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BJJGround Forum >> how many noobs will quit this year at your gym?


1/3/13 6:27 PM
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angrypirate
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thanks for the replies. we allow them to roll in their first class if they want. we have a beginner class (no rolling) followed by an advanced class. they can take one or both. i think the 90% attrition rate is pretty spot on. i need to start buying these gis from guys when they quit lol.
1/3/13 7:28 PM
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Larfox
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I haven't attended a BJJ class since 2011. I lost my job at the time and the new job does not pay as well as my previous one did.

I did not quit willingly, but it was necessary. I think about JJ all the time, and I still hip escape in bed while sleeping instead of turning over.

When I can afford to train again, it will be my first luxury.
1/3/13 7:59 PM
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hakkas
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2 times a week, 45 minutes class and no live rolling?

Sounds horrible and wrong to even charge money for that. Were I train most beginners have done in two weeks what you do in three months. Lack of progress must be discouraging.
1/3/13 8:32 PM
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Oldcop
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Htownbjj has some very good points. It sounds like his school kind of follows the Gracie Academy philosophy. When you look at the GA website they address the issue of student retention and why they feel so many students quit BJJ. When I was able to train at the GA I absolutely loved their training program. If I did not live so far away I would train there forever. In my opinion allowing new students to roll is bad. All it does is frustrate most of them and develop bad habits. I've never understood how a school could let somebody that knows nothing roll. If more schools followed the GA model they would find their student retention higher.
1/3/13 9:08 PM
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angrypirate
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Some people come in to test out the effectiveness of bjj. How can you show that to them without rolling? Positional sparring at the least: "Try to get this guy get off of you." "Ok, now you try to hold him down." You should make an attempt to give the consumer what they are looking for, if not point them in the right direction. Do we just pop in the GIA tapes to show the effectiveness? IMO, the beauty of this art is that you can win a fight without really hurting the opponent.
1/3/13 11:19 PM
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dojo stormer
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The gb beginners has positional sparring.

Personally I don't even get a sweat up so I don't bother with them

Some guys harp on about how it sharpens their technique by doing the beginners class. I call bullshit on that
1/3/13 11:48 PM
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X_Rated
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dojo stormer - The gb beginners has positional sparring.

Personally I don't even get a sweat up so I don't bother with them

Some guys harp on about how it sharpens their technique by doing the beginners class. I call bullshit on that
Seriously? I like the attitude brah Phone Post
1/4/13 2:26 AM
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htownbjj
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Edited: 01/04/13 2:34 AM
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hakkas - 2 times a week, 45 minutes class and no live rolling?

Sounds horrible and wrong to even charge money for that. Were I train most beginners have done in two weeks what you do in three months. Lack of progress must be discouraging.


I agree it is counter-intuitive from the point of view of a higher belt.

But I think it's important to keep in mind that most raw beginners get exhausted in a basic warmup, can hardly remember any techniques, and are not prepared for the soul-crushing humiliation of getting toyed with and/or smashed by a higher belt.

We must remember that BJJ for a brand new person is not like BJJ for a blue, purple, or brown belt.

For us higher belts, we're among our closest friends, we love to be on the mat because it's like a home away from home, training is fun and not all that exhausting unless we choose for it to be so.

The new person doesn't know anyone, is scared of getting humiliated (or is cocky and doesn't yet know what's coming), reaches his physical limit in less than a minute of shrimping, and then to throw them to the wolves who will make the newbie feel probably more lost than they've felt in their adult lives. Sure, maybe trial by fire works for a few, and the learning curve is steeper, but it's just too crushing an experience for most new people.

Instead of trial by fire, we find that our students, after a 2-4 months of cardio, learning technique, drilling, and positional sparring, things for them have changed dramatically. They are much better prepared for regular classes with live rolling. Even then, I like to keep an eye out and make sure they don't get smashed too much.

I think viewing BJJ as a marathon rather than a sprint is the motivation for the way we're doing it. Our retention has gone up a lot since doing it the traditional way (not sure what the exact percentage is, but it's a lot better than 90% drop out rate).

And our white belts after 6 months are quite technical for their level, and tough as well. I believe they compare favorably to anyone else at their level at another gym, and I base this on training at many different academies.

BTW, I'm more in favor of a 1 hour class personally, but I don't call the shots at my gym.
1/4/13 2:41 AM
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htownbjj
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Some people come in to test out the effectiveness of bjj. How can you show that to them without rolling? Positional sparring at the least: "Try to get this guy get off of you." "Ok, now you try to hold him down."

You should make an attempt to give the consumer what they are looking for, if not point them in the right direction. Do we just pop in the GIA tapes to show the effectiveness? IMO, the beauty of this art is that you can win a fight without really hurting the opponent.


I agree with this, but the effectiveness can be shown clearly with positional sparring.

Also, a lot of the basic self defense techniques (e.g., false surrender to clinch to leg trip takedown to mount) isn't really rolling, but demonstrates the effectiveness of BJJ.

I don't think it's necessary for a white belt to get tapped and smashed mercilessly (as I was when I was brand new) to see how effective it is.
1/4/13 3:11 AM
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Poncey
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dojo stormer - ^^ well that's fucking dumb

All the gb that I know and trained at have fundamentals on every night in addition to advanced classes. These are full time Bjj gyms right and not a quasi fitness gym offering a mix of styles?

One of the reasons I left my first gym was because they didn't have a full time Bjj timetable as they offered cardio kickboxing and stick fighting and mma.
Depends what you class as a full time gym. Here that means every night but not all day (if that makes sense).

So applying the former logic, yes it is. But the latter, not so much. Phone Post
1/4/13 6:35 AM
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dojo stormer
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by full time bjj gym, i meant teach bjj 6 days a week, with multiple bjj classes a day. sometimes even having open mats on sunday.

not a recreational club in a scout hall whereby you lay out mats and its only on mondays and wednesdays because the other days are booked out by the pensioners who have bingo night
1/4/13 11:49 AM
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dalexan242
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I understand the goal of limiting newbs to protect them from themselves, but I quit my first school after 2-3 months because they only had two 1-hour classes a week and I felt like that just wasn't enough mat time for me to make much progress. I really liked that the classes were heavy on positional sparring moreso than rolling but with two times a week I felt like I forgot as much as I learned (especially if I had to miss a class due to work/family commitment).

So, as someone who now has a bit of experience I don't think its a bad idea to limit new guys to 2 days a week, but as a new guy I would choose a different gym where I could train more.
1/4/13 11:58 AM
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kying418
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I'm pretty sure complete newcomers to the sport really don't know what they are missing if they arent rolling for a few months.

For the uninitiated, even positional sparring is completely foreign to them, and should keep their interest and attention for a little while.
1/4/13 12:27 PM
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Biggy
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some people just for something different after doing it for a year Phone Post
1/4/13 2:07 PM
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htownbjj
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dalexan242 - I understand the goal of limiting newbs to protect them from themselves, but I quit my first school after 2-3 months because they only had two 1-hour classes a week and I felt like that just wasn't enough mat time for me to make much progress. I really liked that the classes were heavy on positional sparring moreso than rolling but with two times a week I felt like I forgot as much as I learned (especially if I had to miss a class due to work/family commitment).

So, as someone who now has a bit of experience I don't think its a bad idea to limit new guys to 2 days a week, but as a new guy I would choose a different gym where I could train more.

First off, sorry for the long-winded posts on my part...

I hear you, and I think an instructor needs to stay in tune with students to know if they are frustrated. One has to differentiate between a 20 year old elite athlete and a 35 year old overweight accountant and take into account their individual needs.

However, we've observed even the gung ho young tough guys that insist on 3 days a week don't really handle it well every time. The issue is that before they signed up, they were doing other things with that time they will now be using for BJJ.

It's not just that 45 min or 1 hr for class, it's the transportation time, the mental energy required before and after class, the time spent on showering, laundry, and other inconveniences it causes in their schedule which has not yet been fully adjusted, etc.

So for the gung ho guy that wants to train 3 or 4 times a week, after the initial buzz wears off in 1 or 2 months, he starts realizing how much of his former life is getting put on the backburner -- friends, time with family/girlfriend, other hobbies, etc. For those of us who have been doing it for years, all those adjustments are in place and we don't feel the gap as much.

Meanwhile, the gung ho guy may even be hitting a mini-plateau or bit of a wall at that time in his training, making it even harder to come in. At that point, he starts missing classes.

If he's signed up for 3 times a week, it's hard to make up those missed classes and he starts feeling embarrassed, mad at himself, like a failure, and so on. With 2 times a week, it's not as hard to make both classes, and make up a class missed.

So the 3-4 time a week guy now he may even miss a whole week or two. At that point, as we have all observed, it's over. He will never come back.

There are a small percentage of highly motivated guys that may be frustrated enough to leave, and perhaps a special arrangement can be made for them. If such an arrangement is made, they may leave anyway because perhaps they are looking for an extremely competitive, intense environment.

Our gym is pretty laid back, so these competitive guys may not get that intense environment at our gym. Keep in mind, those guys are still going to get tapped at will by our higher belts, so it may be more of a vibe than the actual challenge on the mat. To each his own.

But IMHO the vast majority of beginners, even the future killers and blackbelts, are better off with 2X per week in a laid back environment, at least for the first 2-4 months.

Therefore, it makes sense for us from a retention and business point of view, to focus on the average student and do our best to help the elite guys on a case by case basis.
1/4/13 2:31 PM
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dalexan242
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That makes sense. It's also quite likely that my having already done judo 2-3X per week for the 6 months prior to beginning BJJ had already given me the physical/mental/schedule adjustment period that you recommend so I wasn't coming into it completely new/cold.
1/4/13 10:02 PM
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Pride Wanderlei
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Edited: 03/10/13 12:49 AM
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..

3/9/13 11:42 PM
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plasticonoband
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so far this year, two people.
3/10/13 3:12 AM
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fakezaga
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I think the Blue Belt drop-out rate is partially due to the realization that they have gone from being the best white belt to the worst blue belt.

I used to attend a school that had a separate class for blue belts. I saw more than once where a strong, athletic white belt got promoted, came to blue belt class, got smashed and went on hiatus.

I also think it has to do with habits. Some people make blue a big goal, then take a little break after they get it. Sometimes they struggle to return because they've fallen out of the habit of coming to class and they have no immediate objective.
3/10/13 10:14 AM
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SiuHung
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fakezaga - I think the Blue Belt drop-out rate is partially due to the realization that they have gone from being the best white belt to the worst blue belt.

I used to attend a school that had a separate class for blue belts. I saw more than once where a strong, athletic white belt got promoted, came to blue belt class, got smashed and went on hiatus.

I also think it has to do with habits. Some people make blue a big goal, then take a little break after they get it. Sometimes they struggle to return because they've fallen out of the habit of coming to class and they have no immediate objective.

I think this point about becoming the worst blue belt all of the sudden is an interesting one.
Personally it felt like I had just climbed a huge mountain only to find that I was back at the bottom of another one. Luckily, I've learned to enjoy the climb but there's definately some rough periods where taking a break or quitting crosses the mind.

High drop out rates unfortunately are a part of the art/sport. BJJ is tested live in every class. There's a significant amount of risk involved with this liveness, and a required commitment level well beyond something like YMCA taekwondo. The few...the proud...the persistant...
3/10/13 11:31 AM
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SC MMA MD
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I think that the best white belt becoming the worst blue belt, then getting frustrated and quitting is probably more common than I would think; but someone with that attitude was going to quit eventually anyways. When I became the worst blue, it re-ignited the feeling I had as a new white belt and made me excited about the prospect of improving to become as good as some of the better blue belts Phone Post
3/10/13 11:33 AM
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CoreNobody
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From a motivated beginner stand point-

I started at my school in April last year,of the guys that signed up around that time as well as during the past year ( maybe close to 30) only myself and one other guy are there 3-4 days a week.

Recently,because of the new year,and maybe because of some of our guys getting on the TUF,as well as fighting in the UFC ,there was a surge in noobs.

They have dwindled back down to maybe one guy,which is frustrating for me.I need to have someone to smash too...lol

When new guys come we/they are put into a beginner /technique class,but a lot of other belts come too.Last half hour or so is rolling.Its tough,the majority of the noobs can't hang for one reason or another.I think it's mostly ego,maybe they thought they'd do better....I don't know.

When I get a new guy,I don't try to kill him, but I'm going to do my best to tap him.
Then,if they're cool,I'll try to help them out,give them encouragement to continue . Phone Post
3/10/13 11:47 AM
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McWilliams
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It's kind of the same as learning a guitar. What percentage of dudes that pick up guitars go on to actually become good? They start off really enthusiastic, thinking they're gonna be the next Van Halen, it's lasts for 3-6 months, they realize they suck, and they quit. Somewhere between 5-10% actually become good.

If they stuck at it, and kept practicing and put more hours into their hobby they'd eventually become good, but guess what...people don't want to work hard! People are lazy, they want everything easy, and they want everything handed to them!


I think there's no secret as to why a lot of guys quit BJJ. BJJ is fucking tough!! People are gonna come in enthusiastic, get smashed, think they're not progressing, and then quit.

I know this must be frustrating from the point of view of a business owner, but the reality is, if you handle a newb with kid gloves you are doing them a dis-service- Sure, break them in slowly, but don't wrap them in cotton wool. BJJ didn't get its reputation as the greatest self-defense sport from guys cuddling each other in training.

And guess what? People are pussies, and they will get sick of it and quit. Only people who are really tough mentally and persistent will keep showing up, and they will eventually get really good.



3/10/13 12:08 PM
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yusul
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ttt
3/10/13 2:00 PM
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ElPulpo
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4 or 5 before blue.

3 or 4 after blue.

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