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This Is Why Majority of People Will Quit Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at White and Blue Belt

Maybe you’re interested in starting Brazilian jiu jitsu or maybe you’ve heard about bjj’s high drop out rate. Believe me I’ve been there and definitely had my own case of blue belt blues.

If you’re wondering why people quit Brazilian jiu jitsu across the bjj belts it comes down to some common obvious answers as well as some more obscure ones.

Based on a survey with results from over a dozen forum based pages (such as Reddit and Quora) and with answers from almost 80 people who trained bjj then quit, majority of people quit bjj due to injury:

Reasons for quitting BJJNumber of people
Injury28
Work/School11
Too difficult/Intense10
Money9
Environment/School6
Location5
Family commitments4
Acne/Skin infections4
Achieved basics/Moved on1

People quit bjj most often at the white and blue belt levels. The majority of reasons that they quit Brazilian jiu jitsu are (aside from external, uncontrollable reasons like work/family commitments):

  • it’s hard
  • it’s expensive
  • they’re bored
  • injuries happen
  • they get discouraged
  • they’re not seeing progress
  • they’re not structuring training

Alternatively, if you’re wonder how to stay engaged and motivated to continue your bjj journey, we also go you covered with some quick tips about to keep improving.

To stay engaged and still have passion for bjj throughout the belt ranks:

  • become your own coach by structuring your training around improving your weaknesses
  • show up to class with a technique, position, take down, or submission in mind that you want to hit
  • cultivate friendships with some of your best training partners
  • make recovery a point by scheduling your week with low and high intensity sessions
  • and of course, take planned time away if you need to

Realted: Jiu Jitsu Belts Explained


Why People Quit Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Key Takeaways

  • BJJ sees the highest drop out rate at ~5-6 months in (if the practitioner continues after the first couple classes), and its among the highest across modern martial arts
  • Approximately 75% of white belts will quit bjj
  • Approximately 50% of blue belt will quit bjj
  • People quit Brazilian jiu jitsu because:
    • its hard (there is a steep learning curve)
    • they get bored (especially at blue belt)
    • its expensive
    • life happens (injuries, jobs, kids, relocation)
    • they’re not seeing progress

How to Not Be One of Them – Key Takeaways

  • you gotta be stubborn!
  • after getting beat up by a higher (or lower belt) make it a point to show up to the next class ready to learn (and maybe take another beating)
  • Focus on why you started training Brazilian jiu jitsu
  • Be your own coach! (constantly chip away at your weaknesses and further fortify your strengths on the mat
  • Set small goals (like I will make it to 4 classes this week including 1 advanced class and 1 wrestling class)
  • Focus on a new position or technique (maybe consider learning it along with an instructional)

The High Dropout Rate in BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is notorious for its high dropout rate, particularly among white and blue belts.

The nature of the sport, with its steep learning curve and physically demanding training, can be intimidating and discouraging for many newcomers.

Read More: Why Some People Don’t Get Good at BJJ and How to Improve faster

Additionally, the time commitment required to progress through the belt ranks can be overwhelming, especially for those with busy lives outside of the gym. As a result, a significant number of BJJ practitioners quit before they have the chance to fully experience the benefits and satisfaction of mastering this complex martial art.

The dropout rate in BJJ can be attributed to a variety of factors, including

  • physical and emotional challenges
  • time and financial constraints
  • social and environmental influences

The Importance of Understanding the Reasons Behind Quitting BJJ

Understanding the reasons behind quitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is crucial for having a plan to deal with these challenges that everyone who trains bjj will face.

For students, understanding these reasons can help them anticipate potential roadblocks and develop strategies for overcoming them. This self-awareness can empower practitioners to stay committed to their BJJ journey, even when faced with setbacks or difficulties.

By recognizing and addressing the factors that contribute to quitting BJJ, the community as a whole can work together to promote a more enjoyable, rewarding, and sustainable experience for all practitioners.

Physical Reasons for Quitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Injuries

By far the most common reason why people quite jiu jitsu is injuries sustained during training.

You can hopefully avoid unnecessary injuries by:

  • waiting until you are ready to being live sparring (~2 weeks – 2 months in)
  • focus on technique and control
  • choosing your training partners carefully
  • avoided aggressive, spastic movements
  • (…pulling guard)

Jiu Jitsu is a full-contact martial art that involves plenty of joint locks, chokes, and take downs. Due to the nature of the sport, injuries are an inevitable part of the journey.

Amongst all belt levels, white belts and blue belts are more prone to injuries due to their lack of knowledge and experience.

The average time it takes for a BJJ practitioner from being a white belt to a purple belt is four years and during this period, they have comparatively less knowledge about the techniques which makes them vulnerable.

This can be very discouraging as even minor injuries can take longer to heal due to their inexperience in the martial art.

Therefore, it is important for white and blue belts to take extra precautions while training and sparring in order to prevent any serious injuries that could lead them quitting jiu jitsu altogether.

Injuries and chronic pain are the most common factors that lead people to quit BJJ.

When you are injured, the longer you are away from jiu jitsu the harder it is to go back.

The sport demands a high level of physical exertion, which can result in sprains, strains, and other injuries if not managed correctly. Chronic pain can also develop from repeated stress on joints and muscles (especially the fingers of heavy gi players), leading some practitioners to leave the sport to protect their long-term health.

The training is too hard

The training of Jiu Jitsu can be physically and mentally taxing, and many people find themselves quickly overwhelmed by the intensity of the classes.

Especially, if you don’t have experience with other types of training or martial arts, you may find the training quite challenging.

The key to overcoming this challenge is to take it slow at first, giving yourself time to adjust to the intensity of the training and build up your endurance.

Additionally, it’s always important to focus on technique rather than on sparring as this will help you develop better fundamentals that will serve you well in the long run.

Finally, don’t forget to listen to your body; if you are feeling exhausted or sore after a class then take a break or reduce the intensity of your training.

Don’t be afraid to do a drilling only day, take a rest day or two or more.

Rolling Is Too Intense For The Student

Rolling is an essential part of Jiu Jitsu, however it can sometimes be too intense for some students.

When my wife first joined bjj after I was finally able to talk here into it (after 2+ years), she found the rolling to be very intense. Not only that but she found that being in someone’s personal space to be a bit uncomfortable.

But, by choosing her drilling and sparring partners carefully, and making friends at the gym she soon felt more comfortable.

For those just starting out, the intensity can be overwhelming and even cause injuries if caution isn’t taken. It is important to find a gym that matches your goals and desired intensity level when first starting out.

Read More: Sparring In BJJ – a Guide to Rolling

If you are looking for a less intense environment, look for gyms that offer drills and technique classes before rolling.

This can help build up your confidence so you know what to expect when it comes time to roll with partners.

Additionally, many gyms have separate rolling sessions for beginners which allow them to train at their own pace without feeling rushed or intimidated by more experienced grapplers.

The most important thing is to make sure you are comfortable with the intensity level of rolling in the gym you choose.

Don’t let yourself get discouraged if it feels too intense or overwhelming at first – take it one step at a time and focus on learning rather than competing. With patience and dedication, anyone can become successful in jiu jitsu!

Social and Environmental Factors

Incompatibility with gym culture or coaching style is a social factor that can influence a person’s decision to quit BJJ.

Read more: How to Choose your BJJ Gym Properly

A supportive and nurturing environment is essential for growth and progress, but not every gym or coach is the right fit for every individual. Lack of support from friends and family can also make it difficult to maintain the commitment necessary for BJJ.

Bullying or intimidation within the gym can be another reason people leave BJJ. A toxic environment that fosters negative behavior and discourages personal growth can make it difficult for individuals to enjoy and excel in the sport.

Life Gets in the Way

Time and Financial Constraints

Balancing BJJ with work, family, and other commitments can be challenging. Training multiple times per week is often necessary for progress, but this may be difficult for individuals with busy schedules. Additionally, the high cost of training, including gym fees and equipment, can be a financial burden that leads some people to quit.

Costs

The cost of training is a major reason why many people quit jiu jitsu at the blue belt level.

The sport requires a large financial commitment to stay involved and competitive including:

  • monthly membership fees
  • equipment costs
  • tournament registration fees
  • seminar fees
  • travel expenses

This can be overwhelming and unrealistic for many young practitioners who struggle to meet their basic financial needs, making them abandon their BJJ journey before they reach the higher belts. Additionally, as it is recommended for white and blue belts to compete in tournaments in order to improve faster, this further increases their expenses.

For those that cannot afford these extra costs associated with progressing in BJJ and seeing others pass them by who can afford it, quitting becomes an easy decision.

Location

  • How far is your bjj gym from where you live?
  • Is there even a Brazilian jiu jitsu gym nearby
  • Do you have to relocate for work or family with no gym in sight?

Location is an obvious reason for people quitting bjj.

Jiu jitsu is tough enough, we don’t need to add a 30+ minute commute to a from a gym where we get choked out in a sweaty robe.

Mental and Emotional Reasons for Quitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Frustration with the learning curve can be a significant mental barrier for BJJ practitioners.

The sport involves a vast array of techniques and concepts that can take years to fully grasp.

This steep learning curve may cause some individuals to feel overwhelmed and consider quitting.

Fear of failure or embarrassment is another mental factor that can lead people to leave BJJ. The sport often involves losing or being dominated by more skilled training partners, which can be emotionally challenging for some individuals.

Finally, Loss of motivation and interest can also occur if someone no longer finds the sport engaging or fulfilling or maybe people just decide to move onto a new hobby.

Lack of visible progress

One of the next most common reasons for people to quit Jiu Jitsu is due to a lack of visible progress.

The learning curve in Jiu Jitsu can be steep and many practitioners find themselves hitting plateaus where their progress stagnates. This is especially common at the blue belt stage.

This can lead to feelings of frustration and discouragement, especially if they are expecting linear growth.

In order to stay motivated and continue improving, it is important to set realistic goals that correspond with your skill level and progress.

Taking regular breaks from training can also help prevent burnout and serve as a valuable opportunity to reflect on your journey so far.

Ultimately, remember that the path towards mastery is never a straight line; there will be peaks and valleys, good days and bad.

Ego

Jiu Jitsu can be a humbling experience for many people, particularly those with a large ego.

When starting out in Jiu Jitsu, it is not uncommon to face opponents who are much more experienced than you and smaller than you that can still submit you multiple times in a round.

In the beginning you have to be okay with not being good and be okay with delaying gratification.

This can be difficult to accept.

This is especially true when an athlete was used to being at the top in other sports.

To combat this feeling of defeat, it’s important to

  • focus on improving your skill and technique
  • focus on small wins
  • training with intention (aiming to hit a new sweep or positional escape)
  • study when not on the mat with instructionals or other resources

I know its not easy and cliche but rather than worrying about winning or losing each match try to get just a little bit better each class.

Additionally, try to learn from each opponent and understand that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Finally, have patience with yourself and remember that most high-level competitors have failed many times before becoming successful.

Lack of Interest

Lack of interest is a major factor in why people quit Jiu Jitsu (again, especially at the blue belt level).

After attaining the blue belt level, some practitioners may find it difficult to stay motivated to continue training due to the lack of new techniques, positions, and skills that can be learned.

The blue belt level is often considered as the plateau for beginners, as they may not find any significant challenge or progress beyond this point.

This could lead to feelings of stagnation and boredom, which can result in them losing interest in jiu jitsu altogether. Additionally, when the same techniques are repeated over and over again in class with little variation or improvement, it can become tedious for some practitioners and cause them to lose their enthusiasm for continuing with jiu jitsu.

Unreal Expectations

Unrealistic expectations are a major reason why many people quit jiu jitsu at earlier belt levels.

Some people go into bjj and think they will have it all down within a couple months…they are sorely mistaken (as was I).

When someone begins training, they often have very high expectations of themselves and the sport.

They may think that they will become a world champion in a short amount of time, or that they will lose weight quickly if they train often enough.

Unfortunately, these expectations are rarely met and can be discouraging for practitioners who are unable to reach their goals as quickly as they had hoped. This can lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment, leading them to abandon the art before reaching higher belts.

Additionally, being unable to progress fast enough or keep up with more experienced practitioners can be discouraging and make it difficult for newbies to stay motivated in the sport.

Comparing Yourself To The Progression Of Others

Comparing yourself to the progression of others is a common trap that many jiu jitsu practitioners fall into.

It can be easy to get discouraged if you feel like your progress is not at the same rate as your peers, but it is important to remember that everyone has their own journey and learns at different rates. Everyone progresses differently in BJJ, so comparisons will only lead to feelings of discouragement and frustration.

Rather than comparing yourself with others, focus on setting goals for yourself.

This can help keep your motivation high and remind you of why you started training in the first place. Celebrate the small successes that come along with progressing in jiu jitsu, no matter how big or small they may seem.

Remember that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a team sport but an individual journey – focus on pushing yourself to become better every day rather than competing against others.

When Most People Quit Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Belt LevelPercent Quitting at this Level
White Belt75%
Blue Belt50%
Purple Belt6%
Brown Belt3%
Black Belt1%
Here are estimates of the dropout rate based upon a survey from my gym and information from my coaches

The White Belt Dropout Rate

The white belt dropout rate in BJJ is notably high for several reasons.

  • The steep learning curve of Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be overwhelming for beginners,
  • The intensity of sparring
  • Injuries if not training in a controlled manor
  • Comparison to higher belts
  • The feeling of lack of improvement

Additionally, BJJ can be an ego-bruising experience, as new practitioners often find themselves submitted by more experienced training partners. Furthermore, BJJ training is tough on the body, requiring increased flexibility, strength, and endurance, which can be difficult for newcomers to adapt to.

The “Blue Belt Blues” Phenomenon

The blue belt is a significant milestone in a BJJ practitioner’s journey, representing a transition from beginner to intermediate level.

However, many blue belts experience the “blue belt blues,” a phenomenon where they feel demotivated or overwhelmed by the challenges at this level.

Earning a blue belt usually takes 1-3 years of regular training, and blue belts are expected to have a solid understanding of fundamental techniques.

Challenges at this level include refining techniques, developing a personalized game plan, and facing increased expectations from coaches and peers. The transition from beginner to intermediate practitioner can be difficult, leading some to consider quitting.

How dangerous is a bjj blue belt

They will undoubtedly possess greater grappling expertise than the typical untrained person, giving them an advantage in physical confrontations against those without training.

Nonetheless, with an average training duration of 1.5 to 3 years, a blue belt is still regarded as a novice in the realm of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Although they may have a solid understanding of techniques, positions, and submissions, they likely require additional time to study these methods and execute them in live sparring situations against opponents who fully resist.

Read more: How Dangerous Is a Blue Belt Vs an Average Person (Really)

Is a blue belt in jiu jitsu good

Achieving a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a significant accomplishment and a good indication of progress in the art.

However, it is important to remember that BJJ is a journey, and a blue belt is still a beginner compared to higher-ranking practitioners.

It is essential to avoid becoming complacent with the blue belt and to continue learning and growing as a practitioner.

Challenges faced at the blue belt level

Challenges faced at the blue belt level include the pressure to perform well and the expectation to begin to spar in a more calculated manor, especially against higher belts.

As students begin to experiment with more advanced techniques, they may encounter greater resistance and technical challenges. Training partners (among the higher belts) who may have been taking it easy on them begin to ramp up the pace.

The blue belt level is also a time where many practitioners may experience a plateau in their progress, leading to frustration and a potential loss of motivation. It is important to remain patient and dedicated to the learning process to overcome these challenges.

Do people ever quit Brazilian jiu-jitsu at purple belt?

While less common than quitting at white or blue belt, some people do quit Brazilian jiu-jitsu at purple belt.

At this stage, practitioners have already put in years of training, dedication, and hard work to earn their rank. However, purple belt can also be a turning point for many practitioners, as it marks the transition from intermediate to advanced level.

They begin to see themselves getting closer and closer to the advanced belt levels and may feel more pressure to improve quicker and become more well-rounded.

This level of skill requires more commitment, consistency, and persistence than before.

How long to get purple belt BJJ?

On average, it takes around 3-5 years of consistent training to earn a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

However, the time frame varies depending on factors such as the individual’s natural talent, the frequency of training, and the quality of coaching. Some people may progress faster, while others may take longer.

Related: How Dangerous Is a Purple Belt

What it means to be a purple belt in BJJ?

A purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a significant accomplishment that represents a high level of technical proficiency, knowledge, and experience in the art. At this level, practitioners have already developed a deep understanding of the fundamental techniques and concepts and are starting to develop their personal style and game.

Purple belts are expected to be proficient in executing advanced techniques and strategies, as well as demonstrating a solid understanding of the art’s principles and philosophy. They are also expected to be role models for lower-ranked students, demonstrating leadership, mentorship, and good sportsmanship.

How to Avoid Quitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

  • Focus on why you started training Brazilian jiu jitsu in the first place
  • Learn to be your own coach and focus on your weaknesses
  • Focus on a new position or technique (maybe consider learning it along with an instructional)
  • Set small goals

Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations

To avoid quitting Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it’s essential to set realistic goals and expectations.

Understand that the journey of BJJ is a long and challenging one, often taking several years to progress through the ranks.

It’s not about who’s the best, it’s about who’s still here.

Focus on incremental progress, celebrating small improvements in technique and conditioning rather than expecting rapid advancement. Embrace the concept of continuous learning, recognizing that even the most accomplished practitioners are always refining their skills and discovering new aspects of the art.

Developing a Strong Support System

A strong support system can make all the difference in staying committed to BJJ.

Build relationships within the BJJ community, connecting with training partners and making friends who share your passion for the sport.

If you vibe well with someone at the gym see if they want to drill some stuff before or after class or stick around for another class with you.

Seek mentorship and guidance from coaches and more experienced teammates, who can offer valuable insights and encouragement. Involve friends and family in your BJJ journey by sharing your experiences, inviting them to watch you compete, or even encouraging them to try a class themselves.

Prioritizing Physical and Mental Health

To maintain long-term commitment to BJJ, prioritize your physical and mental health.

Implement a balanced training schedule, allowing for adequate rest and recovery to prevent over training and injuries.

Over training is real, its better to go 3 days a week then go 6 days a week and get injured then be out of training for 3 weeks.

Practice injury prevention and self-care, such as proper warm-ups, stretching, and strength training.

Utilize stress management techniques and develop mental resilience to help you cope with the challenges of BJJ, both on and off the mat.

Finding the Right Gym and Coaching Style

Finally, finding the right gym and coaching style can play a crucial role in your BJJ journey.

  • Research and try different gyms in your area to find one that aligns with your values and goals
  • Prioritize gym culture, ensuring that the environment is supportive, inclusive, and conducive to learning.

Ensure compatibility with coaching methods and philosophies, as the right coach can greatly impact your enjoyment and progress in the sport.

Why do I feel like quitting BJJ? – Conclusion

Feeling like quitting BJJ can stem from various factors that challenge your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Here are some reasons why you might feel like quitting BJJ:

  1. Frustration with progress: BJJ has a steep learning curve, and it’s common to feel frustrated with your progress, especially during the initial stages or when facing experienced practitioners.
  2. Physical demands and injuries: BJJ can be tough on the body, leading to soreness, fatigue, and potential injuries. If not managed well, these physical challenges can make you feel like quitting.
  3. Mental and emotional challenges: BJJ can test your ego, as it exposes your weaknesses and requires you to face defeat regularly. This can be mentally and emotionally taxing, contributing to feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment.
  4. Time and financial constraints: Balancing BJJ with work, family, and other commitments can be challenging. The cost of training, gear, and competitions may also put a strain on your finances, making it harder to stay committed.
  5. Plateaus in skill development: Feeling stagnated or stuck at a certain skill level can be demoralizing, particularly if you see your peers progressing faster.
  6. Gym culture and social dynamics: A negative gym environment or incompatible coaching style can make training sessions less enjoyable, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction and thoughts of quitting.
  7. Expectations vs. reality: If your initial expectations of BJJ don’t align with your actual experience, you may feel disappointed and consider quitting.
  8. Burnout: Over training or not allowing yourself enough time to recover can lead to burnout, making it difficult to maintain enthusiasm and commitment to BJJ.

Recognizing these factors and addressing them through support, goal-setting, self-care, and perseverance can help you overcome the desire to quit and stay committed to your BJJ journey.