Training as a Relationship: Partners Aren’t a Food Group.

Training is a relationship. If your interests are not in keeping your training partner safe, healthy, and able to continue to train, then it’s not a positive relationship.

Training is about give and take. Ancient gladiators in Rome practiced different skills and with various partners to prepare to fight to the death in the arena. If these men had killed each other on the training ground, there would be no one to help prepare them for the arena.

Also, if they were injured during training, they couldn’t give their best performance in the arena. Much like gladiators of yesteryear, our training ground is the gym or academy where you sweat regularly. Our arena is the competition forum, whether that’s an MMA cage, a Jiu-Jitsu mat, or a professional stage of some sort.

If you hurt your training partner in the training room or the gym, who will help prepare you for the competition? Or worse, what happens when you get hurt and therefore cannot make it to the arena?

Training is inherently and fundamentally relational. Similar to how we should approach relationships with friends and family members, we sure should hold our training partner’s best interests in mind.

The common phrase in BJJ is “white belts aren’t food.”

Comical, yes. Real talk? Yes to that too. We need folks of all ages and all stages of training to help us reach our full potential.

I’ve quoted JFK before, and will continue to do so, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s hard to bring the quality of training up in the room if there is no one left standing at the end of a session.    

What kind of relationships do you have in your gym?

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Published by The Philosophical Fighter

I love being on a mat. I've trained in Karate, Kickboxing, Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Sumo. I currently teach Jiu Jitsu and Judo at Redemption Martial Arts Academy in Tifton, Georgia. I also love to read, write, and philosophize about life.

2 thoughts on “Training as a Relationship: Partners Aren’t a Food Group.

  1. Beautiful! That relational balance between yin-&-yang ennobles & enables one and all. “Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your betters.” – Seneca, Epistles 47.11

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