Back to School (Athlete Journal 48)

This week was the start of the new school year and a new major for me, so I’ve adjusted my training accordingly.

I’m finally back to normal! Or at least my health is. I don’t think I’ll ever consider my brain to be normal, but that’s for a different time. I’m also back in school now, but don’t expect too much complaining from me this semester.

A New Start

Classes have started back up at the University of Scranton, and it’s bittersweet for me. I’m excited to start my new life as a communication major, but I wasn’t ready to give up summer yet. I could have used another month of spending my days doing whatever I want and training as much as I could. I was enjoying my summer life, and I feel as if it was ripped away from me way too abruptly.

It’s not all bad, though. I like all of my classes so far. The teachers in the communication department are awesome, and it’s nice being around people who share similar interests as mine. I haven’t forgotten about my exercise science friends, though. They helped me get through my first two years of college – the insanely difficult exams, endless lab reports, and the stress of trying to keep everything under control. Those are the type of people you just shouldn’t forget about.

How I’m Adjusting My Training

Now that school is back in session, I can’t get my morning training sessions in anymore. I used the morning classes to get extra rounds with different people. It sucks that I can’t make it, but that just means I need to work harder during the classes I can make. I’m currently getting ready for the IBJJF No Gi Pan Ams, so every second counts.

Luckily, I don’t think school will hinder me from getting a reasonable amount of training in every week. It doesn’t seem like I’ll have a hard time balancing training time with homework and studying time. I really hope I’m not jinxing myself.

In BJJ class this week we worked on guard transitions. We went over how to switch between different guards when someone is pressuring you or peeling the components away. Frank put it really well when he said, “One guard won’t answer all your questions.” Everyone has a guard that he or she prefers to play, but it may not always be the best choice for what your partner or opponent is giving you. I might love playing spider guard, but if my opponent starts to back away with my feet on his or her biceps, I have to switch to something different, such as de la Riva guard.

I enjoy drilling and practicing stuff like that. Sometimes while I’m rolling with someone and playing a certain guard, I’m so stuck in my ways I can’t see when he or she starts to pick it apart. This leads to my guard getting passed, and I did all of that work for nothing. Drilling situations like that open my eyes and make me more aware while I’m rolling.

I think we all get stubborn when we roll. But it’s important to remember you need to always be reacting to what your partner gives up, even if you’re already in the middle of a specific technique. I need to remember to keep that concept in mind.

Short entry this week. There isn’t much to talk about other than my training and my first week of school. Hopefully I’ll have juicier info for you next week. Peace!

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.