Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Straight blast is the original Jiu Jitsu academy in Portland, since 1992 when it was first established by Matt Thornton (the head coach of SBGi).  From it’s humble beginnings in a tiny space in kaiser SBG has grown to be a world wide organization of Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts schools.  Now on the world stage with our students and coaches competing at the highest levels like the UFC and the IBJJF.  But why Portland?  How would a tiny 500 square foot school grow to be a world wide organization?

Humble beginnings of the Portland Jiu Jitsu scene- (as taken from SBGi’s site)

It Starts with SBGi’s head coach Matt Thornton.  Matt 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.

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

Matt with Jiu Jitsu Legend Rickson Gracie“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!”

Matt Grappling with Jiu Jitsu Legend RicksonIt 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.

 SBG Portland Jiu Jitsu Program

Jiu Jitsu and Comunity

As you can imagine with such a rich history of martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in particular SBG Portland has refined it’s program time and time again.  Our goal being to insure that quickest safest route possible for students to build their BJJ.  In just a short time on our mats you will notice what makes SBG special.  No matter where in the world you are all SBGi’s have a similar “Vibe” hence our old catch phrase One Tribe, On Vibe.

SBG Edmonton
From our newest Academies and their humble beginnings
John and his students Conor and Gunnar
To world class facilities putting out some of the worlds top athletes.

The coaching philosophy and emphasis on community and learning is what sets SBGi apart.  You can walk into any SBG and find a vast array of students of all ages and from all walks of life.  This variety is what shows the skill, adaptability, and care that the SBG coaches posses.  The competition results prove the coaching methods and technique that our coaches provide.

How ever we are by no means a “Competition School” although our competition results can make it seem like we are. 


The fact is that the label of competition school couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact only about 10% (on average) of our Jiu Jitsu students will compete.

Why you train is completely up to you.  We aren’t concerned with whether or not you want to compete. Our Jiu Jitsu program is built to provide a safe, welcoming, challenging, and fun training environment for you to grow in.


Hand picked and professionally trained staff

Head coach Matt going over ITP in Ireland

All of the staff and coaches for our Portland Jiu Jitsu program have been hand picked from the finest graduates of each ITP class (Instructors Training Program).  Students who have learned how to recognize and adapt to the dynamics of a class,  Insure student safety,  Clearly convey the skills needed to grow in Jiu Jitsu, and provide a fun environment to get in or stay in shape.

Don’t take our word for it check out these articles To find out what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can do for you-

BJJ for Kids

SBG Community

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense

How Jiu Jitsu can help you lose Weight

The Real Confidence that Jiu Jitsu can provide

Staying In Shape with BJJ (no more monotony)

Jiu Jitsu Competition (Pushing limits and breaking down walls)


SBGi Brazilian jiu jitsu Portland