Athlete Journal: Jess Papi, Entry 21 – 2/22/2014

This week we received some updates about what will be allowed at the upcoming tournament. I’m also enjoying the strength and conditioning I’ve added to my training.

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.

I’ll be honest. Every week when I sit down to write my journals I have to think hard about what I did in the past seven days. I have the memory of a squirrel sometimes. On some occasions, I’ll remember if you burned me in some way, but most of the time I can’t remember what I ate the day before. Well, I can remember, but it takes a lot of thinking.

But this journal is about my training, not about how I live in complete oblivion. So let’s move on. Many of us are getting ready for the submission-only tournament on March 15th. Usually The Goodfight uses the IBJJF rule set, but I think this time they have adopted the rule set for Gracie Nationals. That means purple belts and blue belts (such as myself) are allowed to hit knee bars, calf and bicep cutters, twisters, and lady makers. I wish I was allowed to throw heel hooks and toe holds, but I’m also very afraid of getting heel-hooked, so I guess I can’t complain.

Because our purple and blue belts are allowed to use these submissions at this tournament, Dominic and Frank have been showing us how to use them and defend them in the advanced classes. I really like the calf cutter and knee bar. I don’t think I would actually use a lady maker or twister unless I was in the perfect position for it. In other words, I wouldn’t go looking for those submissions. I still have time to drill them, though, so I guess we’ll see what I think next week.

One thing that’s bugging me is the way the women’s divisions will be orchestrated at this tournament. On the website it says that if there are not enough women, they are going to combine white and blue belts and make it round robin. I don’t so much disagree with round robin, but I’m nervous about mixing white belts and blue belts. If there is a match between a white and a blue, they will be using the white belt rules, which don’t include the submissions I mentioned above. Up until the tournament I will be adding these submissions into my game. I’m afraid I will accidently use one these submissions on a white belt and get disqualified.

My coaches have been telling me not to worry too much about this, but it still bothers me.

I feel that training at Driven Athletics is helping me out a lot. They’ve pinpointed my weaknesses and are giving me exercises to fix my specific problems. Talking to the coaches also helps me relate what I’ve learned in school to real-life situations. I noticed that I’ve been thinking on a more anatomical level lately, both in strength training and jiu jitsu. Instead of referring to my leg as “my leg”, I can speak about it in terms of specific muscles or bones. At least I know all this work I do for school is serving its purpose. I would be pretty upset if I went through all this trouble for nothing!

I hope I didn’t miss anything super interesting or important. I think I pretty much covered everything I wanted to say. I hope everyone has a lovely week!

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