My buddy actually has a comp coming up in my area on the 29th. I'm hoping to attend. If he loses I'll probably lay into him a bit on how he needs to sit back and train with some decent people who are looking out for him. I get the impression he's with a gym that's trying to make a name for itself and are willing to try and use him for it along with not being well versed in MMA from what he's told me. I hope my long post didn't come across as talking down or anything. Everything I commented on was from my own experiences and/or seeing it in people in the boxing gym I'm in now. The panic, moving backwards, and not hitting back usually come every time you start sparring with better guys when you're reaching for that "next level." The better and better you get, the better your sparring partners or opponent is going to be (if you're trying to get better) and sometimes it can be overwhelming. Best part about it is if you stick with it, and then you spar with somebody that is where you were at 4+ months ago it feels real good and you can really see and know what you've improved on. Your club sounds like it's a good club though, so I'm sure they'll tell you exactly what you need to know from your training as well as sparring which is going to be way better then an internet analysis! Sparring is your best bet, and you don't have to go full speed to get a lot of learning in!