Episode 50: Stoicism and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) with Matt Thornton

I have a conversation with Matt Thornton about parallels between Stoic Philosophy and mixed martial arts (MMA), particularly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We talk about mental toughness, discipline, goal-setting, personal development, handling adversity, challenging yourself, open-mindedness, ego, and much more.

The Stoic Solutions Podcast aims to inform, empower, and help others benefit from practical wisdom of Ancient Greek, Roman, and modern thinkers including Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.

For the Stoics, a main focus is to attain a fulfilled life through practical applications of Philosophy – acting with good character, using reason to form accurate careful judgments about the world, and working towards contentment.

Stoic writers focus on many perennial human concerns and urge people to take action applying what they learn to everyday life. Self-improvement is central to Stoic thought – strengthening and improving one’s mindset.

Matt Thornton was one of the early group of Americans to become involved in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu having been introduced to it in 1991. He was also the first person from the state of Oregon to receive a black belt in the art.

Matt has worked with some of the best MMA fighters, grapplers and combat athletes in the world including UFC hall of famers Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, and Forrest Griffin. He has also produced Oregon’s first and so far only Mundials world champion.

New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris said, “Matt Thornton is one of the clearest Martial Arts instructors I have come across.” As of this writing, Matt has awarded thirteen Brizilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts and his very own Straight Blast Gym has produced multiple UFC fighters (including the biggest UFC Champion in history Conor McGregor) – multiple BJJ world champions, including black belt medalists – and currently stands as the world’s leading organization for functional martial arts, combat sports, and self-defense.

Matt’s main emphasis over the last decade has been addressing superstition as it relates to the fields of sports training, combat sports, and martial arts. His methodology known as aliveness was designed as a tool to help people distinguish between fact and fiction. He is currently working on a book which will cover the topic of violence and its relationship to both combat sports and skepticism.

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