I was afraid this would happen. Until tonight, it had been a long time since anyone had taken my back. But, just before class, I was watching a video on back mount escapes. I seem to have an unconscious urge to try things I’ve seen in videos. Knowing that I don’t like people on my back, I was worried that the video would result in me getting my back taken, so I tried to remind myself to not allow back takes. Of course, in jiu jitsu (as in life), what we want is not always what we get. Not only did two blue belts take my back, they both managed to bow-and-arrow choke me while I was fumbling around with the defenses I had seen in the video (which I have yet to perfect), rather than resorting to my tried and true responses to such situations. I think the deeper problem is that I was too focused on rushing through my moves in order to get to my desired position, rather than focusing on what was happening at the moment. This left me vulnerable to counter attacks that I normally would have defended, had I been paying more attention to what the other guy was doing. On the plus side, I did really well against two white belts. The reason this is a plus isn’t that I was satisfied with doing well against them. It’s a plus because I was disappointed with myself for not doing better against the blue belts that I wrestled. In the past, I have gotten the upper hand on all but one of the blue belts I wrestled tonight, so I know I’m capable of being competitive with these blue belts. In other words, when I lose now, it’s usually not because I didn’t know what to do. It’s usually because I wasn’t paying enough attention to what the other guy was doing, and made a small mistake, which is all an upper belt needs in order to get the edge over me. The fact that I am starting to expect more of myself during sparring is a sign that I’m making good progress. If I weren’t too disappointed by my failures, it would mean that I didn’t think I was capable of success in the first place.

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