Tonight featured some interesting match ups. We did both free style sparring, and then the coach gave us a rest, while several blue belts were paired up for full tournament rules matches. The first match was exciting, because it featured two brothers. The older brother won on points, but it was a close match. The younger brother then fought another tough blue belt. I guess he somewhat redeemed himself in the second match since he practically choked the guy unconscious. I think his opponent is the type who refuses to tap. I’m not so impressed by that kind of bravado. Solid defense is what impresses me. I find that guys who have very advanced guards sometimes have very poor defense, once their guards do get passed (and everybody gets their guard passed sooner or later). For my part, I did OK, with the exception of one guy, a white belt who had trained in jiu jitsu for three years before heading off to college. We have roughly similar builds, and fighting styles, but he had youth on me. I had grappled with him once before, but wasn’t overly impressed by his offense at that time. However, tonight, he was on fire! I regularly spar against good opponents, and rarely get submitted more than occasionally. This kid was submitting me left and right. It was fascinating. Every time I escaped one thing, he immediately transitioned to something else. Even the head coach seemed baffled, and asked me what I thought was different about him as opposed to the others. My best guess is that he is faster on his transitions from move to move than a lot of the others. A lot of the blue belts will pause more between moves, allowing me more time to regroup. But, this kid was relentless. However, this mainly applies to his top game. I noticed that once I finally took top position, he wasn’t nearly as formidable. In fact, I was able to redeem myself somewhat at the end by taking his back and submitting him with an arm bar. In other words, both of us have strong top games, both of us have mediocre guards, and both of us have good submission defense, unless going against someone with a similar style. I hope he comes more often in the future, because I really feel like I could improve by deciphering his game more.