Friday, August 9, 2013
Emily Bartee Interview
Emily Bartee started her Martial Arts experience by taking Karate. After time passed she eventually found her way to AFS Academy where she has learned all the facets of the MMA game with coach Scott Elliott and a talented group of fighters. Fans of women's MMA may know AFS as the home of Gina Begley and Jessamyn Duke. She has not competed in an MMA fight yet, but has done competitions including making her kickboxing debut recently. The plan is to do an MMA fight in the not to distant future. You may also know Emily as the co-host of Pro WMMA Now along with Gina Begley, a great show talking all things women's MMA.
Q: First, can you talk about how you got interested in training?
A: I started taking Karate when I was in sixth grade. I went to school in Northern Kentucky and was transferring over from a school in Cincinnati and always had problems, kids were mean and made fun of me. When I started school in Kentucky I thought "I will take Karate and then no one will mess with me." It kept that way and I took it from sixth grade till I graduated. Then when I came to Eastern Kentucky I wanted to keep it up. One of the campus classes was Jiu-Jitsu, so I thought I would take it cause I always wanted to and my mom always said it was too dangerous. Our instructor Scott Elliott had a gym called AFS Academy. He said if we wanted extra rolling time to come to AFS and take classes. I started taking Jiu-Jitsu and Muay-Thai and have been doing it almost every day since January of 2012 and I love it.
Q: When you started at AFS, did you know you would want to compete?
A: I had no idea. I thought I would do something with Jiu-Jitsu because the tournaments I did for Karate were two parts, the first half Jiu-Jitsu and second half Karate. I thought I might like to grapple competitively, but I never thought Muay-Thai or combining them and competing in MMA.
Q: When you started at AFS, was there an aspect that you picked up quickest?
A: I think I picked up grappling the quickest. I had to rework my Muay-Thai, the stances and manner you strike are different between Muay-Thai and Karate. While I knew how to kick and punch, they weren't the same. I picked up grappling the quickest because I always wanted to do it and wasn't allowed to at home.
Q: AFS has other females there like Gina Begley and Jessamyn Duke, did that make you feel more comfortable?
A: It did absolutely. I was worried when I started that I would be the odd girl out, the tomboy, that people wouldn't train with me the same. I showed up and there were four girls, Gina, Jessamyn, Amber White and Alejandra Lopez and they were there every night. It made it feel nicer. I wouldn't have felt unwelcome, but it made it feel more inviting.
Q: You recently made your kickboxing debut, for those who don't know, can you tell how you did?
A: In the end of June we competed at the Thai Boxing Association tournament in Iowa. It is set up in brackets by your weight and experience. I had one fight on Friday morning, the opponent was also debuting. We touched gloves and I exploded. I have never hit someone so much and so fast. It was nice because, not to rag on her but she didn't hit back as hard as I thought she would. When we do hard sparring for a fight, Gina and Jess and Adam and Brandon unload on you. I expected her to hit harder and when she didn't, I let loose. That being said, I kind of ran my cardio down because Friday afternoon I had my second fight against a girl 3-0 in her first fight of the day. That is when you discover your holes and one of my holes is cardio. I felt good in the beginning but she had good knees and kept landing them, combined with my cardio, I lost a decision.
Q: So with your mom not wanting you doing Jiu-Jitsu when you were younger, was your family o.k. with you doing this?
A: Some of them were. When I first told them, everyone was convinced it was a phase I was going through and when training got hard I would stop. My sister came around and told she was proud of me. My mom is iffy on it, my grandpa says it is a waste of time, but that is because I am not trying to be CEO of Procter and Gamble. They support me but wish I would do something else that wasn't as taxing on the body.
Q: Overall, how satisfied were you with that first experience?
A: Very satisfied. Kickboxing is very different from karate and that was the only type of sparring I had been exposed to. Making the switch to where people are trying to hit you and hurt you and kneeing the body, it was an experience and I loved it. I am so proud and happy of how I did.
Q: So the plan is to do MMA correct?
Q: Any idea when you want to do that?
A: Definitely within the next six months. I need to talk to my coach and Gina is calling someone on a commission or doctor. I have problems with my eyesight, I can barely see out of my right eye. They have done two surgeries and haven't been able to do anything about it. I cant see that well and there may or may not be an issue if I can only see out of one eye. Gina is making a call to see if I would be cleared and I would like to compete within six months.
Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and learn from?
A: The younger fighters who I can relate to. A lot of people we interview on Pro WMMA Now are well established, training for years. I look up to them but feel I can associate with girls my age, Rose Namajunas, Tecia Torres, we are at the same point in our lives and it makes it easier.
Q: You host the show with Gina, what do you enjoy about that?
A: It gives me extra motivation to look up and research women in the sport. I am extremely busy between work and school and training and don't have much chance to look up things. When Gina tells me we have someone on, it gives me a chance to look up there fights, where they train. It gives direct motivation to look up things on these women.
Q: Does talking to them give you more motivation to fight?
A: Absolutely! Just hearing the background stories on these women. You have fighters who wake up at 5am to train then work a full day and then train more. Hearing the passion and love they have is amazing and motivational.
Q: Now for the pointless stuff. First from Gina, if you were a cupcake, what kind would you be?
A: A pina colada cupcake with mango flavored icing and sprinkles on top.
Q: In Back to the Future, the go to the past and want to get back home, so shouldn't it be called Back to the Present?
A: I think it should be, yes.
Q: In an MMA fight between Batman, Super Man, Spider Man and Aqua Man, who wins?
A: I will go with Super Man. He can fly over everyone else while they fight and then land in the cage with whoever is left.
Q: Gina will be made you didn't say Batman. Gina is nicknamed Jelly Bean, if your nickname was a candy, what would it be?
A: Not a candy, but cupcake would be appropriate. I discovered after the TBA that gourmet cupcakes are very addictive. Dieting up to it, my roommate would watch Cupcake Wars and I was dieting, so after the TBA I had several gourmet cupcakes.
Q: What reality show would you want to be on?
A: I gotta be honest. I think the Honey Boo Boo show because I think there are so many things she could change or do, a mini wake-up call. Or Cake Boss would be a good one.
Q: If there was a movie about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?
A: I think it would be called Roller Coaster Ride because I have had so many ups and downs in my life. I would say Sandra Bullock would play me.
Q: If you could head kick any celebrity, who would it be?
A: Simon Cowell. He would be the one to get it.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Bangtown Fightwear for sponsoring the radio show. My coach Scott Elliott, my training partners, Gina Begley, Jessamyn Duke, Adam Fritz, Justin Short, Brandon Campbell, my family and friends who help support me and you for giving me this opportunity.