Your cart
Total: $0.00

BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
Training When You Can't

Training When You Can't


Inevitably at some point in your jiu jitsu career we will all have something happen that prevents us from getting on the mats.

 Injuries are preventable in live training and can be avoided for the most part, however, sometimes, things happen. Maybe you get the flu, or some other illness that you’re trying not to spread (from your teammates you share the mats with; thank you).  There are a million excuses to skip training, and they are all garbage excuses, but, that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about the medical reason why you aren’t able to train because it’s a danger to you and or your teammates.

Gi Techniques From One Of The BEST BJJ Teachers In The World! Click Learn More below!


First of all, let’s clear up the excuses.  We have all see people overcome extreme conditions to climb to the top of their respected sport.  As the saying goes “Where there is a will there's a way”. That being said the majority of the time there isn’t a medical reason for you to skip training, it’s simply your mind making excuses and trying to convince you that it’s ok to miss just this once.  

One of the things I love most about jiu jitsu is the mental conditioning to enjoy the process and get comfortable being uncomfortable.  I saw this quote the other day “Slay the one second decisions”. Get in the car and drive to the academy, once you’re there you may as well train, right?

That being said, let’s talk about what you can do to train when you’re forced off the mats.  If you’re recovering from an injury, start with doing what you can. Go to class, can you do parts of the warm up with the team?  Is it possible for you to do your PT on the mats during warm up? (If the professor allows). It goes a long way getting on the mats with your team.  Having the support of your team encouraging you along the way while you are recovering will help keep you in the right mental space focused on getting better and getting back on the mats.

The thing about quitting anything is it gets easier with time.  When you skip the first class you may miss the team and the training a little bit, but after a month, two months, even longer of not seeing your team, and not training you start to forget all the things you fell in love with in the first place. All of a sudden it gets easier to fill the time you used to spend training, typically with less productive, mind numbing activities like watching TV, sitting on the couch doing the Instagram death scroll where you’re only half a human and you feel dead inside.  Don’t fall into this trap!

Start now.  Before this situation presents itself, start creating your plan to overcome the obstacle and ensure you’re not going to become another statistic.  A lot of jiu jitsu practitioners believe strongly that a journal dedicated to your training is necessary. While personally I agree, that isn’t necessary for this exercise, you can use the notes app on your phone, or a regular piece of notebook paper.  Either way, start today by writing down the things that keep you coming back to jiu jitsu. What do you love about training? Why is it important to you? What has training done for you in other aspects of your life?

Here’s my list for reference in order of priority, yours may be similar, or not at all.

Mental health – We all have things going on in life, it may be stress at home or work, combatting depression, struggling in a relationship, dealing with the struggles of raising rebellious kids, whatever life throws at us.  Maybe training is your only “me” time when you’re kid free and get to interact with other adults. Regardless for me, I always say, “It’s hard to worry about the report the boss needs when someone is trying to choke you”. Jiu Jitsu forces us to be present mentally, and for me that holds a lot of value.  I find that if I miss one or two classes I’m increasingly more stressed and irritable. For me my overall mental health and happiness is directly tied to hours spent training.

Humility – We’ve likely all been there.  When I started training, I thought I was tough and could handle myself in a self defense situation… the more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know.  Jiu jitsu, in my experience has a way of keeping us humble. You will likely have the days where you dominate on the mats and it feels great, and you will absolutely have the days you seem to be doing nothing right at all.  Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail.

Comradery – Admittedly, there have been days the only reason I made it on the mats is because I love the people I train with.  I’m fortunate that we have a family like environment at the academy and it shows on everyone’s faces from the moment they walk in the door.  Surround yourself with people that are good influences. I couldn’t quit training if I wanted to. I have zero doubt some of these guys would show up at my house, or my office, and drag me to the academy if they had to.  (Good news guys; you don’t have to).

Learning a skill – You’re not getting any better at jiu jitsu by not going.  Get on the mats and get better. From a self defense perspective, jiu jistu is a skill that will absolutely make you safer in the real world, but like anything, you’re going to perform how you train.  If you’re not training and constantly working to improve your skill, there’s no telling how you will perform if a self defense situation comes up. Train often, train hard.

Now that we’ve got a list to refer back to when you don’t want to get to the academy, it should be easier to push through and get there when there isn’t a medical reason for you to miss class.

But what if you’re really, really sick, and contagious?

There may be times when sharing is NOT caring, so please, use discretion and feel free to keep those germs to yourself.   Just because you’re not able to go to the academy doesn’t mean you can’t train. There is more to jiu jitsu than just drilling technique.  

Escape Pins and The Turtle Position NOW! Click Learn More below!


This is a good time to queue up your favorite instructional from BJJ Fanatics and study.  What have you been working on? Study that technique and look for the little details you’ve been missing.  Watch your old matches if you can, what, if anything would you do differently? If you’re competing at a high level, watch your opponents matches if they’re available.

This may also be a good time for you to look back in your jiu jistu journal and mentally revisit some of the techniques you haven’t been over in a while.  It may be a good time to just simply reflect on your jiu jitsu journey. Not just your progression through the ranks of jiu jitsu, but your progression in life.  Where were you when you started training, personally, professionally, mentally, physically? Where are you now?

A good friend of mine said this to me once when I wasn’t training as much, or as efficiently as I should’ve been.  “What you do in jiu jitsu is what you do in everything else in life”. If you show up when it sucks and train hard, then when you’re up against the deadline at work and hustling to get everything done, you’re more likely to be successful because you’ve conditioned yourself to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.  Push through the frustrations that are keeping you off the mat and use some of these tips to keep training until you are able to get back on the mats.

We perform in life, how we train on the mats.  No excuses, find a way to train.

The amazing John Danaher has released his first DVD in the Gi! Check out his DVD "Go Further Faster: Pin Escapes and Turtle Escapes". This fundamental DVD will give you the technique and insight to get to a higher level in the sport and second, to reduce the time ordinarily taken to get there. Check it out here!





Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you'll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You'll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches & More!


Learn More

Half Domination by Tom DeBlass DVD Cover
Catch Wrestling Formula by Neil Melanson
Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered Adam Wardzinski DVD Wrap
Judo Academy Jimmy Pedro Travis Stevens