Grapplers Graveyard

Biggest Challenges In BJJ

biggest challenges in bjj

Table of Contents

Your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey begins with a wide variety of obstacles and challenges. As it’s a combat sport that is highly competitive, you will face hardship as you progress as a BJJ practitioner. Hindrances in your journey include:

  • Time Commitment

  • Goal Management

  • Gear Maintenance

  • Injuries

  • Loss of Motivation

Continue reading to learn all about the technical challenges you face when training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and also how to build the mental resilience to overcome them.

biggest challenges in bjj

Some of the Biggest Challenges to training BJJ

BJJ is simple, yet hard. Much like the life we live. It is common knowledge that spending 10 years on something will result in a good outcome, life or BJJ, that principle holds true and is easy to contextualize. The hard part is actually showing up each day and putting forth the effort to see out what you start.

Many people start their BJJ journey with a zealous attitude, determined to reach the coveted black belt but so few, at the end of the day, actually accomplish this… why is that? The following paragraphs may explain some of the reasons.

Time Commitment

Time commitment is definitely one of the biggest challenges when it comes to training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This is because this Martial art requires consistent practice and strong dedication to truly progress and improve.

Sure, you could just show up to your classes a couple of times a week and follow a training schedule to make some decent progress.

But if you plan on competing and building a career, you must invest time in drilling techniques, attend open mats, and study the art outside of the gym.

Balancing work, school, family, and other responsibilities can make training regularly tough. The key is finding a schedule that works for you and helps you prioritize your training. This might mean sacrificing some leisure time, but the rewards of BJJ make it all worthwhile.

Ask anyone who actually hits the goal of Black belt if they would trade it for anything in the world. Money, fame, whatever you choose, it is not worth the weight of getting to this point.

biggest challenges in bjj

Understand your Goals

When you get into a combat sport, you must understand and decide what your goals are. This is something I personally struggled with in the early stages. I come from a background of athletics and felt this overwhelming pressure (in my own head) to compete and be a world champion but in reality, this all just lived in my head. I am a hobbyist, through and through. I train about 4 -5 times per week and enjoy the challenges that come with BJJ and the problem-solving aspects that stimulate my mind.

Most of the time, interested people either want to lose weight and build muscle, and some want to compete and build a BJJ career. Deciding what your goals are for yourself and owning them can be a tough thing for people.

BJJ is extremely demanding both physically and mentally. It challenges your muscles alongside your cardio making it an effective calorie-burning workout. Just a few BJJ workouts a week can help you build exceptional physical strength within months.

Some of you may want to get into BJJ so you can build a career out of it by participating in competitions and tournaments. I probably don’t have to tell a hell-bent competitor this but that path looks different than something that your peers may be going on. Again, identify your goals early and stick to your guns.

Maintaining your Gear

As a BJJ practitioner, you will need to get some basic gear. This can include your BJJ Gi, rash guards, knee pads, etc. This gear can often be quite expensive, which is why maintaining it is super important. Taking into consideration how rough you use them and how to wash them will help reduce wear and tear.

biggest challenges in bjj

Injuries Sustained When Training or Competing

When you begin a combat sport, you are essentially taking a big risk, no matter how careful you are, you can still get injured in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. However, there are still many precautions you can take to prevent injuries.

Injuries suck. They mess with your head (if they are bad enough), they linger for longer than you want them to, and can just be flat-out demoralizing. Here at Grapplers Graveyard we try to always keep in mind that athletes’ bodies are their most important investment, meaning, you should be actively trying supplements to help recovery, making sure you are getting proper rest, and finding solutions that help rehab injuries that keep you off the mats.

Here are some tips to stay injury-free:

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Comparison Being the Thief of Joy

In life, especially in sports, there is always a bigger fish.

It might be someone with better genetics or is fortunate enough to afford better equipment and coaches. This is why comparison is the thief of joy. When you begin a hobby, whether it is painting, golf, or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you should understand that the only person you should compete with is the person you were the previous day.

In life, no matter the venture, you should always strive for Kaizen, meaning to make consistent little improvements. You should focus on being the best version of yourself, enjoy your progress, and keep working hard and putting the hours in to get better, day by day.

Sticking to a Schedule

Consistency is key, regardless of the venture you take. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, sticking to a program and really building a lifestyle around your practice is extremely important, this is because a good schedule will build momentum leading toward the progress that you want to actually see.

Discipline and mental resilience will help you fix any physical limitations, all that you need to do is stay consistent and stick and follow a good program. Understand that in a 6-8-week program, you should not get demotivated when you do not see improvements in the third or fourth week. Instead, trust your coach, seek guidance, and complete the program.

Fear of Failing

Failure is inevitable, without it, you will never be able to truly enjoy success.

Failing against your training partners, getting injured, or losing an important match is all part of the journey to the top. Most elite-level BJJ practitioners have faced failure in one place or another. They all have stories about the obstacles and challenges they faced.

Remember, when you treat failure or a loss as a lesson, you set realistic and achievable goals. Learn to find the good in bad situations, find out where you lacked, fix it, and come back stronger.

Loss of Motivation

It is common for athletes to sometimes lose motivation in the combat sport they compete in. This could be for a variety of reasons, not making progress or losing an important fight can be two of them. In this case, BJJ practitioners must understand that progress is not always linear, and it is certainly not exponential.

As you get better, your progress and newbie gains will slow down, at this point, your discipline will come into play. Motivation means to train hard when you feel like it, discipline means to train hard regardless of how you feel.

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Ways to Combat These Challenges

Take Time Off When Needed

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other Martial arts, you will often find yourself facing a burnout period.

This is when you’ve been at the top of your training schedule and haven’t been slacking off in any area for a while. Eventually, one weekly rest day will not be enough, you will require a de-load period where you train in a lower intensity, or you can take a week off to recover fully.

Taking a few days off will help you recover physically and mentally completely. Most fighters and athletes tone down their training a few weeks before a competition so they can be at their A-game.

Train for Longevity

Martial arts are all about longevity, especially Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You begin your journey as a white belt, and with some practice, you become a blue belt, then a purple belt, then a brown belt, and so on. This shows that there is no overnight solution to becoming an excellent BJJ fighter.

You have to put in effort for years to become good at this martial art.

The sooner you begin training for longevity, the quicker you will overcome challenges and make some serious progress.

Find Good Training Partners That Push You

Finding good training partners is an essential part of your BJJ training.

You must find aspiring athletes that push you to become better, and help you overcome challenges on the mats and in real life. Or, even if your teammates do not want to compete at high levels, just make sure that you are training with the guys that give you good looks and challenge you to become a better problem solver on the mats.

When low on motivation, it is always a good idea to have some gym bros motivate you to train harder.

It is also a great way to push yourself, having a healthy competition with someone your own level makes you want to strive harder and make the extra effort to overtake them.

Set Your Goals [And Stick to Them]

Setting realistic goals is one of the most important parts of getting into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, what’s even more important is that you stick to those goals. It is common for beginners to not only set unrealistic goals but also to not make the effort needed to fulfill them.

This is why you must have goals that are doable, and also make the effort needed to make your dreams a reality.

Build Mental Strength

To top it all off, the best way to overcome challenges and walk through hell, is to build mental fortitude. When your mindset is impenetrable, nothing can get into your head, no loss will affect you, no obstacle will seem hard, and no goal will seem impossible.

When you have the right mindset, you will learn that nothing matters more than just enjoying the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Embrace losses as areas to work on, and your mind will have just as much brute strength as your physical body.

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