Athlete Journal: Jess Papi, Entry 18 – 2/1/2014

Despite my injured knee, I slowly eased back into training this week, and am looking forward to competing in a tournament on February 8th.

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.

Greetings, Earthlings! Compared to last week, this week has been pretty darn good. With my injured knee I was only able to do minimal drilling last week, but this week I picked it up a little bit more.

I took three days off last week and then on Thursday I was back to teaching. Some of the techniques were a little difficult to execute properly because I couldn’t put any pressure on my knee (as in things like kneeling). Also, not being able flex my knee fully for a few days made it a little rusty. I got a little twinge while teaching tani otoshi, but it was bearable. Trying to teach the scissor sweep was a pain in the butt, too. I was lucky to have my favorite brown belt, Dominic, around to help me out. He always watches me teach my beginner classes to make sure I touch on the important points and give me little tips on how to teach certain techniques. He’s a good person.

Last Saturday, I still couldn’t kneel, so I thought some takedown fit-ins would be okay to do. It ended up not really working out, so I hopped off the mat early. I took the rest of the weekend easy so I wouldn’t make it any worse.

When I woke up on Monday, I felt a lot better. My knee had a greater range of motion and wasn’t as sore. I felt ready to take on the world! That night I was perfectly able to drill X-guard entries and sweeps. Our main instructor taught this cool back take from X-guard. You pop your head behind your opponent’s leg, use your legs to hook their legs, grab a hold of their belt, and plop them down to their butt. I like it a lot. I even did a set of battle ropes with one of the boxing coaches. If I have to limit parts of my jiu jitsu training because of my knee, then I have to add something in for conditioning.

On Tuesday I taught the kids and beginner classes, and then it was time for my own class. We were doing single-leg takedowns and their counters and the counters to the counters. I learned a lot but I wasn’t able to do all of them 100% because of my knee. I wanted to play it safe, considering we were putting each other on the ground.

Wednesday was similar to Monday, but instead of X-guard we did single-X stuff. We drilled entries, sweeps, and a submission. Single X-guard is another one of those things that I say I’ll add into my game, but I forget about it. I have to stop doing that because it limits me a lot. Regardless, I enjoyed it and I was able to get in a lot of reps. Afterwards I taught some sweeps in the beginner class, and I was even able to do the guard passing drill with no knee problems!

In tournament news, I’m still on board for the Goodfight on February 8th. I think we have one or two other people going to this one, which is fine because we decided to do this on pretty short notice. There’s another Goodfight in March though, that a lot of our students are interested in. I’m so happy that our newer people want to start competing. We’ll even have another woman on the team! I can’t wait to help people get ready and watch them go out on the mats for the first time. Jiu jitsu competition just warms my heart.

I think I’ll definitely be back to 100% by next week. I’m going into this competition with less preparation than I usually like to have, but I’m chomping at the bit to just get out there and fight. If I lose (which I don’t plan on doing) I won’t be too upset about it. It’s like if I don’t study for a test and fail it. I can’t get all worked up about it because it was my fault that I wasn’t prepared. It’s not like I’m completely unprepared, but the whole knee injury situation wasn’t ideal for getting ready for a tournament.

So that was my week. I hope I didn’t annoy you too much with my knee problems. Have a nice day!