“How to be a Great Training Partner”

Anyone who is really serious and wants to become good at Jiu Jitsu needs to find great training partners to help them achieve their goals. Now being a great training partner isn’t about being a champion at the sport or a high level athlete… A lot of the best training partners are people who are passionate about the art and just love Jiu Jitsu (like we do at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom). I can’t stress enough just how important it is for everyone to do their absolute best to become a great training partner! One of the fastest ways to get really good quick is to become a great training partner regardless of your belt level or training experience. If you are able to do this, quite often you will find that higher belt levels and more experienced people will seek you out to train and practise with which will obviously benefit you both tremendously!

For me I think the key to being a great training partner is to do your absolute best to help your partner learn and understand the techniques that you are practising. It does you or your training partner no good to resist and to try to stop their movement when they are first learning a technique and going through the basic motions. When first learning a technique it is important to try and get a kinesthetic feel for the way your body is supposed to move and how to correctly execute the technique!

After you have a basic understanding of the technique then by all means start to SLOWY offer and increase the resistance as your partner is executing the technique so they get a feel for what it is like to do the technique against a resisting opponent. Offer feedback, if you notice any distinct variation from the unresisted technique inform them of it. If you felt that they could tweak certain parts of the technique consult with the instructor and ask whether they agree with either you or your training partner? It may just be that you or both of you just need to develop a deeper understanding of the technique. As your partner is able to continue to effectively execute the technique against resistance, slowly increase the resistance and make it more challenging for them to complete the movement so they understand on a deeper level how the technique works and what are the keys to successfully executing it, that way they will be able to use it more effectively while rolling! Ideally you want to develop your technique to a level where you can execute it against an opponent resisting 100% granted that may just be in rolling against similar level and higher level training partners and not just in isolated drilling!

Blitz Magazine (March Issue 2012)

Aside from that there are lots of other things that you can do to be a great training partner. You can come in early or stay back late and offer to drill techniques with people. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a class to get the reps in of a technique learnt or one that needs sharpening and the higher level guys are always looking for training partners who are willing to do more and practise with them. This type of additional training benefits both of you!

Part of being a great training partner is learning how to train. And a big part of that is developing your concentration, learning to how relax during rolling, when and where to increase/decrease intensity, understanding the timing of techniques and developing your weaknesses just as much as sharpening your strengths. To do this you must be willing to open up your game in the gym, put yourself in bad positions, figure out how to defend and escape using the minimum amount of strength and power. Try to develop other areas of your game that aren’t necessarily you’re “A Game”. Figure out how and why your opponents are countering your techniques and what you can to do counter their counters! There are times when you want to roll hard and that is fine but for the most part try and remember that when you are in the gym that you are there to learn and you don’t learn much when you treat every roll as if it were the finals of the Mundials or ADCC! Develop the ability to flow with your techniques, let your opponent escape your positions and submissions sometimes so that you can see how they move and develop more attacks in your arsenal to combat these escapes and movements! And if you really feel like rolling hard please make sure to choose training partners who are happy to accommodate you and don’t just try to decimate whoever you are partnered up with just because you can!

Here is another tip that won’t necessarily be popular to read but is imperative none the less and that is BE CLEAN! Jiu Jitsu is a contact art that requires you to get up close and personal with your training partners. And NOONE like training with people who have poor personal hygiene! Make sure you are clean when you attend class, wash your training gear daily, ensure that your finger and toe nails are clipped short before every practise. Tie your hair up if you need to, use deodorant or at least ensure you don’t smell unpleasant!

Liam Resnekov, Gazzy Parman, Felipe Grez & Luke Picklum at Jiu Jitsu Kngdom!

One final tip that will help you become a great training partner is to become a “Student of the Game” (this will be the topic of a future post as well). Develop an unquenchable thirst for knowledge! Pay attention, take notes, study and practise what you learn in class. Watch the classic matches as well as the top competitors of today train and compete. Read books/magazines on Jiu Jitsu, study instructional DVDs, watch YouTube clips and learn as much as you can. Attend seminars, take a private class every now and then when you can afford it! Strive to learn as much about the art as you possibly can and you will get good fast. This is something I definitely encourage all my students to do at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom!


Good Luck with Your Training and Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom



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