Classes are picking up. We now have a solid core group that’s larger than the Madison class ever was. It’s a bit odd being the big fish since everyone else is new save the MACP guy, who apparently used to wrestle. I’m doing better about not over-correcting them. We’ll roll and they’ll stop and say “I don’t know what to do here.” I’ll walk them through an escape or a sweep and we’ll keep going. I’ve also told them “Any time you’re somewhere that you’re not sure where you are or what to do it’s generally pretty safe to get back to full guard. At least for now.” The MACP guy is confident. It’s good. He does a few things that make me cringe like feeding one arm through the guard to try to open it and pass. I keep wanting to yell BOTH IN OR BOTH OUT! Wade was also nervous about him doing neck cranks. To be honest, if we’re not in the gi, I don’t care. As long as I’m wearing a mouth guard I’ll tap if it hurts. I hate being cross-faced without a mouth guard.
All-in-all I think it’s a good group. People are picking stuff up every class. Every class every individual is getting in at least 1-2 rolls. In a few months I’ll probably have to stop holding back with them and start wrestling instead of just playing from the guard and climbing them. It’s currently April, so they’ll all be up for their first stripe when I go for my stripe on the blue.
Also, per a conversation I had last night with Wade: it feels like everyone and their mother has a blue belt these days. It’s like the karate black belt ten years ago. There’s such variation. Some blue belts will rip your head off without trying, and others could get tapped by a newbie who has two weeks but learned the right stuff. Eric was the first Alliance guy that I’ve rolled with that I was truly impressed by the skill of. He was also the first Alliance purple belt I had rolled with. The variation among blue belts is something that I wished wasn’t there. It’s a bit silly to have some schools giving the blue out after a year like a belt factory and others holding it back for years until you show that you have the level of skill necessary. The argument that we need a NGB is strong and easy to make.