It’s one thing to not know what to do. It’s another thing to know what to do, in theory, but be too unpolished in one’s execution to be effective. For the most part, I suffer from the latter when sparring. Tonight, I got swept, nearly armbarred, and choked, all because of poor execution on my part, rather than not knowing the correct response. The choke is a particularly good illustration of the problem. I’m used to defending this particular choke when the person puts their right hand in the collar first. This time, my opponent put his left hand in my collar first, which confused me just enough to cause a delayed reaction on my part. By the time I had figured out where my hands were supposed to go to defend, it was too late. The choke was too deep by that point. I spent a good amount of time replaying the sequence in my head while waiting to go to sleep. Hopefully, this kind of mental drilling will better prepare me for this attack in the future. In the case of the arm bar from closed guard, my arm defense was good, but I forgot to stack him in the right direction, which caused me to loose my balance. This allowed him to get on top and eventually apply the choke. Two major mistakes in one match against such a skilled opponent equals me tapping. I wish I had more effective guard passing and guard retention skills, but these things can be challenging to even the most skilled jiu jitsu practitioners. Even more than that, I want to be the 44 year old that nobody can submit. It’s the one thing that requires a lot of skill, but very little strength, as Helio Gracie demonstrated well into his 90s. Hopefully, it won’t take me until I’m 90 to perfect my own defenses!