The benefits of having a regular training partner

Photo by: BJJpix

Often I write about things that I am thinking about or experiencing in my day-to-day training regimen.  One realization I’ve recently come to is the importance of having a good training partner.  What makes a good training partner?  How does one select their “main squeeze” when it comes to a training routine?

The following is what I’ve found to apply to my own training patterns. I’m sure others out there have different opinions or experiences!

For starters, your main training partner should be of comparable size and strength.  That is not to say you shouldn’t train with people much bigger/smaller/stronger/weaker than you, but your main training partner should be roughly on par with you.  This allows you to gauge how your techniques will work against people in your tournament divisions.

Another CRUCIAL element to working with a regular training partner is a delicate balance of abandoning the ego while still being able to be roll hard with them.  It is important to me to be able to go for submissions at full speed on my regular training partners knowing they will tap in time.  At the same time it is important to know they will go for their submissions at full speed and will let go immediately when I tap.

The skill of one’s regular training partner should be roughly equal.  If you’re training with someone much better or much worse than you, you either won’t be able to try new things or it will simply be too easy.  It’s a delicate balance and one that is important to ascertain.

Training with this sort of person will be frustrating at times.  Weeks will pass in which they are able to smash you, but then a subtle detail or adjustment to your technique will turn the tables on them.  We need at least one person who is able to truly challenge us while still being beatable.

Drilling with your main training partner is a must.  Because they become so used to how you move and can react to you almost instinctively, you should come up with different, complex chains of moves and see how well you can execute them.  Doing this will inevitably smooth out your technique and help you truly sharpen your arsenal.

It takes all types of training partners to build a solid and skillful competitor, but having one as your “go to” with whom you can mutually benefit is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable training tools a jiujiteiro can have: an individual with whom you can grow and develop strategies.

If you have found this to be true for you, what benefits have you seen from having a person you can count on as your regular training partner?  If not, what have you found to be the drawbacks of this?

Previous articleThat One Bad Training Partner Who Wouldn’t Give You Anything
Next articleThe Perfect Self Defense
Emil Fischer is an active black belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( and teaching at Ararat Martial Arts and FItness Center. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu), Eddy's On Coventry, North Coast Cryo ( NottaRookie, YM ( discount code COOKIES), Defense Soap ( discount code COOKIES) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), and North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear


  1. I think people don’t like training with the same person because they know all their moves and they don’t work as well anymore. I agree with you that it makes you have to make those techniques tighter and develop other techniques or transitions. This in my personal experience makes your game grow in areas it might not otherwise.

  2. I’m fairly new to BJJ so I can’t speak from an experienced position but I think it’s a huge benefit to have a regular training partner. I’ve found that rolling with higher belts has it’s benefits but I’m usually always defensive and usually getting smashed. Granted, that’s how you get to know what submissions feel like so that you can start to predict them but, let’s face it, it’s no fun. Rolling with a partner who is close to the same skill level and size/weight allows more opportunities to go offensive and actually practice the techniques that I’ve learned — something I can’t do when always being defensive with higher belts.

  3. Yes it is true that training with the same person regularly helps to force a person to learn new techniques once the partner is able to defend your current ones. Training with the same person regularly can also prevent you from seeing things you otherwise wouldn’t. Which is why I have 2 or 3 people that I have as my “regular” where as I roll with at least one of them once every practice, otherwise I make it a point to roll with someone different as in competition and the real world you never know what you are going to face and rolling with the regulars too much I feel can make a person feel safe and can cause them to become complacent and unaware of the potential dangers of the unknown.

    In the end, I try to roll with at least one regular, one non regular, one that has a size/strength advantage, and a higher belt (preferably at least 2 belt ranks higher) every session. I have found this to give me a good experience with finding the positions where I am strong and where I am weak and forcing me to learn how to adjust and strengthen myself in all areas.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here