How to Make the Most Out of Training With a Partner
When you're training with a partner, most of the time, you'll both be at different levels in your training. For those who do not know how to approach this, it can be unclear how this type of partnership can be of benefit to both partners. One thing for sure is that if both partners are focused solely on their own individual training, they will get very little out of the partnership if anything at all.
The way to make a partnership work effectively is through cooperation. In other words, both partners must share a common goal. The way to do this is to take turns. Both partners should first focus on one person's training for a few minutes, then switch the focus to the other person's training.
Acknowledge and respect your current level as well as that of your partner. Take turns, ask your partner what he or she is working on, and cooperate in a way that allows them to improve.* The goal is to allow both partners to benefit from the five to ten minute interaction, so that both individuals come out of the interaction better than they were before. If you approach partnership in this way every time you change partners, you will all benefit immensely from each interaction as individuals and as a group.
Imagine what could happen if you applied this philosophy outside of the Kwoon into your everyday lives. Imagine the opportunities that could present themselves if you could succeed in making every interaction beneficial for others as well as for yourselves. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile, a compliment, kind words, a book recommendation, a sandwich, or a client referral. A little gesture can go a long way.
Sifu Gary Ma
* Normally, the senior student gets to go first. Not as a privilege, but as a way to show by example. This assuming that the most senior of the two (the student who started training with us first) is also the most skilled, which isn't always the case. Ultimately, it is of little importance to me who starts first as long as both partners take turns, and everyone respects and cooperates with each other regardless of rank or level.