Despite all their differences, all martial arts have one thing in common: partner training. There is no martial art where partner training doesn’t play a crucial role. In time, one will inevitably come to find training partners they enjoy training with the most. However, a great training partner can excel your growth and maximize the results of your training by challenging you, giving you honest feedback, and being trustworthy enough where you can safely experiment with new techniques. At KEI Kung Fu, you are going to have a major impact on the quality of training your partners get. We believe that there is an art to being a good kung fu training partner. The best way to learn is to get out there and do it, but we’ve assembled some basic dos and don’ts.
1. Don’t worry if you’re not on the same level as your training partner. If you’re brand new and get paired with a more experienced student, don’t worry that you’re somehow “holding them back.” It is more probable that they welcome the chance to brush up on their basics, and will be more than happy to give you pointers. And don’t be embarrassed if you’re not picking up the skills fast enough– remember, they’ve been there, too!
2. Be willing to match your partner’s level. If they’re more skilled than you in Wing Chun, be prepared to push yourself a little, even if it means making mistakes here and there.You’ll learn from the experience. And if you’re the advanced one, keep in mind that you may need to go a little more slowly for your training partner. The moves you can fly through with your eyes closed are still new to them. Focus, instead, on solidifying your technique.
3. Don’t go all-out in resisting your partner’s techniques during your Kung Fu Practice. For example, if you’re drilling an neck-lock escape, and your partner is practicing the move, don’t latch on to their neck for dear life and start cranking like you’re in the final five seconds of a UFC fight. And you might think “But Sihing, no one will just let them do this move in a real fight!”. True. But they also won’t do it to someone who knows exactly what’s coming, and has just seen the entirety of the move demonstrated step-by-step. Also, this time in class is for learning the technique – getting a sense of how the movements work and what to do. If you lock up, over-power your power, or creep away every time they try the move, they won’t get to learn the technical aspects.
4. At the same time, don’t be a dead fish. Move and resist a little, and give your partner the feeling that they’re working with a live human rather than a bag of rice.
5. Don’t overwhelm your partner with too much information if you’re on compatible levels (and especially if you’re on a lower level). It can be very frustrating to get unasked-for, unwanted lectures from someone who’s less experienced. We don’t mean pointers (“I think your elbow needs to be a little lower ”) – we are talking about the 3-minute long advice, where they talk about every detail of the exercise and why their way is the better approach. Half of the time, the advice ends up conflicting with what the teacher has said, but the partner was so sure they’d figured out a better way, and just had to share it.
6. Be able to accept constructive criticism during your kung fu training. Sure, it’s never fun to hear you’re not doing a technique completely right, but keep this in mind: the person offering the criticism is probably doing so out of a genuine desire to see you become better. Instead of letting you continue to do something the wrong way – they believe in your ability to grow, enough to provide you with good criticism.
7. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’re struggling in your kung fu training! This ties back in to #1. No one’s going to judge you for not knowing an exercise or a technique, and even advanced levels get hung up on certain stuff.
8. When it comes time to spar together, don’t treat your training partner as your personal punching bag or dummy. If you are more skilled than your partner, excellent – you’ve practiced hard. If you’re simply bigger, wonderful – genetics have given you a handy advantage! And guess what? None of this gives you the right to “crush” your partner. If you want to spar a little harder, go against someone your own size/strength/skill level.
9. To all the men— don’t treat your female training partners like they’re made from porcelain. We reassure you that they aren’t fragile and that you are not going to break them by accident (if you do break one of them , it was because you were going hard enough to break any human – in which case go back and read rule #8 again).
At the end of the day, being a good training partner is about having the right attitude. It’s about feeling like a confident martial artist and sharing that quality with your training partner to create the best possible training experience in every kung fu class. We are here to learn and grow, and having a kind and committed training partner makes the academy a far better place!
Our training programs will help you improve your mental, emotional and physical strengths, allowing you to overcome any struggles of your everyday routines! You can sign up for your introduction class today! Want to know more? Feel free to get in touch with our team.