Tonight, we reviewed for the phase belt test, which will take place on Saturday. I’m pretty confident I have all the required moves down. We’ll see if the coaches agree. I think I’m steadily improving in sparring. However, the first guy I went with tonight was somewhat annoying. He was in full white belt UFC wannabe attack dog mode, so I just tried to fend him off the best I could. I’m not interested in meeting aggression with aggression. To me, that’s not what jiu jitsu is all about. He forced his way to side control, then practically leapt on my stomach to get to knee on belly position. Of course, that caught me off-guard enough to allow him to quickly get to mount. If it had been a tournament, I would have had no choice but to put up with such tactics, but this is supposed to be a training session, where we’re not trying knock the wind out of our partners. Once in mount, he tried to sink an ezekiel choke, which afforded me the opportunity to trap and roll him. He still refused to let go of the choke, even after I landed on top, so I finally tapped, rather than try to aggressively disengage his arms. Had it been a real fight, I obviously would have been able to rain down punches (since I was on top at that point) to make him let go, but that wouldn’t have been a very elegant defense. In terms of jiu jitsu, my real mistake was that my trap and roll took too long to set up. Had I reacted more quickly and precisely as soon as he got to mount, I probably could have rolled him before he could secure the choke. Something for me to work on. Now that I think of it, I don’t recall having learned a good defense against the ezekiel yet. It’s a popular choke, both in Judo and in BJJ, so I should probably have an answer for it in any case. My other two matches went much better. The second guy was pretty strong and fast, but at least he wasn’t going nuts on me like the first guy. Although he did pass my guard to side control, I was eventually able to get on top and into his guard, where I stayed the rest of the match. He was a bit too strong for me to get past his legs, and he almost swept me once, but I managed to recover and defend against all of his submission attempts. The third guy was a rather muscular blue belt. Surprisingly, he didn’t submit me. I’m not sure if that’s because he was going easy on me, or if it was because my defenses are improving, but I’ll take it either way.

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