After wearing myself out like crazy my first couple classes I finally started to rethink my tactics. I, the new student, was trying to muscle my way through with more experienced guys. My opponents let me too. They let me muscle with everything in me until I wore myself out. Once I was spent, it was even easier for them to submit me. I was spending a ridiculous amount of energy trying to muscle someone off of me. Then the instruction to stop trying to muscle my way through finally clicked:
“It is easier to move oneself than to move the object”
When you try to move your opponent you have to move yourself, the muscles you are using to position and leverage, and your opponent with all of their weight.
Your opponent during this has to do very little and the result will be that you expend much more energy. If they are also laying their weight into you or holding on then you’ll run through your energy that much faster. If your opponent is using pressure mechanics and a technique for breaking posture then it gets even worse. Trying to muscle a large object, that is simultaneously pushing the air from your lungs is a terrible strategy.
In any of these scenarios, focus on moving yourself. If you can get yourself positioned well in BJJ, then you can regain an advantage, break your opponents base or open their guard for attacks.