Paul, I’m a 36 year old OG. I started BJJ back in 2003 and quit a
few times. Well now I want to try again but I keep backing out. I’ve
even driven out to the gym only to turn around and go home. I
suppose I’m worried about looking out of shape and getting hurt. I
think I’ve forgotten all my techniques too. What should I do?
TWG: This problem isn’t as tough as you think and happens quite
First, you should do is recognize the fact that deep down inside,
you REALLY want to train at BJJ, maybe even become a black belt
someday. The reason I point that out is to show you that you’re
NOT as big a quitter as you feel. If you were a “true quitter”,
you wouldn’t still be thinking about going back to the mat or going
as far as driving down to the school, in spite of the fact that you
never stop and go inside the school.
Second, 90 percent of this struggle comes from your poor mental
mindset about who you are or what you think you should be. It
doesn’t matter that you’re out-of-shape because most of the people
that start training are out-of-shape in the beginning, me included.
You just have to get back in there and let the training get you in
shape. And as far as forgetting the techniques that you learned
back in the day, no one will know that unless you want to go in and
start telling people that you’ve been training since 2003. If you
go into the school like you’re a brand new student that’s never
taken a BJJ class before, then there’s no pressure to remember
anything you learned back in the day and you can learn like every
other newbie taking BJJ for the first time.
Finally, as for worrying about getting hurt, you should know since
you’ve been training that bumps and bruises come along with the BJJ
Training. If you’re really concerned about it, use that concern to
help guide you to the right school to train. You don’t need to be
at a school with a bunch of up-and-coming MMAers where the risk of
being used as a grappling bag with feet is likely. Check around
and (if possible) find a school that’s being run by an OG
Instructor (see my website for a list of schools). If there aren’t
any schools run by an OG in your area, pay attention to the school
that seems to have a good number of OGs in their classes and talk
with a few of them. That should ease your concern about being hurt
because you’re an OG.
Bottom line: Do your homework to find the right school for you,
stop thinking about all the bad things that can happen (since most
of it is in your head), and get back on the mat so you can pursue
your dream of being a BJJ Black Belt.
And make sure to let me know once you’ve joined the school and how
the training is going once you’re back on the mat.
I hope this helps and good luck.