Gunnar Nelson, a calm mind


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Gunnar Nelson center, with other SBG heavy hitters at the wedding of Matt & Salome Thornton in 2008

Those of you within the SBG family will already know who Gunnar (Gunni) Nelson is. Those of you who follow the UFC, are about to find out.

Gunnar began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu shortly after SBG founder Matt Thornton visted Iceland, Matt being the first BJJ black belt to teach in that Nation. Gunnar recieved his blue and purple belts from Matt, and trained at the Portland academy, as well as the UK and Ireland SBGs. He recieved his brown belt from his current coach, and the second person to ever recieve a BJJ black belt from Matt Thornton, John Kavanagh.

On Sept 29th you’ll see Gunnar step into the cage at the UFC, representing his gym, Mjolnir, the SBG affiliate of Iceland, as well as SBG and the Renzo Gracie academy. In his corner will be his trainer, SBG VP John Kavanagh, and SBG academies all over the world will be anxiously tuning in and hosting UFC parties in order to see Gunnar in action.

It is no secret that Gunni became very good, very quickly. You will often hear his name mention by John Kavanagh, Karl Tanswell, Travis Davison, Matt Thornton and the other SBG coaches, as a prime example of what SBG BJJ is at it’s best. The emphasis on perfectly executed fudamentals, the training philosophy of SBG which is a carry over from Matt’s early days training with Rickson Gracie, is embodied in Gunni. You won’t see a lot of fancy movements or “secret” techniques. What you will see is almost flawless posture, and a calm, dominating game which isn’t dependent on weight class, or whether or not it is gi, no-gi or a Mixed Martial Arts fight. In otherwords, fundamentals.

Anyone who has taken a seminar with Matt Thornton knows that one of the things he emphasizes when it comes to getting good at BJJ is the mindset you bring to it. It isn’t so much what you think, but rather how you think. And ‘how’ athletes like Gunnar Nelson think, is an enormous part of their success.

This short documentary video was shot at another Matt Thornton BJJ black belts academy, Karl Tanswell’s SBG_UK, where Gunni often trains as well. In it you’ll hear Gunni talk about this calm mindset, and if you’re sharp, you’ll be taking notes.

Here is the link:   Gunnar Nelson, a calm mind

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Gunni after receiving his purple from Matt Thornton. Gunnar’s SBG ironman that afternoon is legendary, he was at this point world class.

P.S. the Portland SBG will be hosting a large gym social the evening of Gunnar’s UFC debute, where we will be watching the fight live. Come join us!