After nearly five years of training, I'm here to tell you that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a pyramid scheme, and here's why:
Table of Contents
Reason #1: Only 1% of people who join become black belts
The statistics are clear.
Only one out of 10 new white belts who will become a blue belt and only 1 out of 10 new blue belts will continue all the way to become a black belt.
This means that only 1 black belt will be produced out of every 100 new white belts.
On average, it takes between 10 to 15 years for someone to become a black belt. There are cases in which a practitioner can become a black belt in less than five years but this is a rarity.
The statistics above are very similar to those of pyramid scheme companies. If you observe, the success rate for new reps to achieve the top rank in these kinds of companies also stands at around 1%.
Reason #2: Members constantly annoy their family and friends to “give it a try”
Anyone who has been training and shown dedication to BJJ for at least a month will have the tendency to trying to promote relatives and friends to join in.
And if you have been training consistently for one year or have recorded your first legitimate submission on a higher belt, you can turn any discussions or chats into a BJJ topic.
Your family and friends will begin to get annoyed with your constant talk about how you can strangle people or break their bones in 17 different ways using technique and leverage.
Soon, you will find that your social life only revolve around your BJJ brothers and sisters, who understand you and will give you positive vibes to support your weird obsessions with chokes and breaking legs.
Reason #3: 99% of members are not making money
Just like in other pyramid scheme companies, almost all members or participants of a BJJ gym are losing money.
We constantly buy new gis and new rashguards in accordance to the sponsorship of our BJJ heroes in their competitions.
We also eagerly wait for new instructional DVDs from John Danaher and world champions in order to improve our game.
And we are not hesitant to spend big money on seminars by world champions, which usually teach us stuffs that we already learn from our own Professor.
Reason #4: 9 out of 10 new members quit after 6 months
Like in pyramid scheme companies, the retention rate in BJJ is very low.
We all know by now that only 1 out of 10 new BJJ white belts will graduate into the second lowest rank of blue belt. The nine people who do not make it usually cancel their membership within 6 months.
The type of BJJ training that requires new students to learn complex technique, sequence and movement along with the fact that the sparing sessions are literally simulated murders can become too daunting for most people to continue with their journey.
Reason #5: BJJ students constantly boast their promotions on social media
If you have friends who are involved in pyramid scheme companies, you know how they love to show off their "daily passive income" or "rank promotion" on their social media accounts.
BJJ students are no different. We never forget to post whenever we get a new stripe or a new colored belt promotions.
Just take a look at my Instagram account, for example. I even have a special story highlight section in there on my journey from white belt to blue belt.
At the same time, we naturally always remind other people about how humble we are and some other motivational words about continuing the journey in our posts.
Reason #6: 99.9% of BJJ teams’ logos are in the shape of a pyramid
If you take a look at the top teams' logos, they all feature some sort of a pyramid shape. Don't believe me? Take a look at the logos of the top three most well known BJJ schools below:
And we all know how important is the "triangle" (cough...pyramid....cough) shape in almost every technique.
Reason #7: BJJ biggest event is held regularly at a pyramid-shaped building
The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) will hold its 2022 World Championship at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California from June 1 to June 5.
The pyramid-shaped building has hosted the world championship for several years except in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If this does not convince you that BJJ is a pyramid scheme, I don't know what else will.
To wrap it up....
Obviously this post is meant to be a joke. While BJJ might seems like a pyramid scheme, it is actually about dedication, passion and enthusiasm.
We are a bunch of weirdos trying to kill each other on a daily basis and yet we love what we do thus probably most people will not understand us or BJJ itself.
The further up you go in BJJ rank, the fewer people there are. There are only so many black belts in the world and each one of them has put in an insane amount of work to get there.
That’s why it’s so important to never give up on your training, no matter how hard things seem at times.