Be the Best Training Partner on the Mat

Some of the best BJJ training you’re going to get will be from your own teammates. But that’s only if you are a great training partner.

When you’re a great training partner, you make it about the other person’s BJJ training and making them better. And if you think of ways to make the people around you better, then you will be better by default. This is true in BJJ, in business, and in life.

You become more vigilant on the mat. You learn how to pay close attention to see someone else’s mistakes as well as your own. You pay close attention to the interactions on the mat, the reactions and responses between two people, and the holes in your game. Ultimately that’s going to make you better at those things.

Over time people will recognize you as a good training partner, and they’ll want to roll more with you. They’ll seek you out when they’re working on a new skill or training for a tournament. They’ll spend a few minutes with you after class, and they’ll work on things that you maybe wouldn’t think to work on yourself. You’ll get better faster and all because you invested in someone else’s growth and improvement.

So how do you do that? Determine what’s mutually beneficial for you and your partner, and set that intention for the training session.

If you’re rolling with somebody who is half your size, you may not want to fight on top and stay on top. Being crushed won’t be the best experience for the other person. And at the end of the day, smashing someone who is smaller than is probably not going to expand your game.

In that situation you may decide it’s beneficial to work on your own escapes and survival skills, because you can safely and comfortably practice that with someone smaller than you. As for the other person, they may not find themselves in many situations where they can practice with someone twice as large and twice as strong as them. So it’s going to benefit their BJJ training as well, because if they’re able to hold you down, the only way they’re going to do it is with good technique.

If you’re going with somebody who’s higher ranked or getting ready for a competition, that’s an opportunity where you might be able to test yourself and ramp it up a little bit and give them a little bit more game.

What it comes down to is having intention in practice. Decide that you’re not going to waste the hour flopping around. Choose how you’re going to sharpen your survival skills, guard passing, or escapes. Be present in training, so you can make it a good use of your time.

If you’ve decided to do BJJ during this time, then make the absolute best use of your time. Be the very best that you can be at BJJ during that hour for your partner and for yourself.