Featured Fighter: Alison Tremblay BTT
We are super proud of this featured Athlete in our Fighter section. Alison is a great competitor and a great character. Always eager to go out and compete but also to coach and help support her team when she cannot step up on the mats to fight. Always a smile on her face, but do not let that fool you. She is Fierce. Her technique and experience on the mats is Great. She knows the ins and outs of the game and that is due to a strong team and support system. Her family is also very implicated in the sport and very very skilled. Her Brother Michael is a force to be reckoned with in the men’s division like she is in the female division.
We had the pleasure of having an Interview with her to know more about Alison and her BJJ lifestyle.
Here it is… Enjoy… We did… Osss
GP:Alison, Where Do you train out of and under who? Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your team.
AT: I train out of Alpha MMA which is located in Carleton Place Ontario, a small town of 9,000 people located just outside of Ottawa. My head coach is my father, Peter Tremblay. We are affiliated under BTT Canada, ran by Fabio Holanda. Additionally we are under the direction of Ben Meireles of The BJJ Connection. I am also a sponsored athlete with #ONE Jiu-Jitsu which is owned by Fabio Holanda.
I truly believe I train with the best people out there. Our club is like a family, everyone is always motivating and supporting each other in whatever goal they have. We are a small club located in a small town and the successes we have is unbelievable.
As for myself, I am a 22 year old student attending classes full time at Carleton University where I’m studying Psychology. I plan to graduate this April and pursue a Master’s degree in counseling. Besides training and studying I also help teach the children’s Jiu-Jitsu classes at Alpha MMA alongside my father and brother.
GP: Could you share with our fans how you “fell”into Jiu Jitsu and what attracted you to BJJ the most??
AT: Martial arts has always been a part of my life. Before my father opened up Alpha he owned a fitness gym in Carleton Place where he ran martial arts classes out of. Even though I was always exposed to jiu-jitsu as a child I never really took it seriously until the age of 18. From 7-18 I was playing Junior AA hockey and Regional level soccer. During my last year of high school I received some scholarship offers from Universities in the states to go play hockey there but decided to stay close to home instead. I was in my first year of University and realized that I needed another sport to play. It was then that I really started training in BJJ. I competed in my first tournament and won both the gi and the no-division. Ever since then I loved it.
I think what first attracted me to BJJ was the team aspect of it. I have always been involved in team sports and just the fact that I was welcomed with open arms really motivated and encouraged me to keep training.
GP: What do you like about this sport?
AT: I love everything about this sport! I think the thing I like most about BJJ though is how the learning is never done. I don’t think anyone would ever say they know everything there is to know about Jiu-Jitsu. This sport not only challenges you physically but mentally as well. For me BJJ is a tool to learn more about myself, all my flaws or bad habits that I have in life show up on the mats. I use Jiu-Jitsu as a tool to indentify these qualities and figure out a way to fix them.
GP: Which do you prefer? Training or Competing??
AT: I love to compete. I’ve always had that competitive bone in me since I was a little kid. Sometimes my friends and family joke with me about how intense I get over a simple game of cards. However, as much as I love competing I know that without a proper training schedule set up by my coach, I wouldn’t have success at tournaments. Every time I compete I use it as an audit, to see where my technique is good and where I need to focus more of my training on. I think that training and competing go hand in hand. That’s why I feel so fortunate to train where I do and with the people I do. My teammates and coaches make coming in for those early morning practices easy.
GP: We know you are an avid and top competitor, please tell us What you feel when you get on the mats before the match starts at a competition.
AT: I actually get really nervous before I compete. The day before and the day of the tournament my nerves are usually pretty good, although depending on if I’m cutting weight or not I may get a little cranky. My nerves really kick in 5-10 minutes before I compete, or when my name/division gets called. At the Mundials this year my nerves were so bad I could barely hear the ref calling us on to the mat. However, once I shake hand with the ref and my competitor the nerves wash away and I’m left with this sense of calmness. When I first started competing I used to get really rattled when I felt nervous but now I welcome it. I think I would get more nervous if I didn’t feel nervous. As a competitor I think nerves are important to a certain point. Its good to have that adrenaline running through you.
GP: What is your training regimen? How do you get ready to compete?
AT: Right now I train 6 days a week at the club. 3 of those days are reserved for primarily technique, and drilling. The other 3 days are spent rolling, trying to work on my weak areas. I save trying to win for the tournaments not the club. 2 days of the week I implement my strength and conditioning program set up by my father who is also a personal trainer. I also try to get in five 5km runs a week. Sunday I rest! My dad is a big fan of training smart. I see at some clubs that the rolling is just a chance for the higher belts to beat up on the lower belts. For me rolling is a chance for me to practice and learn, go for moves I’m not as confident in without risking anything. I don’t really do too much different when I’m prepping for tournaments. Maybe increase the number of days I roll and cut out the gummy bears but nothing too drastic.
GP: I am going to follow some of those including the Gummy bear intakes…How was the year 2012 for Alison? Achievements? Competitions?
AT: 2012 was a great year! Emotionally packed but great none the less. In February I won the purple/brown/black belt division at the Abu Dhabi Trials in Montreal after being a purple belt for only 3 and half months. This tournament was great for me because I had defeated 2 world champions that I have previously lost to in past tournaments so it was really nice to get that redemption. In April I got flown out to Abu Dhabi to compete in the Abu Dhabi Pro Jiu-Jitsu World Championships alongside some of the best competitors in the sport. Unfortunately I did not do as well as I wanted to and was quite disappointed. Abu Dhabi made me hungry though and in June I won the IBJJF Mundials, being the first Canadian to ever do so at purple belt or higher. Then to close out the year our team went down to New York to compete at the No-Gi Pan-Ams where I came away with double gold on the year anniversary of receiving my purple belt. I am beyond ready and excited for 2013. I can’t wait to see what it has in store.
GP: Your family are very close to you, Your Brother Michael is a great Purple Belt competitor, and your dad is a very knowledgeable Brown belt and coach. It must be great to have them to help you out with your game. How do you guys work together?
AT: It really is great. My Dad and my brother are my heroes. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The greatest thing about having your dad as your head coach is the fact that I trust him 100%. My dad is an incredible man and has taught me so much not only about jiu-jitsu but life as well. He is so knowledgeable about the sport and how to train smart. He is always there when I’m having difficulties in a certain aspects of my game and always stresses the importance of not only being a good competitor but being a good person as well.
Same thing goes for Mike. He is my biggest motivator. He is the kind of individual that makes you want to be a better person. His passion for Jiu-Jitsu and life is contagious. If anyone has ever seen me compete I’m sure they have heard him yelling at me and cheering me on during my matches! I always joke with everyone saying I should have beaten him up more often when we were younger because now I’ve lost my chance for good.
Honestly though the greatest thing about doing BJJ with my dad and brother is the fact that there is always someone who know what you are going through in your training and know exactly when you need a kick in the butt or a more gentler approach. They both have been there when I was just starting out and are the reason I am where I am today.
GP: Nice! It must be so much fun to be that close and train with your family. OK, now we want to know, Who have you trained with that made a huge or the most impression on your game?
AT: Everyone that is a part of BTT! Every single one of my teammates has helped mold me into the fighter that I am today. I train with the best people in Canada everyday I don’t think I could ask for more.
GP: Who would you like to train with if you could have the chance to do so and roll with for one day? who would it be?
AT: This question I guess ties in to the one above but I really don’t think there is anyone specifically that I want to train with. I’m getting everything I need and more from my team here and everyone that is a part of the Brazilian Top Team family.
GP: What is your favorite Submission? What is the dream submission you would love to get in a tournament match?
AT: My favorite submission is the Kimura. I find it works really well for my body type and strength. I love the versatility of it. I can get it on top, when I’m on the bottom, and in the gi and no-gi. I’m not really sure I have a dream submission that I would like to get in a tournament. When I’m competing I don’t think about getting anything fancy or cool I just go for what comes up. I’ll take any submission I can get in a tournament.
GP:I will now watch out at all times for the Kimura’s if I ever roll with you one day… :) which position do you like to play the most?? Guard? open guard? side control etc >?
AT: I like to play half guard the most. One of the great things about being part of BTT is that half-guard is a major part of our curriculum so there is always so much for me to expand on.
GP: Define what you feel for the sport in 3 words?
AT: My true passion.
GP:Beauty, Great answer, I can relate 110%. What type of music do you listen to before going to practice, and do you have a specific track or playlist you listen to while getting ready to compete?
AT: I generally don’t listen to that music before or during training or competitions. Anything that has a good beat to it is good for training but I find competition day the music distracts me. I really like to take in all the sounds and the atmosphere of the venue.
GP: How do you see the future of the sport? How is the growth of Women Grappling/BJJ looking in your eyes? Any suggestions?
AT: I see only great things in the future for BJJ. Especially when it comes to the growth of women’s grappling. When I first started competing it would be exciting when there were 5 girls in total at a tournament, now division are packed full with over 50! Every year the competition in the women’s divisions get harder and harder. The most important thing I would say for being a woman in jiu-jitsu is to find a club that treats you fairly and with respect. Don’t train somewhere where all the guys have egos and just beat the crap out of you and don’t train somewhere where the coach favours you because you are a girl. At Alpha all the women are treated the same as any guy their size and belt level and held to the same expectations by our coaches and that’s why we have one of the best women’s team in the country. BJJ is growing every year and I can’t wait to see where it goes in years to come.