I don't think there's any question that Jiu-Jitsu (and Judo) takes a toll. One of our Karate brown belts told me that she is shocked by how much Jiu-Jitsu/Judo training is ruining Sensei Ken's feet. When she said that, I thought of my own feet, which are covered with mat burn scars, and every single toe (except the two big piggies that went to market) are misshapen from being broken and/or dislocated multiple times. Then I thought of the story I'd heard about the Jiu-Jitsu player who broke one of his big toes so badly that they told him he wouldn't be able to train anymore unless it was amputated, so he told them to go ahead and cut it off. Yeah, that's how we roll!
|R.I.P. Paul Owen-Sensei|
We used to have a Judoka at our dojo, Paul Owen-Sensei, who started Judo when he was thirty-five years old (which is the same age I was when I started Karate), and he continued to train for over fifty years, up until his death a few years ago, when he was in his nineties. The legend around the dojo is that even at his advanced age, when Sensei Paul pinned you, it was impossible to get out, no matter how young, strong, or athletic you were. His many years of training had provided him with solid technique and supreme relaxation, which were extremely difficult for his opponents to overcome.
I've always felt like I was in a race to learn Jiu-Jitsu, and so I wanted to slam as much as I could before I got too old, but now I think the key to longevity might be to relax and slow down. I need to develop flawless technique that I can maintain as I age, and I have to adequately protect myself, in order to do the least amount of damage. Training harder might not work for me in the long term, but training smarter will. If Sensei Paul could do it, so can I.