Learn Twice as Fast
By Pete Reynolds
Learn twice as fast? How you may ask? Work with the right training partner! How does that make a difference? Here are three ways. Firstly, a good training partner will consistently give you a dynamically realistic attack. This means that regardless of speed, the attack is dynamically correct. We've all trained with the guy who goes way to fast and when you finally do get him to slow down, the attack is different and completely unrealistic. Secondly, a good training partner will provide the appropriate amount of resistance and challenge. Have you ever worked with a "jellyfish"? There's zero resistance. You know the type, every technique "works". Lastly and most importantly, a good training partner can give you the appropriate feedback to help you improve your technique and to help you find the correct feeling. Having a partner that can let you know things like, "You haven't taken my balance", "The angle isn't quite right" or "You're using muscle power" can provide the type of information that can instantly make a difference. You should also work at helping your partner with this type of information as well. Not only is it good for your partner, but it's also good for you. Being able to provide meaningful feedback like this requires a level of awareness that can only improve your taijutsu.
Obviously without the first two parts, I'm sure you'll agree, it's difficult to have any meaningful training. The third part is the area that many aren't aware of. If we can provide each other with the appropriate feedback, think how much quicker you can learn! You'll have not only your own senses, knowledge, and experiences, but also that of your training partner. Now here is the hard part, what if you don't have this person in your training group or worse yet you're not this type of partner? You have to work on it and cultivate it, both in yourself and in your students! It's not easy, but it'll definitely pay dividends. Just remember, you aren't a good practitioner if you can't be a good uke!