SBGi Locations: Portland SBGi Headquarters :: Other US Gyms :: International :: Your Gym?

USA - SBGi President: Matt Thornton

MattMatt began his Martial Arts career with boxing. After serving in the US Army Matt returned to the USA and began training in JKD in 1988. In 1990 Matt moved to Portland where he managed, and taught at a Gym for a little over two Years where the focus was JKDC, alongside one of Mr. Inosanto's Instructors. During that time Matt was exposed to a multitude of JKD Instructors including Burton Richardson, who would go on to become a friend, Dan Inosanto, and many others.

In 1991 he had the privilege of meeting and training with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie. It was the meeting, where Matt reports:

"I watched Rickson wrestle a room of Judo black belts. He tapped them all out within seconds, without using his hands, and I knew this is for me!"

It was from that meeting that Matt discovered the need to place the emphasis on self-discovery through Aliveness. It was more from his boxing and initial introduction to BJJ (Rickson) which physically challenged all the mental constructs and concepts that were being shown to him as physical possibilities for fighting, then his involvement with JKD that shaped the ideology of Aliveness. From there it just continued to flourish through personal experiences field testing everything others had taken for granted would work.

SBG was doing MMA before the term MMA even existed.

His training methods, focus, and philosophy were headed in a completely different direction from where that school was, so he eventually opened the first Gym in which he had complete control in Salem Oregon around 1993. A few Years later Matt met Randy Couture, who would come in to work on stand up, and BJJ groundwork. Those sessions completely changed the way the SBG trained "trapping", or more aptly put clinch range.

The SBG had always taught a strong boxing base at their facilities, and in addition BJJ had become a HUGE part of the curriculum from the start, now they had the full package. Matt and the SBG introduced the proper clinch as taken from Greco to the Martial Arts world at large, at a time when most JKD schools where still teaching chi-sau and hubud, and before most MMA fighters had the clinch training which is currently now the standard.

Rickson Gracie awarded Matt his blue belt in 1993. In 1995 Matt was awarded a purple belt through the Machado brothers, and Chris Haueter. In 2000 he was awarded his brown belt, and in 2002 he became one of the few Americans to be awarded a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And the first BJJ black belt ever in the State of Oregon.

Matt chokes a Lion in AfricaMatt began doing seminars in 1995 at the request of the USA's first Savate Instructor, Daniel Duby, who asked if he would fly to his Island of Reunion to teach a series of seminars. Daniel provided the Savate influence they have at the Gym, and also became a great friend of the SBG. Since that time Matt has given well over two hundred seminars and traveled all over the world to spread the message of Aliveness, the curriculum of the SBG, and the beauty and Art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Matt has taught in Africa, France, the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Reunion Island, the Seychelles, Iceland, all across the USA, to name just a few.

It has been this travel, teaching, training, and process of self-discovery that has shaped Matt's philosophy on what training 'healthy' in the Martial Arts is all about.

In 1998 Matt's first video series titled "Functional JKD" was released, and featured tape #1 Aliveness. This tape, and the firestorm that followed, sparked a revolution within Martial Arts, and sold all over the world. His second series became one of the top selling, and best reviewed instructional sets of all time.

SBG became SBGi, SBG international. And at present time has Gym's and training groups in well over 50 locations around the globe. The curriculum has continued to evolve with the CM boxing system, non attribute based training, the ISR law enforcement program, the "I" method, the STAB program, and many, many other innovations, which have propelled SBGi to the forefront of cutting edge Martial Arts training for all types of needs, and applications.It's been a long journey, but Matt Thornton and SBGi have clearly shown themselves to be a major force of innovation within the history of Martial Arts.

Matt still teaches weekly classes himself at the Portland Branch of Straight Blast Gym. Where he can be found on the mat, having a blast, alongside other athletes of all levels.

SBGi Headquarters

Portland Oregon Branch
Contact: Matt Thornton
1812 NE 43rd Ave. (corner of 43rd and Sandy)
Portland, OR 97213
Tel: (503) 230-7924
Email: straightblastgym@hotmail.com

Class Schedule:

Classes 7 days a week
Morning, noon and night
Call: (503) 230-7924 for
any info, or a specific class.

Remember the 1st Sat. of each Month is the Portland Gym Social. See front desk for details Monthly!



Copyright © SBGi. All rights reserved.