Friday’s are almost always a grueling BJJ marathon. At 2 1/2 hours, this time was no exception. I do reasonably OK against many of the similar sized or smaller people, but I was getting hammered by the stronger, more aggressive, white belts. I did my best to defend, but I can’t match their intensity. Luckily, the upper belts usually don’t feel like they have anything to prove, so even though they pushed me hard, it was actually easier to deal with them in some ways. My breaking point was around 45 minutes to an hour of sparring, when a large blue belt, who outweighed me by at least 50 pounds, was laying on top of me in side control. I know the defenses, but I was so tired, and he was so heavy, that I couldn’t move. He had all his weight on my ribs as well, so I couldn’t hardly breath either (actually, ten minutes later, even the 15 year girl in our class was manhandling me, although I was at least able to get her into an arm bar setup at one point). Fortunately, he took pity on me, and placed me in top position in his closed guard. This allowed me to rest a bit, while still practicing defending his attacks from closed guard. He gave me a few extra tips about strategies for getting to a position in which you can catch your breath and get a rest. This is the main thing holding me back. While I’m getting better all the time technically, I simply can’t match the intensity of the younger fighters. I have to keep looking for ways to fight from positions that require the least amount of energy on my part. If I can master that skill, I still may not be able to dominate the bigger and stronger fighters, but at least I will be more able to effectively neutralize their attacks.