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5 Ways to Be a Better Training Partner (Part 2)

Excelling at a martial art isn’t just about how often we win or how quickly we tap our opponent; it’s also about being a good training partner. Partner training is an essential part of martial arts, and our training partners plays a big part in how we learn and perform.

Since our ability to be a good partner impacts the quality of training our partners get, we have some tips to share on how to be the best training partner on the mats. This blog post makes up Part 2 of the blog we published in July, so make sure to check that out for more tips on partner training!

Give your partner’s time to tap

Keeping yourself and your training partner safe during rounds should always be one of your top priorities.

In fact, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep their training partners safe. This includes going for submissions too quickly, especially joint lock submissions; not everyone has the same level of flexibility in their shoulders and pulling a kimura trap too fast or hard can happen in just a few seconds.

If you’re going for a heel hook or ankle hook, give your partner time to react and understand the submission you are doing — especially if they are a lower belt and might not have the knowledge to recognize it yet. If you have a reputation of hurting others while submitting them, you will quickly find yourself in the position of not having any training partners as people will want to avoid training with you.

Listen to your partner

If your partner prefaces your round by saying they have an injury somewhere or are just coming back from an injury, avoid positions that might aggravate it. Don’t be the person who attacks their partner’s knee after they say their knee is sore.

Similarly, if your partner wants to flow roll, respect that and don’t change the pace of the round part way through and start smashing them.

Pay attention to nonverbal cues

Listening also means paying attention to non-verbal cues. If your partner suddenly slows down, pay attention to that.

They might be backing off because they don’t want such an aggressive round. Dial it back and match the new pace they are trying to establish.

[5 Ways To Be a Better Training Partner (Part 1)]

Stick to your word

Just as you should listen to your partner who asks for a flow round, if you ask for a slower-paced round with someone, honor what you said.

Don’t ask for a slow round and then after thirty seconds passes, dial the intensity all the way up and start smashing.

Leave your ego and emotions at the door

Some days you’re the hammer, other days you’re the nail. That’s the nature of training martial arts, and it requires a foundational respect for yourself and your training partners.

If you get tapped, don’t catch an attitude about it; it happens and all you can do is learn from it and improve. Being huffy and a sore loser is disrespectful and will lose you valuable training partners.

On the flipside, if you tap your partner, don’t gloat about it. No one wants to train with the person with the huge ego who rubs their wins in their partner’s face.

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