large companies spend millions a year to collect data on what Joe Public thinks of their service or products.... the really successful companies take this data and react accordingly; changing, adapting and improving what they have to offer Joe Public until they are the #1 people's choice.

And that has nothing whatsoever to do with martial arts of any way, shape or form. However, there's a lesson there for us all.

Maybe not as obvious a lesson as stopping a speeding train with your genitals (it tends to sting and leave bruising).... but a lesson none the less.

That of being able to react positively to feedback (even that which you feel is 'a bit harsh') is as important as learning to use blocks properly, or being able to kick without wobbling about like a ballet dancer on ketamine.

Giving honest and useful feedback even more so.

Which this in mind - let's look at two types of drilling partner who are ultimately a liability to your progress.... not to mention a pain in the arse to get stuck with.


Oh sure they'll go for the head strike politely when drilling and telegraph it enough, allowing you to drill said technique without anyone getting serious injury... a few bruises from blocking and that, maybe a slight tap on the snot-box if you stupid enough not pay enough attention but nothing serious.... that's not what makes them a bad partner... far from it. What makes them a bad partner is that you'll get no info about if what you're drilling feels right... if the mechanics of it are all right... in fact they don't tell you a dammed thing... they just tap when they think you're done, or if 'that cool lock' you're trying for the 20th time is causing them a little bit of slight discomfort and that's it. Only really getting lively when it's their turn to drill a technique.... for the sake of sanity (and lack of boredom), please don't be that guy.


Yes they have a more advanced belt than you... so yes they have been there longer (so really they should know much better).... but they pick up on every single dammed little detail like it is some weird exercise at simply doing it 100% textbook 100% of the time... because it will happen just like that every time (really?... you sure..) - they don't even have the courtesy to add a bit of variation to their strikes... so it does actually become like a silly robot dance... and again for the sake of sanity, please don't aspire to be that guy even if you secretly envy their belt.

Maybe it's just me... but if I'm doing something wrong, I would like to
know where I'm going wrong and what I can do to correct it (if there's any doubt I need this kind of direction - my belt is white) but not to the point whereby I feel like I'm doing nothing right.

Even if it's just a simple 'that twist seemed to add more pressure' or 'my arm wasn't quite locked out - you can add a bit more pull with that next time' can be of more help that just "I'll carry on doing what you're doing because you've done it more than twice and I'm not an expert"... nobody is perfect... if it's meant to be an elbow lock and they keep on exerting more pressure on your shoulder... there's obviously something wrong, it doesn't take a doctor or an osteopath to notice details like that... and unless you're having an outer body experience at the time you can feel the difference, regardless of what anyone else tries to tell you.

So, yeah... spar, drill and roll to your heart's content.

Just don't get all pissy and behave like an only child who doesn't like their shiny new toy when someone says "I have a problem with how you're doing that"... and maybe when someone asks "did that feel okay?" during a drill... they'll actually listen when you're trying to tell them "it isn't quite working as it should" in a more compact (
READ: direct) fashion.

After all - respect is a privilege not a right...

and as such has to be earned.