5 People Who End Up Quitting

Lately, I have seen so many posts about the people we meet in jiu-jitsu. I myself have discussed this subject, and I think it has been written on to the point where I can safely say “We get it.”

However, I have not seen much written on the people who quit. These people can be grouped into categories, and while sad, some of them have some pretty hilarious reasons for permanently leaving the art.

In my opinion and experience, these are the top five people who quit jiu-jitsu.

(Also note all of these categories have a chance to stay. I am just saying they often end up quitting.)

The Back Yard Fighter

This guy comes in so sure of himself. He boasts a crazy underground fighting record, but has never actually trained.  He even doubts that the instructor will be able to teach him something.

Then he gets choked by the two-month white belt.  He makes a bunch of excuses such as “in a real fight, I would . . .” and then he is never seen again.

The Experienced Wrestler

Many wrestlers do stick with BJJ, and that is awesome. However, many end up quitting. Sometimes they are high school or even college wrestlers who want to learn, but they think they know what’s what. Often, they are able to dominate the lower white belts, but then the seasoned grapplers come and show them the brilliance of BJJ.

Again many of these guys stay in BJJ, and that’s great, but this specific class often end up quitting.

The Family Man

This is one of the sad-but-true scenarios in BJJ.  This guy is happy in class and actually loves it, but his work and family schedule end up pulling him out of the art. Most of the time, it comes down to time management, and he just can’t make it to class.

The Man

Not to be confused with the family man, this guy has no experience, but comes in and goes ballistic on everyone. Not knowing what to do, he spazzes for his life and ends up either quitting the first day or getting injured.

Mr. Unsure

This is another sad, but common scenario. This is guy is incredibly timid and afraid to roll. He is even afraid to learn. He stumbles in, but is intimidated by the training and ends up quitting.

This is the easiest one to prevent because we can welcome him warmly and roll gently with him.

However, people like this still quit.

So after making this list, I have realized that there are many more types that end up quitting. Perhaps there may be a part two?

What are your experiences with people who quit ?



  1. Realistically my dedication goes as far as my bank account allows it to. Sadly i wish it wasnt about that but if you arent set in your life and need the money then paying a monthly fee to practice (and usually stay sore all week and feel arthritic) is probably going to be the first thing to go. So far im still in it and enjoy it but if the car breaks or that electric bill is outrageous you can bet your ass i wont be trying to break the bank for sensei to show me how to choke someone.

    • I run in to this same problem. I often am late on my bill and although my instructor is able to work with me in this, I can see how simply not being able to afford class could be a problem.

  2. I imagine that injury plays a part.

    I recently broke my leg in 3 places in a freak accident rolling. While I have no intention of quitting and will be back on the mats as soon as I can walk again and it’s safe to do so I can see why the thought of another accident, surgery and the pain would put you off.

    It will take a year to fully recover and I now have a tibial nail surgical implant. I’ve been lucky in that my work is not impacted, I am employed and have an office job. If you have a skilled manual trade and / or self employed I imagine there is a whole other set reasons why you may have to quit. The risk may be just too great.

  3. I have to second what Perrotti said, not All BJJ people are men. Women, often, leave for very different reasons. Sadly, one of the top reasons is that there are not enough women. I would love to see more of the women pulled in to teach. Women also want different things. Yes, some want to learn self defense and some also want to lose weight, but some of us are in it for other reasons. It is frustrating to feel like a sport that should be perfect for women often misses the mark when working on moves that would work well for our bodies. Some of us would love to have a women’s comp class or even just a monthly seminar by women competitors for women competitors.

    • It’s something I spend a lot of time pondering because I’m the only regularly attending woman at our (very small) school. I’ve seen quite a few women come and go in the past year, and I know for certain they are not having the same experience that I am having (I’m of the ‘love getting smashed, this is great!’ school of weird brains :P) – their incoming expectations are different, and so they leave for different reasons, too.

      I’m sure part of it is feeling even *more* discouraged than the guys at the ‘totally lost’ whitebelt phase. At least the guys can flail around and make something happen with strength or weight, whereas rolling with 50-100lb heavier bodies a new female whitebelt is in a ridiculous situation. The skills she needs are a year away – she’s being told she can do it…when in actuality she cannot; guys who are 200 pounds and had no experience trying to throw guys who were 300 pounds off of them back when *they* were whitebelts, claiming she can do anywhere near the equivalent is enough to smash anyone’s belief this sport is for them.

      When that is your experience of the first 2-6 months..why stay? Factor in the guy-dominated (or guy-only) environment – even if they are all awesome guys – and the reasons for staying diminish even more. And if her gym has even one bad apple who condescends or harasses or sexualizes a new female student, that’s a drastic reduction in retention right there.

      I believe in mixed-gender classes, but there’s something to be said for all-women classes as well. I have no idea how much I know, until i roll with another woman. Suddenly everything i’ve been taught *works*. For those women for whom a sense of female camaraderie is hugely encouraging, there’s no replacing that. And if a woman feels much more secure in the company of other women, she’ll never thrive without at least some opportunity for that peace of mind.

      This whole quandary deserves more thought than I’ve seen it given online. I’d certainly like to hear more thoughts on the subject, so that some day should I become a teacher I can help women have reasons to stay on the mat 🙂

  4. So I haven’t even trained for a year and a half but being a girl, I’ve noticed that many other girls come and go very quickly. I have been paired with probably a dozen women that have signed up and left within the span of a month. I personally prefer working with men because they give more energy and I’m a huge tomboy that has always hung out with more men than women, but I still think it’s a very sad situation because I believe learning BJJ would save many women from horrible situations. It’s usually the more timid women that come and go so quickly, but at the moment I am the only girl to attend my academy’s BJJ classes on a regular basis.


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