How to be a Good Training Partner

There are many things to be conscientious of when trying to be a good training partner. For instance, washing your gi! No one wants to be paired with that guy or gal who has the stinky gi. So, make sure you wash it AT LEAST once a week and if you only have 1 gi and train multiple times a week, hit it with some Febreze before class. Reminder: Wash your gis cold and hang dry. DO NOT BLEACH. If you are looking for something to take stains out, try OxyClean or Tide Sport. Gain detergent helps with smell.

A few other housekeeping tips:
Don’t come to class sick. (Enough said.)
Trim your talons (nails). (Enough said.)
Remove make up before rolling! Sweat and make up doesn’t mix for a healthy clear face, and no one wants makeup stains on their gis!
Wear appropriate training gear. Appropriate fitting compression shorts, opaque (not see through) spats/yoga pants/leggings, steer clear of low cut rashguards to prevent wardrobe malfunctions.
Wash your training gear.
Cover cuts and any open wounds.

Another tip for being a good training partner is to give the right resistance when drilling. Of course, this can be difficult when you first start out, but understand when drilling you want to give a little resistance so you are not falling over or having arms like a limp noodle. You also want to make sure you are not giving too much resistance where they can’t get through the technique. They need to be able to go through the movements of the technique.  A couple of concepts you can remember when going through techniques, is generally, you don’t want to end up flat on your stomach (keep your knees underneath you), you want to use your hands as posts, and you want to keep your knees up and elbows in (frame) if you are on your back.

Pay attention to the techniques being shown and how both people are moving. Not only for you, BUT also for your partner. If you are not paying attention to how you should also react in the drill, this will waste your partner’s drill time.  Jiu Jitsu is a lot about counter movements and reacting based off your opponent’s movement, so it’s important to understand both sides.  Also, communicate with your partner, too. Are you feeling pressure where you should be? Let them know. Did they nail the technique right? Let them know and encourage them.

One of the most important responsibilities to being a good, conscientious training partner, is being a good rolling partner. No one wants to roll with the spaz, the hulk, or the ego. If you are rolling with a smaller person, remember, dropping all your weight could potentially injure them. It takes time to understand your body movements, but if you keep this at the forefront of your mind, it will help also help reduce injuries for yourself and your partner. Tap early and tap often. If you are caught in an armbar, and it is clearly extended, don’t fight the pain or pressure, tap and reset. It is better to learn from it than be out for 4 to 6 weeks. If you are in a dominant position, you should also be attacking, not pinning that person down for 5 minutes; neither you or your partner are really progressing. I believe Saulo explained it best:

You may ask, “how can a brown belt take advantage of training with a white belt?” The brown belt benefits by fine-tuning his timing and sharpening his submissions. How can a white belt progress? By feeling how a good student can put him in danger and then working the escape. That’s the only way for him to train escapes as a white belt. Just be careful to remember that when practicing escapes, the top person cannot frustrate his opponent by holding him/her. The top person should always attack so that both students can progress.”-Saulo Ribeiro, Jiu Jitsu University

Jiu Jitsu is an individual sport, but you need training partners to make you better. So be a good training partner!

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