SBG Coach Featured In Local Publication
SBG’s Leah Taylor In Montana’s Flathead Beacon
It has long been known in Straight Blast Gym circles that black belt Leah Taylor was a special student, coach and teammate. Oregon’s first female BJJ black belt (alongside SBG Portland’s Amanda Diggins) was previously a world champion at blue belt, and narrowly missed out on that same honor at the purple belt level as well. More recently, Leah was dominant in the inaugural GGC women’s grappling tournament, before claiming double gold in her first ever IBJJF tournament at black belt; the IBJJF Atlanta Summer Open. Now training and coaching in Kalispell, MT, at the SBG Montana gym managed by Travis Davison, Leah has caught the eye of the local media, with the Flathead Beacon publishing a multiple page profile feature on the woman who is now Montana’s only female BJJ black belt.
The article gives a great overview of Leah Taylor; her journey through the ranks of BJJ, how she took her first steps under Travis Davison, her travails being a woman at the elite level of a male-dominated sport, as well as her life outside the art – from her time as a ranger in Alaska to teaching in Portland.
The article talks not just about Leah’s personal achievements, but touches on something perhaps more significant – the positive impact she has as a role model for young women coming into the sport. The SBG Montana gym’s head coach Travis, and coach Kisa Davison, talk in the article about how Leah’s presence lends a warmth and sense of fun to the gym, in a sport that to newcomers can seem aggressive and overly-intense. Travis also talks about how having Leah in Kalispell helps separate the serious from the ego-driven: “Jiu-jitsu is the kind of therapy that makes you deal with your ego… Instead of confronting it, they [new students] quit.”
Be sure to give the article a read. For those of you who know Leah, you know she is a great coach and teammate and it is awesome to see her featured like this. For those of you who don’t, learn a little more about an inspiring person and someone at the forefront of a life-changing sport. Leah is aiming to continue her success at the 2016 IBJJF Worlds, as well as begin transferring some of her grappling skills in the amateur MMA arena. Either way, you’ll be sure to be seeing her name again soon!