Are You Too Old for Martial Arts?

Are You Too Old for Martial Arts? (Things to know)

Martial arts are really popular, even among older people. But can you be too old to train martial arts?

In general, there are no age limits in martial arts. As long as you are in good enough condition to handle the pressure martial arts can put on your body, you should be fine. Martial arts can even benefit your health in several ways and help you stay active for longer.

Let’s go through how to know if you are too old, as well as what are the best martial arts for older adults.

Can you be too old to start martial arts?

There are no age limits on whether one is too old to start martial arts or not. It is more about the person’s physical condition and ability to handle the pressure martial arts can put on their body. It also differs a lot depending on the martial art, and how challenging it is.

There are also martial arts, that are either really easy and don’t require you to get punched or to be super fast. Even boxing can be trained in a way, where you don’t have to risk getting punched and knocked out. More about boxing for older people in here.

For some martial arts, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it would be good if you could do a forward roll for example. That is a good indicator of whether you can handle BJJ or not. More about if you are too old for BJJ in this post.

As an older person, it takes longer to heal if you face an injury while training martial arts. For younger people, breaking a bone or such is not a big deal. However, if you are older, that might mean you will have to take a significantly longer break from training or even quit for good.

Therefore, it is important to choose a martial art where you can minimize the risks and take things slow. I have a post about how dangerous martial arts really are, you can read it here.

Are martial arts suitable for elders?

As mentioned before, martial arts do not have age limits on who can or can not train them.

However, there are some martial arts that are more suitable for elders than others. We will go through the best martial arts for older people later in this post.

In general, martial arts are suitable for elders and can help them stay healthy and active for longer. Martial arts offer a good full-body workout while socializing with other practitioners. That in my opinion makes them a great option for older people to get out of the house and get moving.

As long as you remember to take it slow, avoid getting knocked out, and know your limits, you should be fine. On the other hand, if you have a history of fractile bones and are afraid that training martial arts could harm your health, choose something lighter, such as fitness boxing or tai chi.

Now, let’s move to the best martial arts for elders to train.

Best martial arts for elders

As you might know, there are hundreds of different martial arts and fighting styles around the world. One martial art might even have multiple sub-martial arts beneath it.

However, there are a few martial arts that are more suitable for older people than others. Let’s go through them one by one with a short explanation of why they are on the list.


The first thing that comes to mind from boxing can be two people fighting in the ring until one gets knocked out.

However, that is not all boxing has to offer. Boxing can be trained without fighting in the ring and being at risk of getting knocked out.

That is what makes it really suitable for elders as well. You can train boxing in many ways, without actually being in danger of getting punched.

You could for example do shadowboxing to get started, or do some basic heavy bad training. On top of that, there are ways to train with partners, without being a risk of getting punched.

shadowboxing every day

Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Next up we have my personal favorite, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). The reason BJJ is on this list is the fact that it only focuses on ground fighting. It has no punches or kicks, and mostly you will start from the ground.

It has some takedowns, but you can just sit those ones out if you feel like they threaten your physical wellbeing. They are a really small part of BJJ overall.

Another reason that makes BJJ so good option for elders is that it focuses mostly on technique instead of brute force. Therefore, you can be able to defeat younger and stronger opponents if you are skilled enough.

It is also highly advisable to take things slow while training the techniques, making BJJ a fairly safe martial art.

I have a lot more posts about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you can find all of them here.


Tai Chi

Last but not least we have Tai Chi. I personally don’t have much experience with Tai Chi, but one time when I was in Shanghai, we were introduced to Tai Chi for one class.

It was in its own way slow, peaceful but also challenging. The image I get from Tai Chi is old people doing it at a park somewhere.

That is not a bad thing. Tai Chi being slow martial art makes it suitable for practically everybody. It also has a very little risk of injury, due to the training style.

If you want to play it safe minimizing the risk of injury, but you also want to practice some martial art, Tai Chi could be the way to go.

How to know if you are too old to start martial arts

To know whether you are too old for certain martial art, it is important to know the requirements for martial art.

There are major differences between different martial arts that determine whether you are capable to training that certain martial art.

For example, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you should be able to do a forward roll. For boxing or fitness boxing, literally, the only requirement is that you should be able to throw a punch. You could even be in a wheelchair.

For Tai Chi, the requirements are really minimal making it suitable for almost anybody. As long as you got two moving hands that should be enough.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, there is no age limit to martial arts. It comes down to one’s physical ability to handle the pressure martial arts put on their body.

Some martial arts are more suitable for older people than others.

Hopefully this was helpful to you, have a wonderful day!

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