It has been awhile since I posted, and this post in particular is more than 10 days past due: On October 1, 2013, Helio Gracie Day, my academy had a 100 minute roll to celebrate Grandmaster Helio’s 100th birthday. It was a memorable night.

100 minutes of rolling is not to be approached lightly (or without some trepidation) by a 40-something with two glass shoulders who had just spent the past 11 hours like most days, seated behind a computer screen. I tried to watch my diet more carefully and get a little extra sleep for several days leading up to the 100 minute roll, and was sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. I tried to think of it as just another open mat, although I knew it would be more work than that – fewer rests, no hanging out and chit-chatting. Walking through the door and seeing that a couple of the bigger guys – my nemeses – were there, I knew I was in for a long night…

Our professor set two timers, one for 100 minutes and the other for five minute rounds with a one minute break in between each round. He told us we could take a break whenever we needed to.

I took my first round off after about 25 minutes of rolling, and it was hard to believe we were only one-quarter through the session. But that turned out to be the last round I would take off. Yes, there were a few times where I needed more than a minute’s break between rounds, and ended up fighting for less than a full five-minute round, but for the most part I kept rolling.

After an hour, it was difficult to face the reality of still having another 40 minutes to go. At one point, something happened with the five-minute timer, and the round had probably reached nearly 10 minutes before someone realized the timer was not set. The good news was that the long round had taken a nice chunk of time off the clock.

Finally, during a break between rounds, our professor announced that only about 10 minutes remained. On one hand, 10 minutes out of 100 may not sound like much, but on the other hand, it meant yet another two rounds after the exhaustion of 90 minutes of grappling.

The 100-minute bell rang in the middle of the last round – so we kept rolling, finishing out the round and adding another minute or two on top of our 100.  Imagine the joyful sound of that final, round-ending bell…

I don’t have any particularly eloquent words to write about the experience, other than to simply say it was a satisfying feeling of accomplishment to get through it. I can’t say I went balls-out every round, but I don’t think anyone could for that long; volume and intensity are always inversely proportional. I also felt good about the fact that I was not particularly sore the next morning – although I still passed on my morning gym workout!