I had hoped to get a good night’s sleep last night in order to recover from the previous day of training. Unfortunately, my four year old daughter woke up at two in the morning. I eventually fell back asleep, but had to muddle my way through today in a sleep deprived state. Sadly, it is a common state of affairs when you’re a parent of small children. I’m guessing it will take at least another year before my daughter starts sleeping in soundly like my son (at least, that’s my hope). On the bright side, I was able to lay down and rest for about 40 minutes before I had to get ready for tonight’s class. It did help, but my arms still felt like lead from the previous day. According to UFC 1, 2 and 4 champion Royce Gracie, his father Helio in later years couldn’t do a single push up, yet was able to use timing and leverage to fend off much younger black belts who were hoping to test themselves against the old man. Six time world champion Saulo Ribeiro (in his book Jiu jitsu University) also talked about the time he rolled with Helio, when Helio was at an advanced age (I think Helio was in his 90’s at that point), and had been unable to submit Helio. Based on such anecdotes, I believe it is possible to successfully do jiu jitsu without much arm strength. My strategy for tonight was to test this theory by using only the minimum amount of arm strength required to stay in the game. Between that and the breathing strategy I had learned yesterday, I was able to survive much better. I even managed to hold my own against a purple belt, albeit a 145 pounder who was probably taking it easy on me. I also did pretty good against another one of the blue belts. The only white belt I sparred with is really good at the bow and arrow choke. He keeps catching me with it. I’m hoping to spar with him some more in the future to plug this hole in my defense. The other guy that gave me a hard time was the blue belt who had helped me the night before. He has a very good guard, and was able to stall me out until catching me in an omoplata. After sparring was over, I was expecting to line up for the end of class. What I hadn’t bargained for was that since today was Friday, and the class was being taught by our resident black belt BJJ mad scientist gym owner, the class would continue for another hour of drilling. Even though I was on the verge of collapsing by the end, it was worth it. A good BJJ black belt can point out a few subtle things that can make a huge difference in your game. I think the side control escape variation that we worked on, as well as an additional detail about the basic standing guard break, will come in handy in future sparring sessions. That’s it! I made it through 100 classes, and my first solid week of advanced classes. Now, to rest my body for three days before doing it all over again.

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