Pre-Tournament Taper Week (Athlete Journal 27)

This was a lighter training week due to school, sickness, and preparation for the Boston Open next weekend.

It’s a rough week at school, so I may have to make this entry short and sweet. This week I had two tests and a bunch of homework. I can’t escape it! I also developed a cough since last week, so that’s been kicking my ass. Doing the school thing and the jiu jitsu thing at the same time is hard enough as it is. But when you get sick, it gets so much harder. I usually don’t have any free time during the day because I’m in school, training, doing homework, or working. Having no free time to take a nap sucked, especially because it seemed like I had a million extra things to do this week.

I’m hoping that after today I can get a few good nights of sleep in before I compete on Saturday. I can’t wait to sleep for five hours in the car on the way to Boston. I also can’t wait to get out there and compete! I officially have a total of eight girls in my division. I think that’s the most I ever had in my division for any tournament. There are always more girls in the divisions who are lightweight and lower. The middle weight girls need some love too!

My weight is actually perfect for Saturday. Since last week I lost about two pounds, which puts me in that sweet spot I like to be in. I can enjoy a healthy dinner the night before and a healthy breakfast the morning of without worrying about my weight. It takes a lot of stress out of the whole situation. I also don’t think I would be able to focus out on the mat if I was feeling weak and hungry. The IBJJF makes it very hard to cut weight, because you weigh in minutes before you compete. It’s actually a good system, because it ensures you won’t get anyone who’s much bigger than you.


Last week, our wrestling coach Carmen Mercadante was teaching us how to do suplexes. I was nervous at first, but he’s a professional and knows the correct ways to slowly lead us into it and keep us safe. I felt so cool when I was throwing them. I definitely didn’t do them all the right way, but eventually they’ll come naturally.

My training has been minimal this week, partially because I’ve been extra busy with school, but also because I don’t want to risk getting hurt for the tournament. I usually taper down the whole week of a tournament and rest the day before. You don’t want to be sore or injured when you’re supposed to be at your peak performance level.

I have to cut it short because I’m swamped this week, but I’ll let you guys know next week how Boston goes. Wish me luck!

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.