There is no doubt that practicing martial arts has many benefits — spiritual, emotional, physical and mental; there are no limits. For these 10 martial artists, age is merely a number and definitely not a limiting factor.
Evolve Daily reveals the stories behind these martial artists who have broken the age barrier. Whether is it starting martial arts, learning a totally new one, or achieving something at an age many deem impossible, these 10 are truly examples that we can follow.
At 49 years of age, Bernard Hopkins shows no signs of slowing down. With a current record of 55-7, he remains to be one of the best light heavyweights of all time. Hopkins has held several world titles including the World Middleweight Title (2002-2005), the World Light Heavyweight Title (2006-2008, 2011-2012). Last year, he became the oldest fighter to ever recieve a world championship title after defeating Tavoris Cloud, winning the IBF Light Heavyweight Championship.
A former Muay Thai World Champion with over 350 fights, at 36 years of age, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok recently started training MMA and joined the elite Evolve MMA Fight Team. Since then, he has competed and won in Asia’s largest fight promotion, ONE FC, utilizing his newly acquired Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling skills.
3) Randy Couture, 51 Years Old – MMA
A UFC Hall Of Fame inductee, he still remains to be the only UFC fighter to win both the heavyweight (three times) and light heavyweight (twice) titles. Couture is also the oldest man to ever win a UFC title, winning the heavyweight title against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 at age 43.
4) Helio Gracie, 95 Years Old (1913 – 2009) – Vale Tudo
At 43 years of age, Helio Gracie, the godfather of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, returned from retirement to fight Waldemar Santana, his former student. After 3 hours and 43 minutes, Santana became the first man to knock Gracie out. This fight is considered the longest fight in the history of Vale Tudo.
Ed O’Neill is famous for his roles in TV shows such as Married With Children and Modern Family. At 66 years old, O’Neill is still an active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student under Rorion Gracie. He has been training for over 22 years.
6) Anthony Bourdain, 56 Years Old – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
After living a life of excess and virtually zero physical exercise, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain decided to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at 56 years old. He remains a dedicated student at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York and is reported to have received his second stripe a few months ago.
7) Dominic Er, 72 Years Old – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Muay Thai
At 72 years of age, Dominic Er is one of the most active students at Evolve MMA. Although he prefers to take private classes, he has never missed a single session since joining 2 years ago. Since his decision to start martial arts, he has lost a considerable amount of weight and claims that he is beginning to see his 6-pack.
8) Edson Franco Penteado, 72 Years Old – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
An 8th degree coral belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Franco Penteado didn’t let his age stop him from catching a thief just a few days ago. Using his in-depth knowledge of BJJ, he mounted the thief and slapped him continously until the police arrived. Even at 72 years of age, Penteado’s technique proved to be too much for the unlucky thief.
9) Dewey Bozella, 55 Years Old – Boxing
Wrongfully incarcerated for 26 years, Dewey Bozella was determined to make his time in prison worthwhile. During this period, he earned several degrees and became a model prisoner. He was also the prison’s light heavyweight boxing champion. After his release, Bozella made his professional boxing debut at 52 years old, winning against Larry Hopkins via unanimous desicion.
10) Vitali Klitschko, 43 Years Old, Boxing
Currently a Ukrainian politician and a Mayor or Kiev, Klitschko is a former professional boxer. He has held many prestigious titles including the WBC, WBO and The Ring magazine Light Heavyweight champion. The first professional boxer to hold a doctoral degree, Klitschko also became one of the oldest Heavyweight champions in history at 41 years of age. His younger brother, Wladimir is also a professional boxer and is currently the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring world Heavyweight champion.
These stories prove that just about anyone has the ability to start their journey in martial arts – and sometimes even do better than their younger peers. Instead of making excuses, we should look at these 10 martial artists as inspiration to push ourselves to the limit and unleash our potential.