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.


This week had its ups and downs. A lot of cool stuff happened, but at some points I just felt so negative. I think it’s because I have a lot on my plate. Every day I go to school, go to the gym, and then go home to do homework/study. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is. I wasn’t too stressed out the whole week, but at one point I realized all the things I have to put effort into and I had a little meltdown. I talked to some people, though, and they helped me out a lot, I feel a lot better now.


I thought of all the good things and people I’ve been blessed with and it made me feel good. I also remembered that I made a new year’s resolution to be more positive and gosh darn it, moping about my awesome life is not positive! So here are all the good things that happened to me this week.


Over the weekend, the other instructors and I went to training at Balance Studios in Philadelphia. We were lucky enough to have seven of us attend. Phil Migliarese taught us the Gracie 101 curriculum that he uses, as well as ways to improve our teaching skills. I knew most of the curriculum already, but I learned a lot about the little bits that go into the techniques and why a person would use each specific move. I even picked up some tips that will help me become a more professional and respectable instructor. I was okay before, but this course will definitely make me better.


This is my last week before my competition this weekend. I’m feeling good about it. My rolls have been feeling technical and smooth. It’s funny because all of the female blue belts competing this weekend know each other, except for one. The poor girl is going to be so confused as to why we’re all nice to each other before our matches! We’ll befriend her, though, and it’ll be all good. I’m actually happy I know most of the women in my bracket because it takes a lot of the pressure off. I think most of us are just using this tournament as a warm up for bigger ones anyway. After the matches end, it’ll be all smiles and hugs.



Now that I’m brainstorming about my week, I just remembered something small that happened, but it made me feel awesome. I forget which day it was exactly, but it happened right after we ended the kids’ class. One of the boys, about eight years old, came up to me, didn’t say a word, and just hugged me. I didn’t know what to do at first, but after a second I hugged him back. It was one of those things I didn’t know how to interpret at first. After thinking about it for a little bit, I’m going to take it as a lesson. Whether I realize it or not, these kids look up to me and appreciate what I do for them. I have to remember to stay positive and set a good example for them, even if I’m feeling down about something.


So yes, I had my little diva meltdown this week, but I also realized that my life is pretty amazing and I shouldn’t complain or mope about it. I hope anyone reading this also realizes that their life is good too. Don’t focus on the stupid little bugs that fly into your windshield. Instead, focus on the awesome race car you get to drive every day (so philosophical, right?).

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