For some reason, our normal coach didn’t teach the class tonight. Instead, a brown belt taught the class. It was the first time I’ve ever seen this brown belt, so I don’t know if it’s just for tonight, or if he is permanently taking over. I guess I’ll find out on Wednesday. He showed us some good basic stuff for maintaining control of the back. Rather than regular sparring, we did a drill where one person tries to maintain back control (or get a submission) for two minutes, and then the other person takes a turn. When someone takes your back, it is probably the worst position to be in. On the other hand, it is not easy to maintain control of someone’s back without practice. Hence, the drill. For some reason, this was just not my night. Rather than being paired with easy partners, I went against the blue belt ultra heavy weight world champion, an advanced white belt, and another very strong blue belt, in that order. I did manage to escape a few times. But, I kept getting caught in the bow and arrow choke. In my opinion the bow and arrow choke is one of the nastiest submissions in jiu jitsu. If you don’t tap right away, not only will you likely lose consciousness in matter of seconds, but you can easily get your neck severely cranked. Fortunately, neither of those two things happened to me tonight, although I did feel myself fading when the last blue belt caught me in that choke. In fairness, I did catch the other white belt in the bow and arrow once, even though he caught me in more things than I caught him. By the end of class, I felt like someone had taken sandpaper to my face. That’s what happens when a strong blue belt puts his bicep over your face and squeezes so hard that you can’t breathe. Would you believe me if I told you that this was the most fun I had all day? The best way that I can describe it is that you’re in a simulated battle to the death. Yes, there are injuries on occasion, but by and large, it’s an extremely safe way to pretend you’re Bruce Lee in a death match with Chuck Norris. There must be something about it that resonates with the caveman part of the brain.

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