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Sophia’s Self Defense Project & An Interview with Sophia Seltzer-Hill

Sophia's self defense projectThank You

This past April, Sophia Seltzer-Hill, impressed us with her ambition, courage, and knowledge to lead a bully prevention class to the kids in our community as well as a self-defense seminar to the adults in our community with the help of her instructors and teammates.

class mammaliaYou can find some of the techniques shown on our YouTube channel on the Sophia’s Self Defense Project playlist.

Sophia’s Self Defense Project

Name? Sophia Seltzer-Hill
Age? 15
Occupation? High School (10th Grade)
Length of Experience Training? Almost 2 Years 

How did you find No Limit & why did you start training? I found No Limit when my mother decided I needed to take self defense classes because I frequently traveled & was in situations where I was alone. We actually went on this HUGE search for somewhere for me to take self defense classes, and the only place in Starkville that advertised self defense was No Limit, so guess what I started doing…you got it! Jiujitsu! 

What was your first day in class like? My first day of class, I was horrified. I had no clue what to expect, and I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t say a word, and I trembled the whole class. I was so timid and shy. It took Jess probably about a year to get me to openly talk to people at the gym. 

What made you decide to compete? I decided to compete because I wanted to test myself outside of the gym. I’d always said “oh, I’ll never compete, it’s just not for me…” and now I try to compete every chance I get. There’s something awesome about being in a room full of people that jiujitsu and being with your team. It took a lot of nudging from Jess, Jae, and my mom, along with a few other people, but eventually, I decided to compete, and my first tournament was one of the coolest days of my life. It’s so cool when you step out on the mats to compete against someone, and you glance over and see that everybody from your team is there to support you, win or lose. I think it’s something everybody should experience at least once. 

What other activities are you involved in? I am on my school’s Science Olympiad team, I play violin, I am in Girl Scouts, and I am in Venture Crew. I also frequently volunteer at MSU’s entomology museum and babysit. 

How do you balance school and training? I balance school and training by making lists. It sounds silly, but one of my AP teachers taught me that trick. If you make lists of everything you have to do, and sort them by priority, it’s easier for me to remember to get stuff done. Most of my teachers also understand that I do compete and train pretty hard, and they’re always more than happy to help me out.  I’m frequently doing homework at the gym before class or whenever I get a few minutes to the side. It’s all about finding a balance through all of the chaos. 

How has Jiu Jitsu helped you? Jiujitsu has made me so much more confident. When I started jiujitsu, I wouldn’t talk to people. I wore baggy clothes, and I did everything I could possibly do to draw as little attention to myself as possible. I wanted to stay hidden. After starting jiujitsu, I became so much happier and more confident. Jiujitsu has helped me believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to. Jiujitsu has taught me how to believe in myself. Jiujitsu has helped me realize there is no limit to what I can do, as long as I put my mind to it and my heart behind it. 

What advice would you give to young girls/teens? Always believe in yourself. You are capable of so much more than you think. Have faith in yourself, and you can achieve anything in the world. 

Please explain what the Gold Award is in Girl Scouts and what your project is about with the bully prevention workshop and self defense seminar.

The Gold Award is the highest award you can earn in Girl Scouts. My project is about preventing bullying,standing up for yourself, and being aware of your surroundings. I began addressing this with a bully prevention workshop for kids and a self defense seminar for adults. I feel like everybody needs to know how to protect their self, and these seminars were my form of outreach. 

Any last words, thank yous?

I want to thank my two fantastic coaches, Jae and Jess for constantly tolerating my teenageryness from the minute I walked into No Limit. They have helped me flourish and grow so much. They’ve taught me more than just jiujitsu, they’ve taught me how to never set limits on myself, to constantly push myself, to always give things my 100%, to handle losses with grace, to be willing to try new things, and (most importantly) how to learn. Without them, I’d still be a shy, timid girl who didn’t believe in herself. I will be forever thankful for their never ending hard work & patience with me. They’re the coolest coaches a girl could ask for. 

 

No Limit Jiu Jitsu has a World Champion

Congratulations to Peyton Poole!!

Peyton Poole traveled to California with his dad meeting up with Jae McIntosh and Abraham Mahdi in Long Beach. He competed Saturday and after 5 grueling minutes with seconds to spare secured a 4-0 win with a back take! After the match, he received his blue belt on the podium by Coach Jae. Congrats Peyton on becoming the juvenile middleweight white belt world champion and newest No Limit blue belt.

 

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The Inaugural Birmingham Open & Girls in Gis: New Orleans

This past weekend was the inaugural Birmingham Open and Girls in Gis: New Orleans edition. The No Limit team split up as Coach Jae took 3 students and himself to compete in Birmingham, AL, while Coach Jess took the ladies to New Orleans, LA, Saturday.

Jae McIntosh earns 2nd place in his respective division.

Casen Shurden places 3rd in gi.

Casen Shurden places 1st in his nogi division.

Not Pictured: Gauge Poole earned double silver. Peyton Poole moved up in experience and placed 2nd and 3rd.

The ladies loaded up and hit the road Saturday morning going to Girls in Gis in New Orleans.  Girls in Gis is one of the organizations that helped inspire Coach Jess to host her own Ladies Only Open Mats in MS.

The event was held at Triumph Krav Maga with blackbelt Caroline Vanek, the first and only female BJJ blackbelt in Louisiana.

What an inspiration to our young girls!

And needless to say, what a great weekend for our team! Do not forget about AGF Jackson. It is just around the corner!

How to Take Advantage of Open Mat

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  1. Show up.
  2. Drill. If you do not know what you should drill, ask your instructor what you should work on. Basic and fundamental techniques are never a bad idea. Elbow knee escape from mount, scissor sweep, or armbar from closed guard are some ideas.
  3. Roll/Spar. Utilize this time to roll/spar with your teammates. Do not be afraid to ask, “Hey, you want to roll?” Are you wanting to work something more specific? Tell your partner you want to work on guard passing and ask if they mind to work their guard.
  4. Ask Questions. Did you get caught in something? Are you missing a part of a technique? Ask questions after your roll.
  5. Recover. Use open mat to come in and stretch or use the foam roller to help relax sore or tight muscles.

#Roll4Relay

Thank you everyone for coming and supporting such a great cause this past weekend. The #Roll4Relay was a great success. It was a 24 hour Roll-A-Thon, where at least 2 people had to be on the mat drilling or rolling, because cancer never sleeps. We had jiu jitsu buddies come from the Jackson area, Vicksburg, Clinton, Columbus AFB, as well as Alabama and Tennessee! WOW!

Big shout out to The Biscuit Shop for sustaining us through the wee hours of the morning with their scratch made biscuits and Fleur De Lis Flowers and Gifts for pulling the event together with purple balloons! And Hungry Howie’s of Starkville for supplying us with their awesome pizza for Friday night! #supportlocalbusiness

Also, thank you to everyone who supplied us with sustenance and water! It was greatly appreciated!

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Thank you to Professor Randall Powell for coming down and showing us some Judo throws and answering our many questions!

We had a pretty solid group starting at midnight too! Thank you to Vector Jiu Jitsu for coming in and covering the graveyard shift. Kimura even decided to join in on the picture!

By 6AM, we were all pretty delirious. But we continued to have people roll and train on the mats. More people started rolling in around 10AM, but by 2PM we had a solid group rolling for the cause!

It was an exhausting day, but by the end of the Roll-A-Thon, these champs were the last standing…barely.

Here are some pics from the event.

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Congratulations to Abraham Mahdi who was awarded his 4 stripe white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Friday at midnight. He plans to compete at the IBJJF World Championships in June. We look forward to seeing him dominate at The Pyramid!

Once again, thank you to everyone who came out and supported this event! We managed to raise over $400, not including donations made online and haven’t been turned in yet. We will update as soon as it comes in. The official Relay for Life of Oktibbeha County event will be August 5th, 2016! So we will continue to fundraise until that time. We will be hosting a self-defense seminar for the public in the late spring/early summer, so be on the lookout for that! In the meantime, if you’d like to donate to our cause, you can here:
Relay for Life of Oktibbeha County: Team No Limit Jiu Jitsu

Thank you!