ALL in for AFRICA ’16 by Seth Hamilton

Seth Hamilton, a professional MMA fighter and BJJ Purple Belt, led a group of martial artists participating in All in for Africa ’16 in Senegal. This project included MMA exhibitions in local communities, seminars, training sessions, and the team’s participation in LionHeart’s GooR FiT show, an MMA event open to the public, featuring MMA, grappling, and traditional Laamb wrestling, as well as hip-hop by prominent Sénégalese rappers.

The team comprised of MMA fighters from impoverished communities in the Western Hemisphere, the concept itself is intended on demonstrating how people who come from meager means can still impact the world with their talents. Team members were from Costa Rica and East St. Louis, Illinois USA.

“The All In For Africa team is multicultural, talented, and driven to use its talents to make the world a better place. Their surroundings may suggest unmovable walls and high hurdles, but yet they intend on rising about it all, proving that poverty, violence, and ethnic barriers can be overcome, and we can work together to make a difference” – Seth Hamilton

An experienced BJJ Instructor with a background in Muay Thai, Jimmy joined the team from Coco Beach, Costa Rica where he runs a non-profit Academy from which he offers free BJJ classes to local children in an effort to keep them away from drugs and crime. The other group comes from East St. Louis, IL, including four kids from the Xtreme Kombat Academy BJJ competition team. They are all white belts who have started this last year, but they have learned quickly and already we have taken home hardware from a Submission Only tournament.  St. Louis itself had the highest homicide rate per capita last year in the U.S., and the majority of East St. Louis itself lives below the poverty line. East St. Louis is nicknamed “the City of Champions”, and circumstances do not hold our kids down.

Tawan “Toxic Waste” Williams runs the Pathways leadership program for inner city middle schoolers and high schoolers in East St. Louis where he helps kids develop the academic and life skills necessary to become successful adults. He has been training MMA for a less than a year, but he brings a lot of heart to the team.

Devin “Destroyer” Adison, 15 years old, started training at age 10, practicing Tae Kwon Do & BJJ for several years before switching to MMA just over a year ago. He now trains kickboxing, boxing, and BJJ at American Top Team Evolution in St. Louis. He also trains no gi BJJ at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu in O’Fallon, Illinois. He has competed in several local BJJ tournaments, winning three.

DaJuan Burton, also 15 Years old, began his martial arts training at the age of 9 with Tae Kwon Do and BJJ. He made the transition to MMA just over a year ago. He trains BJJ, boxing, and kickboxing at American Top Team Evolution in St. Louis as well. He has not competed in any tournaments yet, but he is excited to have his first experience in Dakar.

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