Judo at… 47?


Bob Patterson or Race Bannon? You decide!

Well here we go — AGAIN!

When I was 35 (or so) I used WordPress to blog about my black belt run in taekwondo. I am now 47 and plan to do the same for judo. IMO blogging about the training helped me to make it to 1st dan.

A “perfect storm” of things pushed me to try a few judo classes. These included:

  • Not seriously practicing martial arts for over 3 years
  • My struggle with exercise motivation (martial arts motivated me to exercise — the iron pit gym not as much!)
  • Tater’s new run in Shotokan Karate (he’s a former black belt in Tang So Do and followed my old blog during the taekwondo days)
  • This video by two of the Gracies

Is this run for a black belt in judo? I have no idea. I’d be happy if I can get back into some regular martial arts practice and related exercise. To be honest, at 47, I’m not sure how this will end. When I was 35 I said the same of taekwondo and that adventure ended in 1st dan, and another 3 years in kung fu. (In that 10-year span I also dabbled in aikido, reality martial arts, & tai chi but not long enough to learn much.)

I moved to the Western mountain states for a job in higher education and to gain director experience. The last two years (and change) I’ve focused on the job. Consequently, exercise and martial arts have suffered. I’m here in the West for at least for two more years so it’s time to get off my literal and metaphorical martial arts ass!

This town offers taekwondo (WTF & ITF), krav maga, MMA, judo, and aikido. I’ve narrowed things down to judo and aikido. This Tuesday I plan to observe a judo class. If things past muster I hope to take part on Thursday.

I’ve spent part of my holiday break researching “judo over 40.” From what I read, it’s doable, but depends on a few things:

  • A given schools willingness to work with an “old guy”
  • Your current level of fitness
  • Your past martial arts experience

To be blunt: An over 40 person who does not exercise and has no martial arts experience will likely not last. I’ve maintained fitness, still stretch lightly, and in the past 6 months worked myself back up to a 2-mile run. I also have 10 years of (mostly) striking arts under my belt. Hypothetically I have a shot. Now it’s just a matter of convincing this school to let me try.

Falling and rolling…

Falling and rolling was a part of our TKD curriculum but nowhere near what they do in judo or aikido. In kung fung fu not so much. Suffice to say that it’s probably been over six years since I’ve had to do any serious falling and rolling.

This could end badly.

If judo is not a good fit I will try aikido. If that martial art is a bust I’ll try krav maga. I have three viable options in town and I’m hoping that I have enough fire left in the boiler for one to gel.

Only time will tell…


About Bob Patterson

I'm a naughty Vampire God!
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3 Responses to Judo at… 47?

  1. shinaido says:

    Good luck, I have five students over 40, some of them never done breakfalls or rolling now after year or so, they do acrobatics better then some 20 year old. It is all achievable if you got good teacher 🙂


  2. Nicola says:

    Good luck and Happy New Year!


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