with Matt Thornton following his recent UK visit by Carl Fisher
So you've just completed another successful tour of the UK, you must be getting
to like it over here by now?
I always enjoy visiting the UK.
How did you get involved in the UK scene initially?
I was invited to do some seminars for Andy Norman, and Karl Tanswell. My friend
Chris Haueter had visited first, and highly suggested I make the trip for a number
CF: A lot of people have
been associating to you from the UK, are you providing something that we were
I don't know what was, or was not missing before. But in general the SBGi is great
because it's 100% honest, and there is nothing but integrity with the Organization.
I cannot be bought, and all our belts, and Instructorships are strictly PERFORMANCE
based. That is, they must be able to perform the material, and pass that material
on to others logically, and with Aliveness. When those standards are kept then
what tends to happen is that the people that find themselves attracted to SBGi
tend to be down to earth, honest, funny, and good hearted. And as such, the training
environment is always a lot of fun to be in.
think that, more then anything else, is what draws people to the Gym. There is
no attitude with us.
CF: You have
quite a few graded members over here now so I guess the standard is improving?
MT: It's improving
greatly. When I first visited the standard for BJJ was pretty low, and a lot of
the basics where being done poorly, or simply incorrectly. Perhaps they where
taught that way. But that's all changing. I gave out our first three purple belts
ever this year to Pete Guest, Karl Tanswell and Helen Smith, all are well deserved
and would easily be able to compete in Brazil or CA in their respective divisions
and do very well. Also, they all clearly understand how and why training Alive
is vital, and they can Coach. There are also a ton of tough young blue belts that
are right on the verge of purple. And John Kavanagh in Ireland is approaching
brown belt fast. It wont be long before there are a lot of legit brown and black
belts in the UK that have a real understanding of the Art, how to train, and what
it's all about on a larger scale.
I've read the 'street V sport' a number of times on your website, why don't people
get it? How would you recommend people train for self-defence?
Why don't people get it, the answer is fear and ego. They are more motivated by
image then they are by performance. If they where performance based then they
would step on the mat and train and roll with anyone, in front of their students,
and on a daily basis. If someone was better then they were, they would seek that
someone out. Even, and especially if it means tapping out in public. That is HOW
you get better. Someone motivated by image will never do that. They are to controlled
by their own internal fears of looking bad, or looking the fool. As a consequence
they will cultivate a tough guy image, but they certainly wont train with
Aliveness. This of course leads to more fear, and in the end that is okay but
they will crash hard eventually, and realize the futility of the path they have
chosen. The universe is perfect that way.
do you train for self defence? You train with 100% Aliveness. Using the "I" method,
and having fun. Circumstances will dictate tactics, and plans will always change
upon contact, but the DELIVERY SYSTEMS of stand up, clinch, and ground will ALWAYS
remain the same. And the TRAINING METHODS for those delivery systems also remains
and obvious constant.
CF: You don't
put a lot of emphasis on who you trained with, who certified you etc. but people
still ask about your credentials on forums. Don't you have days where you feel
like becoming insular and stop spreading the "aliveness" message?
Well what you have to understand is that online, and via e-mails it can sometimes
be a pain in the ass. This is true. But in real day-to-day life my experiences
are pretty joyful. Wherever I travel around the world I am always around true
friends, and quality human beings. See that is the great side effect of the Alive
paradigm; it only attracts great human beings. So in reality my life is a really
CF: Back to the seminar
tours, you visited Denmark recently. I've been all over Scandinavia and found
there are some excellent BJJ players.
They are getting there. They certainly have the training ethics, and attributes.
I think Denmark will be a force in MMA and BJJ in about 3-5 Years.
I read on a forum the guy following you round everywhere with a camcorder is making
a behind-the-scenes documentary. Confirm?
Yep, true story.
(NOTE there is a
highlight clip posted on the SBGi web site and some other MMA forums including
CF: I love the recent crop
of MMA documentaries, what did you think of Smashing Machine?
I only watched part of it, it was very sad. It's one example of someone that has
not looked deep enough within themselves to understand why they are doing what
they are doing. Everyone says they want to be a "champion", or they want to "fight",
and many, many young kids do now. There are thousands of them, it's no big deal
anymore. But very few are introspective enough to meditate on WHY they want to
do that. It's the WHY that keeps you on course, and mentally and emotionally healthy.
Most humans wont go that deep though. It's easier just to watch TV, or talk about
sports. It's also simply part of maturing. Learning to understand why you find
yourself attracted to certain things, people, images, and what it is you are really
seeking. Some people are not mature enough to go there. Others may never get there
in this lifetime. But you will never be truly happy, or healthy, until you begin
CF: I see SBG Productions
are still making instructional videos, what's in the pipeline?
Many good things. Rodney King's videos are out, and I believe honestly that they
will in many ways revolutionize how people do stand up training. We also have
a second series from Bob Bass and Rick Williams that will be breaking soon. As
well as a tape on MMA training from SBGi Coaches the Singer brothers. A new DVD
set that will be coming out of FLA on BJJ fundamentals that I shot. And I will
be filming series three in Sept 2004 along with the other SBGi Coaches, including
hopefully Karl and John. That series is where much of my energy and information
CF: Finally, any ambitions
left to fulfil?
Yes, to be free of all ambitions, all the time, which of course means now doesnt
CF: Thanks for your time.
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