WHILE most of her friends are catching up on Big Brother or the latest movements of One Direction these school holidays, Alanah Jeffrey is being put through her paces.
Not just for any tournament, but for her first bout at the Riverina Kyokushin Karate titles in the full-contact section, where she will take on some of the best fighters for their age in the country.
Despite having already achieved much in various non-contact tournaments around the country, sensei Frank Cirillo said he was not placing undue pressure on his pupil ahead of the biggest weekend of her competitive career.
The Area News attended a sparring session between Jeffrey and Cirillo this week with the teenager showing plenty of signs of being ready for the tournament at the Yoogali Club on Sunday.
“She’s a perfectionist. If she can’t pick a new skill up straight away she can get frustrated with herself,” Cirillo said of Jeffrey.
“But I asked her after the session how she was feeling because I wanted to see where her head was at, and she said she was pumped, which I was very happy to hear.
“Because it’s a big mind shift to go from non to full contact, apart from a bit of nerves of getting on the mat and people are staring at you, mentally your body is threatened to a point.”
Despite it being her first tournament, Jeffrey has also been with Cirillo and his dojo for a numbers of years, with that experience set to pay-off.
“I’ve had Leticia (Ferres) mentor her a lot because they’re both girls and because of Leticia’s experience,” Cirillo said.
“Whenever we do fight training I get them to partner up. We all think in the class that she has got the goods, but sometimes the nerves can play havoc.
“But I told her that I have zero expectations of her this weekend, and that I just wanted her to get in there and fight, get this one out of the way, and then we’ll take her from there.”
Jeffrey is just one of many local fighters who make the leap from non-contact to full with 16-year-old Jack Bardney sparring well ahead of his lightweight bout.
Dale Mannell, who at just 15 years old stands 187cm and tips the scales at 110kg, is another to make the plunge.
“I can’t wait to see what he can do this weekend, ever since he’s been fighting full-contact with the adults, the weight has come off, not that he was huge before, but now he’s a mountain of muscle,” Cirillo said.
“And he’s been giving us adults a very hard time, which is amazing given he’s been with us three years."
Several adults will also make their full-contact debut, with James Rossetto, a blue belt, black tip, and Anthony Ferraro, a red belt, to make the jump up.
Steve Zambon will look to test himself again, having already wonevery major title in the country in non-contact.