By: Jackie Campbell
Next up on the Tri-Force MMA agenda: Combat Zone 62 “Legendary” this Friday, June 30th in Manchester, NH. Ready to fight is Tri-Force MMA competitor, Alison Blackwell, who is scheduled for her second amateur fight in a catch-weight bout at 110lbs.
Tri-Force MMA Head Coach, Pete Jeffrey, is excited and prepared for Blackwell to put her hard work and long hours of training into action for CZ 62. “I have definitely seen a huge improvement in Alison’s game,” says Pete. “I am very proud of how far Alison has come and I know that she will make us all proud on Friday!”
Blackwell is currently 3-0 in her amateur kickboxing career and is 0-1 after her amateur MMA debut last fall. “Before that first fight, it is very hard for a student to see where they stand as far as mixed martial arts goes. The hardest thing to do is to take that first fight and to step in there and do it,” Pete explains. “Alison was calm and had a great attitude about the whole thing.”
Pete went on to explain that regardless of the outcome of a debut fight- be it win, lose or draw- the bottom line is about the adjustment to performing in front of a crowd. “If you can continue to have the right mindset and learn from mistakes then that is the sign of a true martial artist. Alison is definitely wired that way,” says Pete. “She has taken those lessons to the fire, learned from them and has made leaps and bounds in her game.”
Coach Pete is confident in that Combat Zone is the right promotion for Blackwell and other up-and-coming athletes from his gym. “One of the things I like most about working with Combat Zone is the owner of the organization and the way that he runs his events,” explains Pete. “He is one of the top ranked fighters in New England, so he gets it. He understands what the fighters go through. It’s very organized.”
Combat Zone offers both MMA and Kickboxing for professionals and amateurs on the same card. This allows for gyms like Tri-Force MMA to bring a variety of fighters to the event to compete.
Preparing his fighters for their matches, Coach Pete keeps a general baseline: “We are always looking for the win, but this is most people’s first time competing in front of an audience,” says Pete. “So we are just looking to learn how to feel comfortable when put in a situation like that. It’s not easy and certainly not like sparring your teammates at the gym.”
Training for more than their opponent, Pete is working to ensure his fighters prepare for their environment and are ready to show up when the lights come on. “I’m looking to keep everything very relaxed,” says Pete. “I try not to let the moment get the best of these fighters. That’s the hardest part.”
Training, training and more training. Ensuring that muscle memory takes effect when a swarm of distractions and emotions come into play is a primary focus for the team at Tri-Force MMA. “We try to make it feel as much like the gym as possible,” says Pete.
When it comes to dedication, it is the consensus at Tri-Force MMA that Blackwell thrives on it. “It seems that after every fight there is something to be learned. Something that she takes back to the gym and within a short amount of time I can see that ‘ah-ha’ moment: The level-up,” Pete explains of Blackwell. “Being an artist, she really understands the struggle to want to push forward even if you don’t have the best of days.”
Blackwell is a full-time illustrator with a degree from Rhode Island School of Design and brings on a new dynamic to her fight game through her creativity. “An artist thrives on that day or the moment where- for even in a brief space of time- it all comes together,” says Pete. “Those are the things that keep a true artist coming back for more. Just enjoying that moment to grow as an artist and a human being is a feeling that some people never get to enjoy in life. She is one to embrace that struggle.”
Just days away from the action, Pete and the Tri-Force MMA team are excited for Blackwell’s return to the cage for CZ 62 “Legendary” in Manchester, NH.
Come out to show support for Blackwell as she steps up to compete on behalf of the team.