Tonight’s sparring featured another classic jiu jitsu scenario. The smaller, more technical opponent, against the bigger, less skilled (but really aggressive) opponent. A tell tale sign of such a match up is when the smaller person puts the larger person in closed guard, and then the larger person puts his forearm across the smaller person’s throat. The larger person then leans into the smaller person in hopes of causing enough pressure to make the smaller person give up. This strategy can work against a smaller, unskilled opponent. However, in my case, it just annoyed me. I will tap to legitimate jiu jitsu submissions, (in most cases, because I have no choice, if I want the pain to stop). However, I refuse to tap to someone trying to smother me in an amateurish head squeeze or a forearm across the throat. The thing I have learned by now is that, if all else fails, I can simply position myself in such a way as to allow me to wait for such an opponent to squeeze as hard as they can for as long as they can before they realize this method of attacking me is a waste of their time. This is the mental combat aspect of jiu jitsu. If you throw your “best” attack at me, and I remain unimpressed by your efforts, it can cause you to doubt yourself. I can sometimes even capitalize on this doubt, and turn the tables to get on top of the fight. This is what happened in the match during the previous class. Unfortunately, a five minute round does not always allow me enough time to reverse my opponent. That’s OK. The main thing for me is that I continue to sharpen my jiu jitsu survival strategies. To me, jiu jitsu is not about winning. Jiu jitsu is about surviving a brutal attack on the street without incurring too much damage in the process. Don’t get me wrong, if I sense that victory is possible, I will definitely opt for victory. But, if the best I can do is survive an attack relatively unscathed, my jiu jitsu will have done its job.