Refusing to Tap – On the Mat and in Life (Athlete Journal 36)

The break from school has given me the chance to re-focus and find direction in my training and my life.

I’m finally starting to settle into the “no school” lifestyle, which happens to be pretty great! I no longer get the urge to get home early and do homework, even though I haven’t had homework in weeks. I don’t have to go to bed early or pack my lunch the night before. I’ve basically just been training and sleeping a lot.

And that’s not even an exaggeration. I can’t think of much else I’ve done besides those two things! I haven’t been totally unproductive, though. I’ve also been spending a lot of time getting ready for my upcoming women’s self-defense seminar. Dominic and I came up with a good set of moves to teach the ladies. We chose moves that are easy to learn and will make them feel more confident. We went over them together a few days this week so we know exactly what we’re doing the day of the seminar. I want it to be fun, but also professional and efficient.

One pretty important thing I did this week was change my major! As you know all too well if you’ve been following my journals, exercise science stressed me out a lot. I enjoyed learning about health and fitness, but I can’t see myself having a job in that field one day. Of course, I’ll use everything I learned about exercise science when teaching and training BJJ, but I don’t see myself as a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist. For the time being, I will be taking some communications classes. I don’t know just yet what I want to do after college, but I think I will enjoy the classes I chose.

In training news, this week has been pretty darn good! I’m definitely competing in the New York Summer Open on July 19th, so everything I do is for the gold. I want to win. I’m making a conscious effort to focus during drilling time and get as many reps as I can. I’ve also decided to start running a few mornings per week and trying to eat out less. I want to do everything I can to prepare so when I go out there I’ll be 100% ready.

In order to keep up on my drills and my progress, I’ve been keeping a daily journal. If I write down my daily and weekly goals, I’ll be more inclined to complete them. It also gives me a place to write down what I’ve learned in class and what I’ve seen in videos.

Speaking of videos, has everyone seen the epic battle between Michelle Nicolini and Tammi Musumeci?! In my opinion, Tammi did the right thing by continuing to fight. I’m sure if I was in the black belt finals at Worlds and up by two points against a seasoned veteran, I wouldn’t tap, either.

It wasn’t about her having too much pride. It was about her doing what she thought was best for that situation. I think she might be one of my new favorites to watch. She likes the rolling back take and has a crazy mane. I can relate to that!

All in all, it’s definitely been a good week. I can’t complain. I hope everyone else is having the same type of week. Peace!

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.