills, and maturity to grasp the intricacies of techniques and strategies.

Injury prevention:

While BJJ can be physically demanding, starting at an older age may lead you to prioritize injury prevention and self-care. You can focus on proper warm-ups, stretching, and conditioning exercises to support your training and reduce the risk of injuries.

Training partners:

BJJ is typically practiced in a supportive and inclusive environment. You’ll have training partners of various ages and skill levels, which means you can learn from practitioners with different experiences. Younger training partners can provide speed and agility, while older practitioners may have developed technical proficiency.

Personal goals:

Everyone approaches BJJ with different objectives. Whether you aim to compete, improve fitness, learn self-defence, or simply enjoy the art, BJJ offers a wide range of benefits. You can set realistic goals based on your interests and physical capabilities, and work towards achieving them at your own pace.

Mental benefits:

BJJ is not only a physical activity but also a mental challenge. It requires focus, problem-solving, and adaptability on the mats. Training in BJJ can improve your mental resilience, discipline, and stress management skills, benefiting you both on and off the mats.


One of the most valuable aspects of BJJ is the community that forms around it. You’ll meet people from diverse backgrounds who share a common passion. BJJ fosters camaraderie, support, and a sense of belonging, which can enhance your overall experience and provide a social outlet. We have accountants and barristers training alongside electricians and plumbers and pro fighters training alongside students. BJJ really is for everyone.

Remember, starting BJJ at any age requires commitment, patience, and a willingness to learn. There are many barriers that might stop you from starting BJJ but age should not be one of them.

Anybody who starts BJJ will be signing up to a long and oftentimes difficult learning process, but don’t let that put you off, nothing worth having comes easy. Just enjoy the journey, and celebrate your progress along the way. With consistent training and a positive mindset, you can derive immense satisfaction from practicing BJJ, regardless of your age.