The training room is a high pressure, high intensity environment. And at some point, when we get through the initial on-boarding of how to actually train, we start engaging in live drills and even full, occasionally hard, sparring rounds.
It’s easy to think that we are then working against our fellow students, rather than working with them. But taking a “win at all costs” approach to live will rob you of the important skills that need to be developed along the way.
Skills like composure, timing, patience, durability, literacy, and so on. The list is endless.
But one of the most important lessons to learn from sparring is prudence. It’s understanding that the world isn’t fair.
There will always be someone stronger, bigger, better, tougher, and meaner than you. You can fight against the acceptance of this truth, but the inevitability of it will eventually catch up to you.
Rather than accelerating our intensity, or trying to break our training partners down, we should see them as a mirror. What does our inability to perform against them tell us about ourselves? About our own skill set, or our own approach to training?
If we are getting flustered and irritated during a sparring round, what does that say about our emotional composure and our ability to stay objective and dialed in?
If we cannot successfully enter into specific positions, what does that say about our ability to off balance and set up our attacks?
Once you start seeing your partner’s performance as a reflection of your own, you begin to see the true value in the live drills.
There are never any opponents in training. Only mirrors.