Jiu Jitsu Is Awesome (Athlete Journal 35)

Jess Papi

Athlete Journal - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Jiu jitsu is awesome. It’s the one thing I feel completely comfortable doing. I don’t have to worry about being judged or criticized. I don’t get nervous or anxious while I’m doing it. I just do it. It comes naturally.


Today I was thinking about my different roles in life: college student, jiu jitsu instructor, daughter, sister, girlfriend, best friend. I love being all of those things, but the one role I play that I feel really good at is simply being a jiu jitsu practitioner. Believe me, I love teaching and trying to be the best person I can be, but sometimes those things can be demanding. I believe most people would agree with me on that. I realized today that the one thing I don’t have to stress about is training jiu jitsu.



Jiu Jitsu Is Awesome (Athlete Journal 35) - Fitness, martial arts, BJJ, athlete journals


Of course, we all have our diva moments and wonder why we suck at jiu jitsu sometimes, but think about the last roll you had. Whether it was a flow roll or a competition level roll, it probably felt great just to be out there on the mats training. I’ll be the first to admit that I can get angry when I can’t complete a technique during a live roll, but I was thinking about the rolls I had this past week, and I realized that on the mat is where I belong. Jiu jitsu helps me forget about my responsibilities for an hour or two and lets me escape.



I think we’ve all heard the analogy of jiu jitsu being like a human chess game. This statement is true, but did you ever notice that sometimes when you’re rolling, you’re not really thinking? You’re just kind of going with the flow and doing the techniques that have been programmed into your muscles. I noticed that this week during training.


I can’t speak for people who are new to jiu jitsu, but I know I’ll go into states when I forget about focusing on the new technique I just learned, and do the things that present themselves during the roll. For example, instead of trying to complete a guard pass step by step, sometimes an opening will present itself and you just take the opportunity no matter what it looks or feels like. I really hope this makes sense to other people and I’m not just crazy.


During those mindless rounds, you’re probably not worried about fine-tuning your movements or incorporating that new sweep you just learned. You’re just there, in the moment, training jiu jitsu. Nothing else matters. All of your stupid little problems go away for that chunk of time and you can just breathe and relax. That’s why jiu jitsu is so awesome. It can make you think and wrack your brain to the point of frustration, yet it can also cause you to not think at all.


I guess you can say I had a pretty good week. I spent Memorial Day weekend with friends and family and it was very relaxing. I spent the rest of the week learning new techniques and just rolling. I can’t help but feel that I have some homework to do after writing this entry, but I’m sure that’ll go away soon!


Jess Papi 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.


Photo courtesy of Cauliphlower.

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