Why Are BJJ Dropout Rates So High?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu features the highest dropout rates of all martial arts. Rener Gracie knows this fact, and he has an explanation for JJ drop out rates. For starters, Gracie mentions that BJJ is incredibly complex and challenging. 90% of people never make it to blue belt, and then 1% of blue belts advance to become black belts. Such figures are astounding to say the least.

Also, Gracie points out that BJJ is a demoralizing sport. Participants feel great when things are going well, but then BJJ beats them up and humbles them quite often. Jiu-Jitsu is not designed for those with motivation issues after all. Even the most dedicated fighters may give in and quit, too.


  1. I think Bjj,is too, expensive and it takes a lot longer time,to get promoted,even to lower ranks,not to mention the coveted black belt,the beating and humbling are part of the art,but promotions,takes too long and the price,on top of the charges,when you get promoted,is just too much for a lot hard working people,on top of that in USA,Bjj is a luxury sport,not a must have,you can do Judo,Sambo,or Japanese jiu jitsu for a lot less money,and time that it takes to go from white belt to brown. This is just my humble opinion,not bashing or anything else.oss.

      • That’s a little extreme bro. The man is just expressing his opinion. You can express your opinion without calling people names. Another thing that martial arts teaches us.

      • No matter how skilled you may or may not be, if you carry your ego around with you like that and say mean-spirited things like this, you will never be a true martial artist.

    • Longer promotions keep the art from being watered down. McDojos promote quickly to keep you motivated. I personally do not charge my students anything except tuition. No extra fees, or testing charges. The result is a good retention and a team of highly qualified students.

    • Not really about the belt or any of those things u mentioned, , its about every minute you can add to your jits, after u grind it out for so long you have something money cant buy.

  2. Rener has a point:

    – BJJ is the type of art where one week you’re the king of the hill and next thing you know, you’re being tapped left and humbled because you hit a rut.

    – The money is not a factor because it’s really cheap here in Portugal, but I heard that in teh States, it’s a gold mine for many instructors

    – Myself, I got my brown belt last year and between professional demands, family life and a certain mental lazyness, haven’t been there for almost a year. It happens to us all at one time or another

  3. I quit at blue belt. I did really enjoy the training very much, however I am an older guy compared to most in the school and have a lot going on in my life. I could not devote my life to jiu jitsu the way the younger guys can, and basically I felt that I was not going to progress training 2-3 times a week compared to guys that can train 5 plus times a week. Also it is overpriced in the US, most good schools are charging $200/month now.

    • You know you don’t have to progress compared to the other guys. Progress at your own pace. Only compare yourself to you from a a year ago. Keep showing up, keep getting better. Sometimes it;s not who’s best, it’s who’s left.

  4. My personal opinion. It’s a very technical discipline and gets tedious for many people. I remember when I was learning from an 8th degree BB, I felt my head was literally going to explode. Plus, the constant feedback is exhausting, mentally and physically.

  5. Simple: it’s hard, and people want easy. Just keep showing up, you’ll get the stupid belt dummy. Most people want to say, “hey I’m a black belt now” but in JJ, that takes 8-15 years…. Think about that. You can’t spend 8 years focused on a belt. But who cares? They’re not meant to have it. In stead, be thankful you’re healthy enough to train when you can, and that you’re improving yourself and helping your classmates at the same time. Oh and you’re learning to choke the shit out of people! How cool is that!?

  6. Some of us haven’t quit. Some of us are just on convalescence due to injury. I’m 46 and don’t heal up as fast as the young folks. I think injuries and age are what slow the old folks down or leads them to quitting.

    All the other reasons mentioned are valid too, but the ease of progression seems to bother people the most. I have friends who believe their kid’s orange belt in ‘generic neighborhood karate’ is a major accomplishment, even though it only took 3 months to get. They tend to think BJJ and karate are somehow equivalent. They buy into the nonsense that fancy kicking and flashy moves are somehow better for self-defense. My own kid has been in Judo and BJJ since he was 9 (now he’s 12). He won’t be able to wear a blue belt until he’s 16. That’s 7 years of training. In typical karate programs, a kid could have earned a black belt with stripes in that time frame.

  7. Too many people are caring about the belt. Daniel San, BJJ here (in head), here (in heart), BJJ never here (in scrap of fabric holding up pants). If you’re learning, progressing, getting better, be happy, enjoy. Make you’re goal to be as skilled as you can be, not to get awards.

  8. For older guys : Just show up for class… that’s all… with time you will get better, no matter what. Don’t worry about belt promotions. The higher the belt, the constant stress on your body and mind that you constantly have to defend your belt. Keep in mind that some time you will run into some guys (no matter age) that are “enhanced” and will constantly give you hard time or tap you. Those few enhanced guys will make you feel weak and worthless and make you mentally wanna to quit. Don’t let it bother you and you will be fine. Most guys are clean and it’s a fair live sparring .
    Bjj is some what expensive but not all good schools are expensive.. I started at an expensive school where the head instructor (black belt) was withholding knowledge like some how he was teaching for free (?). Competition was not encouraged for obvious reason.. After my 3rd competition I opened my eyes and I decided, it’s time to switch schools. At my new BJJ school (less expensive), I realized how much knowledge, conditioning-rolling I was missing at my level. Live and learn ..

    • Keep in mind that some time you will run into some guys (no matter age) that are “enhanced” and will constantly give you hard time or tap you. Those few enhanced guys will make you feel weak and worthless and make you mentally wanna to quit. Don’t let it bother you and you will be fine. “-THIS. After a while It becomes easy for you and your peers to tell who these people are. Easy to ignore it in the gym but sometimes hard to get over it at competition level when you know you are not getting a fair fight.

  9. Do it for yourself, your health. If its meant to be jiu jitsu will find you or you just find excuses. Black belts aren’t handed out to anybody, you represent you’re academy your professor

  10. I’ve been at it for a few months but keep getting injured. Have a broken toe at the moment and will probably be weeks before I can get back. The doctor bills are getting pretty expensive. I love the sport but will probably quit because I can’t afford it.

  11. If you’re goal is a belt, pick another sport. It seems to me that bjj is a lifestyle choice. There should be no one goal, because the benefits are more than any belt can convey. Being part of the right gym, with the right people, is only the first step. In the end dedication to the sport is really dedication to self improvement, along with the recognition that you must evolve your game for the changing stages of life as they happen. Even the most fit practioner will one day age. His bones will grow weary and a younger version will rise up to challenge him. That is not the time to quit. It is the time to evolve.

    On the side note… I’ve been at this a few months too. Broken toes and hurt ribs. Even with that, I would rather challenge myself and continue to train, than to miss practice. Quitting is a sign of mental weakness.

  12. Generally it is very difficult to join and participate in a BJJ class as a beginner as generally, due to the technicalities, people do not want to train with a newbie. I have it found this in other arts

  13. The life of a martial artist isn’t for everyone it is sometimes hard on your confidence and hard on your body. The knowledge, comraderee, physical fitness are hard to find anywhere else. The only thing the belt signifies is you stuck it out. I have been studying the martial arts for 35+ years, I have a black belt in TKD, a brown in Judo, a blue in Brazilian JiuJitsu and have studied many others. At 60 years old the destination means less than road getting to that destination. I have been lucky enough to find a Professor that like me does it for the love of the art not the money he can make. Pretty sure I will be training until the day they throw dirt over me even if I am wearing no belt. You love it or you don’t, that simple!

  14. I’ve been in martial arts for 37 yrs, 23 years teaching it full time, black belt in 4 styles including BJJ and IMO there are at LEAST 2 things that contribute to this. 1) lack of clear goals and progression. You can say what you want about “mcdojos” but i bet more of them have a set curriculum than 99% of BJJ schools. The attitude of you get it when you get it is cool if you’re totally into it but the truth is we can bring more people to that point if we get organized with curriculum. that philosophy leaves makes it totally subjective. 2) We have incredibly talented and gifted bjj athletes and black belts teaching who have invested years and thousands of $ in bjj. However, how much time and money $ have they invested in the study of becoming a good teacher, leader or business professional? You can be a black belt on the mat and a white belt in business. There are people doing it in both arenas successfully and that’s what we need. “All instructors should be black belts, but not all black belts should be instructors.”

  15. I train in both kenpo and jujistsu …there are no belts in our jujistu class …just trainiing.Learnong to get better …thats it.

  16. I’ve been training for over twenty years. I’ve taken a couple months off here and there due to injuries. I’ve had back surgery and brain surgery.
    This is just my opinion, but here is what I’ve found:
    It’s no more expensive than any other matial art in the area here. 100$ a month unlimited. Karate nearby? 130$ plus teating fees.
    Basic bottom line is what people don’t want to admit. Especially when they themselves are explaining why they quit.
    They’re lazy and not the kind of warrior spirit that does Bjj long term.
    I’ve been married, gone through college, had a son, gone through a divorce. Different jobs.
    Excuses. All of them.
    Find something that someone LOVES and they make and find the time to do it.
    It’s difficult art. It takes checking your ego. It takes physical discipline and fitness. It takes dedication. People just don’t have this as a whole. That’s not an insult. It’s just true.
    Hope this didn’t insult anyone. It’s just tiring to hear excuses from people for ten years or more now as to where they went.
    The people who STICK w Jiu jitsu are the same and only people who WOULD HAVE the ability to honestly say “it was just way too hard man, and after work n school I just would rather chill on my couch w a movie or PS4, plus if I have extra money, I like to go out w friends man. ”
    Which is 90% of the time, the truth.

  17. People need to stop worrying about belts and stripes and just show up train and grow. I got my blue belt in 1 year I trained 6-7 days a week consistently twice a day few days of the week. I stopped worrying about stripes and started focusing on getting my jiu jitsu better and better. Just keep showing up training and you will get promoted when your suppose too. I’m currently on 1 year and 6 months now and I don’t care for stripes on my belt I just want to keep getting better.

  18. I had to leave BJJ because the Gracie diet was causing me to produce prodigious quantities of gas! The flatulence while rolling was unreal!

  19. All bs. 200 a month can be had by not going to Starbucks. Promotions are for children, either you can grapple or you can’t. If you can, what difference does it make what belt you have. Even worse, if you can’t, what a difference the color of your belt! Do you really want to be bait/chum for the lower belts to you with? Just show up, shut up and roll. Man I miss this sport. Waiting on the virus to abate.

  20. I have no doubt that I would stick with it. And like someone said, that black belt is really appealing. I work out everyday of the week (work permitting), and I really push myself to the max. I work 10 – 20 hour days. I am also learning an instrument. And I’m taking 3 classes. I’d love to go to the Gracie school in NYC. They have Muay Thai too (how cool is that?). But the price and distance make it a really hard commitment. I don’t want to go one a week at those rates. Can anybody suggest something relatively more affordable, but with good instructors in the Manhattan area? Anything around midtown (the Gracie one is on 30th, but that’s almost 30 blocks from me).

  21. Oh, and to the tool that called someone a loser. That’s one thing In concerned about. There’s a borderline fanaticism that is cool when it’s inclusive. But I get the feeling that there are going to be a lot of hyper-aggressive dudes that hurt people. I’m too old for that kind of thing. Seen it in MA classes far too often.


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