Tonight went well. I’m feeling more competitive against my sparring partners, some of whom were smashing me for months on end when I first joined the advanced class. I passed the guard of one such person, a white belt who is fairly close to blue, on multiple occasions tonight. Of course, he has a number of tricks up his sleeve, and caught me in a baseball bat choke twice from the bottom of side control. I wasn’t expecting it, because if I’m on top of side control, that usually means I’m winning. He also caught me with an Americana from the bottom of side control. To me, though, the important thing is not that he submitted me three times, but that I passed his guard at least three times, if not more. Guard passing and guard retention are the main skills I have been working on lately, so the fact that I was able to pass his guard so many times shows progress. Also, the one time he tried to reverse me, I caught him in an omoplata and was quickly back on top. Eventually, I’ll learn to defend the oddball submissions that you don’t see all that often, but for now, I’m happy to make my fundamentals as solid as possible.