Since last class, I had read the section in Saulo Ribeiro’s book “Jiu Jitsu University” regarding defending against guard passes. It is definitely an area that has been lacking in my game, and I was eager to try some of it in sparring tonight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pull off any of the moves, but that’s not surprising, since I haven’t yet had a chance to fully absorb the information. It didn’t really hinder me in my sparring session with the white belt. Even though he passed my guard after a failed arm bar attempt on my part, I was eventually able to recover full guard, just prior to the match ending. Then, I went against the coach for the first time ever. He was able to get me on my back, and pass into side control pretty quickly. Not surprising. That’s why he’s the coach. I could tell he was waiting for me to do something, but I had a feeling that the minute I made a move, he would nail me with some submission I had never seen before. So, I sat there and waited. He finally started maneuvering for his signature move, the bread cutter choke. I was proud of myself for successfully defending against his attempt. However, I then made the mistake of rolling away from him, even though he was controlling my right arm. It was the opening he needed to set me up for an arm bar, which I’m still not that good at defending. After I tapped, he praised me for my hand defense, but encouraged me to be more active in trying to escape. His point was that the longer I was on the bottom, the more time it would give the top person to work for a submission (or to punch my face in, if it were a street fight). He has a point. My bottom defense has become solid enough to the point where I almost don’t even worry about getting my guard passed. That’s because I usually don’t have to spar with purple belts. I think he feels like I have potential, but that I need to keep forcing myself out of my comfort zone (which, in my case, is playing defense), so that I continue to improve.