We did live sparring tonight, after skipping it for the last two classes. It’s amazing how fragile my gains are at this stage. All three of my sparring partners blew right past my guard. A word of advice if you’re a white belt going against a seasoned blue belt. If you don’t want to quickly be put into side control, don’t do spider guard against him, especially if you’ve only done spider guard once before in live sparring (with mixed results). I guess I’m not afraid to try things, because I’m fairly confident in my submission defense…or, at least, I was! Actually, I’m still confident in my defense, such as it is. However, I definitely got a good sense of its limits tonight. Tonight, I sparred against two seasoned blue belts, and one phase two white belt. I think I’m now good enough to fend off most submission attempts by white belts, and even some of the so-so blue belts. However, skilled blue belts are still going to eat me for breakfast at this point. At least, the two blue belts I went against tonight did. The main problem seems to be my inability to keep my elbows tucked in long enough to go for an escape. Both the blue belts I sparred against tonight managed to find just enough space between my body and my elbow to pry out my arm for a submission. Also, I still need more work on the hug and hold side control defense that Ryron Gracie showed at a recent seminar (I saw it on Youtube). I remembered to hold, but not to hug the arm, which meant that the blue belt I was working with was able to pull his arm out and jam it across my throat. I think if I had an opportunity to spar more frequently with the higher level blue belts, it would help me to close some of the remaining holes in my defense. Unfortunately, I haven’t had that many opportunities to spar with them as of yet. Hopefully, I will get more opportunities in the near future. Finally, I did attempt to do the guard break again that previously got me swept. I didn’t get swept with it this time, but no matter how many times I tried the move tonight, I couldn’t get my partner to uncross his ankles. Saulo Ribeiro makes it look so easy in his instructional video…it’s not! I’ll keep working on it. A couple of times, I did feel like it was almost working.

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