Grapplers Graveyard

How to be a Good BJJ Training Partner

good training partner

Table of Contents


Being a great training partner that people want to roll with is a huge component in both your success and your  partner’s success in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

If your goal is to progress and move up the ranks all the way up to the black belt, it’s in your best interest to adhere to these tips to make sure you are steadily improving and not running into roadblocks.

First, let’s talk about what could happen if you are not a good Jiu-Jitsu sparring  partner:

    • No rolls = no live practice = you don’t get any better

    • People inside the gym will find out from other people if you are no fun to roll with

    • May result in you getting kicked out of the gym if it is severe enough

You will only be as good as the people you decide to train with. Being a good training partner does not mean you let your opponent win, it means you train hard without trying to rip someone’s head off.

It is always important to note when you start training with someone new that you are taking on a risk. You do not know how someone rolls or how aggressive they can get. If something feels off, have zero hesitation when saying no.

bad sportsmanship in BJJ

You are here, reading this site to become the best training partner you can be. Take note that others may not be reading this yet and have not been told these things. Protecting yourself first from an injury is always worth it.

Here are some rules to adhere to to be a great partner that people want to roll with:

Being a Good Training Partner

Don’t excessively conversate on the mats

People walk into a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Dojo to train, not talk. Although it is fine to have friendly conversations with your partner do not be the individual that talks the entire time while drilling a move. For many reasons talking during live rounds and drilling is not advised. 

For one,  talking while practicing slows you down physically and mentally. Just like everything else in life, when multi-tasking,  your mind is not completely focused on the task at hand. It is important to stay focused in Jiu-Jitsu class or else you may end up making technical mistakes that can cause injury to you or your partner. It is important to be smart and safe when practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

Your partner may not say anything because they do not want to be rude or come off as an asshole.

It is important to self-reflect here. If you find yourself messing around and talking too much in a training session you are not being a good training partner. Everyone has different goals when they walk through the door and step foot on the mats.

Some people want to become high-level competitors, and some want to just perfect a craft as a hobby by staying focused and consistent, but NO ONE’s goal is to walk in and talk while they are supposed to train.

Don’t be that person.

Personal Hygiene

This should be a given but you would be surprised how many people ignore this. Do not come into the gym and be the person who has dirty fingers or toes. They will be in people’s faces and 100% of people will be disgusted.

Taking care of basic things like your toenails and fingernails goes way further than just the four walls inside the gym. How can you expect anyone to take you seriously in this world when you shake their hand with long, gross-looking fingernails? It’s the bare minimum.

We want each one of you to take care of yourself so we are introducing Manscaped. If you have not heard of Manscaped it is a men’s grooming company that specializes in male grooming. When you buy their latest model of razor throw in the luxury nail kit for fingers/toenails.

Well worth the investment. We have been using this company for years now and it is an excellent product.

Being Stinky

Hygiene is very important when training Jiu-Jitsu. Smelling your sparring partner B.O during a round is not a pleasant experience Make sure to always be washing rash guards and gi’s after training sessions. After every training session, the first thing you should do is wash your training clothes. It would probably be smart to have a rotation of gi’s, rash guards, and compression pants that you use throughout the week!

Make sure to put deodorant on, make sure your breath isn’t gross, or that your feet don’t have a foul odor to them. This seems pretty elementary but you would be surprised. Not doing any of this will make people reluctant to train with you.

Arm Bar Soap and Dr. Squatch are both products that we use to keep ourselves clean and smelling nice. When we started looking for products to introduce you all to we wanted to make sure that we always gave you the things that we use personally and that have the best quality ingredients.

Personal Hygiene

Train Hard but don’t Hurt Others

Finding yourself in a bad position is very common when practicing martial arts such as Jiu-Jitsu. Getting someone else into a bad position is also very common when rolling and participating in live rounds.

We want you to train hard and be a tough role for someone but do not be the person that cranks on someone’s shoulder like you’re competing in worlds. People will talk in the gym if you have a reputation for doing this.

Accidents happen, it’s what we all signed up for when we decided to participate in martial arts. There is a real risk when you decide to roll with strangers. If you are training hard but have zero intention to hurt someone, people instinctively notice. 

Accept constructive criticism from instructors and upper belts

When rolling with higher belts, it is easy to get discouraged. Most higher-ranking athletes teach through a method of trial and error. In other words, they beat you up until you start doing the right technique.
Along with that, most of them decide to give some advice either during or after the round. It is important to make sure you are paying attention and listening to what they have to say while they point you in the right direction. They may show you a different way to finish a more effective technique or tell you to stop being a dead fish when your guard is passed. No matter what it is, take it in stride and accept it as constructive criticism.
That being said, it is important to understand the difference between good criticism and bullying. You should never let grappling dummies degrade you on or off the mats even if they are a higher belt. Animosity is the last thing that should be accepted in a Jiu-Jitsu dojo.

Help out beginners

It is important to take good care of the newbies who walk on the mat for the first time. Keep in mind that everyone starts somewhere. You need to make and maintain a comfortable learning environment for the lower belts that come into your gym. BJJ training is about helping you and your partner progress in the sport. Who knows, after some years those newbies may become your training partners! 

We all have those teammates who are more technically sound but give even the most novice practitioners incredible rounds. So how do they do this? Well, there are a few things that separate a good training partner from a great one. Here’s a list of a few tips to help you become the best teammate you can be. 

1. Unerstand your partners level

Your partner’s skill level should be a direct indicator of how hard you should roll with them.  If they are brand new to the sport, it is in your best interest to teach them new techniques and positions. If your training partner is near your skill level, you should push them to excel by giving them tough rounds and good drilling. 

2. Be a good student

Being able to understand and accept tips from upper belts is an incredible tool that will allow you to not only allow you to progress at an incredible rate, but it will raise your popularity in the gym as a student who can learn and understand techniques.

3. Don’t be a “know it all”

No one likes someone with a narcissistic attitude. Martial arts are about being humble, even when better than your opponent. Don’t be the student who believes that they know more technique than the coach. It’s not good for you and it’s not good your teammates.

train hard but don't try to hurt other people

If you follow these rules you are well on your way to being a training partner people want to train with. When you are a good partner it makes you and the person you train with better. When that happens the gym gets better as a whole, which means more metals when you all compete!

Happy Rolling!

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