OG Starting Over at BJJ After Quitting

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
often, OG.

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.

5 Responses to OG Starting Over at BJJ After Quitting

  1. Chris says:

    Man, this post really hits home for me. I’m in an identical situation except it’s even more embarrassing.

    I’m 36, started “training” BJJ in 1999. I would always start classes then stop a few weeks later due to injury or because my job moved (I was a consultant for years).

    After I stopped being a consultant the same pattern ensued. I would start and then stop again but these times it was again due to injury or because I bought a house or because my son was born.

    Today its 2010 and if I could only have been more committed I’d be a black belt by now. Regardless of how inconsistent I have been in the past, I will return to BJJ if for no other reason than to be able to teach my son someday how to defend himself.

  2. Keith Mellor says:

    Paul love your effort to keep us OG’s motivated. I’m a 59 year old purple belt in the Machado system. I’ve been at BJJ for about 10 years with some major gaps due to injurys. I find your training tips invaluble and right in line with the advise I get from my current instructor who is OG friendly (I change schools because of the treatment of OG’s). Keep up the good work – it keeps me motivated.

    • hey keith, thanks for the kind words and support. i’m just trying to look out for the OGs out there that need a little help from their friends. stay motivated and push onward to black belt, bro!

  3. I got in to jujitsu in Sept 2009 after finding about an MMA gym in San Diego that had grappling from a participant in the adult (18+ sanctioned USA Werestling club) wrestling club which I had joined in June 2009. I wrestled in college (Div III, NYC) from 1979-1984 but do job and other reasons took a hiatus from wrestling from about 1986-2009. Even though I am 61.5 now I am completely respected at the gym and helped by all the instructors (many go out of their way to assist as egos are never permitted) and members as well, being willing to roll with me as with anyone else to my ability and experience level. Many do not realize my true age but those who do encourage me very much and despite some limitations (hip arthritis,flexibility)all work with me during and before and after classes as well. While one assistant coach at the wrestling club suggested I hang it up after an elbow dislocation injury the more convenient schedule of the gym of 7 day a week classes with all kinds of help has given me greater love for jujitsu than I had for wrestling and when I as in college never missed a wrestling practice in 5 years (classes were a different story). Even though I could have weekends/weekbeginnings off at work due my seniority (21 years with the same company)I deliberately bid or bump to a shift to allow me to maximize gym time to train so I can get 3 to 4 days a week at the MMA gym for jujitsu/wrestling. My main thrust has been no-gi (from wrestling background) but now I am doing both gi and no-gi. There is nothing like the comraderie in my gym and health permitting would like to do nothing else if I had the opportunity. Thanks

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