Today, we’ll answer the question: Why is it so hard to learn BJJ? BJJ is a special martial art. It’s engaging, fun, and safer than other MMA disciplines.
It has become popular in recent years, and more and more people are trying out Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I think there have never been as many BJJ white belts as now.
But a beginner starting BJJ training will soon discover this art is complicated. It has many different techniques that are hard to get.
Sometimes, we are on the mat; nothing makes sense.
I doubted myself a lot as a white belt. I thought I was too stupid to get it, and I got frustrated because I couldn’t pull off the technique. There were many times when I wanted to quit.
So, no doubt, BJJ is the hardest martial art I have ever trained. In this post, I’ll explain to you why this is.
1. Not a Linear Learning Curve
You won’t experience a gradual learning process when you learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Sometimes, you feel like you are progressing, and sometimes, you didn’t learn anything that month.
I even sometimes felt I was getting worse. Our perception of what is happening can be very deceptive.
It can feel like you’re not getting better at BJJ.
Progress in BJJ is often not obvious, and you often don’t get positive feedback.
The curve is more step-like. You learn you plateau somewhere; maybe it goes down, but eventually, it always goes up.
If you show up to practice, you will progress. Sometimes you just don’t realize.
2. No Structured Curriculum
Every class in BJJ is different. You won’t necessarily build upon the technique you learned last practice. You’ll likely learn a new technique every time you go to class. At least, that’s my experience.
Eventually, the Jiu-jitsu techniques will repeat themselves, but memorizing them can be hard in the beginning.
I have to train a technique repeatedly before it’s in my muscle memory. So, if you only train it once, it’ll be hard to memorize it.
That’s also a big reason why it takes so long to learn BJJ. But again, if you keep showing up, these scattered techniques will make sense. They will become a union, and you will understand why you do a technique in a specific scenario.
3. High Volume of Techniques
You have so many techniques in BJJ. Even black belts don’t know every technique.
And there are always people introducing new techniques into BJJ.
If you watch high-level BJJ matches now, you’ll see they are a lot different than the ones a few years ago. There are way more leg attacks.
It takes time until you have all these techniques in your muscle memory. You’ll never outlearn BJJ. There’s always something new to learn.
4. Complex Techniques
This is where BJJ gets frustrating. It’s tough to learn a new technique. It’s hard to get in the beginning. The techniques are not as straightforward. Many times at the beginning of my BJJ journey, I asked myself: Why am I doing this? For what is this useful? But eventually, it all made sense.
BJJ is not easy to learn. There are many things you need to keep in mind. If you do a small technique, you’ll lose the position when you perform the technique.
Especially when you just learned a technique, you’ll be vulnerable to counterattacks because you need to practice it repeatedly until you get it.
5. Patience Is Key
I believe that’s the number one reason why people quit BJJ. You’ll suck at BJJ for a long time. You’ll get tapped out so many times. BJJ will humble you. You’ll get frustrated and quit if you don’t let it humble you.
No other martial arts takes so long until people get promoted. It takes 10-15 years to reach a black belt. BJJ is too complex to learn it fast.
You need to develop patience and trust that you’ll get better if you keep showing up. Even if it doesn’t seem like it…
6. BJJ Is Ego Crushing
If you know how to fight, spar with BJJ practitioners. They will crush you. You won’t have any chance against some of the higher belts.
I remember how powerless and useless I felt in my first BJJ class. It felt like they could do whatever they wanted with me. I had no chance. They were playing with me.
This wasn’t a nice feeling for me. And I believe most of us feel like this in the beginning. And I also believe this is why most of us will quit: we cannot handle our ego getting crushed.
7. The First Year Is The Hardest
The first year of BJJ was very hard. Because you roll so often in BJJ, you’ll be reminded that you cannot defend yourself every time.
You’ll be humbled a lot, and you’ll be among the worst in the Gym. Sucking at something doesn’t feel good. And many of us are not able to handle that feeling.
So, it takes a lot of mental effort to get over that first year. Once you go over that period, BJJ will become more fun. You’ll have a better understanding and more successful training.
8. Big Time Commitment
You won’t get better in BJJ if you don’t stay consistent. In my opinion, you need to go to BJJ a minimum of 3 times a week to make progress. It’s hard to progress if you only go once or twice. The techniques are just too many and too complex.
You need to train regularly to get these techniques into your muscle memory. You need to stay consistent for years.
And that’s very hard to do.
9. You Don’t Know How To Learn
BJJ is hard to learn because many of us don’t know how to learn. We don’t know how to train.
Of course, showing up is important, but you also need to know how to train. There are many things you can do to progress faster in BJJ.
Make sure to train correctly. That means focusing on drilling, taking notes, asking questions, and repeating what you have learned.
You need to learn how to learn the moves. Don’t be stuck on things you already know. We have to implement a mindset where we always want to learn new techniques.
Why Is It So Hard To Learn BJJ? Final Words
Mastering BJJ is Hard. The truth is you will never truly master it. The sport is young. It evolves constantly. Even black belts need to stay up-to-date all the time. You must keep an open mind and try various techniques, even if initially uncomfortable and hard.
The path to mastery is difficult, and to gain proficiency in BJJ takes a long time. So be prepared.
90% will quit before getting a blue belt. I also often thought about quitting.
I’m glad about it. I started to focus on drilling and kept showing without questioning myself too much.
In the end, what we need to do is just show up. Keep showing up and trust the process. There has never been anybody who didn’t get better if he kept showing up. That’s the truth.
So yes, BJJ is hard, but boy, is it worth it. I experienced so many benefits from learning BJJ.