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


3/10/13 2:28 PM
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acm5060
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I think it's been hit a few times already, but for BJJ guys, the art has to become something else than what it was originally.

I saw UFC 1 in 1993 when I was in 3rd grade and watched this skinny Indian dude beat everybody. I looked for BJJ as soon as I could drive because I wanted to be that guy, I wanted to be a bad ass. That's the same reason I started lifting and playing sports and what not.

So I fell in love with BJJ when I first started, wanted to train all the time, even thought about doing it full time. Got my blue belt and was so happy and kept training hard. Hit that plateau, would get smashed by big white belts, and thought that this was no fun anymore.

Took a hiatus and then came back to it because my long term goal was to get a black belt and realized that I wasn't doing anything to achieve that. It was at that time that BJJ became more than just a reason to be a bad ass and became a stress reliever, a way to stay in shape, and a way to grow into a better person.

So once the bad ass side of BJJ wears off for these guys, they have to find another, longer lasting reason to do it. Some may never find that reason in BJJ, but instead turn to weightlifting, rec league baseball, fishing, or whatever.

Anyway, after blue belt you can beat Mike Tyson so what the hell is the point to learning any more. Phone Post
3/10/13 3:05 PM
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value tudo
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I have a question for those of you who have firsthand experience with people quitting when they get their blue belt. Are they more likely to be the people who were promoted to blue after 1 year, or the people who were promoted to blue after 2.5-3 years? Does time invested make a difference when it comes to quitting right when you get the blue belt?
3/10/13 3:37 PM
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stlnl2
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I think with blue belt another issue is when a hiatus from training does happen (regardless of what level of blue belt) they know already that when they come back after a 2-3 month layoff, the dogs of war are coming for them (the guys maybe they were just barely getting the best of, the white belt who wants a blue belt, etc). A layoff in BJJ, especially a considerable one, of say 3-6 months, is easier to overcome (mentally) as a white belt than it is at say blue, or even purple belt due to expectations on the mat.

I would htowbjj is dead on IMO.
3/10/13 4:24 PM
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gusto
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i just think some of these guys dont love rolling. to them it is like school work. they want to graduate, but they dont actually enjoy school.

for me, i just like rolling. maybe it is because that is the only time i have a quiet mind, im not sure, i stopped trying to figure it out. I just know that I love the journey and im not that worried about the destination. I dont want to be a fucking fighter, i dont want to travel the world to challenge everyone, i just want to go to the gym and try to smash fools and have them do the same to me.

this is really the same with most things. people want to be good at something, they want that something to be part of their identity. they dont actually love the work.
3/10/13 4:36 PM
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hubbarocks
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McWilliams - 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.



This is a great answer. I agree.

Good thread, OP. Phone Post
3/10/13 7:20 PM
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LittleWing
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htownbjj - 
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.

i think your post is bang on and just wanted to add on a few more points...

Time - I think the point about the mental side of bjj outside the gym was a great point. the 1hrr session of practicing and rolling is sometimes the easy part but its the commitment of actually getting their that can be tough. i found when i first started that for days after tough training sessions i would be replaying rolling sessions in my head...analyzing every win and loss...working myself up to a frenzy where i felt like it was taking up alot of my life outside bjj too.

there  are many other factors that come into play as well - it can be hard after a long day of work to make yourself go to a 8pm class... easy to say i will just take this week off... then its a few weeks off.  slippery slope

Also, i have picked up on this forum that alot of the big schools have a wide variety of training options....morning classes, lunch classes and several evening classes. but at alot of schools, bjj is only offered 3 times a week at 7 or 8 pm. many of these schools have other classes they have to work into their time, such as women's classes, kids classes, Muay Thai, mma, etc.... for somebody who has a tough work schedule, family commitments and other things, it can be tough to get to those classes.

going to the gym to workout can be alot easier, or running, biking ,etc where the workout fits into your schedule.

the bjj enthusiast will say the obvious thing here...excuses are easy and if it is a priority you will make it happen. and i completely agree. but not everyone wants to dive in and become a competitive bjj practioner...for some folks, it may be a hobby that falls in with several other hobbys in their life.

for me, i have family, a very time consuming job, volunteer work\charity, several other sports\hobbies i enjoy. i would love to train 4-5 times a week in bjj but im not willing to give up the other things i love in my life. 

i really commend the guys i see on here that train full time and it's a huge part of why i follow this forumis to see the ins and outs of a fully committed bjj lifestyle. i got alot of respect for you guys!!

3/10/13 8:12 PM
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SpiderRicco
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3/12/13 2:06 PM
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Alumynabjj
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Rabid Bunyip -
Alumynabjj - In bjj 90% plus quit and in muay Thai much more yet that is because of bag. Phone Post
Explain? Phone Post
Sorry, I didn't explain that very well. In bjj it is well over 90 percent quit in the first three months. Being out of shape and having zero technique makes for a horrible day at class when live rolling.

I noticed in mauy Thai about 50 percent drop out in the first three months yet that is because our instructor won't let u spar at first so its not as miserable or they will only do the muay Thai bag class if the fighting class is still too rough.

Basically most drop out because either they find they just don't find it interesting or mainly because its no fucking joke and you have to work your balls off. Phone Post
3/12/13 2:48 PM
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Magic Mago
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Alumynabjj -
Rabid Bunyip -
Alumynabjj - In bjj 90% plus quit and in muay Thai much more yet that is because of bag. Phone Post
Explain? Phone Post
Sorry, I didn't explain that very well. In bjj it is well over 90 percent quit in the first three months. Being out of shape and having zero technique makes for a horrible day at class when live rolling.

I noticed in mauy Thai about 50 percent drop out in the first three months yet that is because our instructor won't let u spar at first so its not as miserable or they will only do the muay Thai bag class if the fighting class is still too rough.

Basically most drop out because either they find they just don't find it interesting or mainly because its no fucking joke and you have to work your balls off. Phone Post
Dang, that's some high drop out numbers, I think more people that come to our gym stay than leave, and we also got way more colors than whites at any given class, even the beginners class. Phone Post
3/14/13 8:47 PM
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fakezaga
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PrisonMattressPuncher - 

Generally if you took 1000 people. 500 would make it to blue, 100 to purple, 15 to brown and 2 to black.

The attrition rates are not special to BJJ, they are in almost every activity, sport, hobby, etc. Most people simply do not have the tenacity to continue to train for years of end, even activities that they love. Some do, but they are not the norm.


Where do you get those numbers? not that i disagree, just curious?

I have always thought it was something like:

One in ten makes it to blue
One in ten blues makes it to purple.
Half of purples make it to brown.
Half of browns make it to black.

I think that was based on something Howard Liu said on a forum years ago. Maybe based on belt sales?
3/14/13 9:02 PM
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taylonr
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McWilliams - 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.




I just started in August, and a couple months later I started writing a blog. Mostly for myself so I can see where I was 4 months ago, or write down thoughts about the journey.

I remember one of my blogs was about this "abusive" relationship I'm in. I had a hand imprint on my bicep. Bruise on the other arm from some guy's spider guard, my legs were sore from ankle to knee from a guy's nasty half-guard (and me not really knowing any escapes.) And yet, I couldn't wait to get back to class the next day.

I totally get why people don't do BJJ more.
3/14/13 9:07 PM
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pursuitofhappiness
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My favourite is when a new student comes in and says "ohh you're a purple belt...Not a black." I'll go train in Kung Fu down the road cause a black belt teaches there.
3/14/13 9:53 PM
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kying418 - htownbjj- you bring up some great points.

I think starting beginners slowly, without live rolling (and limiting the amount of days they can train), is the way to go for student retention.

I suppose the only negative would be hardcore beginners that may want to train at other schools where they can roll asap.

When I started my school, I had every intention of having beginners and advanced classes, and not letting my beginners roll for 2-4 months (other than situational training).

I soon became impatient with it (80% of my students were beginners). I eventually just combined both classes, and let everyone drill and roll asap- matching people up accordingly.

However, if this was my main source of income (versus my hobby), I would still seperate classes, and treat beginners much more "softly".

yes,you want more student,you gotta work harder.

 when caique relocated his academy,i told him make it easy,dont let your current students make the noobs run off,we dont teach thug jiu jitsu ,you need to teach executive jiu jitsu.

told javi the same ,you need to work more ,stop mixing the beginners with the blue belts

3/15/13 12:30 AM
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Dirt Lover
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Ttt Phone Post
3/15/13 11:56 AM
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JeffersonDArcyChoke
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No one quits at my gym.

No one taps either.

But, no one quits. Phone Post
3/15/13 1:31 PM
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Jumbo Reverse Shrimp
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A lot of the long-term people at my gym seem to be successful career-wise. Successful people tend to have good long-term planning and, perhaps more to the point, have the over a hundred dollars a month to spend.

I thought that people like that may be frustrated by sucking at something (being a noob all over), but a lot seem to know that you have to work long and hard to get good at something.

That may be a selection bias, but I've seen it at a few other places.

Anyway, based on the stats, we are all tougher than Navy SEALS and we can beat up Mike Tyson. Congratulations.
3/15/13 2:05 PM
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SC MMA MD
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I second the notion that stubbonness/perseverance might be the most important quality to look for in long term students. Many successful people in other fields got there by being willing to hang in there longer than anyone else more so than some inate aptitude for their field. That is how I got where I am in my field, and that refusal to quit seems very helpful to progressing in BJJ and more so in not getting frustrated and quitting when progress seems slow to non-existant Phone Post
3/16/13 9:21 AM
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markirons
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gusto - i just think some of these guys dont love rolling. to them it is like school work. they want to graduate, but they dont actually enjoy school.

for me, i just like rolling. maybe it is because that is the only time i have a quiet mind, im not sure, i stopped trying to figure it out. I just know that I love the journey and im not that worried about the destination. I dont want to be a fucking fighter, i dont want to travel the world to challenge everyone, i just want to go to the gym and try to smash fools and have them do the same to me.

this is really the same with most things. people want to be good at something, they want that something to be part of their identity. they dont actually love the work.

Holy shit get out of my brain! ha

Its literally the only thing I have ever done for a really long that I haven't had to think about in depth - I just like doing it, and thats good enough to make me keep going. Its my goal to find that same kind of connection with work, relationships, friendships, everything really... kinda changed how I look at the world.

I'd never fault somebody for quitting if they didnt enjoy doing it, because I'd love for them to go try other things and find something for themselves thats just as fulfilling.
3/16/13 12:11 PM
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Aaronrodgers=GOAT
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. Phone Post
3/18/13 3:53 PM
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Siciliano
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stlnl2 - I think with blue belt another issue is when a hiatus from training does happen (regardless of what level of blue belt) they know already that when they come back after a 2-3 month layoff, the dogs of war are coming for them (the guys maybe they were just barely getting the best of, the white belt who wants a blue belt, etc). A layoff in BJJ, especially a considerable one, of say 3-6 months, is easier to overcome (mentally) as a white belt than it is at say blue, or even purple belt due to expectations on the mat.

I would htowbjj is dead on IMO.

Well I got my blue belt in 2007 and stopped for like 5 years. To be honest, I knew I'd get my ass whipped by the whites when I started but honestly, I just didn't care.
3/18/13 3:57 PM
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TrevorRice
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one of the greatest noob's that ever lived= michael giordano- still trains, even if its only once every 3 months.

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