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SBGi Nov 21st Newsletter

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    Posted: 21 Nov 2012 at 8:17pm

SBGi News, for well adjusted primates

SBG's Fall Camp was a blast for everyone!

SBG's fall camp was one the best events we have ever had. We want to thank all the students who suupported the event, and the coaches who attended.

Here is a brief write up by coach Rich, who did a fantastic job hosting the event:

To everyone who travelled the many miles to get to Camp...we had people from Boston, Portland, Edmonton, Nevada, Toronto, California, NorthWest Territories, and Florida in attendance..I appreciate the effort you made to attend...

-To my own students...their support for this camp was outstanding....more than a few of a them are battling some hardships that would excuse anyone from attending, but they worked through them and made it is easy to come to work when I am surrounded by these quality people...cheers to you all!

-A special “thank you” to SBG Toronto Head Coach Jason Lancucki... Jay is crippled up with a back injury that did not allow him to train, hell, he can’t even really walk, but he came to camp. Could only watch, which for guys like him kills more than people know. In constant pain, yet never did he complain...he had every reason not to show yet he came to support the “tribe”...heart and balls...the man has it! Pleasure to have Jay in attendance and a privilege to count him as one of my friends

-To all my new friends that I met as a result of camp...Matt told me a while ago that “like attracts like” great as the training with SBGi is, the quality of people it attracts in my eyes is second to none...friendly, honest, and just plain cool to hang with...thank you for making camp such a great time

and now to our coaches:

-Coach Ray Price: made the trip in from Nevada and coached a great guard passing section...Ray brings a good intensity with him, and it was cool that he could make camp

-Coach Lily Pagle...taught an informative section on clinch with cloth...very detailed info on grips and trips...Lily brings it cool and calm and breaks things down so everyone can benefit from the training

-Coach John Diggins: took us though a no-gi section...very nice set ups for shots and such...emphasized the issue of “timing” and not “technique” in being successful with things..a very relaxed and fun teaching process that helped everyone learn...Coach Diggins also rolled for 2 hours against 50 people before receiving his SBGi Black be able to witness that first hand was a of the most technical and beautiful displays of BJJ anyone at camp has ever seen...

-Coach John Frankl: a very big thank you to Coach Frankl....he drove 8 hours from Boston Saturday morning to coach on of the most technical and functional guard passing sections...John is a phenomenal coach, very talented and one of the humblest people I know...can’t say enough of the effort he made to help out..

-Coach Priit Mihkelson: made the trip all the way from Estonia...taught great sections on no-gi...brings a cool no-nonsense approach to the game and presented material that complimented what other had shown....tied things together very nicely....Priit is doing a “Canadian Tour” of the Canadian SBGi locations in St.Catharines, Toronto and Edmonton, then on to Montana and finally the SBGi Headquarters in Portland...

-Coach Kisa Davison: ran us through some Yoga for combat of the most asked about sections...Kisa brings an unbelievable amount of expertise to the table in an area that is what I believe to be under serviced...her coaching approach is direct and honest...two qualities that got everyone into things right away...if you have not taken her sections before you must get the opportunity to do will thank yourself endlessly for the instruction she will provide you

-Coach Travis Davsion: besides the fun combat warmups, Coach Travis taught a wicked section on high speed attacks from the back...some of the most solid information on the subject...Travis provided some very informative answers to questions regarding preparing for competitions...really opened up peoples eyes to properly preparing for competition... Travis always brings his “A-game”...always on, makes time for everyone and you can feel the passion he has for helping everyone....he is a “no-shitter”...there is no bullshit in him....funny and honest...this is what makes him one of the most respected coaches around....

-last but not least, Coach Matt Thornton: Coach Thornton taught the updated version of guard surfing which was simply brilliant...guaranteed to elevate anyones guard passing great as this was, the thing that strikes me EVERY TIME I train with Coach Matt is that he always brings something to the table that not only improves my technical ability as an athlete, but for me, improves my coaching skills. I always leave a seminar/camp with Matt having so many more ideas about how to coach my athletes, how to create drills for them, and how to communicate with them.

Being host, I get all the behind the scenes action. Coach Matt is one of the most generous guys around. One of Springsteen’s songs is “we take care of our own”...THAT is Coach know when you learn as much from just talking with the man as you do on the mats, that is a very cool thing. I look to Matt as my coach, a great friend and one of my mentors. Thank you for one of the best training weekends ever Coach Matt!

And if I may end on this note... one of the quotes from my book by Denzel pretty much sums up SBGi...

“If you ask me, successful means helping others. I look around at people who have accomplished all kinds of great and worthwhile things, and I think, “OK, so what have you done with what you have?” We all know about the awards you’ve won and riches you’ve received, but at the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

Cheers Everyone!

- Rich

SBG has a new BJJ black belt!

In Oct SBG founder Matt Thornton gave his 8th Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt to long time SBG coach John Diggins!

As many of you know, SBG training philosophy is about working the fundamentals and allowing the individual the space to develop his or her own style.

When this is done right, and the curriculum is focused on the core of the delivery system, as opposed to a coach trying to teach their own personal style, great athletes and teachers are produced.

This process takes time, and in the end the manner in which you roll will reflect your own personality more than any other single factor.

John Diggins is a perfect example of this methodology (as are all of coach Thornton’s black belts). John has always cared more about Jiu Jitsu than he does winning. As a result his rolling style is very relaxed, and super technical. He would rather tap, than muscle something into place. This has allowed him to become a multiple gold medalist in competition, and one of the best training partners you could ask for on the mat.

As coach Thornton says, a good black belt’s “style” will be a reflection of their own personaility, and in John’s case, his style reflects the fact that he is a very nice person.

Here is what John had to say after he receieved his belt:

“I’m still absorbing the fact that I am a black belt. I owe a little piece of it to a number of different people. There are techniques and strategies I use from each and every SBG black belt; Karl, John K, John F, Rick and Travis, Cane, Lilly, Steve, Luis and Haueter. Also Priit and of course Chris Stearns who has been a huge motivator for competition and a consistent training partner (get better soon bro!).

Last but of course not least is my coach Matt Thornton who taught me not just Jiu jitsu and MMA but more importantly has taught me how to view the combat arts (among other things). The right approach and understanding fundamentals is an absolute necessity and without it I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thanks Matt!

There are also many other influences, I can’t name them all, but one I will most certainly not leave out is my favorite person in the whole world Amanda Loewen. Her strength and support have been unbelievable. I couldn’t ask for a better girlfriend. And of course it doesn’t hurt that she is a complete bad ass at jiu jitsu! I love you babe! Thanks to everyone for all the nice comments, texts, etc. Looking forward to the future of this journey!”

- John Diggins

Here is what coach Thornton had to say:

“Today was an emotional day for me. I was extremely proud to give out my 8th BJJ black belt, to coach John Diggins. John wrestled over 50 people for over two consecutive hours, and only tapped a couple of times at the very end, against the higher belts. His performance was nothing less than an amazing display or pure, technical Jiu-Jitsu. It was without a doubt the most impressive ironman I have ever seen, and it was an honor to be present for it.

The fact that John could do that was a direct by product of the approach I have observed him take to BJJ over the years. He cares more about being technical than he does about winning, and that is what makes him so hard to beat, and such a great training partner. We can all learn a little more of that from John, myself included.

Please welcome SBG’s newest black belt, John Diggins!”

-Matt Thornton

Metamorsis, an SBG perspective

For those who may not have seen the tournament, a new type of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition took place recently. The Metamoris event, hosted by the Rorion Gracie family, offered top level BJJ matches, for 20 minutes, with no points. Matches which didn’t end by submission were considered a draw.

SBG coach & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Steve Whittier wrote a very thoughtful piece on his thoughts post tournament, enjoy:

It is very clear that there are two very different philosophies at work here between the Helio Gracie style of Jiu-Jitsu and the world class IBJJF sport BJJ that Galvao represents… and then there is the whole issue of which approach represented in this fight is actually truer to a “self-defense” approach.

This is a very interesting conversation by Ryron and Rener Gracie about the match, and all politics aside what I like the most are their concluding thoughts about the ultimate goal of Jiu-Jitsu – and how they share my perspective on training for whichever goal you want, but always keeping that goal of longevity in mind!

Again, I respect Andre Galvao as a great champion. Clearly his controversial comments at the end were born out of frustration and self-expectation.

With no further ado, here’s their breakdown:

And if you missed it, here’s the Gracie vs. Galvao match:

Some thoughts.

The consensus seems to be that the matches were pretty amazing, and I agree. For many of the world class athletes who participated, this was their first time ever competing in a format like this, without points and double the IBJJF 10 minute matches for black belts.

Matches included:

-Caio Terra vs. Jeff Glover (Winner: Terra by Arm Bar)

-Rafael Lovato, Jr. vs. Kayron Gracie (Winner: Lovato by Kimura)

-Octavio Sousa vs. Kron Gracie (Winner: Gracie by Arm Bar)

-Dean Lister vs. Xande Ribiero (Draw; the only No Gi match of the event).

-Ryron Gracie vs. Andre Galvao (Draw)

-Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida vs. Roger Gracie (Draw)

Along with the excitement, however, the reception has not been without controversy — especially with respect to the match between Andre Galvao, one of the very top BJJ and No Gi competitors in the world today, and Ryron Gracie, who has not competed in approximately 10 years and was very vocal coming into the tournament that he would represent the Jiu-Jitsu of his legendary grandfather, Helio Gracie.

As many of you know, Rorion Gracie and his sons have always been proponents of Helio’s BJJ philosophy, which is oriented toward self-defense and a “survive first, then submit” (no matter how long it takes) mentality as opposed to the time limits and point structures of “sport BJJ.”

In the prefight videos, Ryron quoted his grandfather when describing his strategy: “If you don’t lose, you can only win.” And sure enough, he didn’t lose. In fact, promising that he would Keep it playful,” Ryron appeared to concede the pass without much fight early on and was content to allow Galvao to attain dominant position after dominant position, only to escape without ever appearing to be threatened by Andre’s submission attempts. Clearly trying to both conserve energy and to prove that he could survive any of Galvao’s attacks, the Gracie fighter began to play a more aggressive guard and became more offensive in the latter half of the match.

The controversy over the draw was fueled by Galvao’s own post-fight comments, where he appeared to a bit of a sore sport (half frustrated and half embarrassed?) over his inability to put on a more dominant performance against Ryron.

The result has been some heated debate within the BJJ community about the implications of the match with respect to theGracie self-defense philosophy and the modern “sport” philosophy.

There is no doubt that Ryron surprised a lot of people, including myself quite honestly. On paper many thought that Galvao would run through him and most certainly submit him. But Ryron not only showed he could successfully fend off all positional advantages and submission attempts from one of the best submission artists in the world, but also appeared to be the fresher and more offensive grappler as the match came toward its end.

Arguing on the other side, others have pointed out the flaw in being too quick to celebrate Ryron’s performance as a victory for the old school Gracie philosophy… pointing out that if we were REALLY talking about a self-defense oriented game, it would mean more than just survival. Andre Galvao, after all, did attain and maintain dominant positions for the majority of the match, meaning that had this been a real fight with strikes he would have been in a much better position to dispense punishment (the Gracie self-defense approach, after all, has always advocated “position before submission”).

Furthermore, the self-defense proponents point out that the BJJ of today has fallen far from its self-defense roots, and instead evolved into a purely sport oriented game built around winning by points rather than the original intent of the points system, which was to reward advancement to superior positions.

All that said, I’ll give my own opinion on the controversy. First off: Sport or Self-Defense BJJ?

My answer is ultimately that it depends on the motivations and desires of the individual.

And before you call me a fence straddler under your breath, think about it. One student is primarily interested in learning BJJ as a self-defense art and either has no interest in winning sport BJJ tournaments, or only competes once or twice for the experience; a second student is interested primarily in competing and winning, becoming a grappling champion. He studies tape on all the top players in his weight class, spends endless hours drilling specifically to devise gameplans to expose their weaknesses, etc. As long as Student 1 isn’t deluded into thinking that she’s going to beat the top dogs in the sport arena and Student 2 is realistic about the fact that some of his sport-specific strategies could land him in a world of hurt in a real fight (or MMA match), then how could we place a judgment on their personal goals?

Ultimately, BJJ as we know it today has grown to encompass several facets:

-BJJ for self-defense

-BJJ for vale tudo / mixed martial arts

-BJJ for sport competition with a Gi

-BJJ for No Gi (submission grappling) competition.

And no doubt, if the Metamoris format continues to be offered, we will see the differences in pace, strategy and emphasis become more pronounced as well, and potentially develop into another “branch” altogether.

To me it all comes down to intent and honesty.

Being interested in function (more on this below), I have no interest in doing pre-arranged forms. But that doesn’t mean I look down on someone who follows their bliss by studying T’ai Chi. (I would just hope they are not honestly thinking that they can actually lay waste to a bar full of attackers using that form… seen that delusion come crashing down before, and it ain’t pretty!)

Second: My Personal Preference. By the time I was a purple belt I knew a LOT about technique. I thought about and studied BJJ constantly, went to as many seminars as possible, did private lessons, watched tons of tapes (yes, video tapes) and later DVDs. But it wasn’t until later, as a black belt, that I actually understood Jiu-Jitsu. The fact is, it’s as simple as it can be infinitely sophisticated.

With that in mind, I have always appreciated the approach of the great Rickson Gracie (which we saw well-represented by his son, Kron, in the tournament).

And by that I mean: my “ideal” Jiu-Jitsu is one that is essentially the same in all areas of the artGi, No Gi, a fight in a parking lot or a fight in the cage.

With some minor adjustments in tactics and grips, the thing that remains constant is what my friend Matt Thornton, the founder of SBG refers to as the “delivery system….” The core, root skill set.

I have always appreciated that Rickson Gracie, who notoriously has continued to shock top, world class champion BJJ competitors who’ve had the chance to roll with him (as one after another over the years has admitted that his control and skill live up to the hype), has always trained, competed in tournaments or vale tudo matches with essentially the same game. And his son, Kron Gracie, after submitting a world champion in Sousa on Sunday, was very sincere in saying that Sousa was still the legit (IBJJF) champion. Kron has been chasing that title for years, but with the ethic of always placing a higher priority on winning by submission than winning by points – even if it means risking the loss.

I am in no way suggesting that the aspiring athlete dreaming of a world champion title should follow that same philosophy, I’m simply saying that I appreciate it. Like many, I got into martial arts to learn real self-defense (which is often as much about confidence as actual fighting). Now I worry less about that and more about the learning, personal growth, continual mastery and teaching. But I’ve never strayed from the original “form” and intent of the martial arts, which is combat, so for me the true beauty lies in the FUNCTION. A solid delivery system rooted in fundamentals may not make you the best sport competitor, the best “street fighter” or the best MMA fighter, but it will allow you to be very formidable in any of those areas without having to change your game very much.

This is a very valuable point for the older grappler, because even if you’re a 40-something who is still able to out-hustle and out-muscle a lot of the younger guys in your school, as the saying goes “this too shall pass.” When it comes to relying on our physicality, we’re ALL on borrowed time. The smart ones — or the smaller, weaker ones who have no other options — accept this or figure it out early on. Those who are stubborn or prone to a jock-riding mindset resist, until resistance become futile, and age, injuries or both result in a rude awakening.

So… if you want to compete and win championships, do what you need to do to achieve that goal. If you want to train for self-defense, love of learning and fun, great. But either way, always understand that there IS a Jiu-Jitsu — uniquely your own but based on universal physical principles — that should always be your foundation… one that will serve you when your competition days or your fighting days are over.

-Stephen Whittier

Primate Posture: a key to it all!

One of the key concepts that kept coming up with all the SBG coaches presentations at this years Fall Camp, organically, again and again during the camp, was that of posture.

Proper primate posture is of the great keys to not getting swept, to guard passing, to winning in scrambles, and to just being generally healthy and happy.

Check out this recent TED talk featuring Dr. Esther Gokhale, on proper primate posture, it fits in with this years camp theme perfectly.

Apply it to your BJJ, and watch you game take off:

SBG Portland's Food Drive was one of the top ten

SBG Portland's food drive was such a success, that we managed to be one of the top ten contributors in Oregon!

Thanks to all our members for helping make this happen. We will be running our next charity drive soon.

Brand NEW things coming very soon for SBG International in 2013!

As we mentioned in the last newsletter, SBG International is headed in new direction for 2013. As our local academies have experienced their most successful year ever, it is time to take that success and bring it to the international stage.

The next two camps being held in 2013 will be in an entirely new format, one designed for gym owners, students and competitive athletes. There will also be new websites, programs, structure for ATGs and full academies, and the launching of the SBG Organizational updates.

Details in the many changes were announced live by SBG founder Matt Thornton in Canada. The rest of you will recieve a detailed video for SBG members only, featuring Matt Thornton and Travis Davison. Stay tuned!

Carefully note that the will to believe & the wish to understand are two completely different things; & only one propels us forward.

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