Tonight, the coach had me go against another white belt in a refereed match. Normally, when we spar during training, the objective is to experiment with various moves, hopefully in a somewhat relaxed manner. That means you might risk losing a position for the sake of trying an unpolished move. In a refereed match, on the other hand, the objective is to win by either points or submission. This is when you do your tried and true moves. I was hoping that I could get a submission, but I ran into problems controlling my opponent. Even though I had him in mount at one point, he was able to escape, and even get on top of the fight. Luckily, his guard passing skills were less polished than my sweeps, so I was able to get back on top. I almost had him in a reverse triangle, but his head slipped out. I won the match on points, but felt I should have done a better job controlling him. The head coach seemed to agree, and pointed out that people often do poorly in competition, despite having good technique. If you are too loose with your controls, as we often are during regular training, a determined opponent, who doesn’t want to lose, will find a way to power out of your move if it’s a refereed match. Nobody likes to loose. I tried to take his notes to heart during the subsequent regular sparring rounds, two of which were with relatively inexperienced white belts. I lost the mount on one of them briefly, but was able to sweep him back into mount. Other than that one slip, I did a better job of controlling them both than the guy I sparred with earlier. I also was able to submit them both with arm bars by focusing more on transitions. Rather than statically remaining in one place until someone wiggles away, I need to focus more on switching positions, so that the person is never quite sure what I’m going to do.