The Importance of Training Partners in Martial Arts
These is only so much you can learn and achieve by training solo, no matter how much you visualise it, that heavy bag, wooden dummy, or MMA Bag will never physically hit back.
This is where another practitioner, willing friend or Instructor becomes your most powerful tool in martial arts training.
I should start by saying something that my old instructor in England used to tell me, and those words of advice still have a profound effect on the way that I train and also teach others at Perth Martial Arts Academy, Combat Defence Systems.
“A training partner is the most expensive and precious piece of equipment that you will ever get to use on your martial arts journey, so treat it with respect or eventually you will have nobody who will want to train with you.”
Just like most quotes from the martial arts community, our understanding changes with our current perspective and experience. When I started training, I took this phrase to represent the physical well-being of your training partner. Obviously, training to the point where your partner is left battered and bruised takes its toll and they’re likely to walk away and not train with you again, affecting your development.
As I have continued to study Bruce Lee’s philosophies and the concepts of JKD, my understanding of the phrase has evolved into something more.
Martial Arts Training Partners Are Friends For Life
It’s safe to say that you meet some truly great people practicing martial arts, whatever style, origin or community they are from. Being thrust into a position where you are putting your physical well-being and potentially life in someone else’s hands quickly generates a strong friendship. I personally feel like I know someone a thousand times better after training with them, even if it’s only for an hour. People you train with quickly become great friends. Even when your situations change, your friendship will always be an unwavering one. I have martial arts brothers and sisters from all over the world and all walks of life. We stay in contact and to this day they are some of the greatest people I have ever had the honor of meeting and the privilege of training with. I would happily trust them with my life.
With this connection developed it is easy to sense when someone isn’t feeling themselves, down, lonely, stressed and pretty much every negative emotion that I could ever write down. I only have to free flow some hubud with my current training partner for a few minutes and I can instantly tell his mood even if we haven’t said a word to each other that day so far.
Martial Arts, Training, Partners And Your State Of Mind
It’s well known that your mood effects the quality of your training. If you’re frustrated or angry it effects your movement, mental capacity and willingness, just like training when you’re tired. Therefore, a happy training partner is a better training partner. So, taking it back to the original quote, “A training partner is the most expensive and precious piece of equipment that you will ever get to use on your martial arts journey, so treat it with respect”, also includes the mental well-being of everyone you train with. Asking how someone is feeling and getting it off their chest, even during training, could well be the thing they need to do to feel like themselves again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve felt low and one of my martial arts brothers and sisters have sensed it and help me through it and vice versa (hubud is my personal favourite mind clearing drill). It’s a humbling experience that I believe develops everyone that is a part of it.
To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.” – Bruce Lee
I know that ever since I started training martial arts my training partners have affected how I see the world, how I treat others and how I see myself. So if I can do the same for others it’s a part of my Jeet Kune Do journey that I’m proud to share. It’s something that I try and encourage students at Combat Defence Systems in Perth to embrace and cherish.
Much love and best wishes to everyone I’ve ever trained with and I look forward to meeting people I’m to train with in the future.
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Certified Instructor: James Flain
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