School’s Out For Summer (Athlete Journal 34)

Finals are finally over, and I’m excited to train and compete during the summer months!

I’m done! I’m finally done! I feel so wonderful now that I don’t have the burden of school on my shoulders. Granted, I probably failed a class or two, but at least this semester is over and I can focus on training and competing.

This week was finals week, so my mind was on school most of the time, but I still made it training. This week would have been unbearable if I didn’t get any training in. On Monday, Frank covered chokes from the front headlock position when your opponent is turtled up. For some reason, I always have trouble from that position. I can usually get my arms in the right places, but I find it hard to finish chokes from there. Going over the little aspects of the guillotine and D’Arce chokes helped me see what I was missing. I still wasn’t able to finish them while I was rolling that day, though. I guess that’s something I need to really work on during live rolls.

On Tuesday, Dom showed us some interesting techniques from closed guard. It’s hard to explain exactly what we did, but I definitely enjoyed it. Closed guard is the first guard you learn as a white belt, so you would think of it as something that’s pretty basic. But I’m always amazed to see that there still things I can learn about it, like the sweeps and setups we learned that day.

On Wednesday, I had to skip our open mat time to study, but I was able to make the advanced class. One of our guys, Steve Wilson, has an MMA fight this weekend, so instead of going over techniques, we had a rolling session to help him cut a little weight. I was super pumped because I was able to get lots of rounds in and help Steve at the same time. After studying all day, it was nice to put my gi on. For some reason it was better than usual. I’m not sure if it was because I was stressed out or because my gi itself was warm from being out in my car. Whatever it was, I felt good!

On Thursday, I took my last two finals (which didn’t go very well) and then raced over to the gym. I was expecting to feel really good after finishing my finals because it would officially be summer, but I felt yucky because I did pretty awful on those tests. I was a little sad while I was driving there, but as soon as I walked in the building and hugged Frank, I felt a lot better. It was over and there was nothing else I could do besides put my gi on and be happy. I taught the kids’ and beginners’ classes, then got some drilling done during no-gi class.

As I sit here and write this, I can’t help but think about hopping into bed and sleeping until my body wakes itself up. It’s been a really tiring and stressful week (and semester), and I can’t wait to hang out with my friends this weekend and watch Steve Wilson’s fight without homework and studying in the back of my mind. It’ll be nice to give my mind and body a break from constantly being worked. I’ll have more time to relax and recover from training, which will definitely help me with getting ready for summer tournaments.

Thanks for listening to my bullcrap all semester. I promise I’ll have more interesting content for the summertime. Ciao!

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.

Photo courtesy of Cauliphlower.

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