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Are You a Good Training Partner?

Are You a Good Training Partner?


Do Not Be A BJJ "Karen"

What kind of training partner are you? I think many people underestimate the value of being a good training partner. BJJ can’t be learned alone. It requires another focused mind and cooperative body for you to retain and progress, and It’s important that you take being the uke just as seriously as the player who’s performing the technique during drilling.

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It’s important to learn and understand the value of being a good training partner very early on in your training. It will expedite your progress, and the progress of your teammates. If any of the things below sound like you, give some thought to adjusting the way you approach being a partner.

  1. Resisting. When you’re drilling. Make it a perfect world scenario. Your partner should be able to go through the motions of the technique with a cooperative body. If you make it difficult for them to do so, it can be really detrimental to their progression. Of course, there are a million variables in any BJJ technique, but were not looking to cover all those in the 5-15 minutes you’ll be performing the repetitions. You need to help your partner complete the move as it was instructed. Save the resistance for positional sparring and live training.
  2. Too rough. I sometimes see and have to address aggressive drilling. Don’t beat your partner up during drilling. No one wants to spend an hour being jerked around, crushed, grinded, and clumsily abused. When you drill focus on perfect smooth movement, and sound mechanics. Pay attention to details and subtleties of the techniques and try to recreate them. If you build a reputation as someone who gives people black eyes during drilling, you will soon find yourself in a ghost town when Professor says to “pair up”.
  3. Coaching your partner during drilling. There’s a line between being helpful and full on coaching. Especially when you’re a very low rank. If you have limited experience, ask the head instructor of the class to answer any questions that arise when drilling. Don’t take it upon yourself to make guesses about what your partner is supposed to be doing. Leave the instructing to the instructors.
  4. Stay on task. Don’t derail your partners drilling session with a move you saw on YouTube that might connect to what you’re doing currently. You’re stealing your partners repetitions. Save the experiments for open mat or after class time. Also, most people on the mat are there to escape the troubles and challenges of daily life. Don’t use drilling time to vent about your troubles, and drama to your drilling partner. We all have our own problems to deal with, don’t dump yours on someone who is there to learn.  Stick to BJJ.
  5. Keep it clean. If you come to class with poor hygiene (long nails, dirty hands, foul smelling gi) you are conveying to your training partners that you do not respect them. Simple as that. Think of what that does to others perception of you if you consistently fail to respect them.

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Being a good training partner is good for your team mates, it’s good for your academy, and it’s good for you. Be the one that everyone wants to partner with and you’ll help create a great culture where everyone understands the benefits of being a good training partner!

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