Tonight, I executed my game plan all the way through against a blue belt who outweighed me by about 35 pounds. I started on bottom, swept him with my x guard sweep, passed his guard with my preferred guard pass, did a few side switches, then submitted him with an arm bar. A few months ago, this achievement alone would have been cause for celebration. That’s because, a year ago, I was usually lucky to survive five minutes with him without getting submitted at least once. In fact, spending so much time in the bottom of side control against opponents like him is how I had improved my bottom defense so much. However, tonight’s successful arm bar was overshadowed by something else. Another blue belt exposed a flaw in my x guard game. I put him into single leg x guard several times, and each time I attempted to transition to full x guard, he would free his trapped leg, and pass my guard. Despite my success against the other blue belt, it was this failure that consumed my thoughts all the next day. I believe I now know what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it, but the larger issue is a realization that my expectations of myself are slowly starting to change. Rather than be content with my success against the first blue belt, I was more focused on figuring out how to correct the flaw in my x guard game exposed by the second blue belt.

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