Since the kid’s belt tests are on the same night as my Friday class, I don’t usually get a chance to watch. However, since the test begins a half hour before my class, I was at least able to see a little of it. My class went well for the most part. I was able to get a good arm bar set up against the first guy I sparred with. He finally escaped, but I was able to hold onto it, adjusting for his movements, rolls and turns. I might even have been able to get the submission, if I had been more aggressive. However, I try to be very careful with arm locks, so as not to risk injuring my training partners. Unfortunately, he didn’t extend the same courtesy in round two, and really torqued my right arm with a Kimura from closed guard. A technically proficient white belt with a chip on his shoulder can be the most dangerous person to work with in a training environment, since they are unwilling or unable to exercise the kind of control that the upper belts do. As it turns out, I had deliberately decided to stay in his closed guard, rather than break his guard right away, because defending inside someone’s closed guard is another area that I am working on improving. Things were going well, I thought, but after making very little progress in any of his attacks, he must have gotten frustrated, because he started to get really aggressive. I was still in relaxed mode, not expecting him to try and rip my arm out of my socket. He apologized, but I had to sit out the next round, to make sure nothing was torn or broken. Luckily, I was so loose and relaxed by that point, I was able recover enough to finish class. I feel fine today. Most guys understand that you have to put yourself in vulnerable positions in order to learn defense. Therefore, most people don’t try to rip your arm out of its socket, if they catch you with a submission in such a situation. If I had been as aggressive on my own arm bar attack, he would have been the one with the sore arm. One thing that I have learned about Jiu Jitsu is that it involves a certain level of trust between training partners. Since I’m no longer sure I can trust him to use proper control with his submissions, if I do spar with him again, I will have to play a much more conservative game, so as not to risk getting injured. That’s unfortunate, because learning takes place when you allow yourself to take risks and try things that might not work. However, I’m not going to take risks with a training partner I don’t trust. Fortunately, out of all the training partners I’ve worked with so far, only two or three fall into this category. The next guy was less experienced than the first guy, so I was able to secure a few good submissions of my own. This time, I did get the arm bar (without hurting him). I also got a clock choke submission. I believe it was the first time I’ve been able to submit someone with a clock choke in live sparring. I also sparred with a blue belt and a purple belt, both of whom exercised a great deal of control.

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