I was glad to see a few fellow white belts in class tonight. It gave me an opportunity to really work on my closed guard during sparring. Most upper belts avoid coming into your closed guard, and even if you get them there, they certainly aren’t going to be hanging out there for long if they can help it. Newer white belts, on the other hand, have not yet learned just how vulnerable they are to submissions and sweeps from closed guard. Either that, or they don’t yet have the technical proficiency to avoid being placed in closed guard. I was able to spend a lot of time really working on controlling their posture, and then maneuvering my way to the omoplata/triangle. I usually start with omoplata, but sometimes switch to the triangle if the opening presents itself. I feel more confident with my omoplata, but feel like my triangle is coming along as well. The trick with the triangle is to control them long enough to sink it in without burning out your leg muscles. I also was able to use the triangle as a sweep to get on top, similar to what Royce Gracie did when he fought Jason DeLucia in the original Gracie in action video, except in my case, my partner turned belly down (a bad idea), so I ended up taking his back, which is a great position for me to be in. I also sparred with two blue belts. I felt like I held my own with them, but I certainly wasn’t able to channel my inner Royce Gracie in the same way as I had done with the white belts. I did manage to pass the guard of one of the blue belts, after much effort. However, he was able to recover half guard after I attempted to transition to mount. It didn’t occur to me until long after the match that I should have tried the move we have been drilling all week, which is tailor made for exactly that situation. It’s one thing to learn a technique, and quite another to reflexively use it, without thinking, in a real sparring situation. One thing is for sure, I’m definitely going to try that move the next time I wind up in that position.

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