Everyone has thought about quitting jiu jitsu. I have been doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years now, and in those years, I cannot count the number of times that I have felt like quitting BJJ. I have come home and complained, tears pouring down my face as I recounted the frustration I felt. I thought about all the things I could do with my abundance of free time, my expendable income, and an uninjured body.
But then I would think about what jiu jitsu meant to me, and I would find myself back in class.
During a yoga teacher training recently, I noticed a quote on the wall: “When you feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place.” I started jiu jitsu in the first place because I wanted to learn the martial art that I thought was the most effective in keeping me safe when I went running at night. I started because I wanted a challenge and to get in better shape. I did not start to win every roll or match at any cost. I did not start jiu jitsu to shame other people or even myself. I did not start BJJ to disparage other martial arts. I did not start jiu jitsu to keep my teammates from achieving their goals. I started to become a better, stronger version of me.
Everyone’s reason for starting is different and those reasons may evolve over time. And one day if you realize that if jiu jitsu is not for you, or if you are in a toxic environment, then you should leave. Never ever stay in a situation where you are miserable. But if you still want to learn self-defense, or if you still want a challenge, then see if there is another jiu jitsu school out there for you where you can meet your goals with a group of people who love and support you.
Recently, I got a card from the women at my gym to congratulate me on my black belt. When I looked at all of the signatures, it was hard hold in the rush of emotions that I felt: the camaraderie, the pride of seeing how much our women’s program has grown, the joy at my teammates’ successes. And this has inspired a new goal of promoting women’s jiu jitsu in our school and in the jiu jitsu community at large.
So when you feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place.
When it doesn’t seem fair or logical, remember why you started in the first place.
When you don’t know what to do next, remember why you started in the first place.
When you keep losing the big and the little battles, remember why you started in the first place.
When you keep getting smashed, remember why you started in the first place.