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SBGI >> SBG Bjj question?


7/7/09 10:04 PM
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Baki
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Hey Matt and other SBG folk,

A question about the SBG Bjj lineage/system:

I've noticed that you guys are related/associated with the Machado brothers bjj, and Chris Hauter (sp?). I'm wondering how you came to your decision to go with the Machados for your program? Is it because of the association between the Inosanto Academy and the Machados? Or is it because of something in the way that they do bjj, as opposed to someone else? Why the switch from Rickson (as per your website)?

I'm a fan of the Machados (recently met Carlos....cool guy!), and of SBG, and wondering how the evolution of SBG has come into the Machado ways. Is it personality or superior "product"?

Interested in hearing your response,

Baki

PS. I've become quite a fan of your stuff, through your third series. I watch it more than any other bjj tapes I have, and admit, that the stuff on there works for me the best I've ever come accross (yours and Saulo...lol...).
7/7/09 11:14 PM
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Luis Gutierrez
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Baki,

SBGi coaches like many of their students come from different BJJ lineages/teams/clubs.

I'm sure Matt will chime in soon but in the meantime, from my understanding it was simply a matter of what black belts were around during those years. America had 12 of their own at the time of which Chris Haueter, Bob Bass and Rick Williams were three and all were available to those living in the N.W. near Portland Oregon (SBGi HQ). All three were Machado BJJ and hence the root source being that for those SBG guys in Oregon which WERE the SBG.

In south Florida we mostly had Carlson guys. N.E. had a few Gracie BBs etc. Most BBs were all in California or NY early on. So if any affiliation was shown to the Machados, it was to honor the coaches of the primary instructors of the SBG at the time. Eventually as things developed, the SBG would bring in belted students and instructors from different sources but all sharing in SBG's approach to teaching and training and from there would further develop the organization that now exists as the SBGi.

If the SBGi has any one influence on its unified approach to BJJ I think Matt would say it is Rickson Gracie, his own initial instructor. Beyond that I feel that we all owe everything to the Gracies and Machados both for bringing their BJJ to our awareness and also bringing such a wealth of detail and art to a fighting system.

IMO, initially each family had a certain "style" or approach to training but those days are long behind us now and the differences have become much less. That said, clear distinctions do still exist and the beauty of what I enjoy in the SBGi is that we have influences from all approaches and have benefited greatly from them via the centering emphasis on fundamentals, drilling, and proper coaching alongside live training that Matt has always made central to his org. From this comes innovation.

-Luis
7/8/09 5:18 PM
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Matt Thornton
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Edited: 07/08/09 5:19 PM
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Hi Baki, thanks for the good words. I enjoyed Saulo's book a lot. Probably the only BJJ book I have ever really enjoyed, rock solid fundamentals.

Regards your question, it really has nothing to do with the Machados, or with the Inosanto academy. My training with Chris Haueter was because of Chris Haueter. My first BJJ instructor was actually Fabio Santos, who is a great guy. He was living in Portland OR at the time, but I wasn't able to train much with him because prior to the first UFC Rorion hired him to come teach at his academy in southern Ca. After that I worked with Rickson. When I went down to compete in Rickson's first tournament as a blue belt I met Chris Haueter. We started training together after that primarily because we got along on a personal level very well, and he enjoyed traveling up to Oregon to work with us. Chris was the type of guy that would take his gi off and get on the mat with Couture, or Henderson or anyone else in my gym, all 155lbs of him. He would do MMA, no-gi, gi, and all the while teach the best info he had. He never held anything back. Like a lot of American black belts, his Jits also blended wrestling in, which was important for us.

Chris was primary coach after that, and my exposure to the Machados was limited to just a couple training sessions.

In terms of SBGi, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First thing is that some of our top coaches have received their belts from other places; ie: Steve Whittier, Mike and Rebecca Sweeney, etc. They were all purple belts when they met me, and they all lived well outside Oregon (they are al black belts now), when they joined SBGi. Yet all three would be able to teach anyone the SBGi method, "I" method drilling, core fundamentals, etc, at least as well, if not better then I could.

Secondly, I have been a black belt myself now for about 7 years, so I have my own list of students who have been with me for a long time. I have given three black belts of my own, Luis, John Kavanagh, and Karl Tanswell. The skill and teaching ability of all three speaks for itself, and they received their blue through black from me. Also, I have some brown belts that have trained weekly with me here in Oregon for over a decade, and they will be getting their blacks in the next year or so. All these coaches now have their own students, and the second generation of SBGi is in the making. So we really have our own well established line.

All that said, I would love to train with Rickson again one day. It's one of those things I hope to be able to do sometime. And as Luis stated, I have nothing but gratitude for Rickson, the Machados, and the rest of the Brazilians who brought the art to America. 
7/8/09 5:28 PM
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Luis Gutierrez
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There you have it.
7/9/09 1:56 PM
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Baki
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Matt and Luis,

Thanks for the replies!

I always wonder how people chose with whom they train and associate with. I myself have a similar story, albeit on the microcosmic level of it just being me, and not a whole gym. I have also used both pragmatics, and personal suitability when finding traing partners, coaches, etc.

I think the best point that you made was that you have your own established line, and it speaks for itself. As my friend recently told me, "Be your own guru. Everyone else is a sign post on the way."

Keep up the good work guys, I drop in often.

Baks
8/8/09 7:47 PM
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nowaydo
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Good questions!

I like a lot of things about the SBGi. But one of the things that always stood out for me was their "BJJ security", meaning there were no politics in who was training under what BJJ blackbelt.

I think this was made easy by Matt's decision to not focus on a particular BJJ game or style, rather fundamentals that transcend BJJ schools (styles, instructors), Sambo schools, Judo schools or just basic submission wrestling schools. The fundamentals should be universal and the "I" method of teaching would be also.

I may be wrong, but that's how I see it.

I don't even have to train in a traditional BJJ school to practice the fundamental 5 of cross-sides or guard passing, as long as I am following the true SBGi training progrssion.
8/12/09 2:33 PM
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Matt Thornton
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 Fundamentals always transcend styles or individual teachers, good point.

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