Epi 155 Matt Thornton & Self-defense

This week we bring you a special interview with one of our most popular past guests Matt Thornton. This interview has a central focus on self-defense and real world violence. Not only is Matt a BJJ black belt and a world class coach, he also has extensive knowledge about what BJJ can do for you in a life and death struggle.1212_matt_thornton

We talk about:

  • A brief bio of Matt Thornton
  • The goals of his book that he is working on
  • Why violence is natural
  • Why it is so important to have resisting opponents
  • Law enforcement and self-defense training
  • What all SBG coaches have in common (a search for the truth)
  • Statistics on violence
  • Why some young men are attracted to violence
  • Bullying in school
  • Teach kids how to talk to strangers and how to be assertive
  • Things criminals look for in a victim
  • Keeping self-defense a topic in training BJJ
  • Police doing BJJ
  • Adding a striking martial art (without getting damage to your brain)
  • His thoughts on Krav Maga
  • MMA and self-defense
  • Dealing with multiple attackers


Quote of the week: “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn for a wise answer.” Bruce lee

Article of the week: How I progressed at BJJ going to class 6 or 7 times a month

We also have Mat Tales Epi 6- Oscar the Cat, and we are looking for essay submissions for coach of the year.


If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

BJJBrick Wall

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 62 Good Times and Training with John Kavanagh

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesand Stitcher radio

John KavanaghJohn Kavanagh received his BJJ black belt in March 2007 from Matt Thornton.  He now runs the Straight Blast Gym(SBG) in Ireland. SBG Ireland is home to fighters Gunnar Nelson, Conor McGregor, Aisling Daly, and many more.

Highlights from the interview:

“I think when people are enjoying themselves, they are going to stick with something longer rather than just embracing the grind.”

“I understand what people mean when they say someone is talented, but it is a lazy word.  It is kind of like describing a chemical reaction as being magic.”

“If I see someone who is not enjoying it (training) I don’t want them part of the team, because it can be detrimental to the mindset of everybody else. So I will advise them to take some time off and do a different sport or activity for awhile and try to come back with a fresh mindset.”

Do your MMA athletes train in a gi?  ” Yes, they do….. physically the main benefit is that it tightens up the escape game, you can’t escape an armbar by just by ripping your arm out… On the flip side training nogi tightens up your attacking side of the game.”

“Training with a gi also is a huge benefit to keeping your mind awake and alert.”

“You are all going to finish fighting (MMA) at some stage, why not have earned your black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu during that period.  Maybe you could open your own school. You want to be 50 or 60 (years old) and still on the mat, you are not going to be doing MMA at that stage but you and me could be two old farts in the corner of the room rolling around in a gi”

About taking some time off- “I would go as far as to say that I have never seen somebody come back that was not actually better than when they went away….. A guy takes 4-6 weeks off because of an injury or something and he always comes back better…..I have a theory. Time away from physically doing it (training) allows techniques to sink a little bit deeper in.  When you are training all the time whatever you have done latest is in your head, but when you take a couple of weeks off, what you have been doing over the last couple of months can sink in deeper into your consciousness… going between time on and time off the mat is very important… people come back sharper

About new students- “I found the most efficient way of weeding out the weak, I made strong people stronger…. That’s the exact opposite of what I am supposed to have been doing as a martial arts coach…. I was bullied as a kid, I went to martial arts to help protect myself.  The approach I was taking was not going to be of much use to somebody that was not already athletic. We changed around everything that we are doing

“I really think sport should be a positive experience. Even if you lose it should be positive because of when you went through in order to be able to compete.”

In this episode we talk about:

  • The SBG upcoming fights in the UFC
  • Why he does not like the idea of a training camp
  • The two things you need to get good at MMA (enjoy it, and patience)
  • How he changes a class to keep it fun
  • His views of calling fighters talented
  • The mindset of training
  • Training MMA and still using the gi
  • Taking time off from training
  • His program for dealing with new students
  • His four tier program for beginners
  • Teaching new people how to train safely
  • Advice for a new student
  • His goal he has for his new students
  • He wants BJJ to be a lifestyle for you
  • How amateur MMA in Ireland has several steps, and why it is a good system
  • Advice for MMA athletes
  • Why you shouldn’t focus on what your opponent does

Quote of the week: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford

Article of the week: Background checks required by IBJJF

Want a better Guillotine Choke? Check out this seminar by our friend Roy Marsh!

GD 4 disc bjj






Thanks for listening, we will catch you next week!

Other episodes of The BjjBrick Podcast featuring members of Straight Blast Gym

Epi 58 SBGi Black Belt Amanda Loewen

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesand Stitcher radio

Amanda Loewen bjj Amanda Loewen has been training BJJ and competing for about five years, and she has recently received her black belt from Matt Thornton.  You will find her training at SBGi in Portland.

We talk about:

  • Her start to BJJ
  • Getting her black belt in five years
  • Some troubles finding competition
  • Her hobbies off the mat
  • Why she prefers a “basic style”
  • Her six day a week training schedule
  • Training off the mat
  • Staying motivated
  • Her goals of competing with the black belts
  • She is going to the European Championships in Jan 2015
  • Posture, pressure and possibilities
  • Keeping things very simple when teaching BJJ
  • The basic class format she likes
  • How she handles the stresses of competition
  • Her experience at her first tournament
  • A mental trick she uses to avoid sweeps
  • Tips for making your own game plan
  • Why she rolls with a poker face
  • Goals for a first year BJJ student
  • Why it is important to focus on defense first then learn offense

*note Amanda Loewen was recently married and her new name is Amanda Diggins

Keep up with Amanda on her Facebook Page.

Amanda is sponsored by Fenom Kimonos

Quote of the week: “With great power comes great responsibility” Presented by Comprido

Article of the week: “Advice for Begginners Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” 10thplanetsm.com

Want a better Guillotine Choke? Check out this seminar by our friend Roy Marsh! This week Roy Marsh talks about attaining the guillotine position.