1. I was paired with a woman in our class Monday night, a lower belt who's doing well at grappling. My sensei said, "Don't crush her." I'm rarely paired with women. I wanted to let her work on her grappling. At first, I got her into an arm triangle forcing her to tap out. But then I let her go for submissions; twice she went for guillotines, and while I didn't give her the submissions, I also didn't try to power out of them or use really rigorous defense; I just tapped out. I thought it would be good for her to get the tapouts.
Later I wondered, did I do the right thing? My sensei and very skilled black belts like Anthony don't allow themselves to be tapped out. Did I lose standing in the eyes of some classmates by tapping out to a lower-belt female? Or is it in my head?
2. I've come to realize I have a psychological block in grappling: When an opponent has good side control, is putting a lot of weight on me--especially when some of that pressure is on my mouth--I find myself becoming short of breath, worrying that I won't get enough oxygen. In short, I panic. And I tap out, even though I'm not in a choke or lock. It's happening with increasing frequency.
I'll certainly talk with my sensei about it, but: How do I break that debilitating panic reaction?
Standup sparring is going well, I feel like I'm learning a lot by going to two classes a week. There's always lots to learn, but I no longer feel like I'm stuck on a plateau, not making any advances.