Code MMA: Tonight was a nice 19:30 to 21:30 session, starting with some ‘free rolling’ to warm up. I love starting with free rolling, its a great way to get the blood flowing, and engage the body and mind ready for the session ahead! For the main body of the lesson, instructor Adam Gold took us through a sequence utilising a ‘rubber guard’ to obtain various submissions. I’ve got what Adam calls ‘baby hips’, so naturally I love the rubber guard! After going through some technical for a while we went on to some drilling; three guys on the tatami, each with an opponent in their closed guard. The aim of the drill was for the person with the guard on to either sweep or submit – the person in the guard had to either obtain side control, mount, north/south, or get the back. Winner stays on. I found this to be an obvious learning opportunity; I have a bad habit of being a little too comfortable taking an open guard; however, each time I came on to the tatami I found myself having to pass guard and avoid the sweep – definitely an area of improvement for me! Lastly we went to an ‘open mat’ where we had nice 5 minuet rounds of newaza, changing partners each time. Hitting the sparring rounds is always my favourite part of the lesson, I love having the opportunity to spar with a very eclectic group of people; Some were fast and nimble, others strong and experienced, and a few were new and emerging. I took each win and each loss as a chance to push myself and learn; I found two particular challenges: controlling quick energetic partners, and avoiding sweeps from the strong and stable guys. I look at these individuals as complex questions… I can’t wait to work out the answer!