And when I returned to the mat, something else entirely happened.
We worked through the week's techniques in class on Thursday, and added a few that they must have done on Tuesday and Wednesday (because I don't remember them). Again, working out of side control and trying to recognize indicators that your opponent gives you, each of which tells you to move on to a different technique. Then you string them together so that no matter what your opponent does to keep you in side control, you have an answer, something that either gets you back to guard or reverses the position.
Thankfully, this class did not start with "real life self-defense" practice.
After class, I got to train with Colin. And I did very, very well against him. We're fairly evenly matched--got our blue belts within a few weeks of one another, roughly the same size (even though he has ten to twenty pounds on me), and we're both pretty athletic and competitive people. So we got to train at a pretty decent pace without going break-neck. I felt confident, in control, never behind, and aggressive.
After class, Klint was walking out and asked if I was alright after the other night, that I seemed pretty broken up at the time. Yeah, I'm all good, I said, sometimes the five-year-old in me decides he needs to break out. I told him I was just reacting to the drubbing he'd given me, and he said he was being aggressive on purpose. "Oh I know," I told him, "and it isn't like I didn't know at the time, that was just the reaction my psyche decided to have that night." Having an instructor so invested in my progression, as I'm sure I've said before, is very comforting. And I know that I'll benefit from getting wrecked like that--it won't even be in the long-run, the benefits will start showing in short order. And I think Colin was their first display.