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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
October 5, 2011     Chester Progressive
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October 5, 2011

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2A Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress : i i!i i!I i Practice does make perfect as Sydnee Henry demonstrates with the leg submission hold she places on mixed martial arts fighter Alan Burker. Henry is his local sparring partner when training for his Oct. 15 professional bout in Sacramento. Photos by M. Kate West M. Kate West Chester Editor "It's really hard to find mixed martial arts (MMA) fights at my age most guys are half my age. The last guy I fought was 25 years old," said Alan Burk- er, 50, while training Sept. 27 at the Lake Almanor Fitness Center in Chester. He also said he is feeling the pressure of being less than 17 days away from a first-ever senior division ti- tle fight and the chance to take home the MMA Califor- nia Combat League title belt. Dubbed "Pound for Pound." the event claims to be the "best law enforce- ment-firefighter MMA and boxing event in the state." The fight will take place Oct. 15 at the Sacramento Red Lion Hotel. Burker will fight Anthony Tran. "He's absolutely nuts, very unorthodox ... This means the fight will be very wild Sydnee Henry is pleased with the arm control move she put on her martial arts sparring partner, Alan Burker. ,'oa, t nylon "Shop Where The Contractors Shop" 43 Years of Service RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL FREE CONSULTATION PROMPT INSTALLATION FREE IN-HOME SHOPPING SAVE YOUR GAS Lic. # 352667 MOBILE SHOWROOM Enjoy the comfort of in-home shopping! Our experi- enced representatives will bring an assortment of carpet, wood, vinyl or laminates right to your door. ASK FOR TOM 'TII return your call promptly" CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-675o0585 or 343-0215 and I have to be prepared for the worst. In this sport you have to fight your best. For me, I'm training like I'm fighting my son: he's the best," Burker said. MMA fights can take place in a cage or ring. The rules? There are few. "It's no holds barred where kicking, Punching, knees, elbows and submis- sion holds are allowed," Burker said. "There is no eye gouging or blows to groin and no biting or pinch- ing allowed. You can use el- bows but not your head." Training regimen Burker said he first start- ed training for the fight in Susanville and then his com- petitor backed out, only in- tensifying the difficulty in finding opponents in his own age group. "In the past, I have only managed to arrange one or two fights a year and all with younger guys. ! am hoping the new age division will keep people in the sport longer," he said. Burker said 30 years is a mature age for the sport. His training consists of working out and sparring five - six days a week, usual- ly two sessions a day. He said sparring consists of jujitsu and Muay Thai and that he travels to Redding, Nevada and Susanville to spar. "During the week I spar with Sydnee Henry, who is a 15-year-old sophomore at Chester High School and a family friend," he said. Henry and Burker also do fight preparation training outside of the fitness center. "One day we do sprints, another day miles and hills Training for a title belt in a senior division mixed martial arts competition, Alan Burker finds 15-year-old Chester High School sophomore Sydnee Henry to be a tough competitor. They have worked out together for nearly four months. yet another," he said. He said the training is mixed up so he doesn't be- come too strong in one area and too weak in another. Henry said one of her pri- mary responsibilities in the training partnership is mon- itoring Burker's nutrition. "The hardest thing is mak- ing sure he is getting enough protein and carbs," she said. "She's pretty strict on me," he added. About working out with Henr ,, Burker s id; "She's very good and it's good to train with her. I couldn't have done it without her; she has been tremendous support." Unlike Burker, Henry doesn't believe she will go competitive. "I am using my training for self-improvement. I'm training in general I'm not going to be living in Chester my whole life." Henry is a lifelong Basin resident who was born at Seneca Hospital. She said she became in- volved because martial art are "cool." "Alan is living with my family so I thought because he knows all about it, why not?" she said. "I've gained in training and I have gotten Estate Planning Wills & Trusts . Bankruptcy , Real Estate/Business Probate Foreclosures Family Law 257-4300 -,, 75 S Gay Street o Susanville in better shape and learned to protect myself better." Aside from training with Burker, Henry is active in CHS sports programs. "! play volleyball and soc- cer and this year I plan to try out tennis and basket- ball," she said. All in the family "I'm a nice guy who likes to fight. My whole family is from Ireland and it just was 14 years old. She is now 23 years old and in the busi- ness of sports clubs. She is a trained nutritionist who works for Curves and the YMCA," he said. He trained his son, Caleb, in MMA and boxing. He de- veloped into a Silver and Gold Gloves boxer who went pro to MMA at the age of 16. Caleb Burker is stationed in South Dakota and is now fighting MMA for the United seems to run in the family," States Air Force. Burkr said. " -' ....... ............. '; :. ' :' .... He said his dad was a pro- Looking ahead fessional boxer and his grandfather was a bare knuckles boxer. The world of competitive fight sports began for him with boxing at 7 years of age. "I would get up at 4:30 a.m. and run. Then I'd get ready for school, go to school, do homework and then begin training with weights, jujit- su or whatever was part of the program," Burker said. "I didn't enter in the sport of martial arts until 1993. Right after wrestling in col- lege I went to a couple of Tough Man competitions, which are kind of like wild boxing and it really caught my interest," he said. Burker also trained his son and daughter in the sport. "My daughter Cassie start- ed training to box when she Burker will retire from High Desert State Prison and California Department of Corrections and Rehabili- tation (CDCR) Dec. 2 after working 20 years as a correc- tional officer. At this time he and wife, Jeri, are considering a move back to the Fort Bragg area where they would both work in the local health club. "My wife and I both worked in the health club when I was assigned to the nearby CDCR fire camp," he said. "She specializes in nu- trition and I may train oth- ers to fight." As to what comes after the fight he said, "If I win I will have the title. The issue of finding opponents will still be up in the air but I will be ready to defend the title." 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