I’m now getting to the point in my training where I’m no longer satisfied with passing the guard of a blue belt. I need to find a way to secure the submission, once I’ve passed. Before, just passing the guard of a blue belt was an accomplishment in its own right. Now, I am able to do it with increasing regularity. The next step is to sharpen my attacks. The other thing I’d like to improve is my guard retention. Since submission defense is the strongest part of my game, I probably allow guard passes way more often than I should. There are several other reasons for this. One is that I don’t like to turtle or invert. Neither one of those things is particularly useful in a real fight, so I tend to shy away from them as a strategy for preventing the guard pass. I also can’t do open guard for very long without hurting my fingers, since you have to hold onto their sleeve or lapel while they twist and turn violently in order to break free of your grip. That pretty much leaves half guard as my final line of defense before winding up in bottom of side control. I’ve been getting better at half guard, but I’m still not comfortable enough in the position to prevent any and all guard passes. On a side note, I was able to take the back of a blue belt tonight who has an incredibly advanced guard that I rarely pass. I managed to stay on his back as he rolled all over the place in a desperate attempt to free himself, but then we rolled off the matts, so I let him go.