Philosophy and Curricula 2017-04-20T05:02:52+00:00


“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is then to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan


The SBG curriculum has been from the very beginning, about seeking truth.

Through application of the self-correcting mechanism known as Aliveness, the reality of fighting is made self-evident. And we followed that evidence where it leads.

To that extent, we applied over the years, a functionalistic minimalism approach to the curriculum. Breaking down the various delivery systems, to their very core. What remains are the critical principles, postures, pressures, and procedures that make what we do, functional.

“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.”
– Thomas Paine

This method can be applied to any objective question. A well thought out, sincere question, about an objective claim, is always best investigated through a rational, scientific process of experimentation. This process must include some form of self-correcting mechanism, and be open to the realities of what constitutes legitimate evidence, and what does not. With the combat arts this process is knows as ‘Aliveness.’

Once this is done, authenticity is critical, because the question then becomes this, are you more interested in what the evidence has shown, or are you more interested in tradition, or pretending to be right, or not having to admit you may have just spent many years on what was in the end, nothing more then fantasy.

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty.”
– Bertrand Russell

If what you are truly seeking is the truth, then it should be carefully noted that the will to believe, and the wish to understand, are two completely different things. And only one propels you forward.

If you are interested in truth, you can’t accept something on no evidence “faith”, simply because you wish it to be so. When you do, you are no longer looking for the truth, but instead attempting to console yourself with a delusion.

Remember, you never have to believe the absurd, in order to value the profound.


“The real gulf is not the gap between the arts and the sciences, but the canyon between those who practice genuine scientific thinking (whether or not they have a scientific background) and everyone else, including many scientists and engineers highly trained in narrow specialties.” – Lewis Jones

To this end, the tools of rational and critical thinking are the most powerful allies we have. And when we relinquish our responsibility to use these tools when questioning traditions, propositions, others, or ourselves; or we fail to hold to even the most basic standards of evidence for beliefs which are clearly making testable claims about the nature of the universe we live within, then we automatically fail in our task, and we leave the world a bit darker.

“The problem of human suffering is never too much rational thinking, or too high a demand for evidence. But the solutions are. … Reason is nothing less than the guardian of love.”- Sam Harris

The ironic truth is that as we seek to learn how to be happy, within ourselves, not reliant on external circumstance; we must simultaneously seek to attain deeper, more authentic, and more intimate relationships with others. It’s a balance act.

And this is not something we should ever attempt through a process of imitation. Imitation of the good, is never goodness, it is only imitation.


I do believe, based on evidence, that it is in reality the truth, which ultimately sets us free. And we have to be authentic to who we actually are, not who we want to pretend to be, or what we pretend to know, in order to even begin the first steps on that journey.

This is what SBG has been, and will continue to be, all about. Aliveness, authenticity, truth, and joy, it won’t be easy, but it should be fun. See you on the mat.

Matt Thornton
President/ SBG international


“You are of course right to believe that there is more to life than simply understanding the structure and contents of the universe. But this does not make unjustifiable claims about its structure any more respectable.” -Sam Harris

Suggested Reading:


from cults
– M. Thornton 1997

thoughts on the travelogue of life.
– M. Thornton 1998

method, identifying cult mind control

(reprinted by permission of Steve Hassan at

and his amazing work
– M. Thornton 2000

Sections from the upcoming SBG book: “Why
doesn’t everyone train Alive?”
– M. Thornton 2001

Sections from the upcoming SBG book: “Aliveness”.
Intelligence and the intellect that would have you divide
– Luis Gutierrez 2002

Versus Paranoia, the Realities of Self Defense Training.

– M. Thornton 2003

Matchbook graphics reproduced with permission of










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