Class was somewhat laid back tonight, since some people will be competing in the Atlanta Open this weekend. I’m continuing to work on my 50/50 guard and my X guard. I had success with it tonight against several people, although I can tell that my technique still needs a lot of refinement. I can usually catch it easily on somebody who does not know the position that well, but it’s more difficult to pull off against someone who knows what you are attempting. Worst case, my strategy fails and I get my guard passed, but that can happen anyway. In terms of the self defense aspect of 50/50 and X guard, I concede that it might be dangerous to use these guards in a self defense situation. On the other hand, I have a hard time seeing why you would ever need to use such guards in a self defense situation. Most street attackers do not possess the kind of sophisticated grappling skills that would necessitate resorting to such tactics. In any case, while I am a fan of self defense, I don’t have a problem with learning sport techniques. In my opinion, martial arts techniques don’t always have to have a “real world” application. Sport techniques can be a great way of developing positional awareness and body coordination. Also, some of you may remember when I used to stand on a balance beam and catch arrows in mid flight, which was part of my kung fu training as a teenager. It was a great way of developing balance and reflexes, even though I highly doubt I’ll ever have to dodge arrows while balancing on a high wire for real, barring any unforeseen ninja attacks of course.