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Old 08-09-2009, 04:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Does Age Matter?

Here is a question that i have heard a few people ask.

Does age in grappling matter?

For example:

A16 year old vs a 25 year old. Both the same weight just different ages.
Does either have an advantage or dissadvantage?

And the other way.
25 year old vs a 45 year old.
same thing.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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25 year old will be way stronger IMO than 16 year old
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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yeah that seems to be the popular opinion. But when I was that age I was grappling and was put against people quite a bit older. Iv also noticed that a fair few comps have the age catagory as over 16 rather than over 18....whats the deal with that too?
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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well i dont seem to have made a popular thread here lol
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyfighter View Post
Here is a question that i have heard a few people ask.
Shoot.

Quote:
Does age in grappling matter?
Only insofar as it effects the persons ability to grapple, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Quote:
A16 year old vs a 25 year old. Both the same weight just different ages.
That's a really bland example.

Have both been training the same amount of time? Have both been working hard? Do both have similar builds (most 16 year olds are not built like 25 year olds)?

I'll take an example from my gym.

I train with a guy named Kevin who is, conveniently, 16. Kevin just got his grey belt (the rank my instructor installed between white belt and blue belt to keep white belts competing longer) and routinely smashes 25-30 year old white belts that he trains with.

In many cases, Kevin's been training for much longer, despite the age difference.

Age does not equal experience.

However, when Kevin rolls with guys who have the same level of experience, train just as hard and are older, more physically developed, he is still competitive. Age is less a factor than things like conditioning.


Quote:
Does either have an advantage or dissadvantage?
There are so many factors in grappling that it's really hard to isolate a factor like age and decide its significance.

Grapplers are unique. They have odd builds, different stylistic games and so on.

While age can certainly be beneficial for a grappling style that demands more cardio or stronger muscles or more flexibility, it tends to be less important than, say, experience or work ethic, in my opinion, and is often overshadowed.

Also, don't sweat the slow development of threads in the grappling section. It happens.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice thanks for that. I like a good detailed reply.

I deffinately see what you mean.
When I was that age I could hold my own against a fair few older people obviously not all of them though but thats just competition.

The reason I asked this really was because I hear alot of people complaining that it is not right to put someone who is maybe 16 or17 against a 20 odd year old even if they are the same level of experience and same weight.

I have seen a couple of 17 year old fighters in mma beat 20 - 30 year olds.

So i think your right its not the age that is the deciding factor its the work ethic, effort and experience in the game.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I deffinately see what you mean.
When I was that age I could hold my own against a fair few older people obviously not all of them though but thats just competition.
Yeah. I started training with adults when I was 15 and have beaten some and gotten crushed by others. It has less to do with age.

Quote:
The reason I asked this really was because I hear alot of people complaining that it is not right to put someone who is maybe 16 or17 against a 20 odd year old even if they are the same level of experience and same weight.
Yeah, I don't get that at all. I hear the complaints a lot. I come down to roll with 16-17 year olds (I'm only 18) when there's no tournament competition for them.

Sometimes the parents get annoyed, but the kids are usually fine. I don't care. I'm doing the kid a favor by giving them some match experience.


Quote:
I have seen a couple of 17 year old fighters in mma beat 20 - 30 year olds.
As one of those guys in grappling matches, it's a lot of fun to fight older guys. It's great practice and great for building experience.
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyfighter View Post
Does age in grappling matter?
One of the great things about BJJ is that it isn't anywhere near as hard on the body as something like judo or boxing. If you train sensibly, you can keep rolling long into old age: if you're really careful, then you might be able to emulate Helio and keep going right up until your death (he was still on the mats at 95).

As per FAQ, that also goes for starting BJJ later in life. My favourite example when it comes to the "am I too old" question is this guy. He started training at RGA when in his eighties, earning his blue belt in 2007. So while it's a cliche, it really is never too late to start.

There's also a good thread with discussion of training a bit later in life (especially how to cope with injury, arthritis etc) here.

You could also check out the Roy Harris instructional BJJ Over 40.

Quote:
A 16 year old vs a 25 year old. Both the same weight just different ages. [...]

And the other way.
25 year old vs a 45 year old.
As mentioned, generally age is accompanied by certain attributes. At 16, you're unlikely to be as strong as somebody at 25 (though there are exceptions: plenty of very powerful 16 year olds). Similarly, at 45 you aren't normally going to have the same level of fitness as somebody who is 25.

However, that only matters if both grapplers in your example are of the same skill level. In that case, strength, stamina, speed etc definitely matters, so the person in better shape is likely to come out on top. All else being equal, athletic aptitude makes a huge difference.

If the older or younger person is more skilled, then that changes things. For a start, strength and endurance immediately become less important, because one of the main things you learn as you develop your grappling is how to relax and use timing to your advantage.

The aforementioned Roy Harris is a good example: he uses a slow, pressure game that works just as well when you're older, because it doesn't rely on strength and endurance. Instead, its about good timing, leverage and how to use your weight.

Therefore a forty-five year old who has been training for a number of years is probably going to be able to use their technical ability and understanding of timing to overcome a stronger, more athletic twenty-five year old who has only been training a few months.

To make a sort of Top Trumps reference, if you think of it as a scale of 1 to 10 for both strength and skill, then somebody with 10 strength but 1 skill is going to find it tough against somebody with, say, 6 strength but 10 skill. By the same token, that same very strong, unskilled person may be able to overcome somebody with a small amount of skill but not much strength.

Wearing a gi also helps, as with a gi, much easier to slow things down due to grips. Without the gi, physical attributes come into it more.
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