Bad a** grandpa: Ohio man, 74, earns Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
Eddie Bravo and Royler Gracie aren’t the only old dudes making news in Brazilian jiu-jitsu these days.
A 74-year-old Ohio man recently earned his black belt, according to a report by WKBN. James Terlecki has been training in BJJ for 13 years and just earned the prestigious honor.
"I still feel very strong," he said. "I feel as strong as I did when I was 20 years old. My bones don’t break or nothing. I roll around and everything. They’re strong. This keeps your bones strong."
Terlecki, who trains at his son’s gym Next Level Martial Arts in Austintown, isn’t a novice. He’s been training in martial arts for 30 years. Terlecki might have gotten a late start — in his 40s — but he’s no slouch.
"At first I thought you had to be gentle with Mr. T, but that lasted about one minute until I was unconscious I think," training partner Rob Sullivan said. "And then I started going after him. I tell you, you can’t ease up one bit."
Just the opposite, says Terlecki. People in BJJ class don’t want to get tapped by a septuagenarian.
"It’s almost like, ‘Oh I’m not going to let that old man beat me,’" Terlecki said. "So they roll harder with you than they would normally with their buddy."
Terlecki’s son, James Jr., has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under the highly regarded Marcello Monteiro and has trained kickboxing with well-known coach Duke Roufus. The 38-year-old is thrilled to have the ability to hang out with his dad on the mats.
"How awesome is that?" James Jr. said. "How many people get to do that with your dad?"
That’s a guy who probably grew up saying "my dad can beat up your dad." Now he might be able to say: "My dad can beat up your son."
"I’m not bragging or anything, but my wife never felt like she was afraid to go anywhere with me," Terlecki said. "She always felt like she was protected."