3 Common Reasons Beginner’s Quit Jiu Jitsu and What to do about it.

Stopping Jiu Jitsu

Image: BJJ Style.

Jiu Jitsu is for everyone yet not everyone continues their journey. Sadly most people who begin quit before their blue belt.

Years ago I purchased a person a one month membership to a school and the school didn’t really make the environment too inviting or maybe he just wasn’t into it. Either way he hasn’t trained ever again. This was 20 years ago. So let’s take a look at common reasons beginner’s quit Jiu Jitsu and what to do about it. Feel free to add your suggestions below.

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  1. Too hard too soon. Some people who begin Jiu Jitsu find it too difficult. They may spar early and get their butt handed to them. It’s hard on the ego. This reality check may be necessary but the fact that the person is now gone doesn’t help the matter. What to do about it? Don’t let them spar too early or ask them if they wish to spar rather than making them. Some programs build the student up before taking them into deep waters. The sad part is the student will not usually admit the exact reason they have stopped doing Jiu Jitsu so you have to be sensitive to their individual needs and expectations if you wish them to be your student. Some may say “ah he’s a wimp” or this and that but the truth is you may not fully be aware of the person’s background to make any solid conclusions. They should see progress on their horizon and have realistic incentive usually communicated by their professor. The cost/benefit analysis should favor them.
  2. Not feeling accepted or part of the community. It is what it is. Not every place is for everyone. Some may just not feel a vibe or may be a timid person. A person may be going through something you are unaware of. What to do about it? Partner this individual up with a friendly person who is perhaps more outgoing than the norm. Follow up with the person and ask them how they liked the class. Sometimes it’s just one phone call or asking the right question that can open the person up to becoming a Jiu Jitsu student for life. You don’t need to be a UFC champion instructor to attract the right person you just need them to feel special and feel like they belong.
  3. Not in shape like “everyone else.” Perhaps this person came to a class with high-level in-shape people. They can’t see themselves continuing because they feel awkward or embarrassed. Maybe they are way older and are worried about getting hurt. Could be a number of things. What to do about it? Communicate. Let them know about other students who have transformed, lost weight or progressed. They need to be able to see themselves succeeding and feel someone is on their side or like them in their environment – empathy. Who wants to get a membership and feel out of place? No one. Make them feel at home.

These are just a few common reasons beginner’s stop Jiu Jitsu. Of course there are many others and many other solutions. Feel free to suggest yours below.


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  • Several times a week I find myself looking down at my Gi. My dirty white belt. Usually, I’m sweaty and sore. I’m currently rocking an amazing bruise from a striking class a few days ago.

    If you know me at all, you know I have no natural grace. ”Clumsy” is too kind a word – I walk like an elephant, I cannot dance, and I can trip over an eyelash. My social anxiety is not exactly an asset, either. If there is a dyslexia for athletics, I definitely have it.

    I am not good at Jiu-Jitsu. Not even a little bit.

    Every class, every time I get on the mat is a reminder of my age, my current physical state.
    There is no one encouraging me, or cheering me on. There is no one in my corner.
    So why do I do this? Why do I put this Gi on? Why do I purposefully (often gleefully) submit myself to this gauntlet of mental chess and body pretzeling?

    Because even at my age, it’s exhilarating to know that I, without talent and despite my lack of natural abilities, can still grow and progress.

    Because every time I do manage to successfully learn anything new, it’s a Gift. A gift from me to myself. No one sees it, it’s my personal little victory – but I RELISH it.

    This is not a glamorous thing. It is hard and it is humbling. It challenges me to strive in spite of my shortcomings. It proves to me that I am still alive, and still capable of trying, of failing, of trying again.

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