What Makes an Excellent Martial Arts Training Partner?
By Derek Dicso Radius Martial Arts Student and Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt
Anyone who has been training Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, or any other martial art for more than a couple weeks will know that not all training partners are created equal. In time, one will inevitably come to find training partners they enjoy training with the most. However, a great training partner can excel your growth and maximize the results of your training by challenging you, giving you honest feedback, and being trustworthy enough where you can safely experiment with new techniques. Before going into specifics, it is best to outline some potentially obvious things. For example, you as an individual have more to do with the outcome of your training than any training partner. You need to be honest with yourself and have a clear objective in mind before training. If you are not present mentally and focused on what you hope to accomplish you will almost always fall short and be disappointed. In addition, it is said that disappointment is the result of unmet expectations. Assuming that is the case, be clear with your training partner about what you are trying to accomplish so that neither of you feels like you wasted your time at class.
First off, an ideal training partner will challenge you (and can do this in several ways), but a truly “tuned in” training partner will be able to push you when you feel tired but will be able to do so while maintaining the integrity of the technique while maintaining your physical output with realistic intensity. Everyone has the voice in their head which tries to comfort and reassure that you have done enough, even if you know that you can and should do more. It can be a struggle to ignore that voice on your own, so having someone else be that louder and more encouraging voice is a fantastic benefit. A training partner can also push you by setting the tempo of your drilling and encouraging you to achieve as many repetitions as possible while simultaneously ensuring that your technique in on point. Additionally, as part of the training, a partner should be giving you a moderate level of resistance and also counters to the technique so you learn how the technique will work in a live scenario.