If you are planning on training and competing in Jiu-Jitsu well into your 60’s, you maybe should think about long term effects of some of the more acrobatic techniques.
Most common wear and tear injuries for grapplers:
The most common grappling long term injuries affect the shoulder, back, knee and neck.
The majority of upper body and shoulder injuries in grapplers are caused by the combination of leverage and twisting during competition: Rotator cuff injury, shoulder separation, shoulder dislocation.
The majority of knee injuries in grapplers occur to the ligaments of the knee joint: anterior and posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) injuries.
-Neck and back Injuries
The cervical vertebrae are often forced into vulnerable positions during many grappling moves, which can result in several types of neck and back injuries: herniated discs, neck Strain, whiplash, cervical fracture.
After years of training many older grapplers can develop arthritis. Aches and pains have become an accepted price that is paid for training.
In an older interview with GracieMag Carlos Gracie Jr. was asked to comment on the long term health effects of acrobatic guards such as Berimbolo or Tornado guard:
“I don’t get this obsession with all of the acrobatic guards. They are efficient, sure. But they’re fleeting. Your body has difficulty understanding them for too long.
I say this from my own experience.
The lumbar region, for example, as strong as it may be, will never be armored against the passage of time.
Jiu-Jitsu is for your whole lifetime, and by that line of reasoning you can rest assured that the basic techniques like the closed guard or this open guard I enjoy doing, will never abandon us. At 70 we’ll still be capable of performing them with plenty of mobility.
That can’t be said of the tornado guard or the berimbolo.”
In an interview with GracieBarra.com, Draculino discussed how a 44 year grappler like himself stays in great shape, and stay injury free while rolling with younger training partners:
“GB: You have been training jiu-jitsu for many years. What are your secrets to continue to stay in great physical condition, injury free and keep training everyday?
Professor Draculino: Almost 32 years. I think consistency is key for a long run journey in JJ. Like every other sport, if you compete and train at high level, injuries can happen but JJ is far more than competition and it is perfectly possible to train and live the lifestyle with minimal injuries.
GB: Can you give spome advice on how older (+40) bjj guys should roll to stay injury free and roll with the big, strong young training partners?
Professor Draculino: First of all, always warm up well. Then avoid training 100% hard at the beginning. Pace yourself until body is ready for a harder roll. Also never neglect defense skills. It saves your life on he long run.”