Trying to get back into BJJ after years off

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Hatake88, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Hatake88

    Hatake88 Yellow Belt

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    Hi guys

    Just had a super disenchanting experience today. I am a purple belt who, after 3 years off, is trying to get back into the sport. At the time of quitting, I've barely been purple for a month - in fact, my grading somewhat contributed to me quitting as it re-opened a shoulder injury which in turn got worse as I (somewhat foolishly) kept on training.

    Long story short, after a lot of negative self talk, I dragged myself to a BJJ gym today for a free trial (I didn't go back to my old gym as I have moved states). Everything was fine until we started drilling techniques - this was when I heard other students commenting behind my back that I wasn't performing to the prerequisite standard. To be honest, I did forget some of the details of the DLR sweep we were doing but - then again - I got the gist of the technique right. Shortly after I heard the talk behind my back, I was asked how long I've been training, how long I have taken a break for, where did I get my belt etc. Since I've just gotten my purple belt when I quit, I got quite nervous and I stumbled over a couple of the answers. These students then went on to ask about why my gi looked so flimsy (this was a gym where everyone wore the same types of gis - and my gi was "flimsy" because it was a single weave -.-) and why my belt was such an "interesting" colour (apparently it was a much lighter shade of purple than "usual"). They even sniggered when I didn't turn to the wall to retie my belt (at my old gym, everything was super casual so I wasn't used to this practice).

    Man, I've always been a somewhat nervous practitioner (always asking myself if I'm good enough) and today has been a nightmare come true. No one outright said "are you sure you are a purple/are you lying?" but the insinuation was there. It doesn't help that I don't actually feel myself worthy of the belt either. I just keep on thinking to myself "if, at the time of my grading, I was just ready for purple then surely - after so many years - I have fell far below the common standard". What do you reckon I should do? Today's class proved I was still interested in BJJ but then...I just hate being thought of as an imposter. Do you reckon I should try out more gyms? Should I wear my old blue belt to the next gym and wear a studier gi (like a double weave tatami instead of the single weave fuji I wore today)?

    I am just so disappointed in the entire experience and in myself...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  2. Zankou

    Zankou Muscle and Hate Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Dude you are way too anxious about this. If you are a low purple who hasn’t trained in a long time you’d normally be expected to roll like a mid blue or so. You need to develop some internal goals and pursue them rather than caring about what a bunch of people you don’t even really know might think.

    I wouldn’t change your belt or gi. That’s just playing a pointless game, like you were a middle school girl or something. Show up in gear and train, have fun improving, that’s all that really matters.
     
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  3. QingTian

    QingTian Purple Belt

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    This gym sounds super catty. Also wtf about turning to face the wall.
     
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  4. Cocoboitoy

    Cocoboitoy White Belt

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    Gracie Barra?
     
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  5. jpak

    jpak White Belt

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    Are there other gyms where you live? The guys at the gym you went to sound like douchebags, everyone who's been in a gym long enough has ran into someone who appears to have a higher belt than they should, the way they went about it was inappropriate, and I'm guessing the professor wasn't there because at the end of the day your still a potential paying customer and I'd imagine he wouldn't like seeing a potential customer leave because of a negative experience
     
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  6. Quebec Nick

    Quebec Nick Green Belt

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    You have your purple belt, if you're not at the level, they will just make you wait longer before promoting you

    Also, those guys seem judgy, they didn't even roll with you and they are already on your case.
     
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  7. Forceof1

    Forceof1 Blue Belt

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    On one hand, I get that people are on the lookout for fake belts. Imagine if just after getting your purple belt, someone comes into the gym wearing a purple belt, and is obviously struggling with some technique and maybe unclear about their background, etc. Wouldn't you be curious?

    On the other, hand if you/ the stranger were just straight forward, and say- "hey I'm rusty. I got injured a month after getting my purple belt from (your previous instructor) and this is my first time on the mat after 3 years off" - that should be the end of it.

    If people can't accept that- you are at a douchebag gym and should look elsewhere.

    You are going to struggle / take a while to get back up to speed. Don't worry about what people think. Your skills will come back much faster than someone who is lying, so even skeptics in 2-3 months will accept you for what you are. And even if they don't who the fuck cares?
     
  8. biscuitsbrah

    biscuitsbrah Black Belt

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    Yo fuck that gym. Any gym that makes you face the wall to tie your belt is 100% gracie certified bullshit.
    I got angry reading how they treated you in that post, doesnt happen often either.
    Even if you were rusty blue belt quality, no one at my gym would have instantly questioned or mocked you behind your back like that
     
  9. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    Just Train somewhere else.
     
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  10. andrewm2211

    andrewm2211 Orange Belt

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    Yeah culture sounds whack.
    I’d say my gym is moderately formal, and I’ve never heard of facing the wall to tie ones belt.

    That aside, go through the details in your head like the other guys said and give a straightforward answer.

    But snickering and laughing is really odd to me. I’ve seen some horrendous blues come through my gym. And sure we casually asked where they trained before. We didn’t feel the need to put them on the spot. Cause like you maybe they came back from an injury/ break. Maybe they aren’t that great and got belted in the Midwest and SoCal is an adjustment for them... I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.

    Neither should the training partners at your gym.
     
  11. Solidus Snake

    Solidus Snake Purple Belt

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    Man I practically stop training for around 2 years exactly for a shoulder injury like 2 months after I took my purple.. so, I think I know how you feel.

    I've started training again seriously around last september, I've even switched schools like you cause my original instructor moved in another city, but my situation is different than yours as I'm training with an affiliate and I already knew my new teacher plus a couple of other guys.

    Honestly when I speak with new people and they ask me about myself/my training, I'm not shy in describing the situation. I suggest you to do the same, after all there is nothing wrong in just saying the truth, it's nothing unheard of that long inactivty takes its toll and you may look sloppy.. I've seen it happen even to legit brown belts. Unfortunately, for somebody there still is this mysticism around the belt color that should give the owner perpetually good skills.. this isn't the case in reality of course.

    That said, nobody has been an ass to me. Taking what you wrote for real, I'd try in another gym as soon as possible.
     
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  12. mattemate

    mattemate Brown Belt

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    This gym sounds like garbage.

    I've only been to one place even remotely like that and it's the laughing stock of gyms in my area.

    Keep training, try different places. Stick to one where you feel at home
     
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  13. Hatake88

    Hatake88 Yellow Belt

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    Thanks for the all the feedback guys. You guys really helped me see things in perspective.

    I've already booked another trial at a new gym. This time, I will definitely show more confidence coming in and not worry so much!
     
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  14. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    There's tons of terrible purple belts out there. It's not a black belt. No one thinks your belt is fake but maybe they want to feel superior or something.

    Coming back from a long layoff really sucks. I'm a black belt, coming back from about 18 months off. It's hard. Even when your brain knows what to do the body can't execute. And it gets harder for a while until your timing starts coming back and things start clicking again but guess what? The only way to get there is to go back and start training again. That's it.

    So either find a different gym, or stick with these guys a few months and see how it feels. Then you can always change later. Maybe use this gym to get back in shape lol and then switch if you still don't like it and you won't be coming off a long layoff (assuming there are multiple gyms around you).
     
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  15. Forceof1

    Forceof1 Blue Belt

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    Again- just be super clear with your situation with anyone who asks.

    "I stopped training 2 months after I got my purple belt from "your instructor" due to a shoulder injury. It's been 3 years since I rolled, but I'm looking forward to knocking the rust off" (naming the instructor will give you credibility, so please do so)

    It's really that easy. Don't make it any harder than it needs to be in your mind. Don't try to "prove" your a legit purple- after 3 years off, you'll fail. Much easier to just be cool, keep expectations low (for them and you) and enjoy training. It will come back in time.
     
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  16. TheMood

    TheMood Blue Belt

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    Coming back from a long break is very difficult for most people. I had six months off due to a broken thumb and it was harder coming back than it was to start. After three years off you will most likely not be as good as you were three years ago.

    The school doesn't sound very welcoming from your description. I think it is fairly normal to ask a color belt you don't know about where they have trained. Sometimes we get visitors and sometimes we get people that moved. I don't understand why they would comment on your gi if it has a weave to it. I have told people in karate gis that they will probably want to get a bjj or judo gi since the karate gi will not hold up.

    The only time I remember having to turn around to tie a belt was when I used to take karate here. We used to always turn around to tie our belts. The schools in NYC were more formal with some of the rules than when I trained in Japan. I have never seen a bjj school where people turn around to tie their belts.

    If you have other options in the area you should visit the other schools. Not every place is the same and not every place is for everyone. Good luck with the school search and take care of your shoulder.
     
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  17. liuk3

    liuk3 Orange Belt

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    Have you spoken to the instructor of the new school? I would talk to him, and see what he says. I think the students sounds like a bunch of petty insecure a-holes though. I would try out different gyms unless this one is the closest to you.
     
  18. M3t4tr0n

    M3t4tr0n Suave

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    Yeah, thought that was weird too.
     
  19. BOWHUNTER

    BOWHUNTER Gender: Attack Chopper

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    The gym sounds like crap. We have to face the wall to fix our Gi's and tie our belts before the end of class line up, it's not a big deal.

    I came back after a 8 year lay off and I was 42. It's hard man, getting destroyed by people I would have smashed years ago, also seeing my peers who didn't quit earn their brown's and black (which is great). I just receintly got my blue and I feel like im not a legit blue although I know my instructor would not give it to me if he didn't think I was, I'm just insecure I suppose.

    Change gym's and take it slow, tell the truth about your belt and let the head guy know your lineage so he knows its legit.
     
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  20. Pierced7681

    Pierced7681 Brown Belt

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    I haven’t trained since 2013, I think about going back all the time but haven’t had the guts to do it.

    Much respect for going and trying it again.
     
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