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I Listened to a podcast, in which the speaker attempted to explain what тренироваться на кошечках means and how it's used, yet I failed to grasp the meaning. Can someone explain?

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    Means "to train on a dummy" or "practice the skills on a dummy". It's from a film called "Операция Ы". Here's the scene where it's used: link. – user75619 Dec 4 '18 at 18:23
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    I have no idea why your ANSWER was relegated to a COMMENT because it sufficiently answered my question. Thank you for your explanation))) – CocoPop Dec 4 '18 at 18:30
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    lol, I don't, too. Perhaps, I linked a youtube video is why. To add, this phrase is a resilient meme, having been born back in the USSR and still being widely used by all generations, except may be very old. It is used quite liberally -- you can have a dialogue that goes like this: "Давай поднимемся на Эверест? Или сначала потренируемся на кошечках и покорим Эльбрус?" So it can refer not only to literally a dummy, but to anything that is considered a much simpler case. – user75619 Dec 4 '18 at 18:38
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    Hi, Elena. Here's the link:itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ilyaspeaker/id840066142?mt=2 and it's episode P157 – CocoPop Dec 4 '18 at 19:14
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    @shabunc care to give rationale behind the answer deletion? – Баян Купи-ка Dec 4 '18 at 19:36
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Means "to train on a dummy" or "to practice the skills on a much simpler case".

Having been born back in the USSR and still being widely used by all generations, except may be the very old, it's quite a resilient meme from a film called "Операция Ы". Here's the scene where it's used: link.

It can be employed quite liberally in all sorts of conversations -- you can have a dialogue that goes like this:

-- Давай поднимемся на Эверест?

-- Может, сначала потренируемся на кошечках и покорим Эльбрус?

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    Aha! This is what we call a "dry run": A: Hey, let's go climb Mt. Everest! B: Maybe we should do a dry run and conquer Elbrus first? – CocoPop Dec 4 '18 at 21:24
  • This dialog is impossible in real life but you could meet such constructed phrases in graphomaniac style writings where authors want to show theirs "sense of humor". – Roman Pokrovskij Dec 16 '18 at 0:49
  • @RomanPokrovskij Disagreed. If you google real-life examples how this phrase is used today -- in blogs, facebook posts, etc., i.e. in modern colloquial speech -- you'll find out that nothing stops someone from using the phrase in a dialogue that I made up. The dialogue is in a sense hyperbolic -- I don't really expect anyone to use the phrase with respect to things like Everest and Elbrus. But it's hyperbolic on purpose -- I wanted to show that there are virtually no boundaries as to how this phrase can be employed when one wants to refer to an easier situation. – user75619 Dec 16 '18 at 15:20
  • in blogs, facebook posts - it is exactly a perfects samples of " graphomaniac style writings " – Roman Pokrovskij Dec 16 '18 at 15:24
  • @RomanPokrovskij Well, it's modern colloquial speech... If people write like this, one should expect them to talk like this too. I think.... – user75619 Dec 16 '18 at 15:32
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The only useful form in spoken language is direct movie citation: "тренеруйся на кошках".

Source is this movie, this episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9aJqeeNVBQ

When this phrase could have a meaning "to train on a dummy" in real life dialog it is always a joke and almost never used for something else then friendly bulling: "you have no skill, find other fool :P".

Also to hear it you should directly trigger word "тренироваться": "я тренирую..", "я собираюсь тренивать.." .

E.g. playing chess with a friend, if you would comment you first moves: "this time I'm going train my King's Gambit" you would get back "тренируйся (лучше) на кошках" probably nine times out of ten.

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