10 Types of People Who Quit BJJ

If you have been at the same Jiu Jitsu academy for at least two years, you have likely seen many faces come and go. A solid academy is built around a core group of dedicated students and a larger group of new white belts who train for 6 to 12 months before disappearing after their contracts expire. Most gyms have a high turnover rate for new white belts who sample the sport for a few months and then never come back again. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a long period time requires a passion for the sport that can withstand the injuries, ego crushing moments, setbacks, and frustrations. Here are the different categories of people who I have seen come in go from the dojo over the years.

The Rational Person: The person who after training for a few months comes to his/her senses and realizes this not what normal people do. Why would you pay money to get roughed up and choked? Why be sore the next day if you don’t have to be? If you work in a blue collar job, you can’t afford to get injured. If you work in a corporate environment, you will look like a ruffian if you come into work with a black eye.

The Fragile Types: Many potential NFL, NBA and MLB stars were sidetracked by injuries. There is always a risk for injury in BJJ and some practitioners are just more prone to it. Usually this person has given BJJ a go several times after back, knee, or arm injuries, but his/her body just can’t handle the grind.

The Germaphobes: Everything is cool, until people start sweating. The first time a foreign bead of sweat lands in the ear or a sweat soaked gi suffocates the face could also be the last time for someone. The germaphobe is not too different than the rational person. Why would you want to roll around on the ground with another dirty, sweaty human being in weird looking pajamas?

The Dabbling Hobbyist: One month the dabbling hobbyist is all in on League of Legends. The next month, its all about wine tastings. March just happened to be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu month. The dabbling hobbyist has short-term interests and passions before moving on to whatever the next cool trend. The dabbling hobbyist loves to try out new things, but never really makes one interest or hobby a lifestyle or long term endeavor.

All In, Burns Out: Ever see the new person that attends every class, 7-days a week? Within a month of training, this person has 7 Shoyoroll Gis, subscribes to MGinAction and The Mendes Brothers sites, and studies hours of matches. On the mat, the ‘All In, Burns Out’ is light years ahead of training partners who started at the same time. Then, all of sudden this person disappears. Did they go to another school with a high level coach? Did they get injured? Nope. Just too much, too soon and got burnt out.

Dumps Everything for Relationship: BJJ was just something to keep busy in between relationships. We all know the guy or girl who was all gung-ho about the BJJ lifestyle and then they swiped right on Tinder and disappeared. This person’s Facebook feed switches from selfies in a gi to selfies with bae from Tinder and the BJJ career is a wrap.

Too Much Ego: This person was usually the top of the class, natural athlete, picked up things quickly, and always ahead of the curve. Then it all changed on the BJJ mats. All the movements are foreign, everything feels unnatural and they suck as something for the first time in their life. This type of person no longer has all the answers and isn’t the smartest guy in the room and it crushes the ego. While the mainstays at an academy will grow from this realization the “too much ego” types can’t stand losing and not being good at something even if they are just a beginner.

Career First Guy/Gal: Everything was progressing fine until that big promotion at work or the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ job opportunity comes along. When your former training partner scored the big raise and promotion at work, it usually results in more hours, stress, and increased chances of getting fired for poor work performance. Thus the 40 hour work week becomes the 60 hour work week with heightened blood pressure and heart burn. While you are training, this person is slaving over spreadsheets and dreaming of choking out his/her asshole boss.

Not in BJJ Shape, But Won’t Work to Get in BJJ Shape:There is a vicious cycle  of wanting to get in BJJ shape, but you can’t get into BJJ shape unless you do BJJ and put in the work. We see the out of shape guys and gals come in and they love the sport, but are gassed during warm ups. Everything is a struggle and there is a need for constant breaks to recover. Class is so much more difficult when you lack the cardio to get through class. You keep doing it to get in shape, but it is so hard to do because you are not in shape. Those who are unwilling to go through the initial pains of getting in shape, can’t hang for the long term.

I Can’t Afford BJJ, But Can Afford Going Clubbing: “I love BJJ, but classes are too expensive.” So is table service and going out on Saturday nights, but you manage to pull that off. For many, affording BJJ is hard, but not impossible. With proper budgeting and allocation of resources, it can be done. However, some would rather spend their money on other discretionary expenses like clubbing or Air Jordans. Then they would talk about how expensive classes are and how they don’t have money for it.




  1. All In, Burns Out – Sounds like it could be me! I’m a beginner and decided to up my attendance to learn more. I trained 7 days a week for 21 days straight until injury forced me to stop for 2 weeks. I’m gonna cut back to no more than 3-4 days a week. Give myself time to recover. I was a dumb ass cliche.

  2. There is at least one type left: the self aware. The person who tries bjj and realizes that it is just not the activity for him/her. That’s exactly how I am starting to feel. I don’t feel the pleasure and passion people talk about. It’s fun, it’s challenging but it’s just that for me. I am not talented and I don’t feel like working hard to get better. And there’s nothing wrong with it, I just haven’t found something to be passionate about.

    • Then don’t do it. There’s more to life than just bjj. Most people who give other people shit about quitting bjj think that bjj is life and maybe it makes them feel better about themselves that they didn’t quit and you did. But i can guarantee that the person giving you shit about quitting bjj probably can’t do many cool things you’re interested in either.

      Quit because it’s not worth it and you have better shit to do than getting choked out.

    • Pretty sure they had you covered in the very first category as ‘rational, darlin. Nothing wrong in realizing that it’s just not the thing for you.

  3. Realizing it may not be practical? This could be one of them. I’m in BJJ classes now..grappling is fun in tournaments and competition, but in real life self defense..BJJ by its self is certainly lacking. We don’t train while in the guard or other positions as if someone has the ability to strike. I brought this up one time and was told “we don’t strike in BJJ”..very true..but as a member of law enforcement those in street fights certainly do strike (fists, elbows, ect). Certain moves have their place and would work in a SD situation, but the vast majority of techniques just aren’t realistic in a street fight/self-defense situation.

  4. Okay, don’t fuck with the job first guys. I used to train 6 days a week during last year of uni, went to competitions, attended seminars. Now i’m also a surgeon. I have at least around 50-60 hulour workweeks (thanks to strict regulations), plus the occasional 24 hour shift to survive. In my free time i’m supposed to study.
    I still catch at least 6 hours of BJJ plus 4 hours of stick fighting. I have a very very supporting lady at home who knows that BJJ was the sole thing keeping me level during some rough times.
    So, if i read a slightly condescending tone in there, and i might just be a bit touchy there, put yourself into the shoes of the people who for example treat the very injuries you aquire during your BJJ career. I have to skip some days, i can’t go do extra a lifting and instead of half guard tutorials i have to watch surgery tapes sometimes.

    I’ll come train whenever i can. I’ll do my best to go MY BJJ road. Don’t act all high horse just because your job givea you a clean cut off time every day

  5. Mick Jagger you are correct. Some position work and are useful but the sport shit is just that a sport. These people think that sport applies to street ignoring the gaping holes in logic and the plethora of proof on the street hands are king .
    To the ass who wrote this artcle . A good boxer would kick your ass . Also if jujitsu does not provide what one is looking for its ok for them to quit. Kickboxing , muay thai are awesome. Grappling is a devastating art but people like you need to shut the fuck up and get out more or teach striking if you can . Grappling alone wont cut it. The Gracies know it so what about you? Chump.
    You asshole can loose on anyday but you forget that . Every one has a plan until they get punched in the arrogant mouth.


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