What I Did to Break Out of My Jiu Jitsu Dry Spell

Jordyn Martinez (1).jpg

Jordyn is a white belt from Toronto, Ontario. She started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu almost six months ago at Toronto BJJ. When she's not training, she's lurking on the BJJ reddit page, and finding books or blogs to learn from. She highly recommends Jiu Jitsu University, if you're looking for a good training book. Follow Jordyn on Twitter here

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While I have loved every second of my BJJ training, I recently had to take a couple weeks off because of work and ended up psyching myself out of going back for a couple weeks after that. I would plan to go, but then I would self-sabotage by waking up late, and having to leave work too late to make it to my preferred class time. I would have a big lunch, and then claim to feel ill at the end of the day. 

Somehow I ended up with a full month off of training, and by that time I had convinced myself that the class may have been cancelled. Maybe they changed their schedule. What if it's a different instructor, and I can't do what he asks? I worked it up so much in my head that I became anxious. My lack of training started affecting the rest of my life. When I don't work out, I don't eat well. I don't sleep well. Then I don't feel energized at work. It was a very slippery slope. 

deciding to go back

One morning, however, I decided that I was done with the wallowing and I was going back. I called the gym, just to make myself feel better, and confirmed that the class times had not changed. On my commute home, instead of listing reasons I shouldn't go train, I listed things to do to get ready. It was almost a mantra, but the bottom line is that it distracted me. 

Makeup off, rings off, brush teeth, grab water.

When I got home, I immediately did each of those things. I put on some music to make me feel badass, and let my getting ready feel like part of the workout. It's the mental part. One of the lyrics that stuck out to me while I got ready was "I'm meaner than my demons", and I let that idea propel me through packing my bags with my gi, water, and spandex shorts.

I didn't let myself settle or get comfy. The plan was to get ready and leave. Better to be early and immersed in it than get comfy and hide in my bed. 

While I wiped off my makeup, I felt like I was putting on warrior paint; I was basically a real life movie montage getting myself ready for my next mental battle. The gym is three blocks from my house, and I fight myself on every step. But every step I take is another victory for me. 

As soon as I walked in that door and smelled the sweat and mats, I knew my dry spell was over. I jumped right back in as though I never left. No one seemed to notice I had been away for weeks. I suddenly remembered another woman chatting with me about getting into the habit of going, right when I started training, and she said sometimes it takes real convincing to get her ass in to train. 


Ultimately I learned a few things:

  • No one cares how often I show up - BJJ is my journey and my responsibility and if I want to train once a week or 6 days a week then that's my choice
  • Going back after weeks away was harder than convincing myself to try it in the first place.
  • Going back was even more rewarding, because I know I'm not a quitter and I conquered the little voice in my head.

So if you need time off, take it. Jiu jitsu will be there when you're ready - but remember you're not alone in the struggle to train. You can love every second of it and still feel anxious before every class. But at the end of the day you can give yourself a thousand reasons why not to go, but if you still show up – that’s brave and that shows real strength.

What do you think? How do you stay motivated, even when it's hard?

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p.s., Click here for 6 Tips on How to Motivate Yourself and Get Back to Training.