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How To Be A Good Training Partner
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How To Be A Good Training Partner

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not often thought of as a team sport, but in order to improve and train we do have to work with partners; we all are tasked with the important role of supportive teammate!

A good drilling partner can make or break the overall Jiu Jitsu experience, especially when first being introduced to the sport. There are many approaches and considerations to take into account that add up to a great partner, and a few that subtract from your general appeal as a teammate.

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If you are new to Jiu Jitsu and are concerned, take these into account; if you are a Jiu Jitsu veteran read through and make sure you are holding up your end of the bargain! 

Good Training Partner Etiquette: 

  1. Be Friendly! Having a friendly partner is so much more enjoyable than drilling with a Debbie downer. Be approachable and engage with your teammates to the best of your ability. You don’t necessarily have to be a bubbly extrovert, and everyone has their down days, but try to leave your problems off the mat and enjoy yourself!
  2. Use proper resistance Learn to use a sufficient amount of reaction during drills to allow your partner to get the feel for the technique but not have to struggle through it at first. Everyone will experience the floppy partner that is made of rubber, and their polar opposite at some point- don’t be that person! Help your partner get a good grasp of the concept and react in a predictable manner at first, save the counters and defense for rolls. 
  3. Allow time to tap The whole point of incorporating taps into Jiu Jitsu was to give a chance to cede without injury. If you are going full out in drills just to prove you are strong and can carry the move to completion, you are being a bad partner. Go slowly and carefully, especially the first few times a technique is tried so you know your partners general flexibility and joint range of motion. If you go around injuring all of your teammates you won’t have any left! 
  1. Be an Equal No matter what belt rank you are, you are not a more important person on the mat as someone else. Seniority is a deep rooted concept in martial arts, but so is humility. If you are an upper belt, help those that are less experienced learn and improve; if you are new, take the advice of those upper belts without arguing or contention. 

Bad Partner Qualities: 

  1. Training sick If you are ill, don’t come to class to roll and get everyone else sick too. We all understand not wanting to miss class, try coming and observing instead. 
  2. YouTube black belts There are so many fun Jiu Jitsu techniques and skills to learn that it can get overwhelming at times, but try to pay attention to what your professor is teaching in class and perfect those moves rather than go rogue and try a YouTube stunt you saw the other day. 

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  1. Constantly using excuses for a loss Sometimes you will tap and that’s okay! You don’t have to come up with a reason of being tired or sore; tell your partner good job and move on! If you have bad knees and someone is able to submit you because of them, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that they did a good job. 
  2. The sideline coach Unless you are an upper belt that is actually teaching the class, or someone asks for your input/help during a roll or drilling exercise let them figure it out on their own. Having someone yell positions at you from the side of the mat isn’t going to help anyone develop their grappling game or learn to piece together different techniques. Watching rolls is definitely helpful for your own personal growth, but you don’t have to narrate. 

Keep these topics in mind when you are on the mat and simply try to be a partner that you would want to train with. Not only will this benefit you and those directly working with you, but it can also aid to set an example for new students or younger kids that are watching. A good training partner does not only mean being good at the sport, it spills over into human interaction as well, and don’t we all want to have a strong team around us?! 

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