Many forms of martial arts, like Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, are considered individual sports – when you compete, it is only you versus your opponent. However, your progress is dependent on the quality of your training partners and your coaches. Therefore, it’s important to understand what it means to be a good training partner and why we must strive to always show our coaches and partners respect and dedication! Here are a few rules to live by to always be a quality training partner.
1. Stay focused
A distracted partner can lead to an unproductive hour of training. Take care to stay focused on drills and minimize casual conversation. Train with enthusiasm and purpose, and always show up to class with a good attitude!
2. Respect your coach
The coaches at the Cellar are some of the best in their sports! They are highly trained in both martial arts and in instructing. Follow your coach’s directions, and never talk while your coach is talking. Also, remember that both you and your partner are here to learn from them. Offer advice when asked, but otherwise keep your mind on your training instead of giving your partner unsolicited pointers.
3. Practice good hygiene
Many martial arts are close contact sports – when you drill or spar, you’ll be in close proximity with your training partners. Take care to maintain good hygiene such as showering daily and after each training session, cleaning your gear after each class, and keeping your fingernails and toenails neatly trimmed. If you’re taking more than one class, change into a fresh shirt before the next one. Wear a clean, dry gi for every BJJ class.
4. Exercise control
The gym is meant to be a safe environment where everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow regardless of their size. It is important to recognize your size, weight, and strength when training with partners. Always show control during drilling and sparring – skill is developed when technique is executed instead of force. Training is a chance to better yourself, not to defeat your partner. Take care of each other!
5. Check your ego
There’s an old saying: “If you are the best person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” Be humble and willing to learn from all of your training partners. Develop a healthy relationship with tapping – a tap is a lesson learned, not a defeat. Appreciate when your partner has gained an advantage, regardless of their size, gender, or experience level. If your partner lands a clean strike, acknowledge it and move on instead of getting upset or escalating your power.
6. Give your partner a “real feel”
Drilling with a partner is essential to improving because it simulates live situations. Much of Muay Thai training is reliant on glove drills and hitting pads, so it’s important to learn how to hold Thai pads and focus mitts correctly. Improper holding can lead to injury for both you and your partner, but learning how to be a great pad holder will strengthen your footwork, timing, and ability to recognize strikes as they’re coming. When your partner is practicing a grappling technique, don’t be a “limp noodle” – give them a small amount of resistance. This allows your partner to get a sense of how to move when they use the technique in sparring, and it also helps you develop your defensive awareness.
Try a class at the Cellar Gym!