Thanks to people like you, the Gorilla Cup in November was a smashing success. We raised $6,700 for the Gorilla Booster Club, which will go towards sending athletes to tournaments and allow them to grow in unimaginable ways.
Competition is a chance for SBG athletes to put their skills to the ultimate test, but they get so many benefits from competition.
For many athletes who want to compete, the Gorilla Cup is simply the first step in a competition career. Many of them go on to compete in tournaments in Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada.
Traveling to out-of-state BJJ tournaments is costly for most of our athletes, which is why Travis and I founded the GBC.
We wanted all athletes to get the opportunity of a lifetime that comes from competition.
With 4 gyms throughout Montana, the demand on GBC resources is higher than ever.
Now is the time to support your GBC and make a year-end, tax-deductible donation to the GBC.
Your donation will do an enormous amount of good. Not only does 100% of the funds go to travel expenses for competitors and coaches, but you will support a local organization that benefits people in your very own community.
Visit the Gorilla Booster Club website, and click on “Sponsor an Athlete” to make your donation today.
Thank you for all that you do. It’s because of people like you that make our tribe extraordinary.
SBG Montana’s Stella Davison competed in 2 back-to-back tournaments on Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th in Dallas, TX, making strides in a promising career as a national Judo athlete.
Davison competed at the USA Judo’s National President’s Cup Judo Championship, placing 3rd in both of her divisions. She also competed in the 53rd Annual Dallas Invitational Judo Championship.
Davison was 1 out of 12 competitors in the Senior Shiai Division and 1 out of 5 in the International Judo Federation Junior Division.
Stella was coached by Travis Stevens, 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist and Project 2024 coach.
Davison’s greatest asset leading up to both tournaments was her discipline, giving her the ability to go up against high-level competitors.
Coach Kisa Davison commented, “This weekend was a good one. She had tough matches and worked hard to stand on the podium.”
With the guidance of Coach Stevens and her discipline, Davison’s performance in the two tournaments are important steps in a greater Judo career.
Davison added, “Stella’s discipline in training and competition preparation is unmatched. Her ultimate goal is to represent the USA at the 2024 Olympics. While her skills will continue to develop, the real success that we see is her ability to learn from her mistakes, reset her mind, and approach each challenge as a new opportunity to do better. That’s the making of a true champion.”
GREAT FALLS, MT, NOVEMBER 10, 2018 – Fusion Fight League’s Border Wars
SBG Montana’s Marnic Mann defended her title against Veronica Graves at Fusion Fight League’s Border Wars MMA event.
Mann won by a unanimous decision after 5 rounds of back-and-forth, technical fighting, retaining her belt and her title.
Graves started the fight strong with a deep arm bar attempt in the 1st round, but Mann remained composed, defended and made it to the bell.
From there they alternated winning rounds. Mann did damage on the feet with hard punches and knees to the liver of Graves in the clinch, and crushing blows to the head when they were at distance.
As the the rounds wore on Mann’s wrestling and body shots made the difference as she put Graves on the mat multiple times and the accumulated body attacks exhausted Graves.
By the time they entered the 5th and final round, Mann and Graves had won 2 rounds each. Mann immediately opened the round with hard punching and a take down, only to be reversed a short time later, ending up on the bottom.
Mann maintained her calm, did damage with up kicks and punches from the bottom, took no damage and eventually worked her way back to the feet. The judges awarded Mann a close but unanimous decision to retain her belt.
Coach Daniel Di Stefano of SBG Whitefish commented, “Mann worked hard in training camp and it showed. She was fresh throughout all 5 rounds, neutralized her opponent’s offense, and maintained composure when she was in trouble.”
Di Stefano continued, “Her mental toughness combined with excellent conditioning allowed her to keep coming down the stretch. She’s a special athlete with a bright future, I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next.”
SBG Montana’s Gage Morsette fought on the same card and moved to 3-0 as he displayed a dominant grappling game against explosively athletic striker Louie Lopez. Despite Lopez’s attempts to keep the fight standing, Morsette was relentless in his pursuit of take downs that Lopez simply could not stop.
Morsette displayed an arsenal of trips, double legs, and upper body throws, at one point hoisting Lopez above his head, carrying him across the cage and slamming him to the ground. Morsette’s positional dominance led to punishing ground and pound resulting in a TKO in the second round.
Di Stefano shared, “Gage has all the potential in the world, this dominant display is just a preview of what he is capable of. This fight tested him, but his calm unruffled cage demeanor and solid grappling will be hard for any opponent to deal with.”
As SBG Montana celebrates it’s 10th anniversary, the years of competing at tournaments across the northwest paid off at this weekend’s Revolution BJJ tournament in Tacoma, WA.
Sixteen athletes brought home a total of 23 medals in the youth and adult divisions: 7 gold, 9 silver, and 7 bronze.
Head Coach Cody Bessette of SBG Bigfork took gold in No Gi and was named Top Ranked Athlete for 2018 in his division. Colton Wieczorek (15 yrs) took double silver in the Men’s White Belt Gi and No Gi divisions. Lakoda Wieczorek (13 yrs) took double gold in the Youth Yellow Belt Gi and No Gi divisions. Isabella Downing (11 yrs) took Silver in Gi and Gold in No Gi in the Youth Yellow Belt Divisions.
Tournaments are the way in which SBG Athletes can test their jiu jitsu skills. Competition offers a unique learning environment that, win or lose, takes an athlete’s training to the next level.
Bessette shared, “The Revolution Tournament was another phenomenal experience and a well-run tournament where we were able to put our skills to the test and learn so much more about ourselves than we ever thought possible. As a competitor I have always found it a wonderful eye opener to realize the depth of the art that is BJJ.”
More valuable than the medals are the life lessons that athletes learn from the experience. Downing’s mother, Kristin Downing, shared how competition has enriched her daughter’s personal development.
“In the three years she has been competing, traveling and tournaments has shaped her into a better athlete. She has learned patience, how to lose, how to work hard for her end goal, and that she will not always leave with a medal.”
SBG’s supportive training environment and knowledgable coaches gave Downing the space to learn those lessons. “Bella’s coaches have taken time to work with her when she needs extra time and skill lessons for upcoming tournaments. They have been very supportive for all of the competitions she attends, not matter the distance.”
Wieczorek is part of a family of 7 that has been training with SBG for four years. This was his first time competing in the adult divisions. His experience in BJJ tournaments gave him the skills to overcome obstacles beyond SBG.
His mother, Angela Wieczorek, commented, “We have competed in almost 25+ tournaments since starting at the gym. No matter the outcome of each competition we always walk away with new lessons, new experiences, and new growth as individuals.”
Ms. Wieczorek is one of dozens of adult athletes at SBG who train alongside her children. Competition offers her the same outlet for personal growth that it does her children.
“Competition makes you face your fears and step out of your comfort zone,” she shared. “How do you know how you will react in a real life defense situation if you don’t force yourself to react under pressure in a controlled environment?”
Straight Blast Gym’s Marnic Mann won the Fusion Fight League Title in an MMA bout on Saturday, September 29th in Billings, MT.
She was declared the winner by TKO and the new champion in the Women’s 115 lb division.
Mann fought against Ireland Moran of Billings. Mann dropped Moran with a straight left hand to start the first round and finished the round on top in the guard.
The second round saw two exchange punches and kicks before clinching up. Mann managed to mount Moran off a failed takedown attempt and ultimately won the fight with strikes from the mount.
Mann said of her performance, “ I trained so hard, put my mind where it needed to be, stayed relaxed, and got it done.”
Head Coach Travis Davison commented, “She was 3-0 going into the fight but none of her previous fights were against opponents with Ireland’s experience or with title implications. The fight was in Moran’s hometown of Billings and the crowd was overwhelming in her favor. Despite all this Marnic kept her composure and fought a near perfect fight.”
Davison is excited to see where Mann takes her MMA career from here.
“She is now 4-0 with her first title defense scheduled for November 10th in Great Falls, MT. SBG’s Marnic Mann has a bright future and is definitely one to watch.”
For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244.
Students from Straight Blast Gym traveled to the Oregon Open Jiu Jitsu Championship in Hillsboro, Oregon on Saturday, September 8th.
SBG Whitefish’s Isabella Downing won gold in both the Gi and No Gi divisions. SBG Kalispell’s Bryn Anderson won bronze in the beginner No Gi division.
Head Coach Travis Davison commented, “Bryn Andersen and Bella Downing are a joy to coach and both performed well. Bryn earned a bronze medal and Bella had a flawless performance earning double gold.”
The tournament is the largest jiu jitsu tournament in Oregon and a valuable opportunity for competitors to experience International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation rules, an organization that hosts some of the largest BJJ tournaments in the world.
Both Downing and Anderson have previous experience competing in the Oregon Open. Traveling to tournaments in the northwest, California, and Nevada has been formative experiences in the athletic and personal development of these young athletes.
“Attending tournaments away from home helps these children gain confidence and also forges friendships with fellow teammates,” said Kristin Downing, Isabella’s mother. “My child is very lucky to have these opportunities provided by SBG as well as by [Head Coaches] Travis and Kisa [Davison].”
Tournaments offer a unique opportunity for SBG’s young athletes to gain confidence by performing in front of a large crowd in an unfamiliar environment.
Davison added, “Both of these kids handle pressure well and continue to gain confidence with each passing tournament.”
For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244.
Isabella Downing (SBG Whitefish)
Youth Gi – Yellow – Gold
Youth NoGi – Intermediate – Gold
Bryn Anderson (SBG Kalispell)
Youth Gi – Grey – No placement
Youth NoGi – Beginner – Bronze