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.


Wow, so many things to talk about and such a small amount of time to write it down! This week some women joined Scranton MMA, I trained a lot, and it was Christmas. With the holidays, I completely forgot I had to write a journal, so I’m trying to slam one out before my deadline. Don’t worry, though. The quality will still be the same.


Usually when women join our academy, they want to do boxing or kickboxing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I always wish they would come in to do jiu jitsu with me. If they’re interested in boxing, I’ll tell them about our boxing program, but I also like to plant the idea of jiu jitsu in their heads. It usually doesn’t work because most women don’t like the idea of rolling around on the ground with strangers, but we recently just had some women come in asking about jiu jitsu! It’ll be nice to have more women to train with. I think I’m finally starting to build up my female army of jiu jitsu fighters!


In other news, I got a lot of good training in this week, and it was just a fun week in general. Last Saturday I did some open mat rolling, and then a bunch of us went out to play laser tag. I played Dance Dance Revolution while waiting for our game to start and I found out the Pennsylvania has some hidden DDR talent. After I shamefully failed at my turn, I stood by to watch some gentlemen kill it on the machine. Seriously, they had fans to cool them down and towels to dry themselves off. It was weird, but I guess that’s their niche. Finally it was time for laser tag, and I must say that Scranton MMA gets really competitive when it comes to… anything.


This week we focused on omoplata stuff, which isn’t really my cup of tea. I worked with my friend, Steve, who is in an unofficial omoplata set-up contest with Clark Gracie, and he helped me out a lot. I think with a little more practice I‘ll be able to utilize them more often.


On Christmas Eve, we had an open mat session and I got in a bunch of good rolls. I tried doing some spider guard stuff during my rounds, but it still needs a lot of work. I might have to focus more on my escapes from side control a little more than spider guard. Rolling with big dudes all the time means I get stuck on the bottom a lot, so you would think I’m really good at getting out, but I’m not. Personally, I think I’m pretty good at defending submissions on the bottom, but in competition that doesn’t cut it. It’s good to know how to defend, but it’s better to know how to get into a good position, keep it, and work your submissions. Spider guard might have to go on the back burner for a little while. I have to work on something I need to know, rather than something I want to know.


So that was my week in jiu jitsu. Christmas with the family was great. I got a Keurig, so I’m super pumped about that. I have yet to make a New Year’s resolution, but I will definitely let you know what it is next week. I hope everyone had a nice holiday and is enjoying their training. Peace!

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