Luckily, the instructor was merciful and didn’t make us do pushups this class. I got a case of DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) from doing the 20 pushups on Thursday. I haven’t done pushups on a regular basis since I got out of the Navy 15 years ago. He had us do some basic gymnast moves during warmups. I can still do a decent cartwheel and roundoff, but I definitely was feeling it in the hips. Then, he had us do a head flip. I didn’t do it with my hands behind my back, but I was the only one in the class who could do it correctly (including the instructor). However, he then had us try the back forearm spring, which I messed up. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do it again after a few more months of getting back in shape. Sparring (rolling) went much better this week. I didn’t even bother resisting any submission hold for which I have not yet learned the counter. I simply tapped, and continued to work on other things that I wanted to improve. For example, when I was in my prime, it was very difficult to catch me in a side four quarter hold (yoko shiho gatame), because I would just scramble, and power out of it. Therefore, I never felt the need to learn an effective counter. Now, everybody in class is bigger, stronger, faster, and younger than me. I can’t power out of it anymore, so it’s a different ballgame. However, I was proud of myself for improvising a move. I was inside my partner’s open guard, and had noticed that his belt had come off. On Thursday, we had worked on a move where you use the gi tail to trap the person’s arm. I borrowed from that idea, and slipped his gi tail between his legs, and around his left leg (you have to do it slowly and nonchalantly, so he doesn’t notice what you’re doing). This trapped his leg, so he couldn’t throw a triangle. I was then able to do a knee cut pass to his right, without too much trouble. He then started to roll over to his left, so I switched to the knee on belly position. Then, he made the exact mistake that we went over on Thursday. I was able to capitalize on this mistake, just like we learned, and go for an arm crush. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the angle quite right (I’ll have to work on that), so I was unable to make him tap from it. However, he did pull his arm out in such a way as to leave himself open to a guillotine attack. Unlike last week, I was able to sink it in correctly this time. The key was to move more slowly and methodically, so I that could give myself more time to think through the moves, until it becomes more organic. Unsurprising to some of you that know me, I think of BJJ like a new foreign language that I need to learn. Luckily, BJJ is kind of like a dialect of Judo, so I already know some of the “words” (techniques) and “phrases” (transitions). However, I’m still a long way from being fluent.

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