GB Student Question: “Is it possible to train Jiu-Jitsu even if I don’t have much money?”

I was a guest on a live interview on Instagram with one of the Jiu-Jitsu schools in India. There is a tremendous amount of interest in India in combat sports and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in particular. Jiu-Jitsu is still relatively undeveloped in India compared to most of the Western countries and finding qualified instruction is often not possible.
One of the viewers submitted a question “I live in a city with no Jiu-Jitsu instructor but want to learn Jiu-Jitsu. How expensive is a gi? Is it possible to train Jiu-Jitsu even if I don’t have much money?”
This is a situation experienced by many would-be Jiu-Jitsu practitioners around the world. While Gracie Barra has more than 800 GB schools located all over the world, in many areas, there is a lack of qualified instructors or bjj school available. Additionally, in many countries with a low average monthly income, finding the money to pay for Jiu-Jitsu classes and a brand new kimono is an additional obstacle.
To the question “Is it possible to train Jiu-Jitsu even if I don’t have much money?” – I answer “If there is a will… there is a way!”
That is to say that if your desire to learn Jiu-Jitsu is great enough, you CAN find a way!
How can a young person who wants to learn Jiu-Jitsu under less than ideal circumstances find a way? I had 3 suggestions for them.
1 Get a small group of training partners who share your desire to practice Jiu-Jitsu. You not only need other bodies to practice your techniques on, but you need the shared motivation and the learning from others that occurs when a small group of passionate people put their minds together.
You will support each other and enjoy practicing the moves that you learn and as a group will all improve together. One of the group has an extra, old kimono to bring. Someone else has a space where you can lay down some sort of mats for a training space (one of my all time favorite bjj photos is of a group of Jiu-Jitsu students in a small room with flattened cardboard boxes for mats!). Another person has a mobile device where you can view some Jiu-Jitsu instruction.
2 Try to find some mentor to teach you a few principles and techniques. Maybe there is not a multiple time World Bjj Champion with a Gracie Barra school in your city, but there is likely someone with some bjj / MMA experience, a former wrestler or someone who has studied judo before. With some grappling experience it is easier for them to look at video techniques that you want to learn and make suggestions and corrections. Most grapplers are very enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and could be a valuable asset to your training group.
3 GB Online is a GREAT resource for technique information… and it’s FREE to register!
The good news is that even if you live in a small community without a Jiu-Jitsu school or you are a student without the money to pay for a membership at the moment (I’ve seen several young people exchange their time cleaning the mats at a bjj school in exchange for training fees), if you have access to a mobile device and an internet connection, you can access HOURS of technique videos by some of the top Gracie Barra instructors at GB Online.
More than just a list of technique videos (which are countless on social media) you will learn under the Gracie Barra Method – a structured way of learning from the most basic fundamentals up through the colored belts. Start with GB 1 Fundamentals and you will find no better guide for your early efforts in Jiu-Jitsu.
Get started with what you have and begin learning some fundamentals. Then before you know it, an opportunity to learn from a legitimate black belt instructor will open and you will be ready to “hit the ground running”!
Remember… if there is a will, there is a way!
If you are a Gracie Barra student and have a question about anything Jiu-Jitsu related, please send us your question as we love to hear from friends around the GB Network.
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia