There's an interesting post over on Tim Larkin's blog. I like half of it, and not the other half. I started out trying to just talk about the things I like, but realized that there's too much overlap to safely talk about one without the other.
The Part I Don't Like
The author suggests that size, strength, and all that are totally irrelevant, and so it doesn't matter who you train with. I think, frankly, that that's bunk. Size and strength DO matter. There's an old saw about how "the race may not always be to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's a good way to bet." Being a mean, vicious bastard counts for a lot, but so does being one and half times the size of your opponent, and twice as strong. To quote the Princess Bride, anyone who says different is selling something.
The Part I Do Like
Where the author and I are in complete agreement is this; a lot of guys are absolute assholes to women who train. Some of these guys are also assholes to men who train, but are smaller and weaker than them, but women have it especially bad. Every time someone says to me, "I don't understand why more women don't do this stuff", my answer is something like "are you kidding me?"
While the idea that size and strength don't matter is bunk, the idea that you can only learn by training with someone in your own weight class is bunk too. I've learned plenty from women, as a teacher, peer, or student. Women make fantastic training partners for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they are largely free of the testosterone-driven ego fighting that comes with most males. In other words, they actually try to learn.
Point #2 in the article is particularly poignant, and it is what really drew me in. It works like this.
Guys...the fact that you are working with a woman does not mean you have suddenly received a promotion to instructor. If you are not the one running the class, shut your yap and train. It is not your responsibility to "help out" the "poor, confused, girl" any more than it was your responsibility to help out the 300-pound ex-lineman that you were training with on your last rep.
That's probably a whole separate post on it's own.
Anyway...my larger thought on the subject was this; training partners are valuable. ALL TRAINING PARTNERS (okay, except the ones that are actually outright dangerous to you). If you cannot get something out of working with a particular individual, you're missing out.
Or, put another way: if you aren't getting anything out of the person you're training with, maybe the problem is YOU.