In the time I’ve been learning Krav Maga I have realized that there are two primary variable in a partner that come into play when you are working together: aggression and the amount of control they have over their bodies and movements — coordination.
Aggression is that pure “lightning in a bottle” that we all like to develop in training that allows us to go from zero to hero in no time flat. Some people have a huge amount of aggression that they can tap into and bring into their training, even when they are on the verge of exhaustion. I like training with these people as it helps desensitize me to getting hit but also inspires me to try harder. Some people have very little of this and just go through the motions. Class to them is almost an aerobics class with pads. They mimic behavior in class and don’t really put much oomph into it. These people can be very frustrating to partner with as it sometimes can rub off and cause you to not try as hard or to feel almost guilty when it’s your turn and you want to pummel.
Self-control is a hugely important concept that so many people I’ve partnered with just don’t get. Sure they can go all out but without proper coordination and control of the movements can be a real walking danger. Many White Belts are in this category but with the right mindset they rise above it to some extent or another to become someone you enjoy partnering with. I’ve partnered with a lot of students in this category and very much was one at one time. The result of partnering with such a person can range from a minor annoyance to real injury. I’ve had broken toenails, countless bruises, and unexpected hits to my neck, head, thigh, etc. when I wasn’t expecting it. It is often followed by a barrage of sorries but fat lot of good that does you when you’re hobbling off to the side groaning “Ow! Ow! Ow!” through clenched teeth.
This is why my all-time favorite type of partner has both of these qualities in spades: lots of aggression but copious control as well. That makes for many a happy training moment. The flat out worst is the clodhopper who has incredible, molten fury aggression but little to no self-control. You know that by the end someone is walking away hurt and angry. The other two quadrants are certainly annoying in their own right, to be sure, but usually cause boredom more so than band-aids and ice packs.
So, if you haven’t thought much about this my recommendation would be to give it a try. I keep this in mind all the time to ensure a good training for my partner and to help guide my partner choices at that crucial pairing up moment in class. This decision has one of the largest impacts on the rest of the class so I try to choose wisely.
Be that upper right quadrant and pair with that quadrant and you’ll be a happy camper!