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Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I had a conversation today with a student who runs one of the team's affiliate clubs. He told me that they are struggling to get big numbers in classes and thought that the location could be the problem as they are not situated in the middle of the town. Lots of people tell him they would come training but it's difficult for them to travel to the club.

The truth is that it's not a great distance at all, and it's not the travel which is the problem at all. The people who say that are simply too lazy or scared to actually go training. If it's not travel used as an excuse it's time, cost, or fitness, or something else. Very rarely as those things actual problems which prevent people training; I have students who regularly travel an hour each way, people say they don't have time to train yet they watch hours of TV each night, they spend more in one night out than monthly unlimited training would cost them etc...

People's reasons for saying these things must vary and I find it really tricky to understand the mindset at all. I guess for some they are trying to save face a bit; they want people to think they want to do, but they know they really don't have any interest for whatever reason. They probably think those who do train would think less of them for some reason, but the truth is nobody cares. I've come across some people in my time who want to pretend to be a part of the club without training, which I find really strange. They might do one class but often never train at all, then they message constantly saying why they couldn't turn up for training last night and updating you on when they will be there... repeating that cycle over and over. If anyone can tell me what's going on with these people, please do!

A good bet for why a lot of people make excuses is the ego issue again. They convince themselves they could do it, they probably even convince themselves they'd be really good at it, but they do everything they can to avoid actually getting involved and letting their fantasy world get destroyed. Some of these people probably even believe their own excuses are true. The same thing goes for people who are just lazy, they pretend they're not by making up excuses for themselves. They couldn't go training because it's too far to drive, yet they can sit at home doing nothing all night no problem.

These excuses aren't always from people who never start training but also from people who quit. This is something I find even stranger, because they used to train and not have those issues but all of a sudden they can't train any more? Ok, sometimes people do have a change to their life (job, kids etc) but nearly always they could still train even if it was less regularly. Again, these people are using excuses to lie to themselves so they can feel better.

But there is also another source of excuses from people who train, and that's competition losses. Every competition leads to someone saying "I lost because...".  Sometimes these things are self-critical and that's fine, but often it's some sort of attempt to somehow lessen the impact of the loss. This is something worth staying well away from. Yes, you can get screwed by a referee, you might have not slept the night before, you may have felt a bit sick... but if you lose you lose. The best thing to do is to accept it, learn from any mistakes you made or techniques which beat you and move on. Go back to training and work on the problems. Learning to accept loss is an important part of competing because it allows you to do those things... telling everyone the excuses for your loss will prevent that happening.

Now, none of this means there can't be legit reasons for things. Sometimes you really can't make training because you had to do something else, or you were ill... whatever, but if you've been too lazy to go training for a month don't say "I just haven't had any time", be honest, say you were being lazy and then do something about it.

This all applies to any other part of life; excuses are something to avoid. At best they are worthless, but they cause problems themselves; they will prevent you learning from mistakes because you will just be happy to make excuses again the next time something happens.

What are you doing tomorrow? I've got a day off teaching jiu-jitsu so I'll be in training!


  1. Good post but location is deffo a factor, which in turn is then directly linked to cost and time. The basic maketing mix involves consideration of the 4P's - Product, Place, Price and Promotion, i.e. offering the right product in the right place at the right price with the right promotion. Failure to consider or ignorance of any one of these factors will have an impact on any business / service. You will always get a few people who are willing to travel an hour each way to do someting they really enjoy or even love, but if you want to appeal to a mass market (or even to a particular target market or demographic), location is extremely important. It costs an average of around £1.50 to travel 5 miles in a car, so that's an extra £3 on top of the actual cost of a BJJ lesson (assuming you need to travel 5 miles each way). Obviously, the time it takes to travel to a gym location is also a valid consideration for many, many people. If 'lots' of people are telling your affiliate club it is difficult for them to travel to the club then it's deffo something to think about.

  2. I have had people ask me to do classes where they live... 10 min drive away from the main club. I know they would do 2 classes max if I did teach near them, then I'd never see them again.

    The affiliate in question organised a taxi at a special rate of £1 per person. After 2 weeks nobody was using it and came up with different excuses.

    If people want to train they will, if they don't want to they will make up excuses.

  3. I'm lazy but I only live like 20 minutes walk away from my club and I go all most every day so if it was like 5 miles away I wouldn't go as much but like I said I am lazy.