I usually set a broad goal for myself during sparring. For the past few weeks, the goal has been to take people’s backs and work toward a submission. A number of things have to happen in order to get to the point where you submit someone from the back. First, you have to pass their guard. Then, you have to secure your position, take the back, and prevent them from escaping for long enough in order to score a submission. Of course, your partner usually has a plan of their own as well. I occasionally get submitted, swept, or get my guard passed before I can get to my desired position. The interesting thing is that this is usually not the most memorable thing about class. I tend to have a better memory of when I succeed in whatever goal I had set out for myself. For example, I got submitted several times tonight, but the only time I really cared about wasn’t because of the submission. It was because one of my partners escaped my back control, and as a result, I ended up being submitted with an unexpected move. I’m planning on working with my home room teacher to better understand how he was able to escape so that I can prevent it from happening in the future. However, the highlight of the evening was when I took the back of another senior white belt, one who had regularly submitted me multiple times per sparring session six months ago. This time, not only did he not submit me, but for the first time, I submitted him! Not only that, I did it with a bow and arrow choke from the back, one of the things I have been working on. The next step is to make sure that I can replicate tonight’s success on a regular basis.

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