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’m sad to say that this week has been slow jiu jitsu wise. It seems like so many things are getting in the way of my training. The schedule at our academy and my school schedule are the big perpetrators here. Even being on fall break from school wasn’t a relief from this problem. I was able to get some well-earned relaxation time in over my break and even get some school work done, but jiu jitsu slipped through my fingers this week.


Right now our academy is in a huge transition period. The head instructor recently left and we are now under new instruction. He left us with an unconventional schedule that only worked for him, but it doesn’t work for our situation right now. Unfortunately, the jam-packed schedule has put me into a training slump. It’s hard to explain how the classes are set up, but I pretty much spend most of my time teaching. There are time slots that allow me to train, but I need that time to do homework. I haven’t had a hard training session in a few weeks and it’s very frustrating.


Breaking Muscle Shop

Thankfully, we are in the process of creating and implementing a new (normal) schedule that works for the instructors and students alike. I know my instructors/supervisors feel bad that I can’t train. They’re trying to get this problem fixed as soon as possible without rushing into a new schedule that could possibly be equally messed up. I can proudly say that I now work for and train with the best people in the world. They truly care about me and the other assistant instructors. We are like a family. Their main concern right now is making us happy and making our academy the best in the area. And because of them it already is.


Along with my training schedule being a bit screwy right now, I have a ton of school work to do all the time. It’s like all my teachers plan to give tests and make projects due in the same week. As I write this I’m stressing about how I’m going to finish a nutrition project, write a physics lab report, and study for my kinesiology test. Exercise science may sound like an easy major, but trust me - it’s probably one of the hardest majors at my school.


On a lighter note, the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials are this weekend. I’m not competing, but I have a few friends who are and I’m really excited for them! Also, the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) World Championship is this weekend! I’m hoping I can find a chance to sit down and watch the BJJ celebs do their thing in Beijing. I hope to be in ADCC one day.


But before I can worry about ADCC, I have to choke out college and get past my training slump. I want to close by saying I’m very grateful for the people at my academy. They really, truly, honestly care about the well-being of everyone at the academy. This big change has been rough, but with these guys in charge I know our academy is going to soar. It’s definitely an adventure right now, and I wouldn’t want anyone else other than them guiding us through.

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