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.


It’s getting closer to tournament time! We’ve all been working hard getting extra drills and rounds. The number of people from our academy who are competing has been growing. It’s also getting closer to spring break time, and the Lord knows I need a week off from school.


Spring break starts on March 15th, which is the same day that I’m competing, It will be a very eventful day, which won't be much different from my current routine. Every day I am doing things nonstop. I wake up, go to school, train and/or teach, and do homework until late at night. Rinse and repeat. I’ve been able to handle it all without any major nervous breakdowns, but I could definitely go for some "nothing time." Everyone needs a little break once in a while. I might even try to make it to the chiropractor, considering I haven’t been there in months.

Breaking Muscle Shop


Training this week has been a mish mosh of many things. Throughout all of March, the judo instructors at Scranton MMA will be teaching freestyle judo techniques, which involves being able to attack the legs. This is important for jiu jitsu people, especially competitors. We don't teach many takedowns in our beginner jiu jitsu classes, so this is great for them to learn some takedowns before the tournament.


In our jiu jitsu classes we have just been doing a lot of drilling and rolling. With so many of us planning to compete, it is important that we are comfortable with the rules and time limits. We try to make our rolls as realistic as possible by setting the time limit to fifteen minutes and applying the rules set by the tournament. This ensures that no one is surprised by anything they see or hear the day of the tournament.


Right now the brackets for the tournament look pretty good for the women. There are currently six total females signed up: four blue belts and two white belts. I’m hoping more women sign up so we can be divided into fair brackets. I think it would unfair for white belt women to fight women who are more experienced. It would also be unfair to the blue belts who can’t use the knee bars and ankle locks they have probably been drilling for months.


On a completely different note, Lent has begun! Unfortunately I did not participate in Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). I didn’t put a lot of thought into what I wanted to give up for Lent, but I randomly decided on Ash Wednesday that I would give up potato chips. You all know that potato chips are my kryptonite. Hopefully Lent will help me stay on track with my nutrition.


I am currently writing this at quarter after one in the morning, which means I have already gone through my other homework and studying, but not much happened this week anyway. In general, it was a good week and I hope yours has been good, too. Peace!

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