Some tips to making it to 40 in the Jiu-Jitsu top flight

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Willcox going for omoplata / Photo: Carlos Ozório

Willcox going for omoplata / Photo: Carlos Ozório

At the Rio de Janeiro leg of tryouts for the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship this past weekend, Gabriel Willcox captured a berth for himself at the main show in Abu Dhabi. The black belt beat five opponents in qualifying, so one could say the training he’s been doing under submissions aces like Ricardo de la Riva and Felipe Costa its effect.


Always at the top of the heap at the International Masters—a tournament where the featherweight has even won the absolute—, the 35-year-old Willcox is still giving the young bucks more than their fair share to chew on. By the time he compete’s at the main event in Abu Dhabi he’ll be 36. Now to put on a show for the Sheikh, Gabriel will carry on with the formula for youth that’s got him thus far. In fact, he plans to stick with it for a while yet, to keep him going strong into his 40s. Here’s his secret to prolonged youth, as he explains in Portuguese in the video below:

“To keep fighting into your later years you have to do good physical conditioning. The secret is to lead a healthy life, eat well, rest well, train hard. These days I train a lot more correctly than I used to. I feel experience counts for a lot. I used to do a lot of wild stuff. These days I train properly; I feel a lot better at 36 than I did at 16.

I’ll keep at it for as long as I can keep it up in the adult division; I’ll be in there till I’m 40.”

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