Saturday, August 27, 2011

What's a good training partner?

A good training partner is the same as a good business partner. He or she needs to be able to draw the line between being a friend and getting the work done.

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.


Anonymous said...

Nice post and can somehow relate myself. As I was kid (15 years -55kg and 175 cm) I had a training partner who was fighting in mens under 60kg (and was 160cm) and was a morotegari specialist. He did not make me cry, but did drop me on my head million times without any mercy. Later I rarely lost against
leg grap specialists.

I don't have a twitter account (as it is not very common in my home countries), but here is maybe an answer to you twitter question.

"In our initial Twitter report published last June, one of the areas that looked at were the countries and cities where Twitter was being used. Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of unique users (62.1%) were located in the U.S., while the U.K. and Canada were a distant second and third."

US,UK and Canada together have only around 2% (or less) of worlds judo population and they are the biggest twitter countries. US (by far the biggest twitter country) has probably half of the worlds MMA fans so it is not a surprise that there is more tweets of MMA. At the same time I think that probably even in Japan there would not be that many tweets of judo (if twitter would be big there) as judo is practitioner sport and not an new and exciting fan sport.


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yonah said...

AnnMaria - It reminds me that in every dojo where I've trained in, there is that one person you always want to play because you feel its a challenge - you'd rather go five times with that person that take a round with 5 different Judoka.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Hi, Yonah-
I know what you mean. I know that a lot of times when we went to San Shi Justin was that person for Ronda. He complained one day that Ronda was like little tick, he couldn't get her off him. Every time they switched partners there she was again. Same when I was competing, there were those people I half-dreaded half-loved fighting because I knew it would be a battle

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Anonymous- I dnt realize twitter was so focused in the u.s. On my work account I follow a number of people from Europe, some from India and a few from A/NZ . Same with my judo twitter to a lesser extent. I try to follow people in judo but there just arent that many. Maybe they just tweet less? Same with blogs, can't find many on judo, but the only languages I know are English and Spanish

khubu said...

Dear Ann-Maria,

I think that blogging is very much cultural thing (certain countries and certain type of people in these countries). I don't think that too many wrestlers are blogging either (if they don't have to please sponsors). I mean, they are actually wrestling and not writing about it. From my home countrys population the ones who are active on the web seem to be very highly educated and maybe not that much involved in actual training anymore.

I don't know how many judo blogs there are in portugese, I would guess that not that many although there is (by any measuring method) huge number of judokas in Brazil.

Same with Russians. Although many are very nice and are quite talkative (and there is shitload of guys training there), I somehow find it hard to see the guys I know writing blogs or twittering.

It is actually quite interesting to see what people are writing on twitter about judo:!/search/judo
There is quite an amount of tweets about judo (in few minutes 10-20 new tweets) at the moment.


khubu said...

Actually France is one of countries that have lot of bloggers. At the same time there is close to 600 000 licensed judokas (this seem to be really the number of active registered ones). If there is not many judo blogs in French we can say quite surely that at least french judokas are not very much on writing blogs.

I work at the moment in middle Europe as a researcher and although there is lot more judokas than researcher on my field, I can still find lot more blogs from my research area than of judo.

Then again language of science is English and researchers etc tend to blog in English. At the same time I'm not very tempted of trying to find blogs with ძიუდო or дзюдо in the title.

Following the twitter feed (with search word judo) it seem to be that although almost all tweeters are english almost all tweets with word judo are written in other languages. Of course it depends at what time you are following it.


Dr. AnnMaria said...

Khubu -

I think you are correct that blogging is primarily for people who are more educated. A bit over 70,000 people a year read my judo blog. Over 300,000 people a year read my blog on statistics. Of course, there really ARE more people who do statistics than judo, if you count students taking courses. On the other hand, while I am an excellent statistician, I was never best in the world at it and never will be.

Twitter, on the other hand (which makes three hands now), has plenty of people who are dumber than dirt. Come on, Justin Bieber has 2 million followers, that should tell you something right there. (If you don't know who Bieber is, don't waste any brain cells finding out.)

khubu said...

Dear Ann-Maria!

I'm feeling horribly guilty for using my time for these calculations, but can not help myself..

The number of statistician vs number of judokas depends probably on what is counted as statistician and where we are (in world scale it would be too difficult for me). If we suppose that we are only considering statistic majors and uni staff and that we are in Europe there is far more judokas than statisticians. Less than 4% of whole population are studying in uni level and less than 1% (I actually use US statistics) of these are statics majors. I suppose now that there is one staff member for every student (this is generous). As a result we have around 600 000 statistician in Europe, which is the number of judokas alone in France.

On the other hand the same calculation in US gives 120 000 statisticians against 30 000 judokas. Of course this calculation is unfair for statistician as many of them actually graduate and will work as statisticians but on the other hand I did overestimate strongly the number of stat-majors.

Overall using a blog (or even Twitter) statistics in particularly written in English, will always cause terrible bias if we are comparing judokas and statisticians. First, while English is a natural language for scientists, it is not very natural for majority of judokas (actually less than 5% are native speakers).

At the same time judokas might use internet for some uses, but most are not heavy users. People working on research on the other hand are using internet heavily. ( I would guess that statisticians probably use atleast 5 time more internet than judokas). Researchers are also
keen for finding information related to their work, while most of the active judokas are not browsing internet for interesting blogs, although they probably should.

Also judokas usually have happy life and lot of friends (that they spend time with) and statisticians are usually sad and lone males, whose major entertainment is reading blogs written by rare women statisticians.

I don't think this is about intelligence ( I know very stupid people using internet a lot and many smart one who do not use it almost at all), but simply about lifestyle and about how much internet use ones work demands.

And finally about Justin Bieber.. Although I'm not sure, who or what
it is, but it does appear on comments of some of my favorite youtube recordings (as "please God take Bieber and Gaga and give **** back").

Dr. AnnMaria said...

You're last comment had me laughing out loud. Yes, I know some sad and lonely male statisticians, but most of the statisticians I know (male and female) are married, making money and happy.

I am sure there are more people competing in judo than statisticians. However, you compare the number of people who take a high school or college statistics class to the number of people who take a judo class, I would say that statistics wins - based on no actual data.

^--- Not intended to be a factual statement.

White Card Training said...

Not bad with that photos. It is very clear. Good training partner!