View Full Version : Does BJJ have a higher dropout rate?
Do you feel BJJ has a higher turnover or dropout rate then other styles.
I can only compare to karate, but it appears that BJJ has a higher turnover/dropout rate than karate.
A few of us has started it and got addicted but it's not the norm.
Could it be because of the conditioning? takes longer to learn and perfect the techniques?
When I started it was about six of us and only me and my buddy still train and that whas only 5 months ago.
I've also seen a few sign up since I've been there take about a month of classes and then never to be seen again.
Our BJJ sensei told my friend Phil that it has been his experience that he retains LEO's much more than civilians. But I've also seen one LEO I know quit and he had a wrestling and judo background. I heard he left and signed up at another judo school we have in the area.
Of course he could've been trying different school before making a final decision, but I don't know.
So what are your thoughts?
Most schools that teach "old school" have a higher dropout rate regardless of style. You have the extra impetus of being an LEO to keep you motivated.
I came up in an "old school" dojo where things were rough and tumble, and you worked your a** off (I slipped in a puddle of my own sweat numerous times). When I joined there were 30 - 40 people senior to me (not counting black belts). Four years later only about a half dozen of those people were left. And this is out of a group of people that ALREADY had rank when I entered the school. None of the white belts that started when I did were there after 4 years. After 6 years, there was only one other person left that had been senior to me who wasn't a black belt when I joined.
From what I've heard about the BJJ schools (good, tough, and physically demanding), the dropout rate your seeing doesn't surprise me.
I would say that jujutsu in all its various forms, including related arts such as Hapkido, has a very high dropout rate. In our class, approximately 80% of new students quit before they reach Yellow Belt (about 6 months) and, of those who stay that long, 80% quit before they reach Green Belt (2-3 years).
Training can be rough. Joint locks hurt. Hitting the floor repeatedly can make you question your hobbies. Frustration levels can be quite high since you have to have a technique correct before it will have any effect on your partner.
It's not meant for everyone.
BJJ and other competitive-based MAs weed out those who wish to be somehow "magically" empowered through ancient foreign mysteries. It's a very rough sport. Darwinism abounds and the first thing a new guy realizes is that s/he is not the fittest, not meant to survive on that mat until a long time later.
Injuries, feeling totally helpless while someone flattens you and chokes you or armlocks you, not getting much self-esteem reinforcement (fancy belts, doing katas, etc.), all of these are disincentives for many.
People who understand that they must fight to learn to fight, that this is a rough business and who are proud to work through it, these are the ones who stay. They are not common.
We figured that a retention rate of 1/6 in the first two or three months was about right.
Think of it this way: we're just a bunch of people who wear funny clothes and love to hurt each other. Just how inviting does it seem when you bring it all back to basics?
Few people do this. In Japan, the percentage of the population who have any level of education in budo is well under one per cent. In the US, I don't know, but I expect it to be about the same. In fact, it is probably the same most everywhere with a few exceptions.
I have been playing Judo for more than forty years and the only faces I recognize anymore are those few who stayed with it back in the sixties or so, and those my age then, well, nearly all are gone and their students are my age, some much older. How often do you hear the following: "Mark, he was my teacher for seventy years." I had called a student of the late Kenneth Kuniyuki Kodokan 9-dan, one of only two living judoka to be graded by Jigoro Kano, to offer my condolences. This was only a couple of years ago. He is nearing 80 himself. His teacher was one of the original members of Seattle Dojo, the first judo dojo to be established outside Japan.
Throw BJJ in the mix, well, many are trying to find something in which to cross-train. The discipline level isn't the same, and there are a million other reasons we'll never know. I recall reading somewhere that Rorion Gracie went to a judo dojo to do some training. His habit of just at the moment they gripped up, he instantly dropped to the floor into the guard. After a few of these, the judo instructor there said "This is not Judo" so, in so many words, Gracie left.
The point was, he was in a Judo dojo. While a lot may be the same there are some major differences. At the time, this was one of them.
In the 1950s, Uyeshiba Morihei said those who stayed six months would be there for the long haul. Big generalization, probably, but I wouldn't argue with him.
But hey, what do I know, I'm just an old judo player.
I just went to my first BJJ class last night. Loved it.
Hopefully I wont become one of those statistics.
> Do you feel BJJ has a higher turnover or dropout rate then other styles.
I don't think the BJJ drop-out rate is very different from any other martial art.
Follow 100 people in a typical TKD or BJJ school and I bet you would find...
after 1 week, 90% remaining,
after 1 month, 80% remaining,
after 6 months, 50% remaining,
after 2 years, 20% remaining,
after 5 years, 5% remaining,
after 10 years < 1% remaining
Which means Mark Feigenbaum is a hard-kore 1%'er... :)
I was just thinking about this last night.
Last night in BJJ, we had a HUGE class (13 people...that's huge for us). And as I looked around, I thought "Who was here one year ago?"
Not counting the instructors (two of them), three of us were there last March.
In our Karate school (that I teach in), we've been running for 15 years. We usually have classes that range anywhere from 10-25 people. In that time, we've granted 10 Black Belts. Simple math on that one...
In my observation the turnover rate in my Hapkido class was as high as the turnover rate in BJJ. However it seems like BJJ doesn't attract as many students in the first place. It also seems to me that more people will look at BJJ and never get past the door.
I have two good martial arts friends who have dropped out of BJJ recently..both cite different reasons. One friend transfered from one BJJ school to another and it the new school was too geared towards competition. He just wanted to it for self defence and fun like his old school but the instructor was so bent on getting his name out there he was insulting and was unwilling to work with the students that didnt enter competition.
The other friend just could not afford it any longer. She enjoyed it but $125 a month fee became a bit too much for her. Now she trains at a $40 per month Judo school and is happy as a clam.
I have reached the conclusion that the starting and dropout rates in the MA is directly proportional to the abuse your body takes. In a Karate or TKD class, the training may be very aerobic, but if there is little contact (fighting) in a particular school, they will find it easier to attract and retain students than say a TKD/karate school where the students are hitting each other. In Judo you quickly become acquainted with the floor jumping UP and smacking you on the back. This pushes many people out the door, and keeps many from starting. Throws look cool, but being thrown is not for everyone. Judo/BJJ- groundwork can hurt. Being crushed and smothered by body weight is very frightening for some. The pain of joint locks, mat burns and the sheer PERSONAL NATURE of the training is too much for many students. Just my observations.
Yes, what Dennis wrote.
John - I'm working on becoming that last 5% remaining. It prompted me to go to practice tonight instead of resting at home after a long day of computer nerd conferences in San Francisco...! 20% is NOT enough!
Then some of us are really in a smaller percentile.
Also I realize that maybe I worded the question wrong. Maybe it should have been Is there a higher dropout rate sooner in BJJ than other styles?
Because it appears so, but then again appearance can be deceiving.
Which I believe it can be attributed to Dennis' post.
No idea about BJJ but a couple of comments (you can tell I don't want to do what I really should be doing).
The more popular something is (forums, movies, etc) the greater proportion of people not particularily suited to the art will walk through the door. Ergo more of same will walk out of the door soon after.
BJJ is riding a wave at the moment (I guess or was) while Judo is not. The Matrix movies had an effect on certain arts just as Steven Seagal had on Aikido.
The more physical an art is the greater the drop out rate. Lots of talk evaporates pretty quick with close contact. Arts with no sparring leave more room for the talkers.
I personally don't know whether BJJ is tougher or has a higher standard than Judo (I don't even consider what belt colors are awarded when) but I can easily understand why BJJ would have a higher drop out rate.
Last night I ended up mostly on the ground with a seriously built construction worker/Judo black belt half my age. This morning my body tells me that kata only is where its at. Talk the talk, look good, and no pain the next day.
Where's My Motrin?
I have my own ideas about the stats for BJJ:
90%+ of those who start and even make it past the first two months will not make it to the first colored belt (Blue @ 1 - 2 years).
80%+ of those who make Blue Belt will quit before the second collored belt (Purple @ 5+ years).
Past that, I don't know. Black Belt is still a long way off at that point.
Why? I believe it is for different reasons at different stages of the game. Early on, I believe it is very intimidating facing a beating every time you step on the mat. Every class can feel like a test and new students can feel like like shark bait to the higher ranks at some schools. The tough and/or the patient stick around. The rest quit and find something easier on the ego.
By Blue Belt though, students usually quit because of accumulation of injury or just plain burnout from tournaments and hard training.
Early on, I believe it is very intimidating facing a beating every time you step on the mat. Every class can feel like a test and new students can feel like like shark bait to the higher ranks at some schools.
For me, the decision was financial. $120 a month while trying to live in the Bay Area was too much. A pity, 'cause I loved it. Showed up early for class and rolled. Stayed late to roll. I miss it. After I am employed again, I'd like to resume training, if I can find a school nearby. Doubtful. I'm an hour from the closest city of 40,000.
BJJ schools are in a different place then most schools now.
They are riding a big bandwagon and charging appropriately (high)
Because it is so competitive, top competitors become top instructors regardless of wether or not they are actually good at teaching. Often "old school" is the best description, aka abuse the hell out of everyone to make them "tough".
New students just get thrown in the mix right off the go. BJJ could learn a little from boxing in that regard. Boxing gyms generally don't start beating up new people till they been there a while AND want to get in and fight. Coaches aren't necessarily fighters. And doing it at a rereational level is perfectly acceptable.
But as long as the high competitiveness remains and it isn't "fun-friendly" there will be a high turn-over rate...
i've been training for about a year. many many people come and go but there is a small group of people who stay. it is crazy.
i would say that the retention rate is about 1 in 50 and that is no exxageration.
my instructor would specifially come up to me tell me to go really rough on the new guys that come when we train. at first i thought he told me to do this to maybe send a message to the new guys that "hey we are not a mcdojo." but then i started thinking he told me to do this cause he wants to weed out the people whose hearts are not in it. who knows.
but yeah, BJJ has a high dropout rate i agree.
Brian R. VanCise
Really any Training Hall that has a tough no nonsence kind of approach to martial arts training will also have a retention problem. Simply not that many people can or want to put forth the effort it takes to keep going. (lot's of sacrifice)
Any martial art that trains really hard has a low retention rate. The kickboxing school my friend had is an example too. The first few moths there were 30+ folks and shortly before they shut down there was maybe 8 per class. I lost count a long time ago of the folks that have gone through Pat Hardy's BJJ class or the classes I have taught over the years. Not many folks want to train to the point where they feel like they are going to puke every class and constantly nursing injuries. I have questioned myself many times and had to step away and take some breaks, but for some reason I keep coming back.
I have questioned myself many times and had to step away and take some breaks, but for some reason I keep coming back.
That's because you're not all there. ;)
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