There’s always the one.

The one guy in the gym that everyone avoids.

You know who I’m talking about, you’ve probably said his name out loud already.  When the coach says it’s time to live grapple with your partner and the guy thinks he’s going to die if he doesn’t submit you five times and remind you why you go to the chiropractor at least once a week.  We’ve all encountered the guy who is trying to duplicate his favorite Mike Tyson highlight every time you throw the gloves on.  What about the guy that doesn’t want to train with the “newbs” or the females?  Love them or hate them, every gym has them.

Why do we go to our local martial arts gym?  You may say, “to relieve stress”, “lose weight”, “to compete in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts etc.”  It doesn’t matter which of these you choose, they’re actually all the same.  Looking at all of the answers with a broad scope, we see the answers point to one thing, improvement. We all want to improve ourselves in some fashion, or at least we should.


Something I preach at my gym is that everybody’s goals are just as important as the next persons.  We are all equal.  When you realize that, you will have greater success in  the gym. So you’re a professional fighter that wants to make it to the UFC and you think your training is priority? Your training takes precedence over the overweight mom that needs to shed 20 pounds? Maybe you don’t want to train with the introverted nerd in the corner because they, “don’t do anything to help y0u”.  I’ve got news for you, you’re no better than them.  You have to look at things from the perspective of the people that surround you.  Losing that 20 pounds Is the UFC to that person.  That standout in the corner probably agonized all day about the thought of stepping on the mat that night and finally did it.  Take a step back, remember, you’re only as strong as the people around you.  Building a cohesive training environment is a key ingredient on the path to success.


It’s common place to see higher level students try and bypass newer students in practice.  It’s usually because they think they have nothing to gain from training with someone “not on their level”.  What they often forget is they were once the new person.  They didn’t come into the gym knowing everything.  I mean , if they new it all, why did they need to come to the gym in the first place?  If nobody took the time to train with them, they wouldn’t be at the level they are currently.  I believe we can all learn from people of all levels.  What it really boils down to is mindset.  When you, for example, roll with someone of lesser ability than yourself you can use the opportunity to try new techniques.  While you shouldn’t dominate the newer person with high level technical wizardry, you can sure practice that new sweep a time or 2.  You could also let the lower rank put you deep in a submission and work your defense.  Another path to take in training with lower ranked people is to work your patience and coaching.  Help the new person understand different aspects of the game.  At the end of the day this is an investment into your training future.  One day this person may turn out to be your best training partner!


It’s very easy to get into a routine while training.  You have to make the most of your training and try to improve every chance you get.  An example of a question you should ask is, “am I hitting too hard?”  It’s obviously hard for some people to answer their own question, so take cues from your partners.  Are you landing 100% of your punches, takedowns or submissions and your partner is just taking the brunt of your wrath?  Probably a good sign you’re not being a good partner.  Do you sub everybody no matter size or gender in the room. . .with the same technique. . .every. . .single. . .practice?  Another sign.  You’re doing yourself no favors either.  You’ll never get any better by sticking to the same thing over and over again.  From a striking point of view, if you or a classmate is banging your brain at every given opportunity, you’ll never feel confident enough to try that new combo you’ve been taught.  Conversely, if all you care about is throwing hard strikes, you’ll never learn the finer points of the game.

At the end of the day, we all want to be the best we can be.  Take the time, step back, and look at the big picture when you’re training.  Step into each practice with an open mind and get ready to take your game to the next level.  Remember, Daniel-son didn’t think “wax on, wax off” was effective either.  Train smarter, not harder and remember discomfort is growth.

About The Author

Josh Cate
Staff Writer

Josh Cate started his martial arts training 27 years ago. Josh become instantly passionate about the arts. One road led to another in his journey. Josh holds the rank of 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, 2nd degree black belt in Shingitai Jiu-jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Brown belt in Judo. In 1998 he had his first professional MMA bout. A bronze medalist at the BJJ nationals, gold medalist at the Jiu-jitsu World Cup, NAGA national champion are a just a few of the many awards on Josh's list of accomplishments. Aside from owning and operating Team Kaos MMA/BJJ in Knoxville, Tennessee, Josh has started working with Valor Fighting Championships and occasionally writes for mma websites. Be on the lookout for the Full Frontal MMA podcast that he is getting ready to launch as well. Josh is truly grateful for all of the opportunities MMA has given him and looks forward to this chapter with The MMA Corner!