Tonight was an interesting night for several reasons. First, they bumped up the number of pushups during warmup from twenty to forty. I think I was able to do about 35 of them, so I was pretty happy with that. I’ve never had much upper body strength, so for me (at my age), 35 pushups is not too horrible. The sparring was an interesting study in contrasts. The first guy I went against was a very strong blue belt who had previously submitted me at least three times in a single match. This time, I was able to defend much better. He got me in mount, but I escaped. I even got him in side control at one point. Then, he got me in mount again, but this time I left a bit of room between my elbow and my body. It was a momentary lapse of concentration on my part, which was all he needed to transition to the arm bar. I knew what was coming so I was able to defend against the arm bar (unlike the last time someone did this to me). However, I grabbed my arm in such a way as to leave myself vulnerable to a wrist lock. The coach even came by and suggested how I should hold my arms so as to avoid being wrist locked in the future. Slowly but surely, I’m plugging up the holes in my defenses. Anyway, the next guy was practically brand new (this was only his third class). He was so green behind the ears, that I immediately swept him and got on top of him in mount, without hardly even trying. Rather than press the attack, I decided to have him place me in his closed guard. Then, I showed him how to break a person’s posture and sweep them, as I had done to him, since he had not yet learned any moves from closed guard. Sparring with the blue belt reminded me of where I’ve made progress and how far I still need to go. Sparring with the brand new guy reminded me of how far I’ve come already.