The Ten Commandments For Being A Good Partner

For many people, just inquiring via email or phone about any fighting style is scary. If you’ve never been on the mat before and are not sure what to expect, I can see how it could even provoke some anxiety. 

There are many different thoughts and hesitations I hear like:

“I don’t know any of the moves, I will look awkward”
“I don’t know anyone over there at the studio”
“I am afraid someone will hurt me”
“I don’t want to get hurt, or hurt someone else unintentionally”
“I do not feel comfortable touching or being touched by strangers” 

And the list goes on and on…

Today I will share with you all the things you need to know to optimize your training and be a part of the amazing community we have here at Krav Maga Experts. 

  • Communication is key

Your peers don’t know how you feel unless you communicate with them. If you have any discomfort around contact or you prefer to train “light,” you not only can but should communicate this with your partners. They are required to do the same. Everyone is different so have a word before you punch them.

  • Don’t hurt your partners. We practice trust on the mat. 

If your strikes aren’t accurate yet and you don’t have good hand-to-eye coordination, you may hit someone by mistake. Practice safety, and train slowly until you are instructed otherwise. Learn the moves, learn how your body can move, and increase the pace as you gain more control over yourself. 

  • Maintaining good hygiene

Krav Maga is a close combat practice. This means bodies often come in close contact. Make sure to wear deodorant and have a clean uniform, and if you sweat a lot – bring an extra shirt and a towel. You don’t want to train with some with no hygiene. Don’t be that person no one wants to work with.

  • You get out of it whatever you put into it

Expect realistic results from training, not magic. If you don’t train often and in a mindful way, your results will reflect it. I have seen many students on the mat who started at the same time and their skills were at similar levels. One showed up often and gave 100% at each class, but the other barely came. Don’t be surprised, or demotivated by it. Show up, do the work and the results will come. 

  • Have fun! Check your ego at the door

If you want a partner who is fun to work with; the one who smiles at you, works with no ego, and encourages you when you’re exhausted, then be that person. 

  1. Listen to instructions. Train. Don’t teach.

Students teach each other on the mat sometimes. Often, they pass on their own mistakes and misunderstandings to others. The instructors in class are professionals, and they can address any of your questions. If a newer student is asking you a question about the drill assigned, refer them to the instructor. If you feel your partner isn’t understanding the drill – same thing – refer them to the instructor for further help.

7. You can express safety concerns 

If anything in the training area feels unsafe, whether it is a student playing roughly, or a pair of students about to collide with another, you can take the initiative to stop their drill and keep them and yourself safe. 

8. Be a realistic attacker.

Being a good partner means to accommodate the level of your partner and modifying your level of your attack to the ability of your partner. Always use the relevant amount of force and stress while practicing the attack. Our brain registers the practice when the defender is feeling a real need to defend and receiving feedback from your attack. However, if done wrong, they will feel it. 

So you are not being helpful by hitting too softly … but of course, keep safety in mind at all times, and don’t be overly aggressive. There is a balance between safety and stimulating your partner’s instincts. When people anticipate hurt, they may over-respond and hurt you while practicing their defense. Ease them down if you see they are anxious.

Again, this means communicating with your partner and attacking in a productive and safe manner for both of you. By being a good attacker, you’re making your partner safer.


9. Don’t stick with one partner. 

Working with different partners will make YOU better. Everyone attacks differently. No two bodies are alike. Some partners will make you feel uncomfortable and others too comfortable. Discomfort has tremendous value too. Your brain registers and connects differently when different parts of it are being activated. 


10. When you are working with a partner, you are their coach!

The instructor in class is providing instructions. They are managing the safety in the room while teaching skills to a large group of people. 

It’s YOU who actually teaches your partner. The way you attack, defend and interact always matters. The practice happens between students. The way you hold the pads will affect the way your partner strikes. The way you choke them will teach them how they should react and often how it should feel to be attacked. Not everyone starts training after having been attacked. Most never experienced violence before. 

If reading this blog has helped you become a better partner, you might be helping many other students to feel welcomed, safe and accomplished. By doing that, YOU allow them to keep on training in Krav Maga and to become stronger, safer, and better after having trained with you.

Do something amazing!

Tsahi Shemesh

CEO & Founder
Krav Maga Experts