Episode 316

Self-Defense: Reality and Fantasy

A Conversation with Matt Thornton

April 14, 2023

Sam Harris speaks with Matt Thornton about his new book, The Gift of Violence: Practical Knowledge for Surviving and Thriving in a Dangerous World. They discuss his background in martial arts, the reasons to train in combat sports, the UFC and the evolution of mixed martial arts, the fundamental principles of effective martial arts, the "street" vs "sport" fallacy, grappling vs striking, the persistence of fake martial arts, Bruce Lee’s legacy, male violence and emotional maturity, the male fear of humiliation, violence against women, the validity of instinct, the behavior of predators, weapons, avoiding violence, and other topics.

Matt Thornton has been teaching functional martial arts for more than thirty years and holds a 5th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His organization, Straight Blast Gym, has more than seventy locations worldwide and has produced champion MMA fighters as well as world-class self-defense and law enforcement instructors. He lives with his wife Salome and their five children in Portland, Oregon.

Website: mattthornton.org

Twitter: @aliveness_ape


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