The Power of the Purple (Athlete Journal 56)

Jess Papi


Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


I was a little sluggish this week, but when I sucked it up and actually rolled, I felt invincible.


I'm not sure what was wrong with me this week. I just felt tired and not like myself. I'm positive I got enough sleep and didn't eat anything out of the ordinary. I think it was just my body telling me I need to take it slow and give myself some time to recover. Also, my workload at school this week was a little more than usual, which made me a tad grumpy and a smidgen stressed out. I'm sure that factored into my sluggishness, too.



"When I forced myself to work through the physical fatigue and mental fog, I felt happier than a cat in a box."

Even though my mind and body were working against me this week, I forced myself to get some hard training. Usually whenever I feel crap, the last thing I want to do is train. I just don’t feel like moving around or taking in information when I’m in a bad mood. I like to sulk and sit around, even though I know it’s bad for me.


But I also know if I don't get any work in, I'll feel even more like crap. That's why I make myself train and get a good sweat going. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are the chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. When I forced myself to work through the physical fatigue and mental fog, I felt happier than a cat in a box. All that science stuff is actually true!


The Power of the Purple (Athlete Journal 56) - Fitness, BJJ, athlete journals, brazilian jiu jitsu



Half Guard Sweeps

In class, we worked on half guard sweeps. The moves in the series Frank taught involved hip escaping out so you can hook your partner’s leg with your foot. Just getting that small detail can open a lot of opportunities from the half guard. That’s one of those positions that I tend to get stuck in while rolling, mostly on the bottom.


RELATED: How to Hip Escape: A Fundamental BJJ Movement and a Low-Cost Mode of Transportation


The shoulder pressure from the top person is what gives me the most trouble. When my head is turned in the opposite direction, I can’t hip escape out to get my guard back. I think the techniques Frank taught this week will definitely help me when I get stuck in that position. I just have to remember to drill them and keep them in my mind while I’m rolling!


The Power of the Purple

As I said before, drilling and rolling weren’t my best friends this week. When I did actually roll though, I noticed something a little different. All of my techniques seem to be more efficient and effective. I’ve been hitting submissions that I normally lose in the process of finishing, and I’ve been passing guards with a little more ease. I think I’ve been more aggressive too, in a good way. I’m not trying to brag, but this is just what I’ve seen in my game lately.


"I believe a belt promotion can motivate a person to perform better."

I don’t want to sound superficial, but I think being promoted to purple belt has given me a boost of confidence. I’ve been referring to it as the power of the purple. I know it’s only a belt and it doesn’t give you any special powers, but I believe a belt promotion can motivate a person to perform better. Hopefully this new burst of confidence will stick with me for a while and eventually just become a part of who I am.


Well, that’s all I have for this week. I hope everyone is training hard and having a good time on the mats. See ya!


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.

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