Many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners quit long before reaching the all inspired level of black belt. This may be for a number of reasons; ranging from health or family issues to a simple lack of motivation. But why do so many people quit BJJ at Blue Belt?
Even though it is frequently said that BJJ is for everyone, it is often sadly the beginners that have the highest dropout rate due to a wide range of factors. According to Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood, the highest dropout rate beyond the ‘total beginner’ level is at Blue Belt; the first colored belt and level to be achieved after the beginner’s white belt.
“For many, the journey to black belt is a long road. That road is walked by many, but completed by few. It requires- no, demands– a physical dedication, mental fortitude and emotional strength that many believe they are not capable of fostering”.
The Significance of the Blue Belt
For any practitioner, achieving the rank of Blue Belt is a big achievement; it is the first significant benchmark in the martial art; representing an important transition between complete beginner and experienced practitioner.
The promotion to a Blue Belt can take anything from one to five years of training. Promotions also depend on an array of factors; including skill & ability, a coach’s expectations and how regularly you train. But why does this rank of practitioners sees the highest rate of depletion amongst the colored belts? Why do so many people quit BJJ at blue belt?
When you spend your leisurely time having your bones twisted the opposite way, injuries are inevitable. By the time you have reached the rank of blue belt, your body has been put under a lot of strain. Most people notice their knees begin to go after a few years of practicing the sport, and when time has to be taken off BJJ for recovery, it can demotivate some to get back into the sport.
If you find yourself training and competing frequently, the chances of a quicker promotion are higher. Therefore, when you achieve your blue belt, you are now a small fish in a big pond. You feel as though you’re at the bottom of the food chain again, because the people you’re competing with are now closer to their purple belt.
However this shouldn’t be a deterrent, it should be motivating. You should push yourself to strive to be better every time, no matter what your rank. You have to accept that as rewarding as promotions are, the counter is that you’re now back at square one.
Your coach wouldn’t give you your blue belt if you didn’t deserve it.
Read my previous article – Women in BJJ: What Its Like Being in a Male-Dominated Sport here