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MMA LIFESTYLE: TESSA SIMPSON

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By Kolby Chang

Simpson (orange) delivers a knee to opponent. (photo courtesy of Mike Calimbas)

Simpson (orange) delivers a knee to opponent Paulina Granados in her Legacy Championships 23 victory. (photo courtesy of Mike Calimbas)

Mixed martial arts is simply that; a mixture of several arts. In an MMA competition, practitioners blend various forms of martial arts such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing to defeat an opponent. In that regard, former Guam resident Tessa Simpson is a true student of the game. She not only trains in different martial arts to prepare for competition, she also takes that same approach when setting professional and personal goals in her life.

“Each endeavor has its own challenges that are unique in their own right, but to me I see all big endeavors as an equal challenge that I use skills learned from all areas of my life to accomplish,” Simpson said via email from Austin, Tx.

Last December, along with her fiancé and co-owner Randy Vera, Simpson undertook what can be easily viewed as the biggest endeavor of her life and opened the Austin Kickboxing Academy.  Utilizing the same mindset a mixed martial artist would employ when preparing for a fight, Simpson drew from her education and experience to open the doors to the 6000 square foot business.

“I use my photography, marketing, business, graphic design and computer science knowledge and skill along with my knowledge from training Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA all for one purpose,” the 2009 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin said.

Along with carrying the titles of assistant kickboxing instructor and kids MMA instructor of the academy, Simpson is also active in the BJJ competition circuit. In addition to BJJ, she recently made an impressive return to MMA competition after a four year hiatus. The 2004 Harvest Christian Academy graduate improved her professional record to 3-1 by earning a unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Paulina Granados at Legacy Fighting Championships 23 held on Sept.13 in San Antonio.

“I executed the game plan I wanted and came out with the win,” Simpson said. “I did try to finish the fight multiple times, but keeping good position was important to me than going for the submission.”

An outside shot of Simpson's gym. (courtesy photo of Tessa Simpson)

An outside shot of Simpson and fiancés gym “AKATX” in Austin. (courtesy photo of Tessa Simpson)

Before this BJJ brown belt started training nearly a decade ago, Simpson was a seemingly boundless ball of energy that played just about every sport and was no stranger to competition. Simpson loved basketball, soccer, volleyball and outrigger paddling as well as other activities like drag racing. BJJ, however, is something Simpson cannot envision her life without and she encourages the younger generation to get involved.

“The experience you get on the mats will translate to the rest of your life in many ways that don’t seem obvious. Even if you have no intentions of fighting one day, train for fun, train for your health and you’ll start to see positive results,” Simpson said.

For as active and ambitious as Simpson is, she still tries to remain easy going just like the island lifestyle she grew up with. Simpson said even though she misses her family, the food and the way of life, living away from home puts things in perspective and gives her a sense of appreciation.

“I am proud to be from Guam and of course have a sticker on my truck,” she said.

Simpson thanks her family and friends from Guam for their support. She also thanks her sponsors Da Firma Kimono Company, FighterTech Supplments, her team at Austin Kickboxing Academy and her team at Gracie Humaita Austin. She is also very appreciative of the support he has received from Vera.

“Together we seem to accomplish great things and I am very grateful to have the relationship we have as best friends, business partners and training partners,” stated Simpson.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Students in AKATX practice drills. (photo courtesy of Tessa Simpson)

Students in AKATX practice drills. (photo courtesy of Tessa Simpson)

A view of an empty AKATX gym. (photo courtesy of Tessa Simpson)

A view of an empty AKATX gym. (photo courtesy of Tessa Simpson)

Simpson (orange) pins opponent Paulina Granados to the cage in her Legacy Championships 23 victory. (photo courtesy of Mike Calimbas)

Simpson (orange) pins opponent Paulina Granados to the cage in her Legacy Championships 23 victory. (photo courtesy of Mike Calimbas)

Simpson getting her hand raised to improve to 3-1. (photo courtesy of Mike Calimbas)

Simpson getting her hand raised to improve to 3-1. (photo courtesy of Mike Calimbas)

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