How To Be A Good Training Partner

We’ve been getting a lot of reader questions lately. Jiu Jitsu Times is, first and foremost an opportunity for those of us who have picked up a bit of experience and know how to write to help spread information. Recently we got a question from one of our readers about how to become a good training partner.

For starters: communication is crucial. Ask your training partner how much resistance if any they want, offer them feedback about how moves feel. Be open about things you want them to do to help you get better. Communication is perhaps the most important aspect of the training partner relationship.

Respect your training partners. This goes in a few directions. For starters, respect their submissions when live rolling, and give them time to tap. No one who cares about being a good training partner wants to hurt their training partners, it’s just not how this works. Tap early, tap often. If you get a good submission, do your best to secure it without cranking it, this will improve your control while giving your training partner time to try to work out of it.

Don’t be selfish. I’ve seen people who insist on getting in as many reps as they can and don’t think about the other person. Choose a set number of reps for each person to get in and stick with that. I like to go 1-1 that way we both get an equal number of reps in.

Choose wisely. I for example am a bit of a goofball when I train, I like to joke around. For this reason I don’t pick the most serious guy in the room to train with. I also generally don’t pick the biggest or smallest person in the room but rather I pick the person who is closest to my size as they will be the body type I am most likely to have to go against in a tournament and I will likely be the body type they are most likely to have to go against. When it comes to drilling familiarity is very useful. The better you know someone the more valuable you can be to them as a training partner.

Learn to resist techniques without stopping the other person from doing the technique. For example: in order for a scissor sweep to be done correctly, one must do a bunch of things right. For this reason if I just go over without trying to keep my base when we are drilling scissor sweeps I am doing my partner a disservice. Of course when they do everything correctly I don’t resist, but I don’t allow them to ragdoll me. Many techniques rely on the other person behaving as they would in a live rolling session, in order to be a good training partner one must learn how to recognize those moments and give active physical feedback.

Being a good training partner will, on the long run, improve your jiu jitsu. You will find that people are more eager to help you improve if you help them improve. What methods do you use to be a better training partner? Is there anything you wish more training partners would do for you?

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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. You know, it’s funny because these tips will help you almost every relationship you have outside of jits as well. Communicate, give respect, don’t be selfish, choose wisely and learn appropriate resistance(which one could alter slightly into learning when to say no and have boundaries). Jiu Jitsu really is training for life in general. Great article!


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