Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is notorious for new students quitting after only a few weeks of traning. My coach once told me that the rate of students who walk in the door verses those who stay is about ten to one. From what I’ve seen myself I think the ratio might even be worse then that. So why do so many people quit when others get addicted for life? Well as we all know Jiu Jitsu is brutaly hard. Your getting your ass kicked day in and day out for months without seeing much progress. Some people just get clostrophobic and just can’t handle the stress that they are put under in a Jiu Jitsu class. Most people will quit and there isn’t a lot you can do for them. However there are plenty of people that you can help and give the motivation required to stick around. Here are some examples of new students that you can help to find a home at your local club!
The Shy Guy
We all know someone like this, either from Jiu Jitsu or from other aspects of our lives. This guy shows up, sit in the corner and doesn’t speak to anyone. He may look around to see if he knows anyone and then puts his head down and waits for class to begin. He goes through class and same as everyone else he gets smashed and smothered for the full hour long class without any clue what to do or how to do it. He then leaves class dispirited and thinks ‘why did I even come here? I’m only going to get my ass kicked and embarised.’ Its hard to start Jiu Jitsu. A lot of people are going to be a solid six months before they really begin to feel comfortable on the mats and if somebody is shy to start with the chances of them quitting are going to be much higher. You can help though. Next time you see a new student walk in the door and awkwardly sit in the corner wearing a borrowed Gi or some baggy sweatpants go over too him and introduce yourself. Just simply having a conversation with someone as soon as they step on the mats and making them feel welcome can go a long way to helping them stick with Jiu Jitsu through those first few months. Ask them their name, ‘Is this your first time training? Just have fun you’ll pick up on it if you keep showing up.’
Just be friendly and remember how intimidating it can be to step on the mats for the first time when you don’t know what to expect.
The Cocky Guy
Guys who cant put their ego aside rarely stick around for long. To be honest if they don’t learn how to check their ego nobody really wants them around anyway. You should still do your best to help these guys get past the challenge of getting taped and let go of the ego. First of all saying ‘hey bro, you need to lose the ego’ probably wont work. that’s just going to make them more defensive and after the confrontation they probably wont want to come back. The way to help these type of people to stick around is to use your superior technique, not strength and dominate them in your rolls. A few things could happen when you do this. First off they may get frustrated and never come back. that is a possibility. If their ego is so big that they can’t handle loseing then they aren’t going to stick around regardless. Other times they will recognise that you were beating their strength with technique and this can help them to focus on learning the technique themselves. They will focus on getting better instead of letting their ego get the best of them and needing to go 100% every round trying to win.
Ive met a few guys who recognise that slowing down any trying the technique is the best course but when they get into the heat of a match they panic and go back to their insticts of resisting with everything they have trying to survive and protect their bruised ego. They ask me after a roll. ‘Is there anything im doing wrong? how can I get better?’ This is good, it means that they are acknowledging that they need to learn. My response is usualy the same. I tell them that they need to slow down, relax and breath. If they focus on one technique at a time it will come. Some people take longer then others to drop the ego but if they stick around long enough most people will drop it.
When you encounter one of the many cocky guys that come into the gym use your technique to beat them. They will either accept that they need to learn the technique or they will leave. If they accept that they need to learn do your best to explain that the sooner they stop trying to muscle their way to a submission and really work on specific tecniques in rolling the faster they will get better.
There are lots of reasons why people quit Jiu Jitsu. Some people cant handle the claustrophobic feeling of being held down in mount or side control. If you notice someobody is panicing in one of these position, calmly tell them to relax a little and breath. Lighten up on them a little and give them the opportunity to reset. You can’t prevent everyone from quiting but you can help. Next time a new student walks in through the doors of your club make them feel at home and show then a couple basic techniques. encourage them to try the moves and stick with it. These simple actions can go a long way towards helping people to stick around for good!