When I originally set out to write this article I hit a road block pretty quickly as my opinion on this matter basically boils down to two points: listen to your coach and don’t be a douche bag. Not really being able to stretch this out beyond a paragraph I decided some delegation was in order and invited Sarah to do a guest post.

How to be a good training partner

Guest Post By Sarah Langford

Jiu-jitsu is a competitive activity. Whether you are training for fitness, competition or self defense, the goal is to win. However, the learning of jiu-jitsu is, by necessity, cooperative. It isn’t possible to observe, drill and master postures, pressures and positions without a willing partner. So what should you expect from a training partner and, more importantly, what can you do to be a good training partner?

Listen to your coach.

Paying attention during instruction, particularly to the “now go do this” part, will give you and your partner maximum drilling time. Not knowing the number of reps, the mix of moves or the level of resistance required during drilling wastes time. Editors Note/Rant: Seriously. It really gets on my nerves when I say “Are there any questions? Does anyone need me to go over that again?”, have everyone reply that they’re good to go and then look around and hear someone asking their partner “So…What are we meant to be doing?”

Listen to your partner.

If your drilling partner is struggling with a concept or not able to correctly perform a move under drilling conditions, the problem might be you. Ask if there’s too much resistance (the first time you drill a move there should be none), ask if they need a break or further explanation. Listen to them and adjust your behaviour accordingly.

Talk to your partner.

If you’re the one who’s struggling, let your partner know. If you can’t do the move because it’s new and they’re blocking you, tell them. If it’s a one minute round and your partner is trying to go one-for-one, repeat the coach’s instruction. Similarly, if your partner keeps making the same mistake over and over, point it out. If they’re not getting it, call the coach over for back up.

Don’t faff.

I am guilty of this one. When I’m tired or sore I have been known to chat or joke with my partner rather than getting on with the drill. This isn’t good for my jits and it won’t be good for yours either. When it’s time to drill, drill. You can do a social catch up during warm down stretching.

Let the higher ranked student go first.

This is a rule at Elements and it’s a good one. Having the more experienced jiu-jitska do the move first avoids time wasting in two ways. Firstly, a higher ranking student is more likely to be confident and able to get on with it, particularly if it’s a move with which they are familiar. Secondly, a less experienced student can benefit from being able to observe a move a few extra times before trying it themselves.

Be technical.

This goes for both drilling and rolling. As a woman, my negative experiences with training partners have fallen into two categories: the gentleman and the bully. The gentleman has little experience training with women. He is nervous about being bigger and stronger and also about accidentally touching “bits”. As a result he disengages and doesn’t do anything properly, destroying learning opportunities for both himself and his training partner. The bully is often new to jiu-jitsu. He doesn’t want to ‘lose’ to a woman, even in a drill. He will use all his strength and weight to prevent this happening. Guys, to be a good training partner, just be technical. Do the moves right, adjusting your use of strength and weight to be a appropriate for your partner.

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