People quit jiu-jitsu for different reasons. While some do have to stop training due to serious health conditions, most people’s reasons for leaving the gym and never returning aren’t necessarily as permanent. Maybe family or personal issues had to take priority over gym time. Maybe you moved somewhere that was a two-hour drive from the nearest jiu-jitsu academy. Maybe you just took “a couple days off” and then never ended up going back.
It’s easy to get into your own head and convince yourself that after a certain amount of time away from the mats, that part of your life is just over. You tell yourself that it’s been years and you’d probably have to start from square one anyway, or that you’re too old now, too fat now, too busy now. The road to get back to where you were seems long enough — the road to get where you’d want to be may seem too long to be worth it.
One of the greatest qualities of jiu-jitsu is that you can truly do it at any age. It’s not like a high school or college sport that demands you find success in a very limited timeframe. Whether you decide to come back to jiu-jitsu a week after you “quit” or years later, the mats will still be there for you. Yes, it will take some time for you to get your technique (and probably cardio) back to what it was, but it’ll probably come back faster than you think.
This, too, is a piece of comfort if you do need to take time away from jiu-jitsu. Life is crazy and often unpredictable. Babies are expensive and time-consuming. Work schedules get rearranged. Knees make scary popping noises and require surgery and recovery. But these hurdles don’t have to be finish lines. Don’t convince yourself that just because you’re being outpaced by your teammates while you tend to other matters means that you’ll never be where you’d hoped to be before you had to step away.
If you have learned that jiu-jitsu really isn’t your thing, that’s fine. But if you feel like you’re yearning for the mats and the only thing keeping you away is fear, swallow it just long enough to walk back through the doors of the gym. It may take a minute, but you’ll soon feel right at home once again.