Tonight, during sparring, the coach had one guy start from mount, while the other tried to escape. After two minutes, the guy on bottom switched to the top position. My first partner for this drill was far less experienced than me, so I let him mount me first, and didn’t try too hard to escape initially. After a bit, I recovered guard, and continued from there. Eventually, I submitted him with an arm bar, which I can definitely say marks a milestone for me. Pulling off an arm bar requires timing and precision that I’m just barely starting to get the hang of. I also had him nearly triangled before the match ended. The next guy was one of the white belts that still poses a challenge for me. I started off on top and managed to slip my leg past his arm for the triangle, before rolling to my back for the finish. Unfortunately, I think I got confused about which direction to turn in order to apply pressure to his neck. That gave him the opening he needed to get his head free. He was trying to turn the corner to get side control, but I did my best to establish guard. He got past my legs anyway, but I was able to roll away into turtle, then eventually granby roll back into half guard. From there, he succeeded in getting his foot free in order to mount me, but then I trapped and rolled him, ending the match in his guard. Not a bad exchange, even if I did screw up a perfectly good triangle setup. Next, it was his turn to be on top. I thought I would relax and defend the way I had done with the first guy. Big mistake. Unlike the first guy, this one knew how to stay heavy in mount. He would catch me in an Ezekiel choke, reset, catch me in the Ezekiel again, reset…after about the fifth time, I figured out that whatever I was doing, it wasn’t working, so I started working to escape, rather than merely survive on the bottom. I nearly had him rolled at one point, but he held on to top position. I actually don’t think there was anything terribly wrong with my defense. I think he was just really good at keeping the pressure on, which means my defense would need to be near flawless (which, it’s not) in order to hang out under his mount without being submitted. Even though he dominated me like that from mount, I still think tonight marked a step forward, since I nearly was able to triangle him, and then managed to reverse him. The thing about triangles and me right now is that I’m getting really good at setting them up, but I still am having a hard time finishing people with them. It’s a move that I should really work to perfect, since I have long legs. The coach must have sensed that I was having trouble closing the deal, because he later offered some advice to the class on how to finish a person with the triangle if you get stuck and they won’t tap.

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