My preparation for the New York Open is going great! I’ve been getting lots of drilling in, running is getting easier, I’m cleaning up my diet, and I’ve started weight training again after a little hiatus.


Lately what I’ve been doing for myself is setting daily training goals. This allows me to go into training with a systematic approach, rather than being all willy nilly. For example, I would tell myself to get three pressure passes that night, or make sure I participated in the beginner class drills. Doing this helps me feel more accomplished at the end of the day.



Although I got lots of drilling in this week, I didn’t get many rolls. The rounds I had were great, but I definitely didn’t get as many as I should have. It’s weird that I didn’t get to roll much, because lately I’ve been getting tons of good ones. Next week I’ll make sure I roll a lot more so I can build up some endurance. Plus, rolling is the most fun part of class!


We’ve been working on guard passing all week, which my favorite thing to do. Frank and Dominic have been showing different passes from all different kinds of guards. For a few weeks now I’ve been working on guard passing on my own, so I was excited that we were dedicating a whole week to it.


I was having fun with it for most of the week, but on Tuesday I had a little catharsis. I couldn’t pass anyone’s guard during class, then a bunch of things were going wrong after class, so I just freaked out. I think I scared my friends, but after I was done I felt a lot better and ready to take on any guard.


To get ready for the New York Open, I’ve also been running. Two weeks ago I would have said that I HATE running, but I found a beginner’s running program that’s been helping me a lot. I’m technically not a beginner because I ran track and cross country in high school, but I  needed something to ease myself back into it. I’m actually enjoying it! It feels nice to wake up early and get a good start to my day with a successful run. Oh, and it helps having my friend Ashley to run with me, too.


This week I got back to my weight training with Driven Athletics. I took a few weeks off from it, but this week I started again. My first day was sort of difficult. I hadn’t done those types of movements in a while, so I was struggling a little bit. The most difficult thing they have us do is kettlebell swings. Honestly, I’ve never liked them. I just can’t get the motion down right, so I feel like I’m using more of my arms instead of my hips to swing the kettlebell. I’m sure I’ll get the movement right soon, though.


To top everything off, I’ve also been working really hard on eating cleaner. Basically what I’m trying to do is eat out less and eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s been going pretty well. I had some perfect days and I had some almost perfect days, but for the most part I’m sticking to it. When I have cravings or want something I know I shouldn’t have, I just tell myself, “I am the 2014 female blue belt middleweight New York Open champion!” That usually keeps me away from the chips and fast food.


That’s actually been my mantra for the whole week. Whenever I had a moment when I felt like giving up, I would remind myself of what I was training for. Having a goal to work towards definitely keeps me on track with training, extra workouts, and eating cleaner. In retrospect, I should have done that on Tuesday when I had my diva moment. I’m over it, though, and I’m back on track with training. Overall, this week was good. I can’t wait to see what next week has in store for me!


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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