Above is the kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team from Redemption MMA which tied for second place at state: William Bogart, Danny Bennett, Trenton Blume, Carter Norman, Richard Green, Lauren Chircop, Addy Nordwall, Elijah Fulk, Elias Fulk, Charisma Fulk, Hudson Link, Owen Payne, Anthony Payne, Noah Payne, Avery Medina, Sebastian Duyck, Logan Duyck, Levi Forest, Mason Snyder, Nathan Cox, Jacob Cox, Connor Kniceley-John, Milo Bogart, Cali Bennett and Colette Kolesar. Coaches in front from left to right are Sean Babitt, Jacob Montgomery, Redemption Head BJJ coach George Grossman and Adam McClure. (Photo provided by Redemption MMA)

Above is the kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team from Redemption MMA which tied for second place at state: William Bogart, Danny Bennett, Trenton Blume, Carter Norman, Richard Green, Lauren Chircop, Addy Nordwall, Elijah Fulk, Elias Fulk, Charisma Fulk, Hudson Link, Owen Payne, Anthony Payne, Noah Payne, Avery Medina, Sebastian Duyck, Logan Duyck, Levi Forest, Mason Snyder, Nathan Cox, Jacob Cox, Connor Kniceley-John, Milo Bogart, Cali Bennett and Colette Kolesar. Coaches in front from left to right are Sean Babitt, Jacob Montgomery, Redemption Head BJJ coach George Grossman and Adam McClure. (Photo provided by Redemption MMA)

Redemption MMA places well at state

Redemption MMA of Soldotna tied for second in the kids division and took second place in the adult division Saturday in Anchorage at the state tournament for the Alaskan Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

Isaac Kolesar, owner of Redemption MMA, said he had about 50 members competing at the tournament, which had about 250 competitors.

“Normally, we take second or third place when we go up there,” said Kolesar, adding that his club has about 80 members. “It’s pretty regular.”

Kolesar, who said he has moved to coaching mostly mixed martial arts, gave credit to jiu-jitsu head coach George Grossman for success at the tournament.

Kolesar highlighted three members.

Nikiski’s Mae Britton took double gold, something that Kolesar said has become normal. Britton is a past Masters Worlds gold medal winner, the first in Alaska to win gold there.

In blue belt at state, Britton won her weight class at 145 pounds and above, and also the open division at blue belt.

Kolesar said getting to blue belt takes about two years of consistent training. Then it’s three to five years before getting to purple, with brown and black coming next. A black belt takes 10 years.

“When I was in Anchorage, I was training an anesthesiologist and an eye doctor,” Kolesar said. “They both always complained it took longer to get a black belt than a doctorate.”

Soldotna’s Melyssa Nordwall, also a blue belt, got silver at 145 and up and also in open weight.

And the most eye-popping result came from Sean Babitt of Kasilof, who took double gold in adult white belt for competitors up to 168 pounds and in the open division.

The kicker is Babitt is only 14 years old and was still taking down fighters from the Alaska Fighting Championship, the top mixed martial arts brand in Alaska.

Last year, Babitt also competed against adults at state and won his weight division, but he did not compete in the open division last year.

“He went up against a number of AFC professional fighters, and beat everybody including a guy close to 250 pounds,” Kolesar said.

Kolesar said Brazilian jiu-jitsu differs from mixed martial arts because MMA includes things like punching and striking, while Brazilian jiu-jitsu is grappling.

“Brazilian jiu-jitsu is probably the most important art you can study to be a professional fighter, with striking after that,” Kolesar said. “If a guy beats another guy grappling in an MMA fight, he’ll have the advantage.

“It’s a very real martial art.”

Kolesar said that Babitt was able to win all of his matches by submission, making his tournament even more impressive.

Babitt has won the U.S. Open in California in his division, and later this year Kolesar said Babitt will try and win the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Juvenile Worlds.

Last year, Elisabeth Clay, then training at Redemption MMA, was first at Juvenile Worlds in heavyweight and second in the open division. Kolesar said he was the first Alaskan to win at Juvenile Worlds.

Clay, now training in Anchorage, also won the Pan Ams last year in her weight class and in blue belt.

“These kids are doing some cool stuff, for sure,” Kolesar said.

More in Sports

Soldotna's Wayne Mellon works to a pin of Kenai Central's Zoticus Active at 189 pounds in a dual meet at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestling honors seniors in matchup with Kenai

Thanksgiving weekend gives many the opportunity to see family. The holiday gave… Continue reading

tease
Strausbaugh, Hippchen take Turkey Skate

Soldotna hosted Kenai Central for the Turkey Skate at Tsalteshi Trails on… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski's Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.… Continue reading

Assistant coach Taylor Shaw leads the Kenai River Brown Bears during a game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears start search for new head coach

The Kenai River Brown Bears issued a press release Friday about staff… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean tries to find a way through the defense of the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues during a first-period power play Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Jr. Blues come back to take series from Bears

The Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues lost not only a 2020-21 season to… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi sweeps in Kodiak; West wins End of Road tourney

The Soldotna hockey team swept Kodiak in the first high school games… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Caden Warren surveys the ice against West at the End of the Road Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai, Homer hockey lose to open tourney

The Kenai Central and Homer hockey teams both opened the End of… Continue reading

Caden Triggs of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrates his first-period goal against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topple Jr. Blues

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai River Brown Bears received two… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the… Continue reading