Got Midterms? BJJ Can Help (Athlete Journal 54)

It’s midterm time at school, so of course all of my teachers decided they needed to give us one last test or quiz. Training is keeping me sane through it all.

It’s been a challenging week at school, but I still managed to get in a lot of good training. Midterm grades are due next week, so of course all of my teachers decided they needed to give us one last test, quiz, or assignment this week. I had two cumulative midterms, an ethics exam, a handful of quizzes, and a written assignment.

Preparing for Midterms

Midterm time is the worst because I have to get ready for all of those things while still going to classes and keeping up on homework. It’s a lot different than how it was last semester, though. With all of the science courses I had to take when I was an exercise science major, I barely had time to breathe. The work I have to do now isn’t as difficult, so it’s easier to keep up on top of everything.

I didn’t let all of that work get in my way of training this week. I think if I were to take a day off of training to study or do homework, I would go crazy. I wouldn’t be able to go a day without getting a good sweat and beating on some people (and getting beat on, of course). Training is my stress reliever. Being on the mats lets me forget about the normal world for a little while. I always need my jiu jitsu time, even if it’s just for an hour.

Learning the Worm Guard

I enjoyed my BJJ training this week. Frank showed a couple techniques from sit up guard, and then introduced worm guard to us. I never really took the time to practice these guards, so I enjoyed working on something new to me. I ended up picking up on the worm guard quickly while we were practicing it in class.

One of the moves I enjoyed was taking the back from sit up guard. Weaving someone’s arm between their own legs gives you a lot of control and allows you to take the back pretty smoothly. I also enjoyed trying worm guard for the first time. It’s similar to sit up guard, but you hold on to the lapel rather than the sleeve. I’m no expert on it, but if you want to learn more about it, Keenan Cornelius is the guy to watch right now!

Speed Drills

In addition to practicing moves during class, a few of us have also been doing speed drills before class. We pick some techniques we want to improve and then we try to get as many repetitions in a minute as we can.

The first time we did this, it was torture for me. I wasn’t used to drilling moves at such a fast pace. It made my muscles burn like fire. But after doing it for the past two or three weeks, it’s become a bit easier to complete. It’s still super challenging, but I don’t find myself feeling completely drained the next day anymore. Even though completing these drills is a daunting task, I feel so good after I’m done with them. It’s a fantastic cardio workout, and it helps me commit the techniques to my muscle memory.

Sorry to be so brief this week. Thanks for reading!

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.

Photo courtesy of D-Kline Design Photography.

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