In the civilian world, martial arts are a solitary activity. Whether you’re competing on a mat or defending yourself in the streets, it’s just you putting your skills to work. It’s just you in the moment. But the lead up to that point isn’t your skill set alone. That moment is built on the work done with training partners and instructors; it’s built on repetitions, on attention to detail, on sparring, and on feedback. That occasion where you have to use your skills is built by teamwork. Are you part of a team or do you just attend a school?
Being part of a team is more than just showing up to training. It is caring about others. It’s giving back as much as you receive, helping others be the best they can, and supporting others efforts. It’s also about being honest. If someone isn’t doing a technique right, you have to let them know. Teamwork’s foundation is respect for the other members of the team and an appreciation of their willingness to be there. Think about that. The person across from you could you be anywhere else, but they’re on the mat, helping you improve. That’s fantastic. The funny thing is that if you do your best to help the team improve, you’ll improve. As the skill levels of your training partners rise, your skill level will too. The better your teammates, the better you have to be. The better you are, the better your training partners have to be. To be your best, make your training partners more than just people that attend the same school as you. Build yourself a team.