Today, we’ll answer the question: Why do so many white belts quit BJJ? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fun sport. But not many will make it very far.
Only 10% of white belts will make it to blue belt. And only 1% of blue belts will make it to black belt.Rener Gracie
This quote shows how many white belts will quit before the BJJ journey even begins.
There’s no other martial art with such a high dropout rate. But why is that? Doesn’t everybody always talk about how cool Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is?
In my experience, there are different reasons for this phenomenon. Let’s break it down.
Why Do so many White Belts quit BJJ?
1. Time Commitment
Jiu Jitsu is a big time commitment. It’s’ not easy to go to BJJ every week and stay consistent. You’ll need to go to BJJ at least 2-3 times a week to get better. That’s’ not easy. Especially if you don’t live near the gym, have a full-time job, or have a family.
The truth is, we don’t have much time, and if you decide to go to BJJ, you need to make it one of your priorities in your life. Otherwise, it won’t gonna work.
That’s why I always get inspired by those who have a full-time job and a family and still come to Jiu-Jitsu – this shows true dedication to the art, which only a few achieve.
2. Bad Gym
Finding a good gym is not always easy. There are many bad Gyms out there. Gyms that are full of ego or don’t have a structured curriculum.
The wrong gym won’t’ gonna motivate you to go. The bad gym won’t’ gonna treat white belts the right way. Find a gym that’s nice to white belts. A Gym that supports them and tries to teach them the art instead of using them as a punching bag.
White belts get injured a lot. Many injuries in BJJ come from bad technique. So you need to be careful.
As a white belt, you don’t know how to move yet. So, the higher belts are responsible for educating the white belts on that. And the white belts have to be open enough to receive the message.
If you start BJJ but then have constant injuries, you won’t’ gonna come into the flow of consistency. And that’s why many white belts will quit BJJ once they have their first 1-2 injuries.
This is a reason I completely understand. I have heard many say that Jiu-Jitsu is expensive, and it is, depending on where you live.
I have been to gyms that cost over 200 USD a month for a membership. With that, you also invest in BJJ gear such as BJJ Rash Guards and BJJ Gis, etc… So it’s a big investment.
The truth is, not everybody can afford this. It limits many people from starting to train and to keep paying for that beautiful art.
5. Belt Promotions take long
On average, getting a black belt in BJJ takes you 10 -15 years. It takes patience – and that can be pretty demotivating when u are just starting. The journey seems long, far, and hard. And it is. Jiu Jitsu teaches you to think long-term.
Many other martial arts give you belts easier than in Jiu Jitsu. People prefer those because climbing the belt ladder is easier and faster.
And if your mindset is that you want to get to the next belt as fast as possible, you’ll be discouraged pretty fast. You’ll quit BJJ not far into your journey.
6. Progress isn’t linear
Success in BJJ is not linear. Sometimes, you might even feel like you’re not progressing. This will lead to self-doubt, and many don’t see the reward of consistency right away.
You’ll get better in jumps, and that feeling of stuckness or not progressing is hard to handle as a beginner.
So, you need to trust that you’re getting better even if you don’t see the results yet. And that’s a hard thing to do.
Jiu-Jitsu humbles you. As a white belt, you’ll notice how weak you are. You’ll see that you have no chance against the higher belts. You will tap so many times and get frustrated if you’re not careful.
You need to forget the idea of you needing to tap out people. You’ll be crushed. At the beginning, people will play with you. And that’s normal. Everybody has to go through that phase. But I saw many people quit because they had too big of an ego. They couldn’t’ handle to suck at something.
I believe ego is the biggest enemy in Jiu-Jitsu (and also for life…)
8. BJJ is the least fun as a White Belt
As I said, as a white belt, you get tapped out left and right. And that’s not fun. You lose, and you get to see your weaknesses. It’s’ not easy to process. The higher the belt you go, the better you’ll get and the more fun Jiu-Jitsu gets. That’s’ because you have more skills and techniques to work with now.
But it’s hard to stick with it for 2 years until you get your blue belt. It’s’ a long process. And people have problems with dedication and patience. We want things fast. And nothing comes quickly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
How To Keep White Belts Motivated?
1. Make Them Feel Seen
It’s’ not easy for a beginner. You feel like a fool; you get submitted left and right, and you’ll feel insecure about your abilities. It’s’ the job of the gym to make them feel seen. Communicate with them. Let them know you’re here if they need anything.
Take your time to explain the technique. Tell them when you see progress. Tell them when they do something good. Tell them if you see something they should improve on.
People who feel seen will be less likely to quit.
2. Give Them Stripes
Some Gyms do, some Gyms don’t’. I think it makes sense to give stripes to white belts. In the beginning, you are very vulnerable, and sometimes it can feel like you’re not progressing.
So, giving stripes to the white belts signals them that they are progressing. It’s’ a milestone that is easier to achieve than waiting 2 years to get your blue belt.
4. Encourage Competition
Competition changed everything for me. The moment I started competing was the moment I started taking Jiu-Jitsu seriously.
I loved going through the process of preparation and dedication. Competition is great for keeping white belts in the gym. Of course, don’t put them in there too early. But encourage it.
It had a great effect on me. That was the turning point in my own BJJ journey. That was the moment I started to take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seriously.
I understand why White Belts quit. Some try it out and say that it’s not for them. But I believe that many quit because they don’t feel comfortable.
Either because it’s too hard to face themselves or their environment is not nice. If everybody works together to make BJJ as inclusive as possible, less and less newbies would quit Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
So, let’s work together to promote these friendly and safe environments for white belts to learn and grow.