EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of Jess Papi. Jess is a blue belt at Scranton MMA and also pursuing her degree in exercise science. Read her entries every week for insights on competing, training, and juggling BJJ and life.
Wow, my twentieth entry! That’s about five months, I think! Anyway, this week was pretty awesome. It was packed full of great stuff. I learned some cool new techniques, helped teach jiu jitsu to some Tang Soo Do practitioners, and helped coach our teammate Brendan to two bronze medals in New York.
Over the past week I learned a lot of new techniques. Last week Dominic focused on teaching armbars from different positions. He went over the far side armbar from knee on belly and the near side armbar from scarfhold. I’ve learned these moves before, but I’ve long forgotten how to do them correctly. I’ve mentioned this before, but I tend to forget techniques after a couple of weeks. They always seem to slip my mind and then I fall back into the same set of moves. I’ve heard a saying that goes something like “It’s better to drill one move a thousand times rather know a thousand moves.” (I don’t think that’s the full quotation, and I’m sorry if I totally butchered it.) It definitely makes sense, but I would still like to have a lot of moves to have in my arsenal for different situations.
Dom also taught us some attacks from guard and high guard this week. I’m happy he went over it because I want to improve my guard game. I always go back and forth between trying to improve my passing and my guard playing. Once one gets better, the other suffers, so I have to make sure I’m constantly alternating and improving on both. Frank focused on half guard techniques this week. He noticed a lot of people having trouble with bottom half guard so he showed us how to play a more distanced game while on the bottom. He also touched on the lockdown position and deep half guard.
Along with all the learning I did this week, I also did a lot of teaching. On Friday a local group of Tang Soo Do students and teachers visited Scranton MMA for a private jiu jitsu session. We went over some side control escapes and a few submissions. It was interesting to see how different their mannerisms were from jiu jitsu students. Whenever spoken to, they showed undivided attention and would respond with, “Yes, sir” after every instruction. You can learn to be disciplined from jiu jitsu, but it can also sprout some “jits holes”.
“Jits holes” are those guys who think they’re better than everyone else. Your advice to them goes in one ear and out the other, even if you outrank them. They try to teach people their terrible techniques and ignore the fact that there is an actual instructor in the room. They’re the ones who roll their eyes when their technique is corrected by an instructor. But I digress. Jiu jitsu definitely teaches respect (especially at our school), but unfortunately not everyone is respectful. Our Tang Soo Do visitors were very respectful and I enjoyed having them in our academy.
Finally, I saved the best for last! Over the weekend one of our white belts, Brendan, competed at the Goodfight in Nyack, New York after only four months of training. Frank and I both went with him, Frank for coaching and me for moral support and encouragement. Brendan competed in both gi and no gi. He took third in both divisions and I couldn’t be happier! We must be doing something right with our new students. While I was there, I got to see a lot of my New York friends compete and they all did fantastic.
I can’t wait until my next tournament. I’m definitely doing the Goodfight in Philadelphia on March 15th. I found out that it’s going to be a submission-only tournament, so that means I need to train a little bit differently. I’m excited because it means I can focus on the submission instead of trying to rack up points in a confined amount of time.
And one more note before I wrap it up – school sucks and S&C is awesome. Talk to you next week!