So we got a lot of feedback already from our first article on getting the most out of each and every class. So far everyone likes the idea of a series of articles around this topic so please keep the feedback coming.  The easiest way is to just send us a message on but feel free to get in touch with us anyway that works for you.

Today we are going to talk about how you should pick your training partners during class.  You might not realize it but how you pick your training partners in class can have an impact on your results or progress especially over a long time frame.  Now ideally everyone would like to work with the instructor, or a high ranking student or someone who is really good at the move, technique or position that is being taught in class.  And if you have the chance to pair off with someone like that during a class it is normally the best option.  When you don’t have that option here are some other ‘strategies’ or ideas we would like you to think about when picking someone to work with.

Pick The Newest Student

Might sound strange that right after I said that most likely your best partner is the most experienced person in the room that I suggest picking the newest student.  Well let me give you a few reasons why picking the new student is a great idea. First working with a new student forces you to focus on the most basic and fundamental aspects of the lesson.  This is huge because if you really want to perfect the lesson the key is mastering those basic elements. Second you will most likely have to play the role of a teacher at least a little bit.  Now we dont want you taking over class or having to teach all class and not get your reps in but most likely you will be able to help the new student through the move and give some good pointers.  This is a skill that everyone needs to develop as they progress in their martial arts career. Another great reason to work with the new student is that you will get a new look at the move.  Most advanced people are going to be doing the move the same way or at least in a very similar manner.  When you work with a new student you will most likely see some things that you have not seen in a while.  Some will obviously be mistakes that you dont want to replicate but other movements, ideas or questions should get you thinking.  It is not uncommon for a new student to do something unexpected that will spark some creative thoughts on your part. Who knows the beginner might be able to teach you something or at least give you something else to try.

Pick the BIGGEST person in the room… Pick the SMALLEST person in the room

It is very common for people to just pair off with someone around their size / weight. Especially as beginners we usually pick someone near our size because it does make learning most of the moves a bit easier but as we progress working with people that are  much bigger or much smaller will help us progress at a much faster pace versus always working with someone our size.  We will have to work a bit more on things like angles, timing, momentum, strength and speed.  You might realize that you can not really do a move on a big student like you did a small one or vice versa.  You also might realize that a move you thought would never work on a big guy can be done with just a slight modification and often that same modification will make the move more effective against anyone.

Pick someone who is really tired

Okay I am suggesting this but it is not so you can go out there fresh as a daisy and have some fun running circles around someone who is tired.  Going with someone who is very tired will give you a chance to slow your game down and focus on technique.  This will help you get a better understanding of what is actually going on. It is a good idea to make sure that you get some time practicing, drilling and rolling at a slower pace and training with someone who is real tired is a great way to make that happen.

Pick someone fresh as a daisy when you are real tired

Just to piggyback off of the previous tip working with some who is not tired when you are real tired is a great way to improve your game.  You will be in some situations that normally do not happen when both partners are fresh.  You might need to focus on defense a bit more.  You will need to focus on your technique more and your strength and speed less when training with someone when you are really tired.

Pick someone you have never worked with before

If there is someone in class and you have never worked with before then try to make sure you work with them.  Simple.

I hope this gets you thinking about picking training partners and more importantly I hope it gets you thinking about how you can get the most out of your training.  Again if there are any questions please let us know.