It’s very common for new grapplers to become discouraged at about the 2 or 3 month mark. In the beginning this person sort of expected to get his ass kicked, but now (after a few months of classes) he is still STILL getting his ass kicked.
His grappling game largely consists of lying there pinned while frantically defending submission attempts.
This style of purely defensive and purely reactionary grappling isn’t very satisfying. This new student is learning all sorts of cool offensive techniques, but never getting to apply any them himself, so why bother training at all?
What this person has forgotten is that all his training partners have been getting better as well. Everybody is improving at the same time, so it can take a long time to close a skill gap between himself and and someone who has been grappling longer.
It is only when newbies show up at the club and the former beginner gets to do some ass kicking of his own that he realizes how much he’s learned. All of a sudden he finds out that he HAS been learning stuff all along, and that he isn’t a complete failure at this grappling stuff after all.
If you are a beginner and find yourself at this two month mark then take heart! Things will improve. If you are in a coaching or mentoring position in your club then keep your eyes open for this phenomenon. In my experience it often occurs after about 2 months of training. Take that person aside and explain what is happening – it will cheer him up and may even stop him from dropping out altogether.
Here’s a video I recently shot which addresses much the same thing. It’s short, so check it out. And possibly pass it along to that beginner you know who is having a really tough time on the mat!