Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes In Athens GA

Were you searching for Muay Thai kickboxing classes in Athens, GA? If so, you came to the right place. Though not for the reasons you think. Head Coaches Adam and Rory Singer are fans of Muay Thai kickboxing and trained quite extensively in it over the years. Even though Muay Thai provides for a great set of self-defense tools and fitness benefits, we don’t have standalone Muay Thai classes at SBG Athens. Please continue to read in order to learn more about why we think you would be far better off taking MMA (which has aspects of Muay Thai striking) classes in Athens, GA.

Muay Thai boxing is great for striking and clinch work. It’s for those reasons that we incorporate Muay Thai techniques into our Mixed Martial Arts classes for those looking for self defense classes in Athens, GA along with those looking to venture into amateur/professional fighting. Our MMA classes utilize techniques from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Western Boxing, and Wrestling to provide you with the most complete self defense/fighting program in Athens, GA.

The aforementioned arts are fantastic when kept in their silos. For example, Muay Thai doesn’t address ground fighting; Boxing doesn’t address kicks, knees, or elbows; and wrestling doesn’t address submissions. MMA considers all the places (we often call these different places: ranges) one may find themselves in a fight. MMA provides answers for all the “What If” style questions posed by those aspects lacking in other arts.

One needs to determine their true motivation for wanting to train specifically and solely in Muay Thai kick boxing. If your purpose is to compete in Muay Thai, then you would be better off locating a Muay Thai gym in Athens, GA. If you are interested in the full breadth of self defense and fitness that can be found learning how to fight standup, in the clinch, and on the ground; then Mixed Martial Arts in Athens, GA at SBG Athens is the only thing you need. We look forward to meeting you when you schedule your free tour and consultation with one of our amazing coaches. See you soon!

Submission Wrestling, No-Gi Grappling, and 10th Planet in Athens, GA

William Shakespeare said it best, “To Gi or not to Gi (No-Gi), that is the question”

Type the following into Google: “gi vs no gi debate”, and you will immediately get back about 48M results. There are quite a few opinions on the matter. We are here to add one more (ha); although we don’t see it as a gi vs no gi.

Although SBG Athens is primarily a Gi based Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Athens, GA; we spend plenty of time learning how to fight in a No-Gi environment. We are not only one of the premier Mixed Martial Arts academies in Georgia but also the top gym for self-defense in Athens, GA.

One of the most important themes within SBG is, fundamentals over styles. This is what Coach Matt Thornton (founder of SBG International and 5th Degree BB) has to say on the topic:

Fundamentals are not defined as what’s most basic, but rather, what’s most important. With them you can learn to adapt and fight in any environment. Without them you’re vulnerable in every environment.

The collection of core fundamentals within a given range, stand up, clinch, and ground – is known as a ‘delivery system.’ And while circumstances dictate tactics, and plans change upon contact, the root skills you need to develop in the delivery systems remain the same.

Aliveness is the method, the epistemology. The core fundamentals of the delivery system are the material. And style is what evolves within you when you combine both. It will be as different as every individual, and it will be yours alone.

Fundamentals – Delivery Systems – and individual Style, that’s what Bruce Lee was after. That’s what JKD could have been. That’s what Mixed Martial Arts became. And that’s what SBG is.”

What does that have to do with training Gi or No-Gi? As stated earlier, there is room for both, because at SBG we don’t teach for one or the other. We teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and, if done properly, the individual can adapt it to the environment: Gi, No-Gi, MMA, or Self-Defense.

Where does 10th Planet (10P) fit into this equation? Let it first be said, Coach Adam and Coach Rory have spent time on the mats learning from Eddie Bravo. They both consider him a friend, and think he is a great guy. This article is not meant to disparage Eddie or his 10P BJJ organization. Nevertheless, Eddie is breaking one of the core principles on which SBG Athens was founded. He is teaching his personal style to all his students, and, it is specifically a No-Gi system.

As you see, we didn’t want to get into the Gi vs No-Gi debate. At SBG Athens we enjoy doing both. The principles we teach are easily adapted to any environment. The rules may change, and the stakes may increase (sport vs life and death), but the fundamentals are always what’s most important.

The Importance of Gi’s in BJJ Training

Kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in Athens, Georgia

The topic of Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Athens and No-Gi Submission Grappling in Athens is an important one to unpack for the uninitiated parent looking for BJJ in Athens for kids and teens. As the top BJJ school in Athens and one of the tops in the state of Georgia we hope you find this discussion informative and helpful when choosing BJJ training for your youth or teen.

Here at SBG Athens we run an international program called, Growing Gorillas Martial Arts and Youth Enrichment. Children range from 3 years old up to 14/15 years old. Growing Gorillas are broken into four different age groups that more specifically meet the learning needs of each child as they develop from toddlers to young adults. Far too many traditional martial arts programs, BJJ programs, and No Gi Submission grappling programs group all the children into one big class and expect that a 4-year-old can learn in the same way as a 12-year-old. If that were the case, children of all ages would attend the same classroom together to learn ELA, math, and science.

It’s also important to understand why SBG Athens is a proponent of Gi based BJJ as opposed to No-Gi Grappling. Training adults and children for over 20 years has led us to understand there are far more benefits gained from BJJ in a gi than no gi submission grappling. One of these benefits, although no less important than the others, is hygiene. Another important reason for gi training, in a similar vein as hygiene, is less body to body contact. This becomes more important for mixed classes as children age and become teenagers.

Other reasons include the ability to chart a student’s progress with belts while teaching the true art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as created by the Gracie family and passed on to the rest of us. To have goals, whether on the mats or in life, one must know from where they came, where they are presently, and where they are trying to go. Belts, which don’t exist in No-Gi submission grappling, are not only an intrinsic motivator for kids, but help a child to set goals and achieve them. In addition to belts, the uniform, known as a Kimono, helps a child to identify they are a training a martial art and not just wrestling around with their friends. It creates a better student/teacher relationship that is harder to do so with the more informal submission wrestling.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also taught for self-defense, not just to go out a win gold medals at the local grappling tournament (although we have many of these medals on our walls). Since our children live in clothes, the Kimono helps us to create lessons that deal with such things as stranger danger and abduction. How will a child learn to defend someone from grabbing their jacket or pants if said child is only wearing a rash guard and board shorts? Lastly, if no-gi submission grappling is something a child wants to do (PS. SBG Athens does teach submission grappling to children that qualify), they will have far greater success training in a gi and then taking it off to train no-gi. All of Jiu Jitsu exists in the gi: throws, grip breaking, submissions, escapes, and more. One cannot train all these things No-Gi and therefore their own BJJ will be lacking. Why stifle your child’s growth from the very beginning when SBG Athens provides the best BJJ program for children?

We hope to meet your child soon and teach them a martial art they can train their entire lives. This is SBG, you will be okay.

self defense against strikes on the ground using bjj

Self Defense Using BJJ on Ground
There is an adage spoken in SBGs all over the globe, “If you can’t beat me with rules, what makes you think you can beat me without them.”
 
One of the things SBG is most proud of is teaching Brazilian Jiu JItsu that can be used regardless of the environment. Whether gi BJJ, no-gi, MMA, or “the streat”, the fundamentals practiced on our mats hold true throughout. Sure, we can take that BJJ and go win tournaments, but that doesn’t mean we teach Sport BJJ.
 
Fundamentals are fundamental, and if you are being taught something different, you are likely being lied to about its efficacy. If you really want some honesty, after about 2-3 years of solid fundamental BJJ (like what is taught at SBG Athens) the rest of your time is about perfecting timing and having fun simulating murder with your friends.
 
Some places like to scare you about the “Boogeyman”. One thing our friend Paul Sharp talks about is how we are more dangerous than the criminals who aren’t training against resisting opponents (read: training partners) every day. We are giving our students all the necessary tools to defend themselves against violent actors.
 
Many police departments and our country’s own military (including Special Operators) has adopted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as their go to self defense. There is no better way to get good at BJJ than to train it against another athlete trying to beat you.
 
One understands the rule set (or lack thereof) when forced to Manage Unknown Contacts (MUC). The BJJ athlete doesn’t just flop to the ground and pull guard against a violent actor on the streets. This is preached about regularly inside the academy. But that doesn’t stop us from having some fun and exploring the different games that are available. That’s what makes BJJ something we can do until the day we die. Rickson Gracie himself competed all the time and understood the best way to improve was to train against an alive (read: resisting) opponent.
 
Here we are learning how to defend against a striking opponent if we happen to find ourselves on our backs. Sometimes you fall down or get taken down and need to know how to survive. This is ten minutes from a 90 minute class utilizing MMA gloves to safely strike one another. Our students continue to gain valuable training time and become more dangerous every hour they spend on the mats.
 
The likelihood of them ever needing to use this against someone trying to do them grave bodily harm is slim. Nevertheless, as coaches we know that they are gaining the necessary skills in case the situation is to ever present itself.
 
This is SBG Athens, you will be okay.

Taekwondo (TKD) Classes In Athens Georgia

TKD Classes in Athens Georgia

You likely came upon this article because you were searching for Taekwondo classes for your child in Athens or the surrounding area (you might have even been searching for yourself). You want your son or daughter (or yourself) to gain focus, discipline, respect, and most importantly: confidence. Continue reading to learn why we don’t teach Taekwondo classes in Athens, Georgia

Taekwondo is a traditional martial art which primarily focuses on kicking. It also happens to be an Olympic sport; which is cool. As most martial arts do, TKD will teach them some very important life skills. So why don’t we teach Taekwondo classes at SBG Athens? The most important reason is because it doesn’t prepare children for defending themselves against many different types of attacks.

As TKD is highly kicking oriented, practitioners don’t train how to throw or defend punches, how to wrestle and defend takedowns, and most importantly, it doesn’t teach how to defend oneself on the ground (which is why training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is so very important). Although there are many great benefits to training martial arts, we fell the most important should be learning how to defend one’s self against bullies. It is therefore necessary to learn how to fight in all ranges: standup, clinch, and ground.

You may be surprised to learn that Coaches Adam and Rory Singer both trained Taekwondo when they lived in Marlboro, NJ. They were fortunate to train under coaches that were at the Olympic level. As Green belts, they both earned Gold Medals at the 14th Annual New Jersey TKD Championships.

They became disillusioned with their training when they began to out spar the more senior and Black Belt students (after only a brief period of training). Additionally, the limitations of Taekwondo , including the forced stances, range, and absence of punching to the head, made them question the efficacy of the art. The lack of wrestling and ground fighting further cemented their belief that a lot was missing from Taekwondo when it came to self-defense.

A proper martial arts education shouldn’t leave a you or your child with a false sense of confidence. Unfortunately, many traditional martial arts, such as Karate and Taekwondo, don’t provide proper training to protect against violence. Think about the following. You or your child trains TKD for 5 years. At this point you or they may even have earned a Black Belt. One day another child (person), slightly bigger and more aggressive, takes you/them down and proceeds to assault you/them. All that kicking was made useless.

In the case of your child, they come home wondering why you had them learn something that didn’t work, and your relationship suffers. Ten years old, a Black Belt, and still has no idea how to defend themselves. It’s a heartbreaking story, but one that happens all over the country.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts may be new to you but that isn’t a reason to pass up the opportunity to have you or your child truly learn how to defend yourselves. Additionally, you/they will gain focus, discipline, and respect. Most importantly though, the confidence gained will be backed up by an actual ability to defend one’s self from bullies. This is SBG, you will be okay.

Karate Classes in Athens Georgia

Karate Classes In Athens

Many people searching for self-defense classes in Athens Georgia believe they will find them in a Karate Dojo. Please continue reading to learn why you would be doing yourself a disservice joining such a place.

The large majority of traditional martial arts academies that teach Karate are failing to teach their students actual self-defense. Self-defense isn’t found standing in lines, memorizing dance routines (called Kata) and two-step sparring (called Ippon), breaking dried out boards, and screaming at imaginary opponents.

One of the obstacles many Karate schools put up against learning self-defense is the lack of training against a resisting opponent. This is something we call, Aliveness, at SBG Athens. Without Aliveness you can’t truly learn how to defeat an opponent that is trying to win (whether on the mats or on the streets). One can truly only get better at fighting if they are training against someone who fights back.

The idea of training against a resisting opponent can be witnessed during any soccer, baseball, football, or hockey practice as well. It’s something that has long been understood when winning is a priority. And when it comes to your safety against a person trying to do you physical bodily harm, isn’t winning all that truly matters.

You may be surprised to learn that Coaches Adam and Rory Singer both trained in a very traditional, very hard style of Karate, known as Kanzen Goju-Ryu. They trained under the founder, Shihan Harry Rosenstein, for approximately two years. Harry Rosenstein could trace his lineage through Peter Urban, the founder of American Goju.

Around the time they began Karate classes, Rory was wrestling in high school (1990-1994), Adam had just finished up a couple of years in the Navy (where he continued to wrestle), and UFC 1 just debuted in November 1993. After only two years of training and quickly advancing, they were invited to attend sparring sessions with the high-level students and Black Belts.

This is where their disillusionment with Karate began. The Singer brothers started to question all the weird stances, defensive structures, lack of fighting in different ranges (there was a complete lack of fighting on the ground, no clinching, or wrestling), and stringent rules that required fighting in very specific ways which only resembled fighting another person doing karate. Their questions were never answered, and their frustrations grew.

The limits of Karate couldn’t be overcome. It became apparent that it didn’t truly represent what a fight looked like nor address many of their concerns about what happens when a fight enters the wrestling or ground range. Soon after, both Adam and Rory discontinued their training in search of truth in combat.

Don’t get caught up in all the fancy terminology, far east mysticism, and techniques too deadly for training. Let us show you how boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu jitsu not only provides health, fitness, focus, discipline, confidence, and self-esteem; but it also teaches you how to truly defend yourself when it counts the most.

Here at SBG Athens we teach the same styles taught to military, law enforcement, and special operators. We teach you in a safe, friendly, and family oriented environment. Not only will you have fun and get a great workout, but you will leave knowing you are more dangerous than when you came.

Looking to branch out?

SBG Athens GA

This is the story of SBG Athens tribe-member Ashley Healen.

Ashley found SBG while she was injured.

Working out at a different gym, Ashley had been exposed to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts as ways to stay fit. She quickly realized that she was more than casually interested in training martial arts, though. Recovering from an injury sustained in training, Ashley began to look for a gym that could offer her more in the way of BJJ and MMA instruction. At SBG, Ashley says, she found the right place.

Ashley now feels more confident standing up for herself. “I really doubted myself,” she says, no matter what she did. She was afraid to speak her mind, to be herself around other people. Classes at SBG have given her a space to work alongside a variety of people sharing similar goals to Ashley.

Everyone there wants to get a little bit better at something each time they come together, whether that be throwing better strikes, defending yourself better on the ground, or improving your numbers in the weight-room. Ashley now feels equally comfortable trading words with her training partners as well as punches.

Here are three pieces of advice that Ashley would like to share with anyone who might be interested in starting to train, or taking their training to the next evolution:

  1. Always keep an open mind. Don’t ever be afraid to try something.
  2. “Keep your friends close and your elbows closer” -Ryron Gracie
  3. Don’t beat yourself up, everyone makes mistakes. Just learn from them.

Do you struggle with some of the same things with which Ashley struggled?

You CAN make that change and TRANSFORM your life also!

Fill out the form below and one of our coaches will call you back as soon as possible. This is SBG, you will be okay.

Looking to take your workout to another level?

SBG Athens GA

This is the story of SBG Athens coach Lee McMichael.

Lee felt like he was in a rut before joining SBG Athens.

A lifelong athlete active in several sports, Lee had always been in decent shape. After leaving school, however, he says that he never developed a satisfying routine. He would vacillate between being completely dedicated to a workout routine and doing the bare-minimum to stay in shape. “I was never able to find a reason to keep myself in shape,” he says, other than wanting to look good or avoid “being super-unhealthy.”

He says that he found SBG Athens due to being an MMA fan. He knew that the gym had spawned Forrest Griffin, and living nearby, he wanted to see what the gym had to offer. According to Lee, the gym has much more to offer than he would have anticipated.

Lee has found an outlet to channel his competitive drive in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Learning BJJ at the gym, Lee has found a sport that will allow him to compete for decades. “Aside from some flag football and things like that in college I think too many of us just put that kind of thing aside after high school.  However, something like jiu-jitsu gives you something that you are always working on and working toward.  Even if you don’t compete in jiu-jitsu you still are competing against yourself or just trying to get a little better each day.”

Not only is Lee excited to have a good reason to work out, he says that in SBG Athens, he has found a deeper sense of community. “I was a pretty aimless 25 year-old when I started my journey here at SBG,” he says. Training martial arts, and training with other martial artists has “both directly and indirectly have helped me a great deal in providing some direction and sense of purpose.” He has coached both kids and adults at SBG, becoming a staple at the gym. At SBG he has plenty of training partners, students, and teachers, but he has also made valuable personal connections. He says that the community of the SBG tribe has benefitted him greatly: “I have met many amazing people and I am luckily to call quite a few of them “friend!”

Here are three tips that Lee wants to share to potential tribemates:

  1. Don’t quit!  Even if you can’t make it to as many classes or do as much as you want.  Just keep coming back!
  2. Don’t take it too seriously, especially early on.  Make this something you enjoy doing, not a chore that you must do!
  3. Talk to people!  Early on I did not do a good job of putting myself out there and making connections at the gym.  We are a welcoming place but the gym and its’ people can only do so much.

Do you struggle with some of the same things with which Lee struggled?

You CAN make that change and TRANSFORM your life also!

Fill out the form below and one of our coaches will call you back as soon as possible. This is SBG, you will be okay.

Looking for stability? Structure?

SBG Athens Ga

This is the story of Josh Norris, SBG Athens athlete and assistant coach. Before coming to SBG, Josh felt literally lost.

From ages 18 to 24, Josh had lived in ten different places in five states. One of his parents had passed away, and the other disappeared from his life. “I had lost my family by blood, family by bond, the structure that was high school and my literal home,” Josh says. Lacking structure in his life, he says “chaos took its place.” He ended up in Athens by chance, just another stop on his journey.

Josh had always been interested in fitness and the martial arts, but he didn’t see a future in traditional martial arts. He was excited to get involved with Mixed Martial Arts (like the MMA program at SBG) since “Mixed Martial Arts are pressure-tested by their nature.” SBG gave him a chance to learn these pressure-tested skills, to get involved in something concrete and practical. He ended up finding that chance and more. In his words:

“At the time I thought SBG would get me a great workout, train me in martial arts that actually work, and would let me apply myself towards a goal. Well all of that did happen, however I found something so much more. I found the most positive and supportive group of human beings in my life. Each coach and member of the gym genuinely cared about me and wanted to help me not just in my goals within the walls of SBG but in my life outside the gym as well.”

He says that he found a passion in martial arts, but even more, a reason to stick around in one place for a while. “I didn’t know what would happen next in life, how I’d make enough money or survive, but I did and whether or not my “Tribe” at SBG knows it, I did it with their support.”

He now owns a home and enjoys a stable life. He feels like he’s regained a sense of family at SBG that was missing for a long time. Regularly attending classes at SBG has Josh feeling stronger at 185 lbs than he did weighing 205 lbs and working out in a traditional setting. He feels stronger, more patient, and has the confidence that goes with acquiring skills that he knows work. He has to test them in sparring on a regular basis. In so many ways, Josh is thankful that he found SBG.

Here’s more of Josh’s advice:

  1. I cannot tell you all of the benefits you will find at SBG but I can tell you that in one way or another, you’ll become an even better version of yourself.
  2. Everything you put into SBG, you will get back in some form. Whatever your goal, we can help you reach it. If you think you can’t do it, you can and you will. You will have fun, you will be safe, you will learn amazing skills and you will enrich your life.
  3. The only catch is you have to earn it, but each and every step of the way you will have a Tribe by your side, working together to become the best possible version of ourselves.

Do you struggle with some of the same things with which Josh struggled? You CAN make that change and TRANSFORM your life also! Fill out the form below and one of our coaches will call you back as soon as possible. This is SBG, you will be okay.

Want to challenge the limitations you set for yourself?

SBG Athens Ga

This is the journey of Dr. Ben Fuqua: PhD, Professor of Literature, and martial arts student at SBG Athens. Before joining SBG Athens, Ben struggled with anxiety and lacked healthy outlets.

Ben was convinced that people were meant to choose a path and never deviate from that path. He found success in the classroom, earning several advanced degrees and teaching college courses before the age of 30. Something was missing, however. He was drawn to the idea of being more active—a youth-athlete and lifelong sports fan—but resisted dedicating himself to becoming more active. “I thought that training [martial arts] was for other people,” he says. “I thought that you already had to be athletic to learn to do something athletic.” Afraid to leave his comfort zone, Ben ignored the itch to train for years.

Ben became aware of SBG Athens (then called The HardCore Gym) during the rise of MMA fighters like Forrest Griffin, Brian Bowles, and (co-proprietor) Rory Singer. He was sure that he couldn’t belong there. “I looked at the gym as this institution in sports. They have world champions…I was happy just living in the same town where these guys trained.” Growing more and more interested in finding a way to round out his life, Ben started researching local martial arts programs. He discovered that SBG Athens offered a whole arrangement of beginner classes, even encouraging beginners.

In the middle of writing his PhD dissertation, Ben says he finally became exhausted with “spending all of [his] time obsessing” over work. He walked in off the street without letting anyone know he was coming. He ended up having a private workout with one of the coaches just days after walking through the door, and he felt welcome. Ben has been attending Brazillian Jiu Jitsu classes at SBG ever since.

“I think that just walking through SBG’s doors has been the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome,” he says. “I was in my own way…Grappling gives me a chance to express myself in ways that I can’t get anywhere else. I get to exercise while practicing an art; I think that the gym gives me a balance that had been missing from my life for a long time.”

Here are a few tips that Ben has found helpful:

  1. Just train. Forget whatever your reservations are for a minute and give it a try. To paraphrase SBG’s motto, “You’ll be okay.”
  2. Don’t worry about being a tough guy. People that last in martial arts are the people that learn to love it for their own reasons, people that are willing to put in a lot of time and effort, and people that are willing to risk failure.
  3. Remember to tuck in your elbows. (This one will make more sense when you start grappling. It can never be emphasized enough, though).