If you’ve been training for even a few years, you’ve seen many people come and go. The vast majority of people never make it past white belt, and even fewer get to purple belt. This trend continues all the way to black belt and beyond. It has been said that only 1-3% make it to black belt. 25% of the people at back will ever reach coral or red.
Depending on the academy you will see most the people quit at white or blue. White and blue can be the hardest ranks to survive. You are beaten down and it can take a long time in some cases. In my experience if someone makes it 3 months, they’ll eventually get their blue belt.
These blue belts, having worked so hard to get their rank will still have a high drop out rate. Why is this? Why do so many people end up quitting at blue belt? This question is somewhat mind boggling, but I have a few answers.
The first reason is time. It can take a long time to achieve purple. White to blue can be quick if you’re naturally athletic. However, blue is almost a guaranteed 2-4 years if you don’t train every day and make Jiu Jitsu your life. Most people cannot make a class 5-7 days a week, so they end up on the longer route. Many people simply lose their dedication to train for so long without a new reward.
The second reason I believe many people quit at blue belt is because of injuries. While all belt levels can be injured I think blue belts are especially at risk. I have a few reasons for this. The first is because of the time it takes. If you are at blue for 4 years you are twice as likely to get injured as a white belt that took 2 years to achieve blue. Also belts can begin to feel pressure to prove themselves against the white belts and push to submit the upper belts. Pushing the pace makes it even more likely to get injured.
The last reason is because life simply gets in the way. Maybe in that time period you move or get a new job or have a kid. Major life changes at a belt that hasn’t required as much dedication to achieve as say purple, brown or black makes it more likely to just accept that you can’t train rather than seeking out a way to train while dealing with life struggles.
These are the main reasons I believe so many people quit at blue belt. While I do not advocate anybody quitting Jiu Jitsu I believe in what Keith Owen has said “If you are going to quit; quit at purple belt”. Purple belt gives you a lot of knowledge and you will at least be able to defend yourself very well in the street.