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.


This week was quite eventful. Not only did cool things happen for me, but some cool stuff happened for my teammates and for the jiu jitsu community in general. I’m going to tell you about myself first and then I’ll get into some more important things.


To start things off, I have some pretty big news about my life. After a lot of thinking and listening to advice from people I trust, I decided to leave my normal-person job. It was amicable and I was invited to come back if I ever needed to. The job was fun and I loved the people I was working with. I had to leave, though, because I didn’t have the time to commit myself to the job. I have a history of spreading myself too thin, so I’m hoping this will alleviate some stress in my life.


Breaking Muscle Shop

Although I was sad to leave my manager and co-workers, I am happy and grateful to still be working at Scranton MMA, a place I call my second home. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to have a job in the jiu jitsu industry. I don’t know how I got so lucky. I get to do what I love every day while making money. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but this is a rare opportunity and I just feel blessed!


Speaking of being blessed, I have to mention my training partners. Five people from my school competed last weekend and they all did awesome. They spent the entire day battling it out at the Goodfight in King of Prussia and they brought home a total of seven medals. I’m proud of them. It goes to show that we smaller schools can represent too. When our team goes out to compete, we’re definitely aiming to win, but we also want to be as respectful as possible. These guys displayed that mentality this weekend and it was a great day for Scranton MMA.


Now, in bigger jiu jitsu news, this week we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the UFC! This is especially exciting for me because my school is part of the Royce Gracie network. Royce won the first UFC event, showing the world that a smaller jiu jitsu fighter can beat a bigger opponent in any other discipline. He paved the way for how we think about martial arts.


Royce Gracie will be visiting Scranton MMA this Thursday, November 21st. He is teaching a seminar from 6:00pm - 8:00pm and will be staying afterwards for a party celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the UFC. We will be screening Royce’s fights and he will be able to answer all your questions about them. Anyone is welcome to come and the cost for the whole thing is $60! If you’re interested in attending, you can learn more at the event Facebook page. You’re also encouraged to preregister for the event here.


It would mean a lot to us to have a big turnout for our very special guest. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to learn from a legend and then eat pizza with the guy? It’s a no-brainer.


So that’s my week. I hope you enjoyed my journal entry and I hope even more that you can make it to the seminar! Cheerios! 

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