I have a different coach on Fridays than on the other days. Each coach has their own way of doing things. My Friday coach almost always chooses our sparring partner for us. He usually tries to pair you with someone who is either similar in size and skill, or who is larger but less skilled. Anyway, that’s how it went tonight. My first sparring partner was slightly smaller than me, but roughly the same skill level. He told me his ribs were sore, so I tried to go easy. Even still, I tried a fancy guard pass for the first time in sparring. It didn’t work, but I was happy that I felt confident enough to make the attempt. I did mount him once or twice, and also took his back, but didn’t submit him. Normally, we just cancel each other out. I think his ribs may have hindered him from mounting a better defense. I remember having the same problem when I bruised my ribs a while back. The next guy was a phase one white belt (I’m a phase two), but much bigger than me. I decided to try for closed guard, but he kept under hooking my legs. He almost passed my guard, but I was able to reverse him and put him into the turtle position. He was so strong that I wasn’t able to do much more than stay heavy on him, and look for an opportunity to take his back. I got close a couple of times, but he managed to hold me off, so I kept ending up on top with him in turtle. Not a bad place to be, but I had a heck of a time trying to free my arms from his grip so that I could work for a submission or better position. That’s one of the great things about jiu jitsu. Each partner presents a new and unique challenge.