Something I address frequently at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Van Nuys, is the value of having a good training partner. They can be very influential in your Jiu Jitsu career. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we need a good reminder. A good training partner, just like a coach, can be somebody that will help you to becoming a better practitioner. Brent Littel has been one of my best training partners/mentors over the years. He has helped me get to where I am as a player ,and as a coach. He’s kept me accountable when I was slacking. Without people like him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You and your partner form a sort of think tank, where you can bounce ideas off of each other. You can form solutions as a team that you may not have thought about on your own. For the most part, our sport requires you do most of the movements on, or with another person. I’m a big fan of solo drilling, bridging, rolling and shrimping without a partner, but the majority of stuff is more fun, and more effective with another human being.
What I myself look for in a good partner is first and foremost, trust. I’m putting my safety in this person’s hands, I sure as hell don’t want to get hurt by a careless/crazy/ego driven person. I need to feel comfortable with them to be able to focus on my technique, and not be afraid he’s going to snap my arm. If I’m practicing a move, and I’m worrying more about that person spazzing out on me, my technique is going to suffer. If I don’t trust somebody, I don’t want to train with them. Will I? probably, I’ll make the best out of the situation, but I’ll be very careful as to what I let happen.
I’m careful in who I choose to roll with as well. I’m very concerned with injury. If I feel my partner will try to spike me with a power bomb while trying to get out of a triangle, I won’t roll with him. If I feel a partner will potentially put his knee on my orbital to escape a kimura, I wont roll with him. If everybody has this mentality, it should hopefully force the bad apple to either change, get kicked out or quit. Either way that’s a win for the team. Contrary to popular thought, you’re not a “wuss” if you choose to not roll with a certain partner, to avoid getting hurt. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to get injuries here and there, but if it’s avoidable, I’d rather pass on training with a jerk today, than not roll tomorrow. I’m getting to be an old guy, I’m a product of the 70′s, I’d rather train smart, than be a tough guy and sit on the sidelines icing my wounds.
Part 2 coming tomorrow, stay tuned!
Coach Alder Hampel