Conor McGregor is a phenomenon. He is a special athlete and a talented martial artist. But he is also a product. A product of one of the most unique and creative learning environments in world MMA.
“The Notorious” isn’t the only member of his Straight Blast Gym Ireland team that can talk a great game. In his own way, John Kavanagh is also a very engaging subject. The Dubliner is thoughtful, intelligent and philosophical. Though his charisma is a great deal less brash than Conor’s, if you listen carefully you can hear similarities between them. That part of McGregor’s personality that is less show and more substance seems to echo his coach.
This is not surprising, after all Kavanagh is the man that moulded McGregor’s martial arts obsessed mind.
In the video below, filmed at the 10th annual SBG summer camp, Kavanagh gives greater insight into his teaching methods and ideas. He speaks of the the gym’s humble beginnings and it’s flourishing present, but he leaves talking about the future to SBG International President, Matt Thornton. Kavanagh himself prefers not to “project”, rather he lives “moment by moment”.
It is a mentality that developed from the fact that when he started training there was no future in the sport of MMA, at least not in Ireland. “I just knew that I had to do it because I was addicted”, said Kavanagh.
In a lot of ways Thornton’s words about the future aren’t necessary. The footage of 10 year old Nathan Kelly grappling, and punishing the pads with passion in a quiet section of the gym, as the older students train in the background says more than Thornton could ever express.
Straight Blast Gym Ireland is a special environment and as long as it remains so, it will continue to produce special martial artists.