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How can I enhance my role as a BJJ Training Partner?

Answering common questions of new BJJ students.

This was taken from our Coaches Connect series, where local Grand Rapids, MI BJJ coaches answer the most common questions asked by new students. Coach Roy Shaw from Vanguard BJJ offers some guidance on being a great training partner. To see a host of questions answered by Grand Rapids area coaches, check out our social channels.


How To Be A Great BJJ Training Partner

This is an excellent question. To begin, it's crucial to differentiate between BJJ training, competition, and fighting. Training, defined as 'the process of learning the skills you need to do a particular job or activity,' combines seamlessly with the definition of a partner: 'either of two persons who dance together or one of two or more persons who play together in a game against an opposing side.

In essence, a BJJ training partner is an individual actively involved in the collaborative process of acquiring skills for a specific job or activity, mirroring the cooperation seen between two dancers or teammates in a game against an opposing side.

This implies that, in learning a BJJ skill, one should prioritize the other person's interests. This involves considering their safety, and mental state, and offering enough resistance for a realistic scenario without overpowering with strength, emphasizing the use of leverage, balance, timing, and technique.

A quality training partner embodies good hygiene, maintains a positive yet honest demeanor, and possesses confidence without allowing pride or ego to interfere with their interactions.

Effective communication is a key aspect of being a good training partner. Utilizing closed-loop communication ensures clear understanding, and knowing when to provide feedback or maintain silence is equally important.

Ultimately, a good training partner contributes to the improvement of the other person's mind, body, and spirit, extending beyond the realm of Jiu Jitsu.

Essential qualities of a good BJJ training partner include:

  • Safe practice

  • Positive attitude

  • Prioritizing the needs of the training partner

  • Offering sufficient resistance for improvement without promoting poor practices

  • Maintaining good hygiene

  • Effective communication

  • Fostering improvement in both skill and character

  • Absence of ego issues

  • Providing accurate feedback

  • Awareness of personal limitations.

Contrary to common belief, expert knowledge of every skill is not a prerequisite. World champions like Roger Gracie and Marcelo Garcia have emphasized the benefits of training with individuals less proficient for significant improvements.

Want to learn more from Coach Roy? Check out Vanguard BJJ to train with coach Roy live, or visit his online academy at Better World BJJ Academy.

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