Like many before me, and many people after me, I moved to New York with a dream. I want to be the next Judo Olympian for the United States. There is a very well known Judo
club located in Albany, NY called the Jason Morris Judo Center, or the JMJC, run by Jason Morris, a four-time Olympian and Olympic silver medalist at the 1992 games in Barcelona. He has mentored many of his students to the Olympics and many more to the World Championships and other prestigious events.
Before stopping in New York, I had tried several other well-known clubs all over the country looking for the ‘perfect fit’. JMJC was my last stop and I knew within the first week that it was the one for me. Even with finding the perfect club for me, sometimes the hardest thing is dragging myself to practice every day. The practices themselves are grueling, and at JMJC, there are several practices every single day. But what I love so much about having Jason as my coach is that he is at every single practice, rain or shine. It is a massive motivator knowing that if he can make it to all of those practices, so can I.
Something I really appreciate about my club is that very few of my teammates are from
the area. Most of my teammates are from all over the country and have all of the same aspirations as myself. When you are surrounded by people who are attempting to, or have already attained, academic degrees and are simultaneously trying to make something of their Judo careers, it feels more possible. We are a tight-knit community that support each other and can all relate and commiserate on all levels. Resilience while trying to achieve all of these far-flung goals is all about the people you surround yourself with and your support system.
Outside of Judo, many of us JMJC dwellers are students and work part-time jobs in the area. Because where we live is still New York, housing can be quite expensive, so a lot of us athletes live together—I personally have two roommates who also function as my best friends. I really enjoy that my coach puts so much emphasis on helping each other and our community—we have all helped each other with everything from Judo techniques, to car trouble, to homework. And because our focus on achieving our Olympic dreams is pointed, and the town where we train is very small, our lives are very structured and scheduled.
Much like my sponsor and trusted supplement, SR CarnoSyn beta-alanine, structures my 24 hour supplementation schedule--I dose 4 times a day, equalling a 6.4g daily dose--JMJC structures my training schedule and supports my Olympic goals. As someone whose sport requires frequent travel and spontaneity, it is comforting to know what to expect back home in Albany.