When on vacation, Shark Girl likes to train at other gyms. It keeps me sharp. Plus, the foreign warm-ups make me feel like a white belt again. I also have many interesting experiences when I roll on strange mats. Like this recent one:
My partner was the same belt as me, but lower in stripes. He was a young buck: spry and muscley, on the smaller side. We had a good go around for while.
He got me in open guard; I passed.
He went for a footlock; I escaped.
Finally, I got on top; he escaped. He was tiring out, though, because I quickly wound up back on top.
He escaped again, and we went back and forth a few more times until he could no longer find his way out of my top control.
I went for a choke.
I could see in his eyes he was defeated. They were the eyes of a scared animal, darting back and forth, unsure of what path leads to safety, but sure that staying still is death (by suffocation).
I tightened my choke. He started breathing more deeply, trying to get more air with each breath.
I tightened my choke a little more. His face was getting red.
At this point, I realized this man was not tapping. At all. He was going to do something really stupid, like pass out.
So, what did Shark Girl do? I saved his ego. “Do I have this?” I asked demurely.
“What? Was that a ‘no’?”
He sputtered some more and shook his head.
“Okay. Darn. I thought I had it.” I let go and the buzzer rang. “Thanks for a great roll,” I smiled.