Am I wasting my time by training only 1-2 times a week?

BJJ enables a smaller person to overcome bigger, stronger opponents.

As a way to draw inspiration and occasionally troll, I am an avid lurker on reddit…  I recently came across an interesting question about the amount of time one trains that I thought worth exploring in a post here:

“Due to my work schedule I can only make it to the gym 1-2 a week. Everyone I came across told me if I want to go somewhere with jujitsu I need at least 3 sessions a week. The instructor flat out told me that if I’m only be able to train 1-2 times a week it’s unlikely I’ll ever last long enough to see myself improve let alone getting promoted.

Am I wasting my time? Is jujitsu just not meant to be for me?”

Am I wasting my time by training only 1-2 times a week? from r/bjj

This is a FANTASTIC question, and there are several layers to the answer I’m going to give…

It all depends on your intentions and expectations.

If your intention is to become an active and/or successful competitor, you’re wasting your time for sure.  I’d say that a bare minimum for someone who wants to compete at a decent level is 5 days a week and even that is sparse if you’re talking IBJJF.  But not everyone wants to be a world killer.

The instructor mentioned above has a point; if you’re brand new and you’re only training 1-2 times a week you’re probably gonna wind up getting frustrated and quitting.  People who started at the same time as you are going to be running circles around you in no time, and it’s going to take a very long time to get promoted… But none of that necessarily matters.

So here are my 2 cents on this matter: if you train 1 or 2 days a week that’s 1 or 2 days of skill development that you didn’t otherwise have, that’s 1 or 2 days of learning skills and getting .01% better at something that you like enough to post on Reddit about.  Are you likely to reach black belt inside of 15-20 years training 2 days a week?  Probably not unless you train in a McDojo atmosphere, but you’ll reap at least SOME of the benefits of jiu-jitsu.

If you like jiu-jitsu and you want the benefits jiu-jitsu has to offer you, train as much as you can.  Also there are creative ways to train more than 2 days week even on a tough schedule.  You can work on movement drills at home, you can get mats and lure other students from your gym to your house for snuggles and snacks.  You can find gyms in the area that have class times more conducive to your schedule and drop in for classes (or if all else fails actually change gyms altogether.)  The jiu-jitsu lifestyle isn’t about a specific number of times a week training, it’s about making training a priority as much and as often as possible.

Jiu-Jitsu is a journey, not a destination.  It’s a marathon not a sprint.  I’ve had periods in my life where I trained once every six months, and I’ve had periods where I didn’t train for a couple of years.  But because I love jiu-jitsu, I have always made an effort to keep it in my life as much as I could, and I suggest that if you’re the person who posted this on reddit and are reading it, you do the same.

For those of you out there who have experienced similar things as fisterpriceplaystool, what did you find to be the answer to the question?  Is training 1-2 days a week a waste of time?

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Emil Fischer is an active brown belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio (www.strongstyle.com) and teaching at Ground Up BJJ (http://mpcle.com/class/ground-up-bjj/.) For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj/. Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (www.Meerkatsu.com, discount code EmilKatsu), Eddy's On Coventry, Cleveland Cryo (www.clevelandcryo.net discount code EmilCryo,) NottaRookie, The Terphouse (www.TheTerphouse.com, used discount code COOKIES), Trap And Roll Soap Company (www.trapandrollsoap.com discount code COOKIES) Impact Mouthguards (www.impactmouthguards.com discount code EMILIMPACT), North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear, as well as a brand ambassador for Ludwig Van (www.ludwigvantheman.com discount code FAMILY) and Vanguard Kimono.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Training twice a week is better than not training at all. It’s a marathon not a sprint. There will be times in life when work slows down and your schedule to train will increase. How is your work schedule keeping you from the mats ? I’d say a high percentage of people have full time jobs and train. You can train before work, after work, weekends. If you want to train you will find a way. I work a full time construction job 40 hours a week. It’s about as labor intensive as it gets and I still manage to train after work. Ask yourself how bad do you want it ?

  2. My understanding is that most people train 2-3 times a week. I cringe slightly when I hear people training 6-7 days a week. That sounds to me like a great way to get overtrained, injured, and burned out.

    If I’ve got some free time, sure I’ll go for the occasional 4-5 times a week but I also like strength and conditioning so all of that is going to run out of steam pretty quick.

    Two days a week I’d say is fine as long as they are actively thinking about the drills, exploring the possibilities and are attentive enough to ask the professor questions.

    That’s just my opinion and please take it for what it’s worth.

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