We did a lot of positional sparring tonight. Since I have been focused on my bottom game lately, I made sure to volunteer to start on my back in the position. My goal was to get from the starting position to my guard of choice, which is the single leg x guard. I was generally successful with everybody except a brown belt, who easily passed my guard. I think I know exactly how he did it, but I’m still in the process of thinking about an effective strategy to deal with such situations. The most memorable match was the final one of the evening. It was memorable because I felt like I should have performed better. My opponent was a blue belt who outweighed me by at least 40 pounds or more. I was doing well at first, and had even swept him into side control with an omoplata attack. However, about half way through the match, I could feel that my gas tank was almost empty, and ended up giving up a great attacking position due to fatigue. Fortunately, there aren’t many blue belts that can submit me on a regular basis, and I was able to bide my time until I could get back on top again. At one point, I had passed his guard and was setting him up for a bread cutter choke, but was so tired, all I could do was lay on top of him and try to catch my breath. He was strong enough to be able to sit straight up, and I was too tired to scramble to a new position. Back down to the bottom of side control I went! The match ended with him in my closed guard, but I felt like I could have easily submitted him several times, if I hadn’t run out of steam. I have to think some more about how to pace myself better during such matches, so that I don’t completely gas myself with three or four minutes still left to go. Also, having recently completed several books on the history of Brazilian Jiu jitsu, I just started a new book about Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. BJJ has its roots in judo, but it subsequently evolved into a distinct art in its own right. I’m fascinated with how exactly this happened and who made which contributions.

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