Zach “Knock Out of the Year” Moore Does It Again!

Zach “Knock Out of the Year” Moore Does It Again!


SBG Portland’s Moore Wins By TKO At Roseland

Back in 2016, SBG Portland’s Zach Moore made his MMA debut at the Roseland Theater in emphatic fashion. Taking on a fellow debutante, Moore showed superiority on the feet and on the ground before dropping his opponent in the middle of the third round with a smart right cross. As 2016 came to a close, it was revealed by the fight promoter FCFF, that the fight and knock-out had earned Zach the award for “KO of the Year”! What a way to make your MMA debut!

scoutmooreKOComing off the back of that announcement, Zach Moore stepped into the cage again last week, and his sophomore outing did not disappoint! Despite a last minute change of opponent, the result was the same, with Zach dispatching him by TKO in the second round. Coached by SBG Portland’s MMA Competition Team Coach Rick Davison and Striking Coach Brian Walsh, Zach showed a high level of professionalism and technical acumen that allowed him to win comfortably while absorbing almost no damage. Zach is an incredible student, coach and human being who everyone at SBG Portland is proud to train along side. Congratulations to Zach and his coaches on both the KO of the Year, and another incredible performance – looks like that award may be staying with Zach for at least another year!

New Instructor Training Program AT SBG Portland

New ITP At SBG Portland


The Instructor Training Program Returns

SBG has been a global leader in innovative martial arts training for 25 years. In that time, the SBG banner has spread across all continents, and in BJJ and MMA alike, is truly a symbol of excellence. What sets SBG apart, and ensures the highest quality of coaching throughout its affiliates, is its simple but effective approach, a focus on fundamentals, and its ability to provide a clear way for all coaches to instruct effectively. This is achieved through SBG’s Instructor Training Program.

The Instructor Training Program Level 1 at SBG Portland is a two month program that provides students with the essential knowledge to become an assistant coach with the organization. The program shows effective approaches to coaching, and is not just specific to BJJ, stand up, or MMA, but instead transcends any one discipline! ITP breaks instruction down to its core elements. Like with all things, SBG is driven to find the fundamentals! The program is not just classwork, listening to tedious lectures and taking notes. It is extremely hands-on from day one, and really encourages all students to step out of their comfort zone and get used to public speaking and presenting in front of a group of peers. It not only teaches you to coach, but develops confidence and leadership skills, while providing with constructive feedback in a supportive environment!

The ITP at SBG Portland will be led once again by Chris Stearns and John Mertlich. Two wonderful SBG coaches and familiar faces to anyone who has spent much time at SBG Portland. With over a decade of coaching experience between them, as well as multiple, successful ITP courses, students really couldn’t be in better hands.

This year’s ITP Level 1 course runs from XX March to XX April, and is open to any SBG student who has graduated their Foundations class. If you have ever had aspirations of coaching in the future, want to challenge yourself and gain confidence speaking in public, or want to gain a greater understanding of how SBG’s approach to coaching works, then the Instructor Training Program is for you. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn the essence of what makes SBG’s approach so great! Contact Zach Thornton or visit the SBG Portland front desk for more information and to sign up today!



Two Incredible Seminars Coming Soon

Two Incredible Seminars Coming Soon


John Frankl & John Kavanagh Seminars At SBG Portland

In the coming weeks, SBG Portland has something very special in store. On Monday 30th January, and the weekend of February 4th & 5th, the SBG HQ welcomes two of the most highly respected coaches in not just SBG, but perhaps the BJJ and MMA world! Over three days of seminars, Portland plays host to none other than John Frankl and John Kavanagh!

John Frankl will be showing material over the course of two, three-hour sessions on Saturday 4th February and Sunday 5th February, while John Kavanagh will be hosting a two hour seminar on Monday 30th January.
John Frankl has been associated with SBG for well over ten years, has been training in BJJ since 1990 and received his BJJ black belt in 2002. He has been coaching students for decades, starting even before opening his own John Frankl BJJ academy back in 1999. He introduced the sport of BJJ to South Korea, where today he runs a number of academies across the country, while also teaching as a university professor.

John Frankl’s combination of BJJ black belt and university professor allows for an intelligent, scientific approach to the sport, whiles always striving to make it applicable to all levels of student. If you’ve never experienced a John Frankl seminar, you have definitely been missing out, and shouldn’t waste this great opportunity.

Even rarer than the presence of John Frankl, is the chance to learn from John Kavanagh. BJJ black belt, former pro MMA fighter, founder of SBG Ireland, and of course, coach to UFC fighters such as Aisling Daly, Gunnar Nelson and Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh is a legend in SBG, and one of the most highly respected coaches in the world. Now a household name, John Kavanagh’s schedule rarely allows him the opportunity to travel to Portland. In fact, this seminar is happening as part of just a one day stay in town! Coach to some of the best fighters in the world, John Kavanagh still adheres to the SBG focus on fundamentals. Just as he coaches the likes of Conor McGregor, he will also bring invaluable knowledge to impart on BJJ and MMA beginners.

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity! Contact Zach Thornton at the SBG Portland HQ and sign up now. Special price for signing up for both seminars.

Hamilton Ash Seminar This Week

Hamilton Ash Seminar This Week


Two-Day Ash Seminar At SBG PDX

At the end of this month, SBG Portland hosts SBG’s newest BJJ black belt and pro MMA fighter, Hamilton Ash, for a two day seminar. So start the new year off the right way, by attending a four section seminar that will cover the entire spectrum of martial arts; from BJJ on the mats, to MMA, to self defense! The seminar takes place over the weekend of December 31st and January 1st, and with so much knowledge up for grabs, is not to be missed! Here is what will be covered over the two days:

Section 1: Guard for Self Defense

Saturday 31st Dec, 10AM – 12PM

Section 2: Striking & Using It To Create Opportunities

Saturday 31st Dec, 1PM – 3PM

Section 3: Clinch for Self-Defense & the Cage

Sunday 1st Jan, 10AM – 12PM

Section 4: Destroying Closed Guard

Sunday 1st Jan, 1PM – 3PM

Who is Hamilton Ash?

Hamilton Ash is not only Matt Thornton’s newest BJJ black belt, but also an exciting pro MMA fighter with a host of impressive stoppage wins, and titles, to his name. After spells training in Portland, Montana and Iceland, Hamilton has spent the past few years opening and running the SBG North facility in Whitefish, MT with huge success. Just last month, Hamilton competed for, and won, the lightweight title with Montana promotion Backflips & Beatdowns, following on from victory in the main event of a Kalispell Kombat card one month prior. Both wins came by submission, and both showed Hamilton’s superior fighting style and intelligence, with Ash able to control the fight throughout and win without taking and punishment himself.

Don’t let your busy holiday schedule keep you from this seminar. Not only is Hamilton Ash an amazing athlete, fighter, and BJJ practitioner, but an wonderful example of what it means to be part of the tribe; humble and thankful with every step towards success, and always looking to give back. If you can’t attend all four sections of the seminar, or if you don’t feel some sections will be applicable to you, you can pick and choose which you attend.

To register, call SBG Portland today at (503) 230-7924. SBG Portland is also running their annual Oregon Food Bank food drive, and discounts will be offered for the seminar for those that donate enough cans, so bring in as many as you can!

Diggins Wins At SUG 2

Diggins Wins At SUG 2


John Diggins Wins In 59 Seconds At SUG 2

Last weekend, the Roseland Theater played host to the second Submission Underground event, in Portland, OR. The event saw household MMA names such as Jon Jones, Dan Henderson and Meisha Tate gracing the main card of a submission grappling event under EBI rules. But headlining the undercard was SBG Portland’s very own John Diggins. Coach Diggins was competing in one of the few gi matches on the card against fellow local black belt KC Thompson, and it took less than a minute for the SBG coach to submit his opponent. Pulling guard before sweeping and coming up on top, Diggins quickly rolled into a knee bar and got the tap in a mere 59 seconds.

The win wasn’t the first time this year that a Diggins has impressed at the Roseland. This July, Amanda Diggins competed in the first Submission Underground event and won in equally emphatic style, tapping her own opponent within the opening minutes via toe hold. Submission Underground, presented by Chael Sonnen and streamed live on, is an exciting development in the ever growing sport of submission grappling, and it is awesome to see two of SBG’s finest black belt competitors featuring on the first two cards. That said, with multiple IBJJF world championship medals between them, and two comfortable submission wins to their names at the SUG events, one can only hope it isn’t long before we see both of them gracing the main card.

Congratulations to Coach John Diggins on his win! The students at SBG Portland couldn’t be prouder! As the coach in charge of SBG Portland’s BJJ competition team, it is always thrilling to see you leading from the front and diving into any challenge put before you, no matter the stage.

More MMA Success for SBG

More MMA Success for SBG


SBG Fighters Win Big This Weekend

Just one week from the Bellator 155 in Boise, ID, in which six of SBG’s finest will compete in the biggest MMA event in Idaho’s history, SBG athletes from other regions stacked up another bunch of MMA wins on various cards around the country. Straight Blast Gym saw victory in Portland, OR, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as the UK.

In Biloxi, MS, fighters from SBG Alabama/Spartan Fitness went 3-0 at Atlas Fights 27. Ethan Melisano won within two minutes of the first round by way of rear naked choke. Billy Joe Bradshaw also picked up a submission victory, this time in the second round, and Omar Johnson won by unanimous decision at 155lbs in the co-main event of the card.

Meanwhile, back across the state line, Spartan Fitness’s Eryk Anders extended his unbeaten professional career record to 3-0 at the SHP 42 event in Tuscaloosa, AL. Anders won with a third round TKO. With amateur fights included, Anders has now won eight fights, with only one going to a decision.

SBG Portland’s Zach Moore celebrated his MMA debut with an excellent victory on Saturday night. Competing on the Rumble @ the Roseland 87 undercard at the Roseland Theater in downtown Portland, Zach looked comfortable throughout. Showing solid stand up fundamentals on the feet, and superior jiu jitsu on the ground, Zach never looked in trouble. Even from his back, Moore looked the more threatening of the two fighters, constantly searching for submission attempts, and getting the best of the standing exchanges in the first two rounds. In the third round, Moore kept the fight standing, picking well-placed shots to break down his opponent, eventually dropping him to secure a TKO debut victory.

In the UK, the biggest fight of SBG’s weekend saw SBG Manchester’s Martin Stapleton return to defend his BAMMA lightweight title against Damian Lapilus at BAMMA 24. After a lively opening round, the fight ended abruptly in the second, and in a fashion neither fighter, nor fans, wanted. Lapilus was disqualified for an illegal knee while Stapleton was still on the ground. The result means Stapleton retains his title. After the fight Stapleton expressed his disappointment at the stoppage despite both fighters wishing to continue, and expressed hope for a rematch in the future.

Congratulations to all the SBG athletes who competed this weekend. Win, lose or draw, the whole tribe is proud of your hard work and willingness to test yourself! Keep up the good work!

Be sure to tune in to this Saturday and support the SBG fighters at Bellator 155! Viva SBG!

John Frankl Returns This Month

John Frankl Returns This Month

john frankl

John Frankl Hosts Two Day Seminar at SBGi Portland

July 18th and 19th sees the return of John Frankl to the mats of the Straight Blast Gym headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Frankl was last in Portland for the Spring Camp back in March, before setting off on a seminar tour around some of SBGi’s other North American affiliates. John Frankl has been associated with Matt Thornton and SBG for well over ten years, and has been training in BJJ since 1990. He received his blue belt from none other than Rickson Gracie before training under Roberto Maia and receiving his black belt in 2002. He has been coaching students for decades, starting even before opening his own John Frankl BJJ academy back in 1999. He introduced the sport of BJJ to South Korea, where today he runs a number of academies across the country, while also teaching as a university professor.

The combination of third degree BJJ black belt and university professor allows for an intelligent, scientific approach to the sport which is always seeking to test and innovate new approaches. It is an attitude which is perfectly attuned to SBG founder Matt Thornton’s founding principle of ‘Aliveness’. Not only does his career as a university professor help in his approach to the study and mastery of BJJ, but it also means John Frankl is a rare combination of high level black belt and a professional teacher who can break down and explain key concepts to his students in an effective way.

Aside from being a third degree black belt, and an exceptional teacher, John Frankl’s experience at the forefront of BJJ in South Korea is unique to that of any other BJJ practitioner – pioneering a sport in a country that had never seen BJJ before. Be sure to attend his seminar to learn from a remarkable teacher and true BJJ pioneer. Contact Zach Thornton SBGi Portland, or email for more information. For more info about John Frankl, check out his bio at

Portland Jiu Jitsu History

Fabio Santos Seminar

Who is Fabio Santos and how did this man have such a big impact on Jiu Jitsu in Portland?

Aside from being a phenomenal coach and competitor world wide-

1996 World Jiu-Jitsu Champion
1996 Pan American Champion
1999 Gameness Champion
2000 World Jiu-Jitsu Champion
2003 Pan American Champion
2003 US Open- Black Belt Masters Champion
2004 United Gracie- Black Belt Superfight Champion
2005 Black Belt Pro Am- Superfight Champion

Fabio Santos also played a pivotal role in the development of Jiu Jitsu in Portland. Straight Blast Gym was the fist academy in Portland to offer Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Matt Thornton being the first coach and first black belt teaching in Oregon.  But where did Matt first find out about Jiu Jitsu, why was Jiu Jitsu so important to Matt, and who started him down the path of BJJ?

It all started in 1991 but why don’t you hear it straight from Fabio himself-

Straight Blast Gym became fully established in 1992 but that first lesson from Fabio Santos is what started SBGi down it’s path.

Matt recounts the story like it was yesterday. He came across an ad in the newspaper saying something about if you show up I will pay you to fight me. Matt at the time was coaching JKD and regularly boxing so was more then willing to go check out what this gentleman had to offer.


Matt showed up and despite his size and attribute advantage he was repeatedly swept and submitted.  Astonished by Fabio’s ability to do this over and over Matt decided that this was the biggest missing piece in the whole of his martial arts.  Matt hurried back to tell his fellow JKD instructors but no one seemed as interested in Jiu Jitsu as Matt and didn’t believe that it was nearly as important as Matt believed it was.  Matt shortly after separated and open a new kind of JKD school the Straight Blast Gym (named after the straight blast in JKD).

Now nearly twenty three years later the legend himself mister Fabio Santos came back to SBG to teach a truly one of a kind seminar.  Fabios Jiu Jitsu is the real old school Jiu Jitsu that took the world by storm as the Gracies opened up the UFC and began fighting in the U.S.A and Japan.

Fabio Santos Seminar
Fabio Santos going over staying safe in the guard.

A Treat and Privilege for the students of SBGi

With the advent of rules and regulations put on by the IBJJF new moves and ways to capitalize on the rules are all the buzz. Most seminars are taught by who ever the most recent champions are and what ever moves they use over and over are the highlight.  In keeping with Matt Thornton’s goal to teach a fundamental game that works not only in IBJJF competition but also in MMA or for self defense, SBG has never put much emphasis on the new “Trending” techniques that seem to pop up. The coaches for competition teach them and the fundamental break downs but they are never the emphasis.

This is what made Fabio Santos’ seminar such a breath of fresh air. All the techniques taught by Fabio were fundamental and devoid of being “competition specific”.

He also brought unique advice as a smaller practitioner in his later years. The smaller students and students over the age of forty or even fifty and sixty had quite a few questions for Fabio concerning longevity in the art. Some of the advice was just what you would expect, eat right, stay healthy, don’t drink to much. The real treasures of wisdom came when Fabio started talking about his approach to rolling. For the older students it was simple “pick your rolls”.  Fabio put a major emphasis on being careful who you roll with and making sure to take time off to let injuries fully recover.

For the smaller students it was even simpler a student asked “for smaller people what do you suggest?” Fabio replied simply with “the guard”.  Fabio went on to explain how important the development of a good solid guard is for smaller students as Fabio said “If I roll with someone like him (Fabio motions to Matt) and he passes my guard, I’m Dead!” making sure you can keep the larger opponents at bay and keeping them off of the top of you is pivotal for success as a smaller practitioner.

Truly authentic, fundamental, sage advice from a Jiu Jitsu Legend.  There is no real way to put into words what an honor it was to have Fabio at the academy, and we hope to have him back soon!

Wisdom and Experience

If you are in his area visiting his academy is a must! Feel free to click the link to his school.

For more details on training at SBGi Portland feel free to enter for our free trial or call us at 503-230-7924