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  • Luis Hernandez is Straight Blast Gym Buford’s Martial Arts Student of the Month for November 2021


    Luis just competed in his very first mixed martial arts fight, and came away with a huge come-from-behind victory.

    Luis began training at Straight Blast Gym Buford in the summer of 2020. His brother David has been with the tribe for years, and Luis wanted in on the action. He enrolled in the SBG Foundations Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program and began training consistently. With his hard work and dedication, he cruised through our beginner-level classes and started attending Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes on the regular.

    Muay Thai Coach Jim Sheppard recalls when Luis was brand new with the Tribe:

    “I remember vividly during my Iron Man belt promotion last fall, this new white belt, who I barely knew at all, came at me like a spider-monkey. Here I am, rolling for an hour +, just trying to survive and this guy is bringing the fire, 😂. He wasn’t being malicious or dangerous but he defintitely wanted to submit me. I fought him off, barely got the tap, and knew right away that this Luis-guy was going to be a competitor for SBG in the not-too-distant future.”

    Luis was indeed on the fast track to compete on behalf of Straight Blast Gym Buford, showcasing a work ethic that few other martial arts students could match. He quickly earned his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and competed with his peers in the SBG Gorilla Cup Jiu Jitsu tournament. Despite going up against more experienced and accomplished martial artists, Luis won his division.

    In addition to being an active Jiu Jitsu practitioner, Luis became very active in SBG’s Muay Thai program, oftentimes training in the grappling and striking classes back-to-back. It certainly didn’t hurt that Luis had constant access to his brother David, an active Muay Thai student who has competed in the sport on several occasions.

    After putting in over a year of solid, consistent training at Straight Blast Gym Buford Luis was matched up for his very first MMA fight. The event would take place in October at the Tannery Row Alehouse in downtown Buford; Luis’ hometown.

    Luis put his training into overdrive, training so much that Coach Phil Gentry had to ask him to pull back and take some days off. In addition to taking Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes on the regular, Luis was working one-on-one with Coach Phil and Coach Pat Barger to really hone his skillset. When Luis wasn’t at the gym or working with one of his martial arts coaches, he was working on his strength & conditioning. Come fight night, those efforts would pay off in a major way.

    Luis made weight and arrived at the Tannery Row Alehouse feeling confident, relaxed, and ready to perform in front of a packed, sold-out house. Fighting in front of hundreds of people, especially when a lot of those people are your friends, family, and SBG teammates, can be a nerve-racking proposition for some but Luis was unphased. He stepped into the cage relaxed, focused, and ready to throw down.

    The first round of the fight did not go Luis’ way, with his opponent controlling the striking game and opening up a cut on Luis’ cheek. Still fairly new to Muay Thai and Kickboxing, Luis ate some significant strikes from a more experienced fighter but kept moving forward. In round 2, Luis’ tireless perseverance would pay off.

    Knowing that he was down on the scorecards Luis pushed the action, bringing relentless forward pressure. About a minute into round 2 Luis was able to close the distance and secure a body lock. Luis quickly took his opponent to the ground, took his back, and sunk in a tight rear-naked choke. Luis had spent hundreds of hours working his submission game and knew exactly how to sink in the choke quick and deep. Within seconds, his opponent tapped out.

    Luis had just secured a finish in his very first mixed martial arts competition and the audience at the Tannery Row Alehouse EXPLODED as they had just witnessed an amazing come-from-behind victory from the hometown hero.

    Luis’ comeback victory in his very first MMA fight was an incredible moment for him, his coaches, and all of his teammates that packed the venue to watch him put all of his hard work on display. After the fight, Luis was ready to go again, already talking about when he wants to compete again.

    This go-getter attitude is what we expect from Luis, who has shown himself to be a true workhorse. On top of that, Luis is also an amazing student and training partner. SBG Buford’s Head Jiu Jitsu Coach Sean Coleman put it best:

    “Luis is quiet, humble, and hard working. What really stands out the most about Luis is that he’s been quietly studying back control and back submissions for the last 2-3 months. It showed at his fight as the moment he got it to the ground he was able to implement the system flawlessly. What was even more impressive to me was that the day after his fight, when he was probably on very little sleep and all kinds of sore, he showed up to support his team at the Newbreed Jiu Jitsu tournament. Not only that but he is competing with a small squad of people from the tribe in a submission-only grappling tournament this upcoming weekend (one week after his fight). That man has heart for days, is super coachable, and is all about the SBG tribe.”

    Author’s Note: Luis not only competed in the Jiu Jitsu event that Coach Sean spoke of but secured submission victories in both of his matchups to come away with a gold medal. What a week for Luis!!

    We are incredibly proud of Luis and beyond happy that he had a spectacular ending to his fight after over a year of hard, consistent martial arts training. Thank you for everything Luis, and congratulations on being Straight Blast Gym Buford’s Martial Arts Student of the Month!

    Jim Sheppard

    is one of the co-owners of Straight Blast Gym Buford and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. He has been training / coaching / competing in Muay Thai since 2013 and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.