Interview: Johnny Gilliland

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't

Johnny Gilliland has only been training for a short period of time, but he recently competed at the Alabama Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’s Spring Championship. We thought it would be nice to see what he had to say about No Limit and his experience with competing.

Name? Johnny Gilliland
Age? 25
Occupation? Merchandiser at Clark Beverage
Length of Experience Training? 4 months

How did you find No Limit & why did you start training? I found no limit through a friend that had trained here. I was looking for a way to get in shape and have fun doing it. I tried kickboxing first and really enjoyed it. However, after much “encouragement” from Jae and Jess, I decided to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and fell in love with it after a few classes.

What made you stay? The family that we have at No Limit/Killer Bees is why I stayed. BJJ is fun and a great way to get in shape, but it means nothing without a good place to train. NLKB has great instructors who can also be your best friends, and teammates who are always there to support you. Also, the fact that the black belts are so nice, encouraging, and approachable makes a big difference.

What made you decide to compete? I’m a very competitive person, so I like to compete in almost anything. Competing gives me a better understanding of myself and what I need to work on, off and on the mat. It’s easy to be good in training when nothing is on the line. However, when you represent your gym, instructors, and teammates at competition, that’s when you see your true merit.

Were you nervous & how did you deal with that? My nerves didn’t really hit until they started the white belt division. I use a combination of music and personal focus to calm myself. I just remind myself to trust what I’ve learned and know that I have all the support in the world.

Do you plan to compete again? Why or why not? I plan to compete often. It’s a constant way to check myself on what I learn, and a great way to meet more awesome jits people.

What would you say to a new person wanting to learn martial arts, or compete? If that’s what you want, then do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. I believe everyone should compete once to feel the rush and excitement of it all.


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