We’ve been doing MMA Mixed Martial Arts at the Portland SBG before the sport of MMA even existed within the USA. We are also Portland’s oldest BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy. That said it isn’t just the twenty years of experience, or multiple BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts on our mat that make our programs so unique. What really sets SBG apart worldwide not just within Portland Oregon, are our unique training methods.
As such, we’ve decided to devote a series of blog posts filled with details on that subject. Whether you are brand new to MMA Mixed Martial Arts, BJJ Brazilian Jiu JItsu, Boxing, Kickboxing, or simply Martial Arts in general, this series should help smooth your journey, and make the training process for you a faster, and smarter one.
As most of you who follow SBGi to some degree know, our main message is that of Aliveness. If Aliveness doesn’t come first, then everything else unravels to some degree and what we are left with isn’t even the same animal. We always start with that vital principle.
After that comes the curriculum itself. And this gets into our entire teaching thesis. The basic premise being that the entire curriculum, stand up (boxing kickboxing), clinch (wrestling & Muay Thai) and ground (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu BJJ) revolves around the fundamentals of the delivery system. And because of this, each individual athlete is given the freedom needed to develop his/her own style; one that is optimum for their own body, mind and temperament.
In a Gym like the Portland SBG that focuses on fundamentals, as opposed to a technique-by-technique template, each and every purple belt (as one example) will roll using very different types of games. And this not only produces better athletes/technicians quickly, it also helps impart and preserve the core Art (delivery system) itself.
For us at the Portland SBG it is about giving students not just the game, but also the understanding behind why the game works the way it does; a point that is for us, is very important.
Learning to think critically/rationally, and understanding why things work the way they do as opposed to simply how something works, is crucial if you truly want to understand something.
Of course certain core movements and techniques help form that curriculum, but as you will see in this series, sometimes these can be as simple as a posture, or a concept.
To be clear this teaching thesis is not new, and certainly not something we claim to have invented. Speaking for myself as the founder of SBG and Head Coach for the Portland Gym, my first big BJJ influence (and the person who gave me my blue belt) was Rickson Gracie. And I owe a lot of credit to my understanding of how important focusing on fundamentals is to him.
*(My Coach who awarded me my purple, brown and black belts is Chris Haueter, and he had a massive influence on me as well. I will talk about that influence later on in this series)
If you have ever watched Rickson teach BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you will notice he seldom (if ever) shows anything that your average blue belt has not already been exposed to at some point. Yet each and every time, a new detail or key point is revealed in his class about that core movement. And that is for me, the definition of a great Instructor.
We have many visitors at the Portland Gym who travel from all across the USA and World. And this point about the wide variety of styles represented on my mat always gets noticed. It’s no secret; it is just the natural by product of focusing on the fundamentals.
This concept of maintaining a curriculum that revolves around the fundamental movements of a given delivery system/range and training that curriculum in an Alive manner, is something we do because it is the best method we have come up with so far; it’s not about dogma, it’s about results; and training smart is a science.
Not only is it most efficient way, but it also allows the athlete the most possible freedom of expression. That freedom is very important because it provides the space needed for the athlete’s body to learn to move in a manner that best suits their physiology and personality;? and here is the key point, for every body that is going to be different.
Obviously there are as many styles of teaching as there are teachers. So find a teacher, Gym, and vibe that suits you. This article is about the SBGi teaching/Coaching method, in particular, the one we use when teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu BJJ and Mixed Martial Arts MMA, in Portland. However, if a detailed discussion of how we try and Coach is not of interest, or if you are of the “just do it”, or “there are no superior models” mindset, then this probably won’t the series for you. We at the Portland SBG do believe there is always room for improving things, and this goes for the field of education as well. We are of course not alone in that belief. And teaching/ Coaching methods have, like everything else, evolved over the decades. This is our contribution to that process.
In the next article that we will post in the next few days we will get into specifics as it relates to the “I” method, which is the heart and soul of the SBG drilling methodology.