The Jiu Jitsu World Championships are coming up in May, so everyone seems a little more aggressive during sparring. I try to match the intensity as best as I can, but I have my limits. I typically don’t fight sweeps and guard passes as if it were a life and death struggle. Since most people outweigh me, I usually end up on the short end of that stick anyway. Instead, I resort to practicing my bottom defense. Not surprisingly, my ability to defend submissions from the bottom of side control and mount is the strongest aspect of my jiu jitsu game right now. What’s more, for the first time, I even feel like I have a decent defense strategy against Ezekiel chokes. I was also able to escape back attacks from two different individuals, one of whom had almost always submitted me with the bow and arrow choke, once he took my back. Tonight, not only did I escape his bow and arrow, thanks to what I’ve been learning from Ryron and Rener Gracie, I was actually able to get back on top. The main casualty of tonight’s sparring was my right ring finger. All of the twisting and turning during the grip fighting has made it very sore. Hopefully, it won’t affect my performance in the next class. I may have to spar with minimal reliance on grips.