Thread: Attitude in Martial Arts
7/10/2014 11:00pm, #1
Attitude in Martial Arts
Today in my quest to find a place to train at I visited the Straight Blast Gym in Portland. The facilities were nice, the instruction seemed to be top notch (I have much better kimura and guillotine submissions from guard now), and over all it really felt like everyone involved really had their **** together.
Unfortunately, I also couldn't stand the way they tried to sell themselves. Half of the sales pitch was them telling me about how most other jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai instructors are "fucking morons that teach shitty techniques" and about how good they are in comparison to everyone else. They also talked as if they fucking invented the idea of alive training (newsflash, Judo, Muay Thai, Boxing, and many others have been doing that since well before Matt Thorton has his "come to Jesus" moment studying JDK). They pushed such a hard sell that I came away thinking more about how douchy the pitch was then about the quality of the training.
The final nail in the coffin for me was the fact that I swear that the guy wasn't even paying attention to what I was looking for in a gym after he asked me what I was looking for. I told him that I was looking for a place where I could continue working on MT and Judo/BJJ, and I was told that I would have to pick ground or standup and that I could only go to two one hour classes per week. Look, I get that you want to ease the newbies into it and that I am still very much a beginner, but seriously, you charge nigh on $200 a month and I clearly have a clue about this stuff. At those prices, I should be able to train more often then that and I shouldn't have to let one half of my training further atrophy.
After this experience, I ended up riding the bus to my old MT gym (where I will now be training once again), and the difference was night and day. The environment was just so much better. It's a bit of a trek, but I will take that any day over SBG. I get that you have to sell your business, but I you don't have to insult every single other instructor on the planet to make a point. Maybe I'm just trying to make excuses so I don't feel like I've wasted my time with the MT, Judo, and BJJ that I've done, but I don't care. The SBG people struck me as arrogant assholes, and I would rather not train with that type of person on a daily basis.
Last edited by ghost55; 7/10/2014 11:24pm at .
7/10/2014 11:22pm, #2
Hard to believe Matt has his own Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Th...tial_artist%29
As does "Aliveness": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alivene...artial_arts%29
Neither of these pages should exist, per Wikipedia policy. They certainly wouldn't appear in a paper encyclopedia.
In all honesty I don't think Matt Thornton meets the requirements for a "notable person" per encyclopedic rules. I highly doubt many pages other than the Aliveness one link to Matt's. In order to be a notable person you actually need to be...famous. Matt is not famous the way, say, Randy Couture is famous. I wonder who put Matt and "Aliveness" in there.
The Wiki admins are failing us, as usual. Automation should have flagged those pages as orphans and marked for deletion years ago...anyways...
I've got nothing against Matt personally. Most people with decent MA experience will agree "Aliveness" (or generally, chaos+resistance of any sort) is important in training. I believe nowadays he doesn't take credit for "inventing" aliveness as much as promoting it. The Aliveness article (ugh) credits Judo, Sanda, and old style Chinese submission techniques as falling into the "alive" categories, whereas once upon a time Matt railed against anything "traditional", I think time has taught him that aliveness has been around since the dawn of man.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 7/10/2014 11:33pm at .
7/10/2014 11:27pm, #3
To be fair, I didn't actually get to meet Matt Thorton. I just got the fifteen minute spiel on how he is like the Martial Arts equivalent of Jesus. They also really push the JKD/Bruce Lee angle. The take away from the introductory history lesson was that Matt Thorton is like Bruce Lee but better in every way.
7/10/2014 11:58pm, #4
What I do know is he talks so much he contradicts himself all the time, which must be a coach thing...when you have a podium and speaking authority, you end up eventually saying stupid **** about things you don't know anything about.
He's promoted getting rid of Chinese and Japanese terms in martial arts and replacing them with English, but watch as I show you how he uses a Hindi term for "mind-body connection" to describe his own training.
Here he is claiming that his form of training is actually a powerful form of "Yoga", so I guess the Hindi word for "yoking" is OK because it'll bring all the soccer moms in... but Japanese and Chinese words are out. So are exercises like qigong that to him are "mysticism", but many of which are the same kind of dynamic tension and breathing exercises as Yoga.
It's hypocritical, and self serving in a way but it's how he's built his business: convince everyone that they do it wrong everywhere else, and you need to come to SBG. He's the "Fox News" of martial arts franchises.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 7/11/2014 12:03am at .
7/11/2014 12:14am, #5
The sad part for me was the fact that the instruction was actually quite decent. The entire trip over there and time I spent at the gym was well worth the new way of doing a guillotine choke from the guard. If they ****-talked less, knocked $50 of the price tag, and shut up about teaching me stuff that works "on the street" first (I swear I heard that phrase at least ten times) I would totally train there without a second thought.
Also, the ironic bit? after so much talk about alive training, that might have been the most static first class I've ever had when trying out a new MA place, Aikido included. I brought a mouthguard, groin protector, and inhaler because I thought that the first class would involve some actual training. I didn't need any of those things. Instead I got to "learn" how to do a jab cross combination on focus mitts and how to do better versions of submissions that I already knew. He had practically no corrections to make to my form because hey, I know how to do a jab cross combination, and I got each of the new grappling techniques the first time he showed me because once again that **** was pretty simple and I have been doing this for a little while. After all of this, I was told that I would have to pick stand up or grappling, and I wouldn't be allowed to spar/roll for a few weeks. I don't even.
7/11/2014 2:01pm, #6
7/11/2014 2:50pm, #7
A few years back now I ran into a situation where I was at a wonderful gym where I was paying like $90/mo and training like 6-7 times a week.
Then for what ever reason he partnered with this other guy and the gym became a Gracie Humaitá Competition Team gym. The whole atmosphere and price structure and long time loyalties with some of the instructors all got fucked up.
I can say some things improved with the Gracie name attached more students did enroll, more black belts came around, hell even Royler would come on in. The instruction was just as good if not even a little better than before.
However the attitude and feel and all that sort of stuff of the place was ruined. It was no longer fun to train. I dropped from training 6 times a week down to like 2. Then I stopped training.
Lucky for me I after that I was able to find a gym I that had the attitude and atmosphere I enjoy.
Up until I moved to Ramona, I don't get to train a lot because the place in Ramona is not very good, over priced, and only has night classes given I work at night that doesn't work out well.
I have been to quite a few gyms finding one that mashes up with your personality certainly makes a big difference.Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
–George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence
7/11/2014 6:23pm, #8
To be fair it gets cheaper if you commit to six months or more. I technically could have gone for free using the 45 day free trial and not mentioning that I would be basically leaving the country as soon as that ended, but that felt wrong.
7/11/2014 10:52pm, #9
Damn, we'd have to get rid of counting in Portuguese too, and no more of that foreign "omoplata" talk.
7/21/2014 4:49pm, #10
I forgot to mention one other thing: one of the things I was told that if you want to train at SBG, you can only train at SBG. Yeah, if I wanted to train there I would be expected to give up Judo with some people that I really like having in my life. **** that noise.