At an age when most people start giving up on strenuous physical activity and start planning for retirement, Betty Broadhurst took a different path. At the age of 54, Betty stepped on the mats and began a journey that would ultimately lead her to double gold at the 2021 IBJJF Masters Worlds, and in a moment that went viral, receiving her Black Belt on the podium at the age of 65 years young.
Betty has had two very different lives. One before Jiu Jitsu and one since she started the sport she loves so much. After finishing her Pharmacy degree, getting married and raising two children, then getting her master's degree, Betty found herself looking for a challenge. At this point in her life she was divorced, and an empty nester. Betty took a women's self-defense course at a local BJJ academy and became intrigued with what she saw people doing on the mats. However, the people training were more athletic, mostly male, and decades younger than she was. But Betty being the academic she is, did her research on Jiu Jitsu, and realized that if done properly she could train safely. After taking months of semi-private classes Betty joined group classes and began training regularly.
After about a year of training, Betty noticed that the people getting better at a quicker pace at her academy were the people on the competition team. Betty decided at that point to test herself and began training for her first competition. Stepping out to compete for the first time she found herself up against a much younger and physically imposing opponent. When the match started Betty was immediately lifted off the mat, carried for several feet, and dropped on her back. At that moment, realizing she wasn't hurt, she thought "I could do this" and even though she lost her first match she knew competing was for her.
Betty trained hard but smart for someone her age and continued competing. As her journey moved forward she noticed that there was a lack of top-level Jiu Jitsu athletes in rural areas like the ones she trained in. So, finding another challenge Betty founded Roll Forever an organization dedicated to inspiring and supporting people in her area in competitions, bringing amazing athletes to those areas for seminars, and bringing more competitions into such areas to increase the opportunities for others to test themselves on the mats.
Now 11 years after taking her first Jiu Jitsu class, Betty is an inspiration to older athletes, women, and Jiu Jitsu students around the world. She continues to provide opportunities for people to not only try Jiu Jitsu, but to train and learn from the best in the world, compete in their own home towns across the country, and now she is doing it as a Black Belt.