One of the reasons that some of the advanced classes at LBJJC have been bigger lately is because we’ve had an influx of new blue belts turning up, and I think that’s partially because another BJJ school in Lincoln has closed down. Whenever we have ranked students visiting, or newly joining, Professor Greg rarely pairs me to roll with them (which I don’t mind, because rolling with strangers is scary!), but during the advanced class on Wednesday, he had me roll with one of the new blue belts twice (positional sparring and a free roll). When I roll with someone who has trained elsewhere, I always want to perform well (because I don’t want to make my school look bad!), and I believe I succeeded adequately on Wednesday.
The blue belt I rolled with (who I have nicknamed Rhett Butler) outweighs me by at least fifty pounds, and it didn’t really seem like he was holding back (but he didn’t use unnecessary roughness!), and I performed better than I was expecting. When I started on top during the positional sparring from butterfly guard, I was able to pass to half guard, and while I was there, I heard The Professor coaching Rhett, which I believe is the first time in the advanced class that Greg has ever coached my partner instead of me! In the end, I had almost passed to side control when the buzzer went off, and Rhett graciously told me “You would’ve gotten it.”.
Then I spent most of our seven-minute free roll defending, but he only submitted me once, with an armbar. Afterward he remarked that my defense was really good, especially against back mount, and I thought “Thanks Greg and Mike!”, because they’ve both spent a lot of time on my back. At one point during our roll, Rhett was trying to get a collar choke on me, and inside my head I could hear Jerad’s voice saying “Put your hands where he wants his hands to be.”, and it totally worked, so also thanks to Jerad!
I hope Rhett Butler is here to stay, because I enjoyed rolling with him, and having more advanced students can only strengthen Lincoln BJJ Center. It’s been so incredible to see how in just a couple of years, we’ve progressed from a small group who transferred from the dojo, into a thriving school with countless white belts of every stripe, several new blue (and one purple) belts of our own, as well as colored belts from different schools, states, and even other countries!
“Kick off your shoes, start losin’ the blues.
This old house ain’t got nothin’ to lose.
Seen it all for years, start spreadin’ the news.
We got room on the floor, come on baby shake sumpin’ loose.”
-Stevie Ray Vaughn