Several people have injuries of one kind or another, and so were unable to spar. That left a smaller than normal pool of sparring partners to choose from. I try to be as careful as I can to avoid injuries, because it can take you off the mats for weeks at a time, if not longer. It’s a balancing act. You want to give it your all during sparring, while still ensuring your own safety as well as that of your partner. The key for me so far is to not be too emotionally attached to the outcome of a given match. My goal is not to win a contest, but rather to practice the moves I have learned so far in a realistic combat setting. Sometimes the moves don’t work, or I may get submitted for my efforts. It’s all part of the learning process. Right now, I think the main thing holding me back is my stamina. Of course, age is a factor, but I still think I can improve in this area, especially if I work more on controlling my breathing. This is something that I frequently neglect during the heat of battle. If I can avoid getting tired so quickly, I think my odds of winning every now and again will increase dramatically, even against some of these younger guys.

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