Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Student learns Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to control Tourette’s

DSC_7555e

ELIOT KELLY, 28, of Folsom, right, owner of El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, helps his student Nico Libby, 12, of El Dorado Hills, practice the Flying Arm Bar at the facility. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

By Julie Samrick

When Nico Libby was 10, debilitating seizures disrupted his life every day. The Libby family, living overseas at the time, then got the diagnosis: Tourette’s Syndrome.

They got on the first plane back to the United States. “We knew the United States would have the best care for Nico,” said Nico’s father Fritz Libby. ”We just wanted to come home.”

Yet it wasn’t so easy once the family moved to El Dorado Hills. Last year Nico still suffered anxiety attacks at Marina Village Middle School so severe his parents were called every school day for 52 straight days to help calm him down.

“It was a very stressful time,” said Nico’s mother Christine. “I never left the house during the day for fear the school would call.”

Doctors suggested rigorous exercise five to six days a week could help ease Nico’s anxiety and Tourette’s syndrome, but it was hard to find the right fit. “We tried every sport there is, but it wasn’t until last April we stumbled upon something that finally helped Nico start to get better,” said Fritz and Christine.

Now the Libbys want others to know about El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, something they call “the hidden gem of El Dorado Hills.”

Under the guidance of Eliot Kelly, El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has operated out of West Coast Martial Arts in the Business Park since 2010. Kelly, 28, who first learned jiu jitsu while growing up in Japan and wrestled at UC Davis, said jiu jitsu is “a grappling, self-defense martial art. There is no striking in jiu jitsu, but the fighting is taken to the mat.”

Nico signed up for a free 30-day trial last spring but wanted to quit after three sessions. His parents said they’d allow it if Nico told Eliot Kelly himself — that conversation changed everything.

“I’d still like you to come for the rest of the 30 days and watch class; you don’t have to take part,” Kelly told Nico at the time. “You (Nico) looked me in the eye when you signed up for the trial and you shook my hand. Honoring your commitment is part of being a man.”

Used to others letting him off the hook because of his challenges, Kelly’s words started to help Nico get stronger mentally and helped raise his self-esteem. From that day forward he has become one of Kelly’s best students, and the school hasn’t called his parents once so far this year.

Nico has learned to master his moods under the guidance of Kelly and has also grown stronger from taking on the responsibility of helping others, a major tenet of jiu jitsu, said his parents. This, in turn, has helped with the physical symptoms of Tourette’s and anxiety. His parents said they believe the transformation they’ve seen in Nico is nothing short of a miracle.

“Jiu jitsu is a lifestyle approach,” said Kelly. “We focus on the whole person.”

At the end of every class Kelly spends a few minutes talking about issues beyond the mat.  Sometimes it’s bullying, other times it’s a charity opportunity in which he’d like his students participate.

It takes six to 10 years to go from beginner to earning a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt.

And what has Brazilian jiu jitsu meant to Nico thus far? The 12-year-old sums it up in one sentence: “It’s made me a better person.”

For more information about enrolling in El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu Jitsu call 916-595-4064 or visit edhbjj.com.

Special to the Democrat

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

 
More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

 
Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3

 
.

Opinion

My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 9 Comments

 
Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

.

Letters

‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 8 Comments

 
Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Misquote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

 
Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 5 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8