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35. Effciency Training: Train with the most suitable training partners

Posted Jul 20 2009 12:57am
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Effciency Training

Train with the most suitable training partners

If you’ve not read the introduction to this series than you might want to check it out by clicking the series link above, if you have then start reading…


Ok so onto the first article on improving your efficiency when training and today’s topic is called - Train with the most suitable training partners.

Regardless of the size of your school, you will find a spectrum of different styles of training partner. Some are good for drilling, others rolling and others for getting you a cheap car stereo - but training with the most suitable ones is something which will see the efficiency of your training increase overnight.

In short it’s important to make a conscious decision with who you work with from now on if you want to improve your efficiency whilst training. If at the moment you don’t think about or choose the people you drill or roll with, then you’re mainly letting chance dictate the level of training you’re currently getting.

I don’t think anyone can deny the fact that some people are better to train with than others and whether that’s because you have a similar style, outlook, body type, belt colour or favourite cereal, then I don’t see why more people don’t make an active effort to exploit such things.

Types of Training partner

I’m sure there are loads more but here are main three ones I’ve come across over the years at various clubs across the world:

1. The Dead Fish


‘Lies there motionless with a gaping mouth and oh so cold, passionless eyes. Essentially giving you no feedback or realism to your training.’


Drilling - There are no real advantages of drilling with The Dead Fish. Maybe they just hate drilling and are in fact a stud when it comes to rolling, I guess only time will tell.

Rolling - Usually The Dead Fish is brought to life when rolling begins, so all isn’t lost as if they don’t liven up then you’re probably going to end up with their arm in a bag to take home and mount on the wall.


Drilling: Offering no functionality to your drilling, the lack of motion, feedback and aliveness The Dead Fish offer is something which will damage the effectiveness and efficiency of your drilling. Stay away from such types at all costs!

Rolling: Although extremely rare as they usually resurrect but if you do have to rolling with The Dead Fish you’ll see it’s a near pointless exercise. Tell them to head back to the wax works whence they came.

2. The Clam


‘Tighter than a grappling scrooge, The Clam doesn’t give you an inch or a chance and would rather try all they can to do the opposite of what’s helpful.’


Drilling - Because they play an extremely rigid game it’s very difficult to actually work the material you’re meant to be. You’re trying for that under hook but their elbows are glued to their side like they’ve got two shiny £2 coins in their armpits and defending them at all costs. Having said that if you’re familiar with the material you’re drilling then you’ll get an extremely realistic chance to pressure test what you’re working, which is always a good thing.

Rolling - The Clam can be a good person to roll with particularly if you’ve got a competition coming up. Their vice like game will certainly test you and give you a good chance to see what’s working and what isn’t.


Drilling: Because of the physical force field they put in your way, drilling with The Clam is difficult and  if you’re new or drilling something you’ve not seen before, trying to get the details down and sometimes even just executing a move is going to be extremely hard.

Rolling: If you’re trying to implement a new area/technique into your game rolling with The Clam isn’t going to be as productive as rolling with other people. For one their reluctancy to let you play/flow a little isn’t present, so you’ll probably end up in a battle of attrition rather than developing your much underdeveloped half guard sweeps.

3. The Tour Guide


‘Rather than working the material you’ve been shown or just having a normal roll, The Tour Guide is more likely to show you a 101 different moves and give you a narrated guided tour along the way.’


Drilling - In terms of communication and feeback The Tour Guide is great as they will constantly talk you through and show you a bunch of varying options you can chain from the position you’re drilling. On top of that they’re attentive and will point out all the intricies of what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

Rolling - Rolling with The Tour Guide is always good fun. They have a varied selection of things they go for and will let you play a little if needs be. They don’t clam up and they’re not deader than a dodo, so have that balance of a tight functional game which isn’t going to keep your finger tips as a trophy if you get too close.


Drilling: Working with The Tour Guide, while useful can be as difficult as working with The Clam. If you’re keen to work the specific class material then expect a dozen other variations or options you can do, but actually never get round to drilling what you were meant to. Not good for those trying to get down the fundamental ideas of a move rather than playing the flying/rolling/reverse option.

Rolling: There are very little disadvantages to rolling with The Tour Guide apart from if they constantly try to ’show you round’ submissions/sweeps/passes etc - ‘Go on just move your hip there…’. Which can be useful but not 100% of the time or when you just want to roll it out.

4. The Boy/Girl Wonder


‘Striking that perfect balance of aliveness and feedback. The Boy/Girl Wonder is both a pleasure to roll or drill with.’


Drilling - Giving you the right amount of resistance to work the material and helping you tweak the efficiency of your movements with feedback - working with The Boy/Girl wonder is always a productive thing.

Rolling - As with drilling, rolling with The Boy/Girl Wonder is always a useful exercise. They don’t clam up excessively nor go limp like a rag doll and you always get a chance to work a few things you’ve been looking at, during class.


Drilling: None

Rolling: None

Almost written like Goldilocks story (too hot, too cold, just right), the above types of training partners exist at schools across the globe and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which is the most suitable for you to train with.

If you’re at a school where there are a good few Boy/Girl Wonders, you could get away with working with them for most of the time and that will do nothing but help you build and develop your game more efficiently.

All isn’t lost if you end up drilling or rolling with The Dead Fish, The Clam or The Tour Guide and specifically the last two both have their uses, but for those working on their efficiency - there is a time and place and now is the time to start choosing who you work with.

Now as ever (Insert disclaimer) I’m not saying you should only train with The Boy/Girl Wonders, as working with everyone at your club is vital for helping everyone grow and allows you the chance to work with smorgasbord of styles/sizes and types etc, but by identifying those who suit you and the situation the most you cannot help but increase your efficiency whilst training.

Try it for a week. Literally be the first to grab the best people to drill with and be the first to pick those who are the most productive to roll with and see how it effects your training/game.

On the opposite side of the coin, see where you lie on the scale and if you’re too much of a Clam or Tour Guide, then be aware of how counter-productive that can be. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ and before you know it you’ll not only be boosting your own effciency levels but those of everyone elses too.

If you’re thinking ‘Why hasn’t he mentioned how working with people of a similar size/belt comes into this?’ don’t worry I haven’t forgotten, just leaving it for another article.

So start to Train with the most suitable training partners, what are you waiting for? It’s the first step in boosting the efficiency of your development.

Adam Adshead

Next Article: Warming up and Warming down properly

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