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.
You can find some of the techniques shown on our YouTube channel on the Sophia’s Self Defense Project playlist.
Name? Sophia Seltzer-Hill
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.