My husband and I have been training partners since I began doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which means we’ve been sparring for longer than we’ve been dating. We’ve found some perks to having a BJJ training partner who is also a life partner:
Shared Commitment is Strong Commitment
Since before we were a couple, Mike and I have been going to the same BJJ classes, training at the same gym, and making the same group of training friends. It has helped to stay committed by sharing the commitment with a loved one. Some days, when one of us is worn out, the other is an encouraging voice to give the push we need to keep with our training regimen. We keep each other active, engaged, and in shape!
Cooperation and Friendly Competition
We spar to strengthen ourselves, but also to make each other better. This applies to all teammates.
My husband is larger, stronger, and more experienced than I am. Thus, as you’d expect, when we are fully sparring from a fair start, he tends to win. However, the skill gap in BJJ closes as we reach the higher ranks. Since Mike has cut back from his training to focus on school, and I have increased my training regimen to include teaching, the gap has started to close even more and our matches are more even.
We are not just motivated by our own success, but also that of each other. It is exciting to see him do well against others and me as well. When he executes a sweep or submission fluidly and with technical proficiency, that’s exciting and I feel proud. He feels likewise for me. So in spirit of good-natured competition, we agreed that the first time I submitted him, he would treat me to a nice dinner at a local restaurant. When that moment finally came, his reaction was one of excitement and pride, “Great job baby, that arm control was sleek and set up the armbar perfectly, I’m so proud of you!”
An Inside and Outside Perspective on You
Training with your life partner means training with someone who knows you very well personally and physically. As such, they can comment on your development, how you are changing, where you are improving, and where you could use growth. We all carry an internal bias, and someone who sees your performance from the exterior can give you a helpful perspective on where you stand and what you can work on.
Having Someone to Test New Moves and Troubleshoot Techniques
When BJJ embeds itself into your life, you find yourself thinking through techniques at any odd hour of the day. It’s invaluable to have someone you can turn to and say, “I tried this kimura setup and it didn’t maintain the control I needed. Can we recreate that position and work through the mechanics?”
To get a non-BJJ partner to accommodate this… good luck.
However, if your partner doesn’t train, it may be worth convincing them to give it a shot. BJJ is such a martial art that it is not a violent one. Technique and leverage matters more than force. Sparring can also take many forms – aggressive, dynamic, flowing, acrobatic, playful. Obviously, during an argument or rough patch is not the best time to break out in an aggressive sparring session. But to find a partner who loves your sport as much as you do? It’s priceless.