I had a moment during king of the mat in the advanced class on Wednesday, where I actually thought I was going to pass Tumbleweed’s guard, which would’ve been the first time ever! I was so close, and if I could’ve just broken a sleeve grip, I would’ve been home free, but that didn’t happen, and he swept me. Still, that’s the closest I’ve come to passing Mike’s guard, so I consider it a limited success!
A couple of years ago when we were still training Jiu-Jitsu at the dojo, I heard someone say that they thought Mike rolled too hard, and I found it funny, since he’s the smallest guy in class! I believe that Mike grapples aggressively, but not hard, and when he beats me (which is always and often), I can never say it’s because he used size or strength, it’s pure technique. He doesn’t take it easy on me, and he’s probably tapped me out hundreds of times, but he’s never once hurt me.
Mike is currently a three-stripe blue belt, but for the upcoming local tournament, he entered the purple belt division, and when I asked him if it was because there were no other light featherweight blue belts signed up, or because he wanted a challenge, he said “Both”. I told him I thought it was a good idea, because even when he’s moved up weight classes in the past, he’s mostly blown through the local blue belts.
I admire Tumbleweed’s decision to challenge himself by competing up a belt level, and I really don’t think he has anything to lose. Even if he doesn’t win his matches, he would probably learn more by being beaten by purple belts than by getting gold again in blue!