Friday evening started with a few rounds of free guard passing.
So far, that's never been one of my most enjoyable pastimes, I always looked at it as a bit of a chore. I suppose mainly because I get swept pretty easily when I try to pass. When I'm on the bottom, I get passed way too often. But here, like in a lot of other areas, I'm experiencing a fundamental shift in thinking. Rather than looking at problems, I see opportunities now. So in a way, I'm putting aside the worry of not succeeding and trying out new things. That allows me to think of what sort of game my partner plays and to challenge him. So far this has been a passive process for me, in that I was merely responding to the problems (see, there is that word again!) I was handed. Now I'm actively seeking means and ways to pass or to sweep, and I'm adjusting to their game. Where one thing doesn't work, I try something else until I find a way. The result: guard passes and sweeps. Not always of course. But the best bit is that I really enjoyed this exploration of techniques. I even experimented with open guard and had some success.
The rest of the class was spent on wrestling. During assorted rolls, I hit a couple of figure fours. I was armbarred and choked a few times. I was swept, but I also pulled off a few sweeps, including the one I worked on the night before. Several rounds lasted for ages, and again, I managed to get good positions and attacked arms and necks. I continue to defend quite well, giving the senior guys a lot of problems. I no longer feel like a grappling dummy, that's for sure.
By the end of the class, I was pretty tired. I was also quite happy about the new things I learned. And that there was no point at any time when I didn't have a goto or a submission I could try. So things must be coming together.