Discover more from Random Minds by Katherine Brodsky
The Gift of Violence
...A Forbidden Conversation with Matt Thornton
Violence is not something that many of us often think of as a “gift” and yet my latest guest in the “Forbidden Conversations” series, Matt Thornton, wrote an entire book dedicated to the subject, under the title of The Gift of Violence, available for pre-order via Amazon.
The truth is that violence is inherent to the fabric of our society and is part of each of us. But, for many of us, it is perhaps less accessible. And for some of us, it is too accessible. At the core of Matt’s book is the idea of wanting to make “good people more dangerous to bad people.”
During our extensive conversation, we discuss the role that violence plays in society, jiu jitsu (of which I happen to be a new practitioner), his ideas around the concept of ‘aliveness,’ when violence is useful, when to avoid it, and much more.
If you know Matt’s background, you know there’s perhaps no better person to talk to about the subject. The first person in Oregon to receive a black belt, he holds a 5th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has been teaching functional martial arts full-time for 32 years. His organization, SBG, has over 70 locations worldwide, and he has produced champion MMA fighters, as well as world class self-defense and law enforcement instructors.
Matt founded the first Straight Blast Gym in Oregon in 1992, and has an online Jiu-Jitsu university as well. Some notable competitors that trained at his gym include six-time UFC champion Randy Couture, famed UFC coach and the father of MMA in Ireland, John Kavanagh (trainer to UFC legend Conor McGregor), former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin, UK’s most successful MMA coach, Karl Tanswell, Dan Henderson, and others.
He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Salome, and their children.
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Who am I? I’m a writer with an overactive imagination and a random mind. Outside of Substack, you’ll find my work in publications such as Newsweek, WIRED, Variety, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Esquire, Playboy, Mashable, CNN Travel, The Independent, and many others.