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We are almost two months removed from the criminal accusations that shook our Jiu-Jitsu community (Matthew Maldonado, Nicholas Schultz accused in New Year's Eve rape) and I can’t say I’m surprised by the responses thus far. Reactions have ranged from the unequivocal denial, to the centrist and measured “innocent until proven guilty,“ to the outraged and vehemently hostile. Out of all those who have voiced an opinion, there are a substantial more that have dug their heads into the ground and remained silent. Dr. Martin Luther King was attributed as saying, “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to stand by and do nothing.” These words and the meaning implied wherein has great relevance to where we find ourselves today.
Willful blindness is a term used in law to when an individual seeks to avoid liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of the facts that would render him liable. The irony of willful blindness is that it makes us feel safer even as it puts us in danger.
In the microcosm that is the Jiu-Jitsu world, we are a tiny group in which what the majority condones will become the standard in which we operate. As such, we must take great care never to surrender critical thought for social acceptance.
Turning a blind eye to blatant disrespect, gender discrimination, bullying, unethical business practices and criminal behavior makes the observer complicit, albeit to a lesser degree, but nevertheless a party to the transgression and in some cases legally liable. A feeling of futility has provoked our collective silence.
Yet change has come in the dialogue now being had regarding cultish behavior, criminal background checks for martial arts instructors, a renaissance and return to a holistic martial arts education, in which the mind and body are taught in concert and many other great threads of conversation. These thoughts and communications are seeds of change, it just takes time to grow.
We cannot forget that Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that promotes the concept that the smaller weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger opponent. So why wouldn't we, as a community and individuals, try and protect the smaller weaker person in all respects. Remember, what you permit, you promote.
Apollo FG is the product of Mark Finlay and his desire to make a gi that will actually fit thinner/leaner athletes. As anyone that’s read my reviews knows I’m a tall and lean guy myself and the reason I started to really get interested in gis is because it was so hard to find out that actually fit me. The Omega series is a heavy-duty 550g gold weave jacket with 9.5 oz ripstop fabric. The Omega is available in white, black and blue. The gi has regular and slim sizes and most important of all you can have it for $120 (which includes shipping).
Conversations regarding the legal consequences of employing martial arts techniques off the mat are rare, if had at all. Usually these conversations are had after an incident has already occurred, to either chastise the student for using said techniques on the street or as a cautionary tale to other students.
The more knowledge you obtain, especially in the case of professional fighters and high-ranking belts, the more scrutiny your actions are under when used in a non-sanctioned event. For example, a professional fighter getting into a simple assault and battery, those charges could increase to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The deadly weapons in question are the hands and feet of the fighter. This isn’t such a crazy notion to people who understand how skilled fighters can use their precision and expertise to devastate.
A few weeks ago I was in Orlando and was fortunate enough to have a little free time to train. It didn’t take me long to realize that Bruno Malfacine had a school in the area and I immediately knew where I wanted to go. I hope that most of you have seen some of his highlights but if you haven’t do yourself a favor and check them out. Bruno has a highly energetic and aggressive style that can best be described as a whirling dervish of passes, sweeps and submission attempts.
"Lucas Lepri is one of the most dynamic and creative competitors in action today his techniques are smooth and easy to learn I strongly recommend his DVDs to anyone interested in learning the real jiu jitsu." - Master Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti
Lucas Lepri has been one of the top lightweights in the world since 2007. In that time the Alliance black belt has won numerous World & Pan Am titles while teaching at Alliance Atlanta. Lucas’ newest DVD release focuses solely on passed the guard and spends a lot of time on the De la Riva guard and other open guards. With the rise of the Berimbolo and successful open guard players this DVD set comes at an auspicious time.
Lucas Lepri’s DVD set consists of 2 DVDs and covers ~3 hours of instruction in total. The initial DVD in the set covers: closed guard, butterfly guard and De la Riva Guard. The DLR material is the bulk of the instruction and all of the techniques are heavily dependent on your opponent wearing a gi.
Holly McClung Reusing, thank you for this post, There is No Place for Heinous Crime in BJJ Culture, for being a part of the growing village of people who are looking deeply at what we do, why we do it, and what standards we might seek to hold ourselves to. For those reading this, I have to confess that Holly had asked me to contribute some of my thoughts --but I've had a bit of writer's block, due in part to my son's participation in "Team Lloyd Irvin." He sees nothing wrong with staying in that camp and doing nothing. For him, it's "business as usual," and he feels no obligation to the MA community, to us, his parents, or to the world in general. He dispels much of the dialogue as "rumors," says he has little or nothing to do with LI himself, and simply wants to continue to train with his "family" there, regardless of how it feels for his family here.
I had sent a note to LI after the rapes, essentially telling him he was "fired" and to send my son packing--and, of course, he has completely ignored me, except to tell me nothing's wrong in his world and to stop writing him. Keenan has received no small amount of grief from us about the morality of supporting people we consider to be way on the unsavory side, what it means if he actually lets these people give him his black belt (disgrace), and how, sometimes, you have to step up and take a stand for things that might make you uncomfortable --but are, nevertheless, right, just, and required of people with a conscience and set of grounded values.
Of course, Keenan is a 20-year-old man and gets to do exactly what he wants, regardless of how his parents feel. I did that when I was 20 (30, 40, etc.), and so I'm not surprised, just deeply disappointed.
The air is biting cold as we walk up the icy path to Lyceum “Nicholae Iorga”. My old friend Sandu, now 19, is sitting with a handful of teenage boys who are making jokes and hitting each other in the back of the head, Three Stooges style. They are all wearing bomber jackets and skull caps. This is Moldova’s uniform. Some have bags and some have athletic pants on and I comment on how much each of them has grown in the past two years. We call the 24-hour security guy (I use this term loosely) who sends his 5-year old down to the school to give Sandu the key so that we can get into the school.
There are no lights on in the school. Nor is there heat. It might actually be warmer outside but the walls of the school protect us from the wind although I can’t say the same for the windows which were supposed to have been replaced sometime 3 years ago. We walk down the dark hallway which has gone unchanged in my two-year absence. It is brutally cold in the hallway full of drafty windows and I’m glad that we’re moving because otherwise my hands and toes would be as numb as my face. And that’s obnoxious.
My “office” where I stored the gis looks virtually untouched with the exception of some new windows that were donated by some Baptists from England. These windows were sitting collecting dust and will probably continue to do so for the duration. An attendance list with my handwriting is in the same place by the window where I left it, and all of the donated gis appear to still be there. Sandu makes one of the bigger kids let me use his gi since I didn’t bring mine.
We go into the gym which has some new paint on the floors but otherwise looks just the same. The gym is lit by one jury-rigged street light and the walls sparkle with condensation. It’s like a giant refrigerator in there. We get the mats out and they look like they’re still in great shape. No new rips and with the exception of some extra dirt and a piece of gum on one of them, they look like I just left them yesterday. I can still see my breath as I get out of my nice warm clothes and I shiver as I put on the cold gi over my long underwear.
It reminds me of when I first introduced the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program 4 winters ago although then it was a bit warmer. Only by a bit though.
Because of the internet, devastating news travels so fast now and the recent rape arrest of the Lloyd Irvin Medal chasers, Maldonado &Schultz, have gotten a lot of us thinking. Some of us were already doing that but heinous crime has a way of putting a big fire under folks and even though some of the discussion in BJJ circles has slowed down, the impact has not. It is a reminder that although we would like to believe this recent rape case and the 1990 arrest of Lloyd Irvin are isolated, sex crimes are rampant everywhere and these are not the only serious crimes by martial artists. Jiu-jitsu is not immune.
Instead of engaging in a fight over one topic, one faction, one person, can we take a break and ask ourselves a larger question? What is really going on in martial arts and where are we headed?
Of course these horrific events are not the norm and do not represent a cross section of the high caliber individuals who train and practice the arts. For those who have devoted their lives in an honorable and forthright manner to training, teaching methods, and business practices, the notion that these events and other various abuses of power that occur in our industry could ever reflect the actual “culture” of what we do every day is heartbreaking to say the least. Abuse of power is not what we do, it is the thing we learn how to stop doing.
The BJJ industry has seen enormous growth and with that comes ever increasing responsibility. In the 90’s very few people in the US had even heard of BJJ or MMA, or the UFC. Most of us think everyone follows the UFC, but just ask your fellow PTA moms if they watch the fights and you will often get a blank stare. Many know about BJJ but everyone knows about martial arts and they will automatically attach BJJ to what they already know about martial arts.
Paleo diets have become an oft talked about dietary strategy by Crossfitters, combat athletes and others focused on eating in a way that is healthy and supports the high energy needs of their training. These diets are especially helpful for athletes that compete in sports with weight classes as the participants tend to lean out and maintain or improve their performance. An excellent primer for Paleolithic diets can be found at Archevore. A detailed description of these dietary strategies is beyond the scope of the article but I will give you a few details to provide context for the review of the AMRAP Refuel Bars. (For the non-CFers, AMRAP usually means As Many Reps As Possible is a common theme in their workouts)