I Found My True Passion (Athlete Journal 41)

Jess Papi

Athlete Journal - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Training this week was pretty much the same as last week. I got in a lot of good drilling and rounds. My cardio felt good during hard rounds. The only thing I regret is eating so much on Fourth of July weekend.


The food was amazing, but I could have toned it down a little bit. I’ve just been trying so hard to eat right that I needed a little relief from it all. Two weeks before the New York Open probably wasn’t my best choice, but I don’t need to cut weight. All that food was just extra fuel for Monday!



I can joke about it being extra fuel, but honestly, I felt really sluggish on Monday morning while I was lifting. Last week I was able to deadlift 185lbs (my old one-rep-max) for 3x3, easy peasy. When I tried it again on Monday, it was definitely harder. The rest of my workout was tough, too. My chin ups were slow and I only got one decent set of kettlebell swings, which are still my enemy. It didn’t help that my boyfriend couldn’t make it that morning to motivate me, either. I got through it, though. I think I needed to jump that initial hurdle to get into gear for the rest of the week.


I Found My True Passion (Athlete Journal 41) - Fitness, careers, martial arts, BJJ, athlete journals



Since training was pretty much the same as last week, I would like to talk about my job at Scranton MMA. I think I’ve been working there for a year and a half now, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. Not only do I get to do what I love every day, but it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I get to see new people walk in the door every day and try something that could change their lives. I get to see kids learn and grow during the kids' classes. And I found a family there that I know will always have my back and support my jiu jitsu career.


When I first began college, I thought I would emerge as a physical therapist. I really did. But as I continued taking exercise science classes and learning more about what a physical therapist does, I decided that that’s not what I want to do with my life. Of course, I can appreciate and better understand what they do. And who knows? I may actually need one someday. It’s just not what I’m passionate about. My true passion is jiu jitsu, and working in that field is a dream come true.


Even though I basically have my dream job, I’m still going to school to better myself. I switched to communications so I can be a better instructor and public speaker, improve my interpersonal skills, and learn how to be a better writer. It seems counterintuitive, but I believe the skills I will learn with a communications degree will help me more in my jiu jitsu career than what I would learn with an exercise science degree. I’m actually really excited to go back to school in the fall. No more grumpy Jess!


Okay, that’s all I have. I hope you all enjoy my ramblings. See you next week!


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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