As most of you probably already know, SBG International athlete from Iceland’s Mjolnir Academy, Gunnar Nelson, has won yet another UFC fight!
This comes as no surprise to SBG’rs who are used to Gunnar’s talent. But for those unfamiliar with his game, his calm attitude and mastery of the fundamentals may be something new.
BJJEE did an excellent interview with his coach, SBG BJJ black belt John Kavanagh. You can read it here: http://www.bjjee.com/interview/interview-with-john-kavanagh-bjj-black-belt-pioneer-of-bjj-in-ireland-coach-of-gunnar-nelson/
“John Kavanagh runs the Straight Blast Gym Ireland and was the first Irish person to be awarded a black belt in BJJ. John fought in MMA to get a basic knowledge and experience of it before he moved into coaching, and where his true love lies in teaching. The fighters he coaches are among the top that compete in Irish MMA and are belt holders in the major Irish promotions such as Cage Contenders. He has trained notable fighters, such as Gunnar Nelson, Paul McVeigh, Cathal Pendred, Aisling Daly, Conor McGregor, Chris Fields and Owen Roddy. Eastern Europe spoke with John to find out a bit more about BJJ in Ireland, How he met Matt Thornton in a strip club, Gunnar Nelson etc..“
Question: What sets apart the Straight Blast Gym training methods and mentality from other BJJ academies?
“Well i have Matt Thornton to thank for that. check out straightblastgym.com for more! also we might be a little different in that there are not too many academies out there producing champions in IBJFF gi/no gi, grappling, submission and mma pro and amateur.”
Question: Please tell us about how you first met Gunnar Nelson. I heard that even though he was your student, you were ok with the fact that Renzo Gracie promoted him to black belt instead of you, why is that so?
“I met Gunni about 7yrs ago. Actually I just recently saw a video of the first private lesson i gave him, and it funny seeing him all awkward and beginnerish. Also funny seeing him use the techniques I showed him to win a UFC fight 7yrs later! It was of course a great honor to have someone like Renzo Gracie recognize his abilities and and award him his black belt. I probably have a different view of belts in BJJ than most people, losing a family member to cancer is serious…BJJ is not.”
From all of us at SBG, well done Gunnar!