Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tera Carper Interview
Photos 1-2: GG Hot Shots
Training to fight is not easy, being a mother is not easy, imagine doing both while also working. That is what Tera Carper does, and does well at. Most recently Tera lost a fight to Mercedes Timmerman by split decision. It was a fight I clearly felt she won using effective strikes and cage control. Both Carper handled the judges decision well and has praised her opponent. That seems to be a reflection of the kind of person Tera is, someone who seems liked by so many in the sport. Here is a chance to learn a little more about Tera Carper.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started training for the sport?
A: I had a friend that did mixed martial arts, I used to be a cheerleader and was getting out of that, I saw him fight and decided it was something fun to do. I started training with him and about a month alter I took my first fight and won. I caught the bug from there.
Q: Did you know right when you started training that you wanted to fight?
A: Yes I did. I have always been competitive. I have eight brothers so I was always beaten up haha. I am pretty tough and it looked like fun and something to challenge myself with.
Q: Did any family or friends have any worries or concerns with you fighting?
A: My parents did at first because they didn't really know what mixed martial arts was at the time. My dad still has kind of an issue with it because he says I am his beautiful princess and princesses don't fight and get beat up. They understand I work hard when I train and am decent at what I do. They are o.k. with it but still have reservations because they don't want their princess to get beat up.
Q: The first fight, were you nervous or excited or both?
A: The very first fight I was nervous and excited. I was actually a little cocky, that had to do with the people I trained with at the time. Cocky in a good way. I did my thing and won by submission. I had been hearing a lot of hype about her that she was like a tenth degree black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. That's when I started learning not to listen to the hype and what everyone else is saying and knowing what I can do and do well.
Q: Is it hard working and being a mother and still finding time to train?
A: Absolutely it is hard. It is definitely a lot of dedication and moving things around and training when you can. It is making sacrifices were you cant be there to tuck them up at night if you have a late training session. I like to set an example for my kids to be active and healthy. There are times I cant get to the gym and I go down to the basement in my home and they go with me and we lift weights and run on the treadmill, little exercises to make it fun for them so they see it is important to be healthy and take care of yourself.
Q: Your daughter does pageants, do people find it weird that it is two different ends of the spectrum, the mother who fights and the daughter who does pageants?
A: Yes, it is very oil and vinegar. I was a cheerleader and actually did pageants as a kid. My daughter does very well, she is very girly and tomboy at the same time, as am I. Most pageant moms are all about their kids and pageants are what they eat, sleep and breath, we don't. Pageants are just something fun for us to do and if she decided she doesn't want to do them anymore, that is fine with me. We wills tart her road in athletics and if she doesn't like that we will move on to the next activity till she finds something she wants to stick with. Like the cheerleader thing, people say "oh you are pretty why are you fighting", like my parents concern that girls don't fight, this pretty girl does though haha.
Q: You took a lot of time off before this recent fight, was there a reason?
A: Yes, I got pregnant with my third child. September 2010 was my last fight with Tamikka Brents for the NAAFS and in October I found out I was pregnant. I had her June 2011 and have been struggling to lose the baby weight. It has taken a little longer than expected. I am still not done losing the baby weight.
Q: You lost a split decision to Mercedes Timmerman, to me you won the fight, do you agree?
A: I do. I haven't seen the full video but I feel like I kept the pressure and controlled the fight. I do feel I should have pressed a little more, she didn't press at all, if I punched she would counter and that was about it. She did a good job when she did counter and her technique shows she has training, I expected a street fighter type and it was refreshing to have a first timer come in and know what they are doing. She was a little timid in how she approached me. She didn't press me at all and make me think I was playing her game. I made her play my game and somehow still lost the decision. It was a good fight, maybe I could have done something different. I can only get better from here.
Q: Is it hard to train for someone who has never fought and you know nothing about her?
A: It is hard. I have fought those girls where I knew nothing and just get in there and demolish them. Thee is no home work you can do. With this fight the only thing I did was made sure I was good at what I know how to do and make her play my game. The plan is to break their spirit and not let them show you what they have. I feel I did that but it didn't come out my way.
Q: Is there something you feel maybe you could have done different?
A: Yes, when I had her against the cage I should have attempted to take her down. I have four submissions under my belt so I am comfortable on the ground. Maybe I would have had a better chance to submit her or ground and pound. Soon as you walk in the cage your plan changes. She wanted to keep it standing and I thought I could do that.
Q: To me what separated you and her is I thought you were land the more affective shots and had better cage control would you agree?
A: I would agree with that. I am good about taking shots to the face, but to me that is a tactic. If you punch someone else they will maybe back off, I am not gonna back off. I can eat punches and wills till come at you just as hard for hitting me in the face haha.
Q: Often people lose a decision they feel they won, they complain for a long time, you have handled it very well, is that just a reflection of the kind of person you are?
A: Yes, you learn from every fight, win or lose. I learned from my losses and how I lost. With every fight you step back and see what you could have done different. This was a good fight, she wasn't wild or crazy, she just didn't press me. You learn from it and get better. Your amateur record goes away when you turn pro. I will get better and learn and I hope she will to. I feel from when I started to now I have grown with my skill level and taking things from each fight. Even if I was 20,000-0 and never lost I would still learn and grow. You can always do something better. You will never be the greatest.
Q: Where do you feel is the area where you most need to improve?
A: My wrestling. Wrestling is something I never paid attention to, mainly because I hate getting the skid marks on my knees haha. Wrestling is something I am looking forward to getting better at. You are gonna get hurt and need to deal with it. With better wrestling skills I would have been able to take her down easier and go from there. I am very comfortable on the ground.
Q: How soon would you like to fight again?
A: I am hoping by late winter. I have about twenty-five more pounds to drop before I can be comfortable in my own skin. I did lose twenty-eight for this fight. When I get where I want to be then I will think about taking another fight. I am definitely taking another fight, it is just how soon it will be. I wanna be stronger and better than I was in this last fight.
Q: You seem to be generally liked by everyone I talked to when I said I was doing this interview, is that important to you?
A: It is important to me that people feel they can approach me. I am a pastor's kid and have always been a people person. I always run into people that need someone to talk to, someone to listen to them. I feel it is important to have that good positive attitude in whatever it is you are doing whether it is fighting or pageants or football or just being a leader in your community. Keep a good attitude and encourage others and help them be better people.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Number one is God, I get all my strength and glory from him. He helps me stay on track and gives me my blessed opportunities. My husband for keeping me on track and supporting me. My best friend Christina, she keeps me on track on my diet, doesn't allow me to have that cookie or cake, she keeps on top of me. My manager Kirk from Hollow Point has been a great help finding me fights and keeping me on track. My coaches Tony Raemaker from the Nebraska Academy of Martial Arts has helped me quite a bit, Premier Combat Center helped me for the fight. My training partners, Lauren Barefoot, Sarah McLeod, Summer Artherton, have all been a great help.