Huge SBG Iron Man At SBG Portland

Huge SBG Iron Man At SBG Portland


A Record 9 Belt Promotions Took Place At SBG PDX Last Night

Last night SBG Portland played host to one of Straight Blast Gym’s oldest traditions; the SBG Iron Man. The Iron Man has existed as part of Straight Blast Gym for over a decade, and is always a celebrated and cherished event, but last night’s Iron Man was just a little bit special. This time around, no fewer than nine white belt students were honored with their promotion to blue belt – a record number of promotions at the SBG Portland gym. Those students were Brad Bakke, David Slegers, Harry Braumel, Jim Constantine, Johnny Reaser, Mario Shonkwiler, Seth Crume, Tim Donovan and Will Walker.

The record number of promotions is testament to not just the ever-growing reputation of SBG, but also to the strength of the tribe, the support network that encourages its students to grow and to the consistent quality of its students, coaches and teaching practices. SBG holds its students to an impeccably high standard when it comes to belt promotion, basing any new belt solely on the students’ ability to consistently perform at that level, and so to see so many promoted students in one evening is a remarkable achievement. The fact that the students in question do not fit any one mold – varying in height, weight and age, is another great sign that SBG (and BJJ more generally) is applicable to, and accepting of, all styles and approaches.

There is no better event than the Iron Man to showcase all of these factors, and to celebrate the great achievements of the students in question. All SBG members are encouraged to attend, and those that do sit around the gym in a large circle, according to rank, with beginner white belts on one end and black belts at the other. The newly promoted students are then announced by SBG founder, Matt Thornton, and they take their place in the middle of the circle. At that point, the event begins, and the promoted students proceed to roll with every other student in attendance – from white belts up to black belts. Only then are they presented with their new belt.

The SBG Iron Man is a chance to showcase the promoted students’ abilities, their ability to manage energy, and to perform in situations where they are physically tired. More so than this, though, the event represents the fact that, for a student to progress and be promoted to a new belt, they must rely on the input of every single member of the gym. As the newly promoted student rolls with each student, they begin to see all the familiar faces they have worked with over the previous months and years, and are reminded of how intertwined everybody’s development really is.

The Iron Man really is a great occasion to celebrate the achievements of the individual students, but also a great coming together that celebrates the growth of the whole tribe, at the same time. Congratulations to all the brand new blue belts!