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  • Writer's pictureBJJ Report | Matthew Tropp

9 reasons it is time to switch BJJ gyms!

(attention) If you have a story you would like to have published about your bad experience in a BJJ School please contact me at If you like, I am happy to make sure the story is anonymous to protect your identity.

a disgruntled martial arts student

Everyone's journey is different. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Some people love the academy they are at, and others have this empty feeling that they just can’t get rid of. This feeling starts like an itch and before you know it becomes a full-blown rash (metaphorically). What is interesting is the amount of time you spend at an academy, the amount of energy you put into training and Let’s not forget the amount of hard earned money spent to learn BJJ, to get better at BJJ and to cultivate the relationships that have taken a long time. Let’s also take a moment to remember the injuries, blood, sweat and tears that come with jiu jitsu. After all this, shouldn’t you love the academy you train at?

Here is a list of reasons why a person should consider the option of training at a different BJJ academy.

1. Your current gym has become too crowded, and classes are always full.

This can be a problem for some. Having no room can be hindering and force a stop to the roll prematurely. A reset can be frustrating for some. Having to do this every class may be an indicator that there is simply not enough room to support the number of students.

It’s a good sign to see a lot of people on the mats and an indicator of really good, technical instruction. I know of a few academies that are thriving. Its important to have a lot of people to roll with however this is a sign that the BJJ school may need to expand their mat space.

2. Your instructor is not pushing you to learn new techniques or progressing your skills.

Although repetition is a key to adopting technical proficiency in Jiu jitsu its BORING to learn the same thing over and over again. Everyone’s game is different and its important to feed the growth of each persons game with a variety of relevant techniques. Just because you believe in a certain set of techniques doesn’t mean they are a perfect fit for your students. As well an instructor may not really be paying attention to your game weather they are too busy or simply don’t care.

3. You’re not getting enough individual attention during class time due to the size and overcrowding of the gym.

We all need coaching and guidance. I remember asking an instructor years ago for guidance on how to overcome a particular technique that was applied on me. Lets use escaping a leg attack as an example. I remember they said “figure it out and work through it” or something to that effect. This can be dangerous and also heartbreaking. If your instructor wont take a few seconds to show you something weather they don’t have the time or interest this is a sign to cancel your membership and find another academy.

4. There is a lack of sparring partners at your current gym that can challenge you.

The “big fish in a small pond” scenario. Sometimes there are simply not enough bodies, and this can seriously hinder your growth. We need a variety of belt levels and body types to help us grow. If there are too many people that do not challenge us we can get complacent. This is a sign to find a new academy!

5. You want to train with people of a higher skill level than what is currently offered at the gym.

You have to work with the more complicated higher-level opponents. If you’re a blue belt than you need purples and browns to roll with. If you’re a brown belt then you need other brown and black belts to help you grow. If you are at the top of the totem pole it can seriously hinder your growth and skill level.

6. You want to try different teaching methods or styles that are not available at the gym you currently attend.

Maybe you are at a sport Jiu Jitsu focused school and your interest is in MMA and Combat related BJJ? Maybe you are interested in more of a competition-based academy and your current academy is more MMA? It doesn’t hurt to try a class at another school and see if it’s a good fit.

7. You’re not getting enough motivation or support from your current instructors and peers.

We all look up to our instructors and want their support. If we feel this is not happening it may be time to find a place where the teachers care more for their students.

8. There are better facilities available at another gym that are more conducive to training in a safe, clean environment.

It’s important to feel safe. It’s important to have a clean well organized facility. If this is not the case where you train it may be time to consider training elsewhere, for your own health and safety. It’s also good to have relevant equipment. Some academies have gym equipment so you can focus on strength training, some gyms have showers. Ultimately you have to decide if the academy you train at is equipped to suit your needs.

9. Your instructor is egomaniacal, rude, abusive or inappropriate.

We may have all heard about the coach that constantly downplays the star quarterback to keep them motivated. We have also heard about jiu jitsu instructors calling students insulting names or speaking about topics that are considered inappropriate. There have also been reports of sexual misconduct in the BJJ community. As well certain instructors have been known to injure students’ weather accidentally or with the intention to make an example of them. This is poor leadership and in some cases against the law. If you experience rudeness, abuse or inappropriate behavior you should IMMEDIATELY find a new place to train.

If you have an example of other reasons to change schools, I am definitely interested in hearing it. If you have a story you would like to have published about your bad experience in a BJJ School please contact me at If you like, I am happy to make sure the story is anonymous to protect your identity.

Train safe and Train Often,

Matthew Tropp | BJJ Report

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