The Top 5 Lies You Are Told When You Start Training in BJJ

When you first start training in BJJ, many coaches and upper belts will give you lines and cliches to sell you on BJJ and the lifestyle that comes with it. Since newcomers are enthusiastic and eager to please, most will buy into these lines as absolute truths rather than half truths with some BS sprinkled in. Over time, you will start to see holes poked into these beliefs and statements and start to develop your own positions on BJJ as a martial arts and sport. Here are the top 5 BS statements white belts are told when they start training.

BJJ is ego free: Eddie Bravo said “BJJ is a filter for douche bags.” It is partially true, until you start following the social media of high-level competitors and read how much they love themselves. If you visit another academy, some coaches can’t help themselves as they bad mouth other coaches and academies to their students and guests. Sure BJJ will make you more humble from getting worked over by better training partners, but the mats are still filled with regular human beings with normal emotions and egos.

Technique overcomes size: Yes, BJJ will provide you with a huge an advantage over most larger, untrained opponents in a self-defense situation. However it does have its limits. If you are a 5’10, 170 lbs male with 2 years of training, you are still likely in a world of trouble if you get called out by a NFL linebacker with a bad attitude. There are limits to what BJJ can do for you in a self-defense situation. The best lesson gained from BJJ is knowing what another human being is able to do to, so that you avoid physical confrontations at all costs.

BJJ is safe: When you first start training, you are told BJJ is much safer than boxing or Muay Thai and anybody can do it. You will have the old guy in the gym bragging about how he is still able to train multiple times a week despite being over 50 years old. After a while, you will notice training partners wearing knee and ankle braces, draining their ears, complaining about sore necks and shoulders, and scheduling appointments to the chiropractor. While the sport is relatively safe, it is a combat sport that wears down the body and injuries will occur.

The BJJ community is one big family: You know most families are dysfunctional with family members not speaking to each other and constantly bad mouthing one another. So in that sense, the BJJ community is one big family. There is a lot of politics in BJJ between affliations, coaches, and students. While most people in BJJ are cool and friendly, let’s not pretend it is a perfect Utopia. There are people out there who have less than noble intentions and there are rivalries between different teams and factions.

BJJ is for everyone: The barrier to entry to try BJJ is low and everybody is welcomed to train, but sticking around is very hard. In the end, the people who stick around have a burning desire and passion for the gentle art and are willing to make sacrifices to learn and train. The reality is BJJ is a very expensive hobby, takes a physical toll on the body, and requires participants to be comfortable rolling around on the ground in other people’s bodily fluids. Most normal people wouldn’t subject themselves to that type of lifestyle.




  1. Personally, I’m getting a bit tired of hearing about how Jiu Jitsu Isn’t for Everyone, or hearing why one shouldn’t even try or how you just HAVE to be big and strong or you’re hosed in a fight or how its not save/you could get hurt just practicing and all this other crap (like a lot of people don’t hang around afer getting smashed for the first month or two) that’s being spewed lately.

    If you want to be elitist and some kind of martial arts snob and are only interested in competing and getting medals and so-called World Championships (both of which are, honestly, a dime a dozen and mean nothing simply BECAUSE there are so many of them), that’s fine and dandy.

    But Jiu Jitsu IS for everyone. EVERYONE. Whether they want to try it or not, its there for them should they wish to pursue it. NOT everyone has the skill or desire or NEED to compete/be a ‘World Champion’ or Proof they can Beat the Other Guy. But the desire and need to be able to handle a bad situation, work through a problem or defend oneself/one’ loved ones effectively IS a viable need and desire. Those who wish to pursue that aspect of this wonderful Martial Art are entitled to try it, do it, get good at it. OR not. It’s up to them.

    Its NOT up to elitist snobs and bullies, BJJ Politicians or Organizations to tell the everyday man, woman or child that Jiu Jitsu isn’t for them. IT IS for them. It’s for EVERYONE. Ya don’t like lies? Ya don’t like politics? Ya think its dangerous? MAYBE, just maybe there’s something wrong with the way YOU’ve been taught or want from the Art. Unless of course you ARE and Elitist BJJ Snob/Bully. In THAT case, it would explain a lot.
    Isn’t that sad?

      • Funny you should ask. I have cerebral palsy and have been training for a year and a half. I’ll be competing for the first time at the end of April. Also, look up Brandon Ryan and Aaron Broverman. They’re two other BJJ practitioners who have cerebral palsy — and they’re far from the only ones.

    • Mmmm, seems you’re too much inty the hype.

      I think you greatly missed the point of the article, I see nothing on it to say the author is a snob. I found everything on it quite accurate: BJJ has limitations (like it or not), it wears dowm the body (like any other physical activity that inclues contact), has a lot of arrogant snobbist practitioners who look down on other arts (Eddie Bravo bashing Catch Wrestling, keyboard warriors who talk ba about sambo), has a lot of internal conflicts (eg Waldemar Santana, Edie Bravo, Rickson calling out Rener), etc.
      And no, I don’t think it’s for everyone either. Open your eyes to other perspectives, it’s not just because ”ya don’t like dah politiks or injuriess¡¡…..: not everyone likes such big emphasis on rolling on the ground, having to buttscoot against grapplers from other disciplines with better takedown offense and defense, not being able to slam a la wrestling, etc. It doesn’t suit the preferences of everyone, and there’s nothing inherently bad about it, since no single martial art out there does.
      Isn’t it sad that so many people o the internet are too emotion driven and love using straw man arguments to attack whathever thing they don’t like?

    • Do what i do, stop reading shit and do what you want and like with the people you want and like. I didnt agree with your point of view on your post so instead of continue to read i realized we have different views on the topic and thats fine, no need to go deeper and involve myself in a thought process i dont belong to

    • That only applies to your comment. I found the article to be quite accurate. Just because it questions the uthopic idea of many fans that BJJ is a perfect ambit free of flaws and thus superior to any other martial art doesn’t turn it into crap.

  2. Perhaps the biggest issue with the strength/technique discussion is this mid-set with many people in the bjj community that not only strength and conditioning a waste of time; it’s inimical to one’s development.

    As a result, people are less apt to get involved in S&C, which has benefits that transcend you bjj game.

  3. One thing is for sure and that is that BJJ is taken very serious by the individual practitioners. To this point we defend the art and sometimes get a bit carried away in our defence or counter criticism . That speaks volumes of the passion of the average BJJ student. I think that we often times just need to lighten up a bit. BS will be exposed and if people can’t substantiate the claims then they are shutout very quickly. It is a thing of beauty and honesty!!


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