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What Makes Someone Quit?
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What Makes Someone Quit?

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Whether you have been training for a few weeks, a few years, or a few decades it’s no secret that people quit.  There is a well known statistic that the majority of the practitioners that quit do so after achieving the rank of blue belt.  Why is that? And at the core, why do people really quit in general. 

Let’s first start off with discussing why people quit at the blue belt level.  It has been said many times and is a bit of a long standing statement. Once you reach the rank of blue belt you can handle yourself against the majority of attackers you would encounter in a self defense situation out in public.  It is sometimes referred to as being “street ready”.

Is it possible that we are giving people a false sense of their ability to defend themselves?  Especially if they simply train long enough to get the rank and then stop training. Training is not like riding a bike, it requires you to constantly be working at it to get better at it.  

Do we do a good job of setting the expectation that deciding to train Jiu Jitsu is a commitment, a long one, most would argue a life long commitment.  This is not something that should be taken lightly. Especially considering all of the benefits that come along with training Jiu Jitsu.  

It could be that people feel less of a desire to learn Jiu Jitu once they have reached the rank of blue belt because they fee like they stall out and stop progressing.  This is particularly true in academies where there is not a lot of colored belt, especially purple belt and beyond. There is a fine line between not learning anymore and becoming too cocky to handle because they are not getting outside of their comfort zone and training with other people.  


In order to keep someone engaged as a student , it helps if they know what they should be focusing on and how to be a “good student”.  A good student is someone that enhances the environment of the academy and contributes to the positive environment. There are a lot of ways you can contribute and make an impact.  You could stick around after class and helps clean the mats.  

You could work at the front desk before and or after class to greet people with a warm and friendly smile, welcome them to the academy, and answer any questions they have (be the person you wanted to see, and hopefully did see when you walked in for the first time).  

You could be the person who makes it a point to speak to every new person who walks in the door to try a class.  

Maybe you are the person who consistently steps up to partner with the newer members of the academy.  

You could be the person who steps up and volunteers to help coach the kids classes when needed.  

There is always something extra that can be done around the academy to make it better for everyone.  If you’re unsure how to contribute ask your professor.

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Regardless of which of these things you decide to do, if any, you have to be there.  You have to be present to be involved. A good student is someone who is consistently coming to class.  It is quite simple really, you can not be good if you do not show up. Show up to class on a regular basis.  Know that you are missed when you skip class. People notice when you aren’t there. You have built great relationships and become an important part of the family and people will miss you when you don’t show up.  It would be like not showing up to Thanksgiving at your family’s house.   

There is a lot of good that can come from being a good training partner.  Smashing the new white belt that just started last week doesn’t make you a tough guy, it makes you a bully, and it will not be tolerated, someone in the academy will without a doubt humble you as soon as you finish your match, or if it is really bad, possibly sooner.  

Being a good training partner means adding value to your training partners training that day.  You can add value by helping them with the technique, pushing the pace of the drilling to get a better cardio workout, or just being friendly and taking interest in them as a person.  It’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. Being a good training partner. Be someone people are excited to partner with. Ultimately, be the reason someone comes back to train tomorrow. 

If you are doing all of these things and still feel an urge to “step it up” or aren’t feeling as connected or engaged as you want to be or think you should maybe you need to consider competing.  It’s never a bad idea to consider competing as a reminder of how tough another human being can be. You may still win, but either way, it will be a new and exciting experience that can fuel your passion and recommit you to training.  Competing will require you to train daily and push yourself both physically and mentally to levels you did not think were possible.

Is it possible we don’t do a good enough job of highlighting the benefits of Jiu Jitsu so that they can see it working in their own lives?  Is it possible that we don’t involve them enough in the academy to help them feel like they are a part of it, they have the big picture vision that we all share and now feel like a part of the family?  The chances are, if you are actively engaged in helping others see these things and feel this way, then you are more likely to see it and feel it yourself. Start taking an active role in being the reason someone comes back tomorrow, and chances are, any thought you had of quitting will be long gone. 

In my opinion, people quit either out of convenience or due to feeling unneeded.

If you are considering quitting as a blue belt (or really any belt if we are being honest), you likely aren’t doing enough.  Chances are you do not see the value you are adding, or maybe you are just going through the motions when you are on the mats, or in the academy.

The good news is, regardless of if you are still training, or have already quit, Jiu Jitsu is forgiving, you can step it up starting right now, you can get out there and start giving back and adding value in your academy.  If you have already quit, well, the good news is it’s much easier to start training the second time than it is to start the first time. Especially if you are coming back to the same academy you used to train at. 

You should know that you are missed, it’s time to come back and start putting in the work again, and if you are thinking about leaving but have not left yet know that you would be missed and we want you to change your mind and stay.  Jiu Jitsu is a long journey. A journey that will undoubtably at times be extremely fun and exciting, and at other times, a journey that can be frustrating and exhausting. Just remember that it is worth it, it’s worth it to keep showing up, it’s worth it to be there so that you can help teach the new guy how to shrimp, it’s worth it to be there for your friends when they get those stripe promotions, and of course the belt promotions too! 

The bottom line here is that it’s worth it.  If you are considering quitting, talk to your instructor about what you can do at the academy to further ingrain yourself into the day to day functions.  The chances are, the more you are doing there the happier you will be and the less likely you are to want to quit. Remember that quitting is not permanent.  

Sure, we may hit you with a few “told ya so” comments and ruffle your feathers a bit, like a brother and sister would pick on each other, it’s because we missed you and we are happy you are back.  Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that I have never met anyone that quit Jiu Jitsu and now has a better more fulfilling life. I’m not trying to say that Jiu Jitsu is the answer to everything and everyone should train…. Wait, yes I am, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say.  

It’s all about having the “right” mindset.  Having the ability to continue to push forward no matter how hard it gets.  It is about having a growth mindset and being borderline obsessed with growing in one way or another to not only reach your goals but to help others reach their goals as well. 

Having the right mindset is not refusing to fail, it’s simply always starting over again when you do fail and knowing and truly believing that failure is not final.  In Jiu Jitsu, as in life, there will be times when we fail to meet a goal, maybe it’s a competition we trained and obviously planned to win, or maybe it’s a weight loss goal or anything else in life for that matter.  

Sometimes we may fall short, it’s important to always recalibrate and go after those goals even harder knowing that sometimes getting back up after we get knocked down is just as, if not more gratifying than hitting the goal the first time.  The harder you have to work for something the more gratifying it generally is. 

Disclaimer: This is not for everyone, only those who are dedicated, truly dedicated, to accomplishing incredible goals that may even seem impossible will see the most value in this information.  As always remember that the instructional only works if you do, so make sure you are ready to put in the work when you commit to hitting your goals.

The Road To Black Belt and Beyond by Tom DeBlass
If you are ready, and I think you are, to get your mindset right and start chasing all of your goals both in Jiu Jitsu and in life then it’s time for you to take jump into  “The Road to Black Belt and Beyond” by Tom DeBlass.  This video and e-book instructional will be your roadmap guiding you through proper goal setting, planning and executing to achieve your biggest and most challenging goals. 

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