Jiu Jitsu is one of the toughest martial arts in the entire world. Actually, it is one of the toughest things you can learn to do, thus, it condones an extremely high dropout rate. Many people have said that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has the highest dropout rate among other martial arts, and what could be the cause of this? This question is not so simple because there are several factors that contributes to why people quit Jiu Jitsu.
We are not referring to people who have to quit for the reasons that are related to their lives such as work, school, family, and other common issues. We are just talking about those guys who start training, become obsessive and suddenly fall of the face of the earth. The guys that quit at blue belt, or towards the end of white belt and all of the sudden we see them doing other things on their social medias. Why do they quit?
Why Do So Many People Quit Jiu Jitsu? What are the Reasons?
Well, first off, simply put Jiu Jitsu is for life. Not many people have the dedication to maintain a passion all through out their lives. That’s why to some, after a certain level of mastery, they may be satisfied with the results. Jiu Jitsu also has one of the hardest learning curves out of any activity in the entire world and because of this many people quit. Nobody walks into a BJJ academy and rolls well if they have no experience.
There is no preconceived notion on how to grapple, whereas with striking, I guess every human have a preconceived notion on how to throw a punch. Although some people may have athletic or natural instincts when they grapple for the first time, none of them have good techniques. Somebody may naturally head lock you or be difficult to sweep, but nobody is going to waltz into a BJJ academy and be able to put someone into X-Guard and sweep them. It is an acquired knowledge.
Since BJJ is so difficult to learn and there is no preconceived notion of how to do it, many people will ultimately quit. Other reasons for people quitting, maybe for the fact that everything in life has come easy for them and they don’t have the proper personality to devote their time to something in order to get good. These people may only look at the macro perspective of life and lack the micro perspective. Jiu Jitsu is all about micro progression, setting small goals and attaining them week by week. Other people may just not be able to handle tapping out, and many other reasons can contribute to the dropout rate, such as the discomfort associated with training.
The Learning Curve
The learning curve may be the number one characteristic that contributes to such a high dropout rate. It is difficult for people to see the effectiveness of BJJ and it is even more difficult to bring yourself to a gym and start training. The difficulties only continue — we all remember our first days, we walk into the academy, we are in a place with people we don’t know and there is a certain level of discomfort, all of a sudden we start rolling with people smaller than us, people we assume we could handle, then you are fighting for your life and tapping out every 30 seconds. So why come back? You were humiliated or at least that’s what you think. This is what contributes to so many people coming in, trying it out, and never coming back.
Jiu Jitsu techniques are so difficult to understand and they are so unnatural for the body. It truly is like learning how to swim and when you join an academy it is such an immersive experience it can be overwhelming. Some people may not enjoy all of this, so they quit.
The Blue Belt Blues
The learning curve may be the biggest contribution to why people quit at the earlier stages of Jiu Jitsu, but why do so many people quit at blue belt? Are the blue belt blues real? Yes. They are and almost every academy in the world has had students who get a bad case of the blue belt blues, some of them make it out, while others quit.
So what contributes to the blue belt blues? Well, there are several factors. One of the main thing is the fact that some people plateau. They have a hard time progressing after a certain point and they don’t progress fast. There is a saying in BJJ that you will progress fastest at white belt. This is true because as a white belt, you know nothing so there is much to learn until you become a good blue belt and you have some solid training.
What happens if you start to look at things on a macro level and forget about the micro progressions? It is essential to understand that BJJ is ultimately about micro progressions. What we mean by this is that in Jiu Jitsu, you want to set small attainable goals every week and work on them. Goals like this might include something like using the butterfly sweep, try and triangle everyone at the academy, etc. You need to have small goals that show you that you are progressing, together with the philosophy behind your BJJ that it is all about the journey and not the destination. You have to understand that you are here for the journey.