Tonight, I feel like I was able to plug up a major hole in my open guard game, thanks to our head coach. When he asked each of us to describe a problem area for us, I was finally able to address a key shortcoming in my bottom game that has been a thorn in my side for months. He showed me step by step how to get to my desired position in such a way as to minimize the chance of having my guard passed in the interim. It worked like a charm during sparring. The other success tonight came from further exploring a new approach to guard passing. I had realized a few months ago that my previous strategy of running around people’s legs, while effective in some cases, was extremely energy inefficient. My new method involves staying much closer to the other person, giving them less freedom of motion. I never played football, but the football analogy would be when the quarterback hands the ball to the guy that blasts through the line a few yards each time in hopes of getting a first down. In contrast, my old approach was to throw the ball as far as I could in hopes of it not being intercepted by the other team. In other words, it’s a war of attrition strategy as opposed to a Hail Mary. Interestingly, my success in guard passing tonight only pointed me to my next challenge, which is to prevent the other person from reestablishing guard. The longer I can maintain a dominant position, the better chance I have of pulling off a submission.