Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Age | John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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2 Week Trial For $29
For Kids & Adults

Exclusive Web Special - Take 2 Weeks of Classes for $29! Train in Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA!

By opting into the web form above you are providing consent for John Wai Martial Arts Academy to send you periodic text messages. Standard rates may apply. You can reply HELP at anytime or learn more. You may opt-out anytime by replying STOP.
Derek Declaire

NOW OFFERING AMAZING VIRTUAL CLASSES TOO!!! JOHN WAI MARTIAL ARTS was swift to adapt to Covid-19 changes and requirements allowing members to keep training via online classes while also maintaining safe in person training with social spacing, extra cleaning, and sanitizing measures. They even implemented virtual game/activity nights for the kids. It doesn't get any better than this. A TRUE Martial Arts Family. We LOVE this place. THANKS JWMA!

Aziza Mustafa

I have only been a member for a short period of time, but I absolutely love it! Everyone from the instructors to the members will make you feel like family. The instructors are motivating, inspiring, and will make your goals their goals. I'm always excited to attend the intense, yet fun, kickboxing sessions and my Kung Fu trainings. Glad I found them!

Maria Heilig

John Wai Martial Arts is an amazing academy that offers so much to such a wide range of people. The instructors have great personalities that make you feel at home. Very very happy to come here every week for kickboxing, and to find friends with goals like myself :)

Cherie-Richard Aguinaga reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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John Wai Martial Arts Academy is by far the best place around for studying Martial Arts. Kids and adults alike can learn a variety of forms such as Kung Fu, Sanshou, and jiujitsu. Best of all John Wai's staff members are knowledgeable, friendly, and 100 % professional! My whole family attends John Wai Martial Arts Academy and we are more well-rounded, happier, healthier, and stronger because of it. If your on the fence, hop off and walk into JWMA; you'll be happy you did!

Lili B. León reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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This place has been by far the best place for martial arts for my son . The instructors are very nice and knowledgable and take the time to teach the right techniques !
Not to mention the adults kick boxing class is addictive !!!

Alissa Pifer reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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So glad I signed up for the web special and ended up joining! The instructors are great and actually take the time to learn your name and get to know you. The workout is great and I actually look forward to working out. Honestly can't say enough good things about this place.

Carmen Wai Casal reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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I don't write reviews often, but I just wanted to make it known how great this school is. My 6 year old daughter has been taking Kung fu classes here for about a month now. She absolutely LOVES it. All of the instructors are impressively both talented and incredible at their art, while always going above and beyond to make it a fun and enjoyable class for the students. I love watching the children learn while having a great time. They build confidence, discipline and an early appreciation for martial arts. I really can't say enough about this wonderful place.

Ashley Starr Mulata Howard reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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I give John wai martial arts plantation five stars because not only did they help me drop 30plus pounds in a year but they change my life! And help me accomplish so many hurdles I've face throughout my journey. I can honestly say the instructors dont just come to work and clock in; they value each and every memeber as YOU were the only one. If you're searching for a fun, clean and friendly cultured lifestyle that would mode you inside out; mind, body, and soul JOHN WAI MARTIAL ARTS is the perfect platform to help you get in the best shape of your life inside and out!!

Cristina Miralles reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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This is a great place!. I really like the atmosphere, the people, and especially the kickboxing classes. I can't complain. The trainers are awesome and that makes you want to go work out. Before I would have to drag myself to the gym, now I can't wait to go through a few punches or do a few burpees. If you haven't thought about kickboxing or martial arts, I would definitely consider it. :)

Carmen Melendez reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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Gotta love this place. This is a great atmosphere to work out and be able to achieve your fitness goals. John Way Martial Arts Academy has the best people on staff to help you get fit and have fun doing it. Can't get enough of this place. Hope this review helps you join this fantastic group!! :)

Jason Furman

Myself and kids have been members of JWMA for 4 years now. This place has become our home away from home. My wife and myself always say that bringing our kids here has been one of the best decisions we have made for our children. This isn’t just some typical strip mall MMA gym this place literally is family. Now that we are all living in these strange times of self isolation and stay at home orders the online version of JWMA has become the one constant in our lives and this is incredibly important to our kids through this time. At the end of the day of school from home they still get to improve on all of their facets of MMA they have been studying for years, but they also get to stay connected with their JWKF family. All of the staff members here are truly the best you could imagine from any person in any line of work. Even though we are Plantation, FL residents we are currently in Tulsa, OK during this crisis taking care of a family member. We really don’t know what we could do without the availability of this virtual school version of JWMA. We can’t wait to get back to the “real thing” but in the mean time this allows us to stay connected to what we all need most........hope.

Rio Espinoza reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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Outstanding place! Staff are very approachable, knowledgeable and all in all great with kids. Today's event really has given my children the confidence they need. Was the best decision I've made for them in regards to dealing with bullies. Thanks for having us!!

Monique Nortelus reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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Joining John Wai Martial Arts is one of the best decisions I've ever made! It has changed my life completely. When I first started I was 100+ pounds overweight and I had no previous gym experience. I was extremely nervous and apprehensive about joining because I couldn't have imagined being able to successfully lose weight and establish a healthy lifestyle. Well let me just say, in 6 months I lost a total of 60 pounds and have lost so many inches off my waist it's mind blowing. The instructors passion and charisma make the classes so much fun and addicting! I can personally say they are like a second family to me.

Cindy Fallon reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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John Wai Martial Arts is the best place to get your fitness on. You will burn more calories here than anywhere else and have a great time doing it. In addition to that you will be learning skills that will help you build confidence and could save your life. The instructors here are all top notch, join and you won't be disappointed.

Justin Seedman reviewed John Wai Martial Arts Academy
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Truly one-of-a-kind world class family owned martial arts and fitness training facility. My family I were members here for many years. I highly recommend you check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

Amanda Salas

I’ve been coming to this school for about 2 years now and I never stop learning or pushing myself here. Owner is very conscious and makes it a priority for all members to feel comfortable while training. ESPECIALLY FOR LADIES. Fun and friendly staff! I take advantage of kickboxing, kung fu, Bjj, and (pre-COVID) Muay Thai. Always fun!

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Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Age

I decided to learn more about BJJ because I had heard about a Martial Art family called The Gracies. They were the pioneers that made BJJ one of the most popular martial arts in modern day. At one point they offered $100,000 to any fighter who could beat a Gracie Family in a fight. Each time someone took the challenge, a Gracie took them down to the ground and submitted them.

My first experience with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was on a seven day BJJ Seminar on a Cruise with Royce and Rorion Gracie!

Imagine being out at sea, outside in the sun, working out for seven days with the First Family of Jiu Jitsu. Not just working out, but grappling and learning a brand new Martial Art. My background is in Kung Fu where we spend very little time on the ground. After the cruise and seven days of hard work, I felt I had learned a ton, but I barely scratched the surface of what BJJ really had in store for me.

My interest in this unbeatable art was peaked!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the famous Martial Art of BJJ, it’s a system where one uses grappling and wrestling moves to control an opponent until they submit or pass out from a choke. A submission means they are giving up. You can lock joints, apply chokes, or many other ways to get someone to submit. We also call it “tapping out”. Basically, it’s BJJ’s safe word. There’s a high learning curve because there are decades of knowledge to drill and learn, but the concepts of BJJ are very basic: Fight Smarter Not Harder.

After that seven day seminar, I decided it was time to pursue BJJ and get my skills to a higher level. My only problem was finding the time! Between running my businesses and being a parent, I had limited time to train.(let alone start another martial arts discipline as a white belt) So I got in any BJJ training I could. Between training with friends and some seminars I advanced my knowledge, but I knew it wasn’t enough and I needed formal and consistent training.

In my 40’s, I started training BJJ full time and joined American Top Team where I put on a Gi and a BJJ white belt. Honestly, it was the best decision in my martial arts career. It’s a humbling experience learning something completely new, and I was addicted to being a student again.

I also decided to compete for the first time in decades just to prove to myself that I still had it. I competed at NAGA, IBJJF, and NEWBREED. Something was missing though… I realized I had lost my passion for competition. I didn’t get the same high from being a competitor as I did when I was 20’s. All I really wanted was to train, learn, and improve at BJJ.

Except now… I’m 55 years old. My body isn’t as nimble and I’m not as agile or strong as I was when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s, and I definitely don’t recover as fast.

The beautiful thing is that as long as I train smart I’m pretty sure I can healthily train BJJ well into my 60’s and 70’s.

In BJJ we learn through drilling, repetition and live training (we call it “rolling”). Your body has to learn the motions before you can apply them with intensity. If we logically think about the opposite learning method: Train as hard as you can as fast as you can… we quickly realize we are exhausted within 30 minutes of class and we have 30 more minutes of training where our brains, muscles, and spirit aren’t functioning at 100%.

So I figured if this could help anyone at all I’d write this…

Here Are My Tips For Training When You Get Older:

1) Always Properly Warm Up

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my age, jumped right into a class, and tweaked or pulled something. Now…I get all my joints and muscles warm before I do class, and honestly this goes for outside of BJJ as well.

2) Pick Your Partners Wisely

Normally I train as hard as I personally can, and I expect everyone in class to do the same, we are all improving. It just so turns out that a 55 year old going as hard as they can is much different than a 25 year old. So I make sure when I’m rolling with younger practitioners that I’m using less power and conserving my energy. People don’t see me as a 55 year old man, they see me as a higher belt and want to see what they can pull off.

3) I Take Small Victories When I Can

It’s no longer about seeing how many times I can dominate someone when I roll. To me, any day I can train and come out without an injury is a successful training day for me. I help improve the lower ranks so that one day they will take my spot in the higher ranks and help others improve as well.

Other small victories include listening to my body. When I feel tired or stressed, I make sure to properly warm up and train light that day. Sometimes my body just isn’t ready to train even though my mind is begging me to jump in there and drill.

4) Fight Smarter Not Harder

One of the tenants of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! Many students are in their 20s or 30s and they are also in prime shape, so I have to fight smart. Their skills continue to get better while practitioners at my age try our best to maintain our stamina and improve our techniques to gain leverage. I have to make smart choices about who I train with.

5) Listen To Your Body

Every day my body feels different, some days it feels great and I take advantage and train harder. Other days my body is sore from the day before, so I know it will take longer to warm up before I can train at 100%. When you are young, you take this for granted and do not understand why older people are sore or tired, but that’s just the process of aging. Don’t fight it, adapt to it.

There’s a fine line between working hard and overworking.

6) BJJ Is Magical

I can start a class feeling 55 years old, warm up, drill, roll, have fun and feel 24! But when class ends and my body cools down… BAM I’m 55 again. I think that’s why a lot of the older community starts training. It helps you feel young again, and the workout helps your body fight aging (as long as you train smart!).

My goal is not to submit every opponent I roll with, or win the next competition. My goal is to train BJJ and other martial arts for as long as I can! I know I will have to adapt my training as I age, but at the same time, I believe my strategy and technique will improve to outperform the younger generation of Jiu Jitsu. I plan to keep it that way for as long as I can.

If you are in your 40s or 50s and have any qualms about joining a Martial Arts class, I highly suggest you to find the right school, join a class, and start enjoying the gift of Martial Arts! Just follow my tips and you’ll do just fine.

Training Martial Arts and being around a positive community is one of the most rewarding hobbies. We all have limited time to invest, and I’m glad I invested in something that keeps me healthy, young, and happy!


About the Author
John Wai opened his first martial arts academy in South Florida in 1997.  He specializes in Wing Chun, Choy Lay Fut, Sanshou & BJJ. Visit his academy’s website at or Instagram.