Having a training partner is a vital part of BJJ it is the best way to drill technique. It also gets you used to moving another body, as well as feeling what it is like to have this weight on top of you. But what makes a good training partner in BJJ?
I have done a previous post here about how partners should protect each other in sparring. The other side of this is in the technical side of a class. Working together to figure out the technique you have just been shown by your coach, is an important part of any class. As this is how to build you toolbox of techniques.
Firstly working with your partner to figure out the application of the technique is important. Going through any new technique to begin with, is a step by step process. Sometimes you will help your partner work through these steps. If they or you forget something or get stuck there is no harm in a little reminder.
The follow on is don’t be afraid to to be the one to call your coach over for help. If you do get stuck and neither of you can remember what you should do, don’t be afraid to ask. Any coach will be happy to make sure you understand what they are teaching you. You are better being the one that asks instead of giving up on a technique.
When you’re drilling provide some feedback to your partner about how it feels. If they are meant to be putting pressure through you as part of the technique, then let them know if they are doing this or if it feels light. Feedback is a really important part of being a good partner.
One thing to remember, don’t start applying resistance unless asked. Learning a new technique for the first time requires you to work through the steps. Whether this is checking out how it feels or getting your hooks and grips in the right places. At a John Will seminar I attended, he said that the first 20 times you drill a techniques is what sets it in your mind. So applying some “real life” resistance after half a dozen goes, can affect how your partner retains the technique. Unless asked otherwise only give them the pressure or resistance they need to do the technique.
Giving them the pressure or resistance they need to do the technique is also important. Don’t be a wet lettuce give them something to work with. This kinda goes with the previous one. Some techniques require a 30% etc resistance to actually work. Or they could need you moving, so give this to you partner when drilling.
Finally, when they are taking their turn with the drill, this is not an opportunity for you to see how you could escape it. Instead consider this in your mind and discuss it with your partner after they have had a go. Once again this goes back to setting the technique in your mind at the start.
Being a good partner does work both ways and it is important you do it right. That way you both learn and your jiu jitsu improves.