On Monday after I wrote the post about being a guard player, we did a “guard gauntlet” during the advanced class at Lincoln BJJ that night! Three people started out on the bottom, and each were assigned a different form of guard. I was on the mat with Greg and Jerad for the first round, and the guard I was given was “closed”.
It was hard for me to resist the temptation to immediately open my guard, because that is what I prefer, but I figured I should at least try to work on keeping it closed as long as I could. I was actually happy with how I performed during the gauntlet, I didn’t submit anyone, but I was able to get a couple of sweeps, and my guard wasn’t passed as often as normal (probably because I didn’t have to go against Greg or Jerad! ;).
When I was on the top side of rotation, I had the hardest time against Israel, who was working on his half-guard. You’d think that would’ve actually been easier because I was on top and already halfway passed his guard, right? But he’s a Gracie Barra purple belt who recently moved to Nebraska and started training at Lincoln BJJ Center, so he has skills, and he’s not afraid to use them on me!
During my roll at the end of class with Air Force Brian (aka Briangle), I didn’t use any form of guard for a change! That’s because he let me have top side control when we started, and I was able to hold it for most of the roll. I couldn’t mount or tap him, and he eventually reversed me, but I was surprised by how long I stayed on top! I thanked him for letting me work on my top game and he said “I figured if I suck at something then I need to let people put me in it, so I can improve.”
Briangle is an athletic three-stripe white belt who can submit me, and I thought it was an intelligent way for him to approach our roll. He used the time to work on a weaker aspect of his game, and that allowed me to do the same, so we both won in that roll.
“Gonna do my very best, and it ain’t no lie.
If you put me to the test, if you let me try.” -Abba