Too often, I see friends who train together and they don't want to go too hard. There is that unspoken agreement that,
"You won't make me feel uncomfortable. You won't ask me to do things I really don't want to do."
My 14th wedding anniversary is next week, so I think it's safe to say that my husband and I are pretty good friends. Dennis is a home-body type. I almost never ask him to go to meetings or conferences with me. He's an adult. If he doesn't want to hop on a plane every few weeks, it's not my place to tell him he should fly to San Francisco or Denver or North Dakota. You don't try to change your friends. You take them as they are.
A friend with that attitude is great.
A training partner with that attitude sucks.
Ronda and Manny have known each other since Ronda was 13 years old and, as a condition of getting her first car, the oldest sister, Maria, would leave St. Monica's Catholic High School cheerleading practice and drive the little sister in said car to Hayastan for judo practice. Manny threw Ronda, pinned her, armbarred her. The reports I got from Maria were that Ronda cried - a lot. Neither Maria nor I were particularly worried about this because Ronda cries easily. I'm pretty sure she cried during Finding Nemo (you think I'm kidding, but I'm not).
I remember Karo Parisyan telling me that it drove him crazy to work out with Ronda because she cried. Manny shrugged and said,
"It doesn't bother me. I just throw her harder. Go ahead and cry."
That makes him sound terrible but I think Manny is one of the best friends Ronda has ever had. I'll always remember the time many years ago, when she had knee surgery and was in a lot of pain and depressed about not being able to compete. Manny came over to cheer her up, brought the usual flowers you bring to sick people and on the way stopped at Zankou Chicken where I used to grab dinner for her when she practiced at Hayastan. She would actually eat between rounds of randori.
She couldn't help laughing,
"Dude, you brought me flowers and hummus?!"Who knows, maybe it's an Armenian tradition. When she came back, he threw her harder than ever. Of course, Ronda eventually grew and managed to slam Manny her share of times. She didn't quite manage to choke him unconscious the other day when I dropped by practice, but it wasn't for lack of trying, I can tell you that.
My point, and you may have despaired by now of me having one, is that the best training partners are the ones that DO make you uncomfortable, that DO challenge you, that DO hurt you and yes, who do sometimes make you cry. They also make you better. It doesn't mean that they don't like you. More likely, it means that they do.