Tonight marked a milestone in my jiu jitsu journey. It was the first time I was present in class when someone got promoted. Two students were promoted to blue belt. I only had previously sparred with one of them, and I must say, he is pretty good. More impressively, he didn’t give up training, despite injuring his ACL at a tournament a while back. Most people would have given up because of that kind of injury. I continued to work on my guard passing strategy tonight. I decided to slightly modify Lovato’s approach so that it doesn’t require me to do the initial entry while still on my feet. That seemed to help me to more effectively nullify the De La Riva and Lasso guard attacks to my right side. I still didn’t pass the guard of any upper belts. However, I did feel as though I was at least forcing them to work harder at defending than they had been. I sparred with the brown belt who won the BJJ world championship at purple belt this year. He actually let me get him in a couple things, which was nice of him. I pulled him in for a butterfly sweep, then transitioned to X guard (made famous by Marcelo Garcia). He also had me put him in my closed guard so that he could see what I could do from there. I swept him over into mount with a scissor’s sweep, but I’m almost 100% positive he let me do it. I don’t even get that sweep on half the white belts! Then he turned on the gas, and got me into side control, and then north south. From there he got a hold of my arm and did some weird spinning thing. I have no idea what it was, but it made me tap both times he did it to me. I’m sure it was an advanced move I haven’t seen yet. When the match ended, I told him to enjoy his youth will it lasted. Yes, I’m envious! I was never in the kind of shape he is in, but I was pretty fit back in the day. Now, I have to rely almost completely on timing and leverage, since my physical attributes are not what they used to be. Having said that, jiu jitsu is keeping me in really good shape for my age. The last guy I sparred with was another white belt. He has been training for a while, but this was his first time to the Friday marathon class. I passed his guard twice, almost without effort. The first time I passed his guard, I just sat there in side control for a long time. I apologized to him for not being more active, and told him that his was the first guard I had passed in three weeks. After I got used to the idea of passing someone’s guard again, I started working to improve my position, and quickly mounted him. He was able to maneuver to escape, but I transitioned to knee on belly, then switched to knee on belly to the opposite side, just to confuse him. I was about to go for an arm bar, but my setup was too slow, so he escaped. It was nice to actually be on the winning side of the equation for a change. I’m sure I’ll be back to having my hands full next week with the advanced guys.