I had to take the MPRE this morning. For non-lawyers, that's the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. Every aspiring lawyer must pass it in order to gain admission to the bar. Of course, I didn't give as much time to studying as I could have, but I felt OK coming out of it. So there's that.
Also, Klint is gone for the month learning a combatives system. So I had three different instructors at the three classes I got to this week. All three of them were able to attend the seminar with Fabio Gurgel last weekend that I missed. Two days, three hours per day, privates available if you have the time and dough. And I was 400 miles away helping my brother celebrate his 30th. But no worries. Two purple belts and a brown belt took the time to fill in for Klint and teach us some of what they learned. A new approach to side control. A very strange armbar from the top. Refinements to a butterfly sweep.
Having different instructors for the next month is going to be interesting. I've taken classes from Brady before, but never from Chris or Gina. Brady is a small wrestler, so his approach is very different from my own. But that also means that I have a lot to learn from him. His first class was a lot of discussion and a few test balloons---we tried out the position a little bit, and then got to talking about it a bunch, showing a few adjustments to make and then theorizing about how to get around them an how to work them into our game. That came at the expense of trying them out fully, but that will come. Gina is a tiny tiny brown belt, and she's fierce. Her favorite position is knee-on-belly, and she'll put you there no matter how well you might think you're defending it. I'm probably most looking forward to her classes this month. Chris is a bit smaller than I am, but he's built solid. He's a tough purple who loves the old style jiu jitsu fights. He probably got us warmer before starting in on the techniques than I've ever gotten in class before. It's going to be a good month.
Friday I got to open mat across town, and for once I rolled with only higher belts. The timing worked out in my favor this week. I worked with Enrique (a purple who's shorter than I, but weighs the same because of the muscle he has packed onto his frame) first. He set us for 6 minute rounds, and we went at it. I lasted 5 minutes of the first before he tapped me, and I think our second round lasted something like 9 or 10 minutes. I was able to fight off a pretty deep ezekiel choke, and even got back to full guard after he passed once or twice. I noticed a serious improvement from the last time I worked with him. After that, I trained with Matt, a purple who is well-regarded in the academy. We had never trained before last night, so I didn't want to embarrass myself, but I also didn't want to throw my technique out the window. Thankfully, neither happened. Of course, I didn't end up finding any taps. but I did much better than I thought I would. I found some controlling positions, even dove in on a clock choke at one point (couldn't finish--my collar grip wasn't deep enough). He showed me a great roll to get out of the turtle when your opponent is behind you without hooks in, and complimented my game overall. After that, Brady and I worked for a few rounds. Then I went home to study for the aforementioned test a bit more. Yes, studying took a back seat to training. It's nothing new. And it's exactly how I want it.
Training as a blue belt is very different. I don't know why that is. It might be that the fact that your belt has some color on it gives you some confidence that you didn't have before. I didn't think I would perform as well as I did last night. Or against Chris on Thursday. Or Tony last week. I am more willing to take actual positional risks more often, figuring that I'll find a way back to neutral (or at least out from under a bad spot). I find myself in something of a groove with my training. Of course, I'd like to hit three-a-days like some people I know, but I'll settle with two hours a night, 4 or 5 times a week. I don't know whether I really want to look into competing more, but that's something for after school if at all. I need to get this diploma under my belt, otherwise these last few years have been really very confusing.