Dedication Recognized: Recent Blue Belt Promotions at Tri-Force MMA

By: Jackie Campbell

Tri-Force MMA is proud to announce the promotion of five of its newest blue belts on the team. Alisha Vacca was promoted on April 26, 2017 and shortly thereafter, Diego Juarez, Travis Nguyen and Aiden Kravitz were promoted on May 17, 2017. Pablo Rodriguez is the most recent addition to the blue belts, having been promoted on May 27, 2017.

Tri-Force MMA Head Coach and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Pete Jeffrey, was proud to present the promotions to his students, whom have proven their skill and dedication to the sport. “Everyone is on their own journey when it comes to belt rank,” explains Pete. “You have to love the ups and downs. That is the game. When I see that happen then it is usually rank time.”

Alisha, a student of Tri-Force MMA for six years, was elated to have received her promotion to blue belt. “Getting my blue belt is a huge milestone that feels like the culmination of every tear, each drop of blood and every bead of sweat over the years, yet it also feels like the beginning, “ explains Alisha. “I feel both proud and humbled to be part of a sport and team that requires so much physically and mentally from me.”

You have to love the ups and downs. That is the game. When I see that happen then it is usually rank time.
— Pete Jeffrey, Tri-Force MMA Head Coach

Sharing in that excitement is Aiden, a student of Coach Pete’s for nearly three years. “Earning a blue belt feels immense,” says Aiden. “I am glad to have been promoted under Coach Pete. He is a really good guy and loves teaching and training.”

Travis, also a student of nearly three years under Coach Pete, was honored by his promotion as well. “The promotion definitely means a lot. I like to think that the belt rank doesn’t matter to me too much,” says Travis. “At the end of the day my Jiu-Jitsu did not change much between the day of the promotion and the week prior, but it did help to validate my progress in a way. The new belt is an indicator that I’m doing something right.”

Outside of Tri-Force MMA, both Aiden and Travis are active members of Brown University’s Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts Team (GAMMA). Aiden is going into his senior year and is currently majoring in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. Travis is also a senior and is majoring in Applied Mathematics- Biology.

Diego was also awarded his blue belt promotion after five years of training at Tri-Force MMA. “The promotion is cool and it is cool to know that my coaches think that I know a little something about this stuff,” says Diego.

Pablo, a practitioner of the sport for six years on and off, has been training at Tri-Force MMA for two years. “This promotion is significant for me because it shows me that my game is truly advancing,” says Pablo. “For me it feels good to finally make it to another level in a sport that I love.”

Each student recognized that through his or her progress and validation comes the task of continued advancement. As blue belts, they will become mentors for others and leaders amongst their peers.

“Going forward, my goals are to enjoy the journey and see how this sport changes my life for the better,” says Alisha. “I continue to amaze myself with constantly achieving what, at one point in time, I thought was impossible.”

I want to be able to train for the rest of my life and one day earn the knowledge of a black belt.
— Aiden Kravitz

Travis elaborated on specific goals to enhance game. “General goals and options in certain positions, better conceptualizing on day one movements-- like shrimping-- and then knowing where and when to apply them in ‘non-traditional’ situations. Also knowing when and when not to apply certain types of submissions,” says Travis. “On top of that, I want to better my takedowns, half guard and turtle games, as well as controlling the pace of the match. The list goes on.”

Aiden recognizes his goals on a broader spectrum by stating, “I want to be able to train for the rest of my life and one day earn the knowledge of a black belt.”  

Pablo breaks down his outlook for the future, “Going forward, I am looking to start competing and expanding my game further. I love the chess match that is this sport and I just want to go along for the ride,” explains Pablo. “I can’t wait to see where the ride takes me.”

Tri-Force MMA News will continue to cover belt promotions for all members training under Coach Pete Jeffrey.