Don’t Quit BJJ – “The Other Side Of The Wall”

Within their first few years of training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, most people will hit the “Wall,” and consider quitting BJJ. Some people quit their first day trying out class and maybe Jiu Jitsu just isn’t for them.  Everyone who makes it past their first day is at risk of quitting eventually.

BJJ Belt Time Frame ChartPerseverance is the trait that separates the black belt from the white belt that quit training. Once the honeymoon period of Jiu Jitsu addiction hits its first lull, determination is essential.  Not quitting BJJ is one of the largest battles to becoming good.

I remember every training partner who quit and deeply miss them.  Don’t you?

I have been to the edge of quitting BJJ a number of times in my journey.

After a tournament where I got my elbow popped. — “Is the risk of injury worth the reward?”

After a plateau in my training where guys I used to catch in submissions started tapping me instead. — “Am I lacking what it takes to be successful at this?”

And after countless nights away from home training at the gym instead of spending time with my family. — “Is it selfish of me to pursue this? Shouldn’t I be acting all grown up and focusing all my time towards my daughter’s needs?”

Some “Walls” Bothered Me More Than Others.

Don't Quit BJJ - The Other Side Of The WallFor me, the first two “Walls” (injury and ego) were easiest to climb over.  I didn’t let them stop me because I knew how much I loved Jiu Jitsu.  The confidence and life lessons it taught me far outweighed the risks.

The last “Wall” was the one that nearly made me turn back.  Early on in my blue belt I realized that I had to face this “Wall” and that there was no way around it.  I had felt the progress of white belt and now had made the jump into the deeper waters.

It felt just like starting over and I knew that I would feel the same for purple, brown and black if I stuck with it.  The journey and dedication seemed so daunting and there was a certain fear of commitment that I couldn’t shake. Do I really want to do this the rest of my life?  If not, what is the point?

So what turned it around for me?  After some soul searching I realized that most things in my life I quit as soon as I plateaued (if not earlier).  I would enjoy the early large gains and then when the going got tough jump onto something else that would be more instantly gratifying.

I decided that this is something about myself that I didn’t like and that I wanted to change, and more importantly that I wanted to show my daughter that this kind of dedication was possible.  She had seen me train from the beginning when I was miserably horrible with very little noticeable growth, grinding away month after month.

Don't Quit Jiu Jitsu. Keep pushingQuitting BJJ now would undo the lessons of persistence and self respect I felt it so
important she see modeled.  So it was selfish for me to train but it also was a way to show her how I wanted her to live her life – pursuing her dreams, doing what she wants and not giving up when the road gets hard and the rewards less likely.  Don’t quit no matter what.  Losing and getting beat are OK, but giving up because of resistance is not.

The “Wall” in Jiu Jitsu is the largest benefit of training.

We push ourselves to the limit to see what our breaking point is and each time we force it back further and further.

Sometimes we falter and the “Wall” closes in on us, but we have to brush off the dust, remember why we are doing this and get back to it.

If you are someone who has hit the “Wall” and stopped doing something you love, get back in there and do it.  It is never too late!

Time will pass whether you are doing what you love or regretting quitting.  Swallow the bitter medicine of embarrassment in exchange for wiping out the feeling of leading a shadow of a life.

We train to find out what we are really made of.  Don’t be surprised when the test of your resolve comes knocking.  Ask for help if you need it, but don’t let it overcome you!

If you are someone who has quit training and misses it, I challenge you to step on the mats just one more time.  Once you feel the support of your training partners you will remember why you started training in the first place.

What has the “Wall” taught you about quitting BJJ? Comment below.


  1. RC

    Well written! Encouraging and look forward to reading more.

    1. Thanks! I will keep them coming.

  2. Brent

    So good, I had to read it twice.

    Thank you for sharing, Lucas! That line about not living “a shadow of a life” really hits home. These lessons extend well beyond the edge of the mat.

    I have to say, it’s been a real pleasure getting to know you man! If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading it. Oss!

    1. It is so motivating to see your newer generation of guys at the gym pushing hard and my main goal is to help you navigate around the rough spots that the older generation waded right into. Keep up the hard work!

  3. Ryan

    Great read lucas! Well writen and great subject matter. Something i probably needed to hear!

    1. Glad you liked it. More to come!

  4. […] The only key to succeeding at Jiu Jitsu is “Don’t Quit.”  Be consistent, no matter what. The fact that I lacked coordination or ambition or competitive […]

  5. Yun

    Thank you Lucas for writing this. Being a father, and a newly minted blue belt, I can completely relate to this. The “wall” of not progessing as much during white belt and the ego are relatively easy for me to overcome. The “wall” of feeling like I’m not giving “all” my time to my child is the hardest thing for me, especially when my child tells me she doesn’t want me to go to BJJ so I can spend time with her. I go to BJJ 2 times at night a week, so it’s not a ton by comparison to a lot of people, but I can understand that from my daughters perspective I went from spending 7 nights a week of quality time with her, to 5 nights a week. I definitely feel guilty about it, but I have a similar mindset to you that I had always quit somethings in my life after the “honeymoon” period and never really followed through (this happened with Judo for me… I’d be a solid black belt by now had a stuck with it). I made a promise to myself that knowing my past, BJJ would be something I’d follow through on. I also have the mentality of passing on the spirit of perseverance to my daughter, though sometimes I don’t know if I just use that as an excuse as a way to justify a personal passion (I’m not trying to imply you do, it’s just my own thought). I’m at that stage where thoughts about whether it’s all worth it periodically enter my mind. Most people in my gym don’t have kids, so can’t really relate (their struggles tend to be if they can be bothered about coming, or if they’d rather go to this or that social event). The thing that typically gets me past the “wall” is reminding myself all the benefits I’ve gained (health, weight loss, self defense skills, more confidence etc…), but that “wall” is still ever present.

  6. Wow, thanks for the heartfelt comment Yun! Good luck navigating those tough life decisions.

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