This is an article I wrote on my blog, www.blogjitsu.com
Hope it can help some beginners.
Unfortunately, we cannot train BJJ all by ourselves. There are training dummies out on the market, but once you learn the move you cannot get any resistance, thus making a partner extrememly important.
When you first learn a move, it is important to have no resistance. A good partner will allow you to go through the motions, slow, and step-by-step. This doesnít mean your partner is a ďdeadĒ body, or limp. Maintaining good base, and posture is helpful when learning a new technique. If your partner just lays with all their weight on you, it is far from a learning simulation. Since you are learning the technique, sometimes you may do something wrong, or be ďlooseĒ when you should be tight. Your partner should tell you when and where your mistake is.
Once you have the technique down, and can drill flawlessly, progressive resistance should be applied. A good partner understands that progressive resistance is not an all out grappling match. You partner should take advantage of your mistakes. If you are drilling an armbar, and you forget to keep your knees tight on the transition, your partner should counter/escape. A discussion should take place as to why he escaped.
Slow rolling or ďflowĒ drilling should come next. You and your partner are ideally at 50-60 percent. This allows both people to learn. This is for you and your partner to counter each other, recgonize opporunities, and soon capitalize on them. This is not competetive yet. This is still learning, and your partner should be working with you to flow smooth through transitions.
Of course, there is live rolling. A good partner will leave their ego at the door! If you do get a submission, or if he does, you must learn from it. In this live rolling, you are trying to get the better of the situation, while still maintaining the learnning atmosphere. Communication is where good training is seperated from bad training. Communication can be verbal, and/or from the body.
Bjjboard.com member TCMA recently gave this example of the perfect training partner:
ÖĒHereís one of the reasons I love jiu-jitsu ó great training partners.
Last night I was rolling with one of our brown belts who could easily dominate me in all aspects of the game if he wished. Instead, this is what happened.
He pulls guard and I begin working on a pass. Instead of instantly breaking my posture and then sweeping or submitting me, he lets me work. The first couple of times I try to pass I wasnít staying tight enough and he used the space to recover his guard. Realizing my mistake, the next time I go to pass I stay nice and tight. Now Iím sure he could have still prevented the pass if he wanted to, but since I was using good technique (for my level, at least) he allowed me to pass into side control. It was great, instant feedback from him on why itís important to stay tight during the pass. And the lesson didnít end there.
Iím now in side control and working toward an americana on his far arm. He recognizes the attempt and blocks it, but I use the distraction to switch my hips and go for the mount. In doing so however, I donít keep my base solid and he reverses me ó taking top position in side control. Again, itís instant feedback on the importance of keeping your base solid.
Rather than smashing me right away, he lets me start working my escapes. And itís the same scenario as when I was trying to pass his guard. When I donít do the escape correctly, he blocks the attempt and puts me back in side control. After a few failed attempts I learn from my mistakes and execute the escape better. And he lets me complete the escape, even though Iím sure he could have transitioned to another dominant position. Again, he provided instant feedback by blocking my incorrect techniques and rewarding those that I properly executed.
Now Iím just happy to have correctly escape a tough position, but heís not content to let the lesson end there. As Iím escaping there is a path to his back that I donít recognize. Instead of moving on though, he waits there for a second until I recognize the opening and then allows me to take his back. From here I eventually catch him in a RNC.
At the end of the roll he then asks me what I learned. I mention staying tight while passing, maintaining proper base while mounting and looking to take the back after escaping side control. He then gives me a few additional details and we both move on to new partners.
All in all it was a fabulous lesson during a standard 5 minute roll. He didnít say anything during the roll, but used his technical ability to reward me when I executed a move well and stymie me when I donít. Even though heís not technically an instructor, to me this was a great example of a selfless teacher with no ego. A tough brown belt allowed a lowly blue belt to tap him out ó hell, he even subtly guided me to do so.ĒÖ