4 Ways to Become a Better Training Partner
By: Evelyn Pearcy, Krav Maga Instructor
Imagine coming into your favorite Monday night Level 1 Krav Maga class, ready to crush it, get a great workout in, and start your week off right. Sounds awesome, yes? You finish a killer warmup and you jump right into straight punches, ready to go ham on the pad. You immediately notice something off with your partner. They’re quiet, distant, and unengaged. You keep trekking on and powering through the class, but you wish that this person would meet you with the same energy. Not how you were hoping to start the week, huh?
As much as your progress and skill development in Krav is something that you need to take personal ownership of, having a great partner can make a huge difference in how you feel during a class. Being a good training partner is just as important as prioritizing your own development. So, below are some general tips to follow in order to be the best training partner you can be:
1. Give the energy that you want to receive.
If you want a partner that cheers you on and encourages you when you’re feeling exhausted or tired, then you need to put that out, too.
2. Train. Don’t teach.
I know it can be tempting to correct your partner’s technique while they’re training, but don’t do it. Unless you’re a certified KMW instructor or the person is doing something that is dangerous or could cause injury, your only feedback should be: “Keep fighting!”, “stay strong!”, “you’ve got this!”, or any other iteration of positive encouragement.
3. Take ownership of safety concerns.
If you’re playing shoulder tag and your partner is about to back right into another group, take control of the situation and move them to avoid injury. If your partner is talking while an instructor is giving directions, tell them to stop, so you don’t miss any important safety instructions. Take ownership of certain situations in order to ensure the safety of both you and your partner.
4. Be a realistic attacker.
It’s important to attack your partner in a manner that forces them to do a given defense correctly. If they can defend without properly doing the technique, then you are doing them a disservice by giving them a false sense of security in the technique. Now, this doesn’t mean attack in a manner that is overly-aggressive or unsafe. It means having a conversation with a partner and attacking in a manner that is productive and safe for both of you. By being a good attacker, you’re making your partner safer.