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  • “Pittsburgh” Pat Messner is Straight Blast Gym Atlanta’s Martial Arts Student of the Month for July 2022


    Earning a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is quite an extraordinary accomplishment, and Pat Messner just became the newest SBG athlete to accomplish that feat.

    Pittsburgh Pat has been training at Straight Blast Gym since March of 2014 when he moved to Georgia from…you guessed it, the Pittsburgh area. He had been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for 5 years and was now in need of a new place that he could call home. He walked into SBG Buford, enrolled in our BJJ program, and never looked back.

    Pat immediately became a regular on the mats, attending Jiu Jitsu classes at 6am, 12pm, and in the evenings. Not only was he active in the gym but also in the local competition scene, regularly competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions in and around Atlanta. Before the end of 2014, he was promoted to purple belt by Coach Phil Gentry.

    Over the upcoming years, Pat settled in as a regular attendee of our 6am Jiu Jitsu classes. After several years of consistent training and constant improvement, Pat earned his brown belt and even began coaching some BJJ classes at 6am. Pat quickly found his footing as a coach, with Coach Sean Coleman noting that when Pat began coaching some classes it also made him a better BJJ practitioner. In addition to coaching classes, Pat is a fantastic (and very safe) training partner and regularly volunteers to help out with events such as the Gorilla Cup.

    When asked about why he selected Pat to be our Martial Arts Student of the Month, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blackbelt and SBG coach Sean Coleman said this about his long-time student and teammate:

    “Pat has been a solid pillar of the 6am crew since the beginning; even before I was. He was consitently training back when it was 3-4 people showing up at 6am, to the 25-30 students that show up now. Arguably his biggest contribution to the group was stepping up and coaching classes when I was in a car accident that took me out of action for several months. That helped the group to not only survive but thrive. He did such an awesome job that when I was able to return we kept him on the schedule so that we could collaborate our skills and styles together; with my experience plus his insane ability to retain and remember technical details. In a world of building people up to be better than you, I feel like we could plug Pat into any part of the tribe and we would continue to grow and thrive.”

    After almost 9 years of training at Straight Blast Gym Buford, Pittsburgh Pat has become one of the most revered and respected Jiu Jitsu athletes in the gym. When we asked him about why he’s chosen to train and be a part of the SBG tribe for nearly a decade, Pittsburgh Pat said this:

    “I loved the atmosphere of SBG right from the start, and the style of classes that Coach Phil taught. My technique probably grew more in my first year under him than my previous 5 years combined. On top of that, he and the other students are great people. I’m a lifelong athlete and really know nothing else socially outside of a team atmosphere. I’ve been to other gyms that are very much ‘show up, attend class, clean up, & leave.’ SBG is much more of a team than that; a giant group of friends. The Jiu Jitsu and the friendships make me want to show up every day.”

    Those words mean a lot coming from a high-caliber student and human being like Pat. A massive part of the congenial and friendly atmosphere that he spoke about is because of people like him; someone that is welcoming to new students and routinely going out of the way to help out his teammates.

    In closing, we asked Pat if there were any people, in particular, he wanted to recognize or acknowledge on his journey to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. Pittsburgh Pat responded with this:

    ” I’ve gained something from way too many people to list. If we’ve crossed paths on the mats at SBG I’ve probably gained something from you. But, I am going to brag on Coaches Phil and Sean a little. To be motivated to show up day in and day out, you have to have talented coaches that you respect. Over all of these years I’ve been motivated to showup and learn from those two men. I think everyone who starts BJJ should have a goal of being a black belt. I always knew, when I started, that was where I was going to end up. The more I grew with SBG though I had a new goal; I wanted to be a black belt under Coach Phil Gentry and alongside Coach Sean Coleman. I’m beyond happy that it has come to fruitition.”

    When he is not at the gym, Pat is a rabid fan of Pittsburgh sports. He has also been known to take a few dollars from his friends and teammates on poker night. He and his wife Dee became parents in October of 2020. You can now find Pat being an amazing father to his daughter Claire. Both Dee and Claire were in attendance when Pat was awarded his black belt, earlier this month.

    Cheers to Pittsburgh Pat on his newly earned Jiu Jitsu black belt and on being selected by his coaches as July’s Martial Arts Student of the Month for Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. 🔥👏

    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.