Your Training Partners Are NOT Your Opponents

Jiu-jitsu is effective for so many reasons. One of the main reasons is the “live” aspect. You will have countless sparring, rolling, grappling, and live training sessions take place along your journey to black belt.

To preserve yourself, you must learn how to moderate and control your pace and moderate the intensity levels of training sessions day by day.

It is very easy to turn your training partners into opponents. Sometimes this happens unconsciously.


​You are measuring your abilities and trying to get a reference point for where you are at. On the surface, it seems like it would make sense to measure yourself against the people you train with.

The truth is this will lead to animosity, a desire for your training partners to not progress, and a hindrance on your own progression. You will have many ups and downs. Most of them can be prevented. Most of them involve your own personal evaluation against your teammates. Most of this evaluation is not valid as there are so many factors to look at.

Some of you are saying, “NO, that’s not me”. Well the truth is, if you are rolling and concentrating only on winning or getting the tap…it is you.

Don’t misunderstand me; one of the most important elements of your development is to be able to “tap” and catch submissions with extreme precision.

There is a big difference between that and the constant need to “win” every round with your teammates.

Place an emphasis on development. Focus on improving. Learn to become a more effective trainer partner. One who is safe. One who can shift the way they train as you switch from a partner who is much older, or injured, or a lesser rank.

With this understanding, the people around you will get better and will make you better in return. People will have a desire to train with you. You will improve rapidly because you aren’t focused on the idea of winning. You will be determined to work on your game.

A training partner is someone who is willing to practice against you under a certain rule set. They enter this agreement with the idea that you will both cooperate and train in an effective way that promotes dual benefit.

An opponent is someone you face off against, your skills against theirs, in an effort to decide a victor. Two enter, one leaves. No focus on development; only winning or losing. Don’t become that. Don’t let it happen. Your career will be short lived.

Master training. Master practice. Seek to become the person people want to train with, instead of the person people have to train with.

Treat your teammates as teammates. People working together in cooperation for a common goal. Self mastery and personal fulfillment. Both of those are related to the self, but success with either of those accomplishments is impossible without help and support.

The next time you face off against your practice partner, think about what you are going to work on and improve upon. Let go of the result. The results will be a byproduct of the skills you attain. They are not your opponent. You did not win; you did not lose. You both improved. You both helped each other become better than you were yesterday.


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