Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trisha Barr Interview

Trisha Barr has been out of the cage for awhile as she has had trouble getting fights. In a fight originally scheduled for December, she will take on Chandra Engel on January 21st. Win or lose Trisha is always in an exciting fight, and there is no reason to believe that this one will be any different.

Q: You have been having trouble getting fights. How frustrating is that for you?
A: It has been a little frustrating because I like to stay very active, fighting every couple months if I can. But I have to look at it in a more positive light - I've been able to really spend time focusing on training, improving both my strengths and my weaknesses.

Q: You are fighting Chandra Engel. What do you know about her?
A: Actually, I don't try to do a lot of research on my opponents anymore because it's easy to get too wrapped up in what your opponents can do rather than focus on what you can do. It can be a confidence killer. You want to respect your opponents, not be intimidated by them. But that respect is why it's still smart to have a general idea, so I do at least look up their records. My opponent this time is very active and experienced. Most of her wins are by submission, and I'm also told she's a wrestler. I do remember seeing her last NAAFS fight on tv, and her striking implies a possible Karate background. I'm ready to step up to the challenge and test myself against a fighter like this.

Q: This fight was postponed in December. Was that hard for you to have trained and then have the fight delayed?
A: It was difficult at first because it had already been seven months since my last fight, with opponents pulling out or not being able to get opponents at all. I went from having seven fights my first year as an amateur to only getting one in all of 2011. So I found out it would be yet another month before I could fight, and the holidays would be in between with lots of tempting food and activities that would occupy me instead of my training. While I love the Christmas season, now I have a few extra pounds to cut.

Q: Is there anything positive that can come from the fight being delayed?
A: Definitely. Of course, I got a few extra weeks to continue training. I think the best thing about it, though, is it takes place in Akron now instead of Medina. That's a lot closer to home, so more of my family and friends get to see me fight. It helps that it's not right before the holidays when people are too busy or don't have the money to watch me fight. It gave me more time to promote the fight and sell tickets. So I'll have more supporters there along with more sponsors and walk-out shirts ready this time.

Q: Does it make it more enjoyable to fight for a company that truly respects female fighters instead of a company who may do it just as a gimmick?
A: Absolutely. I try to only fight for companies that I believe have integrity. Fortunately, I've only run across a couple organizations that I would probably never fight for again. But the NAAFS is a very respectable promotion and definitely has the best amateur women's division anywhere in the region, which is why I've fought for them more than anybody else.

Q: If she were to take it to the ground, are you confident you can hang with her there?
A: Even though my foundation is in Kempo, I've been training the ground game a lot in recent years. It's important to be well-rounded and capable of handling myself wherever the fight takes place, standing or on the ground. So if the fight goes to the ground, then I will do what I have to do. I've really been working my takedown defense and getting back up to my feet if I want. And I've been working my escapes, sweeps, and submission defense in case I find myself in some tough situations. But I've also got a very offensive ground game as well and am capable of working my own submissions if I choose to. So even though her biggest strength might be grappling, I do feel like I can still handle myself on that turf.

Q: Where do you hold the biggest advantage in this fight?
A: I believe I have a striking advantage and have been training that aspect just as extensively as my grappling. My footwork, head movement, and power have improved. I plan to use my angles and combinations, working both the body and the head. I can also be unorthodox and unpredictable. And it helps that there's not a whole lot of footage of me out there except for maybe one or two of my earlier fights, which would give a very poor idea of how I fight now since I've changed and improved so much since then.

Q: What is the key for you winning this fight?
A: The key for me is to remain composed and confident without getting careless and to give it my all. I see myself winning with my striking, but I'm also prepared for the grappling range if it comes to that. My game plans aren't so rigid that I freak out if the fight isn't happening exactly the way I imagined it. I can adapt to different situations if I need to. In fact, the less specific my strategy, the better I tend to do. I like to just go in there and utilize my skill sets to the best of my ability. The goal is always to knock out my opponent in the first round but to be prepared to gruel it out for three rounds if I have to.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I predict that I'm going to get my first win by knockout, but I'm satisfied with any kind of win, especially if I finish the fight rather than let it go to decision. I always try to finish and win as decisively as possible.

Q: Any idea what you want to do next, or just taking it one fight at a time?
A: I'm focusing on my next fight right now, but after every fight, I assess how I feel and how soon I'd like to fight again. If I feel really good, then I'll be looking to fight again as soon as possible to continue getting experience. If I feel like I need a little more time to train, then I'll wait a couple months before I fight again.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank God for every blessing in my life. I thank Raymond, my husband and coach. I want to give a shout out to the three churches I attend - Harvest Christian Fellowship, Northgate Open Bible, and Redeeming Passion Ministry. Thank you, Jason, for your friendship as well as all you do to support this sport in general. I want to thank my local sponsors - the Cambridge Fitness Center, Sun Spot, and Gametime Dezigns. I thank NAAFS for giving me this opportunity to compete, and I also thank my family and friends who support me.

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