There is always that one person in the gym that you feel comfortable rolling with. It’s uncanny. You seem to know how far he can take his BJJ, and how quickly you feel that you are learning every technique. And it seems that after rolling for weeks (together), you and your favorite sparring partner have made improvement in your game. On the other hand, you also feel that there is a huge gaping hole in your techniques. You cannot put a finger on it, you just feel it.
Having only one training partner has its pros and cons. They can be your best friend and can be your worst enemy. In previous articles in Gracie Barra, we have stressed the importance of going out there and building your BJJ network. Network with athletes and followers of the art to make the adventure worth the while.
He knows your physical limitations – There are many horror stories about BJJ artists getting injured because of switching to a new sparring partner. Having a consistent sparring partner lowers the risk of unwanted injuries.
There is a possibility that you are not pushed further in training. Without the extra push down the BJJ lane, you risk not improving. Comfort zones are good, but it will not help in your growth.
You get to repeat techniques over and over again with the partner.
If you are able to catch your partner on an armbar, or a shoulder lock 90% of the time, chances are, you are able to repeat the skill. Repetition is good right? Well, if that’s your goal, you should start going back to drills instead, right?
You breed a good and lasting relationship. Trust is built. Friendships are made that can last a lifetime.
Variation is hindered. Variation in styles and techniques makes up our learning. The more we learn, the better we become.
Professional fighters (not just in BJJ) in BJJ fly in new sparring partners all the time. The experience of learning from someone who is unfamiliar makes any fighter better. Your sparring partner can either improve your game, or stagnate it. Do your best to keep a balanced training habit in regards to your training partners.