If you have been training in this sport for a while, grinding away at improvement, chances are you’ve felt burnt out from time to time. As much fun as this sport is, sometimes working so hard with such intensity can leave us feeling frustrated, tired, and thinking of quitting. If this sounds like you, please give the following tips a try before calling it quits.
Try a new technique or style.
Are you in love with playing guard? Smash and pass your go-to? Try a new technique. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a fun challenge. Maybe you never play spider guard or squid guard. This might be the perfect time to test-drive that cool new submission chain you saw on Instagram. For athletes who get bored easily, focusing on a new skill to hone might help you re-engage.
Train with different partners.
This might be more difficult at some locations versus others, but if you have the opportunity to pair up with a new partner, this can help stretch your game. Have you been in competition mode and mostly focused on sinking in those chokes on that teammate who pushes you? Maybe it’s time to dial back the intensity and work with someone who can teach you something new. Maybe you can teach someone else something new, as well. We all take away something every time we roll with a new partner.
Remember your reason for starting.
Even the best competitors report feeling burnt out on tournament life every now and then. Do you only train for competition or is this a fun outlet for you? Is this your form of exercise? Are you training for self-defense? Looking for community? People end up training Jiu jitsu for a multitude of reasons. It’s easy to get caught up in merely wanting to win. Those of us who have a propensity to get really competitive may have a harder time seeing the beauty in merely training for the sake of training. Don’t let the drive to win take away from the joy of training. This is a beautiful art that not many people end up getting to learn. Remember your reasons for training when you feel like bailing out.
Maybe you are finding that you don’t feel challenged enough. Can you roll with upper belts? Can you visit other gym’s open mat? If you haven’t competed, maybe preparing for a tournament is the motivation you are looking for to push yourself and stay with it. Another way to challenge yourself is to train more often. If you have the means, sometimes taking private lessons is a good way to be exposed to new skills and moves that you didn’t know existed.
Seek advice from coaches/teammates.
The great thing about this sport is that there are usually always coaches and teammates who have been doing this for longer and they have been right where you are at. Ask them how they have dealt with the urge to leave. They most likely have valuable insight and advice on how to get excited about your jiu jitsu journey again.
Take a break.
Finally, maybe you really do just need a break. We all joke that taking a week off of jiu jitsu can feel like a million years, but as long as you don’t take a million years, maybe a short break is what you need to reset. Some people report feeling “fresh” after coming back from a break and feel that their movement is not as forced. This might be a type of self-care you didn’t know you needed.
These are just a few ideas to try before quitting. I hope they are helpful and that you find your reason to keep training. Not everyone has the same path, but many of us face the same obstacles and Jiu Jitsu has been a helpful activity in overcoming those.
Danielle is a blue belt at National Martial Arts in Norman, Oklahoma. She is a veteran, military spouse and social worker. Jiu Jitsu has brought her the best friendships. When she’s not training, you can find her spending time with her family. She hopes to one day start a non-profit program using BJJ to help people work through the effects of trauma.