Thursday, June 27, 2013

When an instructor in your own backyard is a criminal....

I have lots of BJJ friends.  By this I often mean people I don't know well at all, but I am friendly with, because I figure anyone who loves BJJ can't be all bad.  People I may only know briefly in real life, if at all, or people halfway around  the world that I have never met.  I still call them friends because I'll be anyone's friend until proven otherwise or given reason not to.

I had a friend in town (a few years ago) who was a BJJ guy with a purple belt.  His name is Paul Saucido.  He moved to California to work for Rigan Machado and help with administrative duties at Rigan's academy.  Last year he moved back to Austin as a brown belt and started his own academy, Zen Jiu Jitsu, as a Rigan affiliate.  Haven't seen him since he got back into town, but I considered him a friend.  When he started planning a Rigan Machado seminar in Austin, I promoted it here on the blog and with my academy.  All well and good.

But then several people independently brought to my attention that in fact, this friend was accused of rape a few years ago, and had been convicted on a plea bargain of a few lesser charges.  This made me really upset and unhappy.  Aside from the obvious sympathy for the survivor (who was passed out drunk at the time) and distress that I could have been friends with someone who could do that... the other disturbing thing was--

How do I handle this and remain consistent with my principles?

It's not the same as Lloyd's deal, to me.  For one, Paul's done his time, he's on probation now, and will be a registered sex offender for another twelve years.  He's not lying about it, nor is he buying sites.

For a few days I kind of sat on it, pondering.  I emailed with him a bit to verify the essentials (yes, it was him, and yes, he was convicted, and yes, Rigan knows about it.)  Pondered some more.  Was on the brink of just letting it go-- not promoting his seminars and not recommending his academy, but kind of shrugging my shoulders because he's trying for a second chance and everyone deserves to be able to make a living.

BUT...  today I realized I was doing a disservice to the ladies who might consider taking jiu jitsu at his academy.  How lame would it be as a rape survivor to be taking self defense from a rapist without even realizing it?  Unbelievable.  Unacceptable.

So don't blabber at me about "but he wasn't convicted of RAPE, he pled to indecent exposure and unlawful restraint!"  Because I am a prosecutor and I know how plea bargains work.  You often plead down cases that are strong enough, on the evidence, to win the higher charge if it goes to trial.  Why?  To spare the survivor, especially in cases like this.  If the survivor is agreeable, that is.  Just because he ended up being nailed for waving his willie and holding her down doesn't mean he didn't stick it in her while she was passed out drunk.

So.  My erstwhile friend, who lives in my town and teaches jiu jitsu in my town, is a rapist, in my eyes.  And I can't get behind that.  I can't support his academy, his seminars, etc.  Sure he deserves a second chance but I don't think he should be teaching jiu jitsu to women who don't know his background.

I'm not taking out ads in the paper, picketing the academy, or passing out flyers.  I'm just taking a stand here, in Austin, as a woman and a jiu jitsu fighter and sexual assault survivor, because I think that's what's right.

Edited to add:  I sent this message privately to Rigan Machado via facebook.  I will post here whatever he replies.

"Professor, I apologize for bringing this up, but I wanted you to be aware of a blog post I wrote recently about your student and representative here in Austin, Paul Saucido. I originally promoted your upcoming seminar on the blog, but then was made aware of his criminal history. I pondered what to do for some time, but I had to take a stand. I hope you agree with me and I hope you will reconsider your support of his academy. Not entirely-- but at least insofar as he is teaching women without their knowing his history. I think it would be an appalling public relations NIGHTMARE for a rape survivor to discover she is being taught self defense/ BJJ by a rapist under your aegis."

Edited to add, on Saturday June 29:  Just received this message from Rigan on Facebook at 12:01pm CT:

"Rigan Machado
Sorry for late response, I have been on the set filming a movie. I will investigate this. Thank you"

Later on, Rigan posted this on his page:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Anti-Lloyd Legal Defense Fund

Marcos Avellan is suing Nakapan Phungephorn (BETA Academy in DC), Justin Garcia (Jungle Gym in the Bronx) and Fuzzy Badfeet for allegations of defamation and conspiracy to harm his business.

I've set up a paypal account and encourage you to donate to help these three with their legal bills.  I will send the money as received, and will be making a monthly accounting of donations available to Nak, Justin and Fuzzy and I promise not to run to Jamaica. 

The legal bills for defending against this suit are already high; you wouldn't believe what I could be charging if I was in private practice instead of working for the taxpayer!!! 

Please won't you paypal $10, $20 or more? Send as a gift so you don't pay a fee! is the paypal address...

Thank you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lloyd Irvin lackey sues detractors for defamation, conspiracy

From Bloody Elbow's Brent Brookhouse:

"Marcos Avellan, a close associate and fierce defender of Irvin, has filed suit against a number of parties for defamation, conspiracy to defame, tortious interference with business relationships and conspiracy to tortiously interfere with business relationships. The paperwork was stamped by the deputy clerk on June 3.

Named in the suit are Justin Garcia, Nakapan Phungephorn, Brandon Nunley, Jungle Gym Martial Arts, LLC and BETA Martial Arts Academy. Garcia owns Jungle Gym while Phungephorn owns BETA. Nunley is a former MMA Millionaires client who posts on the forums as "Fuzzy Badfeet." Nunley was extremely vocal on the forums over the past several months about his alleged bad experiences with the program.

The documents give some background on Avellan's relationship to Irvin and the entire situation:
MMA [Consulting Services, LTD] is a mixed martial arts consulting business owned by Avellan which assists the owners of martial arts academies in marketing and developing their businesses. As part of its business, MMA produces and sells a series of training DVDs directed at owners of mixed martial arts schools about how to grow their businesses and increase profits. MMA's primary source of revenue comes from the sale of these DVDs, which it markets over the internet and through a mixed martial arts organization called MMA Millionaires.

MMA Millionaires organizes seminars directed at owners of mixed martial arts schools about how to grow their business and increase profits. The group is owned and operated by Lloyd Irvin, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt and competitor who has trained and taught a number of prominent mixed martial arts fighters.

In addition to operating MMA Millionaires, Irvin also owns and operates two related businesses -- a martial arts school called Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts School, and an organization called The Mastermind Group, which provides business coaching and training to owners of mixed martial arts schools.

The Mastermind Group consists of three levels - the entry, or Platinum Level, Platinum Plus, and Titanium.
The documents also go on to say that "on or about August 19, 2012, Avellan's MMA consulting group (MMA) entered into an oral agreement with The Mastermind Group ["The Mastermind Agreement"]. Pursuant to the terms of the Mastermind Agreement, MMA was responsible for running the platinum level of the Mastermind Group in exchange for 50 percent of the revenues generated from platinum level members." And that Garcia, Phungephorn and Nunley "were also aware that MMA had taken charge of the platinum coaching calls prior to the time the incidents giving rise to this action arose, and knew or should have known that MMA had a financial interest in the Mastermind Group."

Explained in the actions are claims that Nunley didn't receive the DVD's that he purchased at a MMA Millionaires event:
Shortly after returning home to Wisconsin, Nunley phones MMA Millionaires to complain that the DVDs had not been timely delivered. Nunley also e-mailed Avellan to also complain that the DVDs had not been delivered. Irvin's assistant explained to Nunley that the DVDs were on order and would be arriving shortly. In addition, as a courtesy, Avellan offered to try and get Irvin to waive several months of Nunley's membership to The Mastermind Group and to pay for Nunley and is staff to travel to Miami for their scheduled sales training. In addition, Avellan offered a free private consultation with him courtesy of MMA Millionaires. Nunley accepted this offer without complaint."
 Check out Bloody Elbow for the rest of the story, here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The problem with "boys will be boys"

From my friend James Stilwell who turned me on to Kate Elliott

"The problem with 'boys will be boys':

For months, every morning when my daughter was in preschool, I watched her construct an elaborate castle out of blocks, colorful plastic discs, bits of rope, ribbons and feathers, only to have the same little boy gleefully destroy it within seconds of its completion.
No matter how many times he did it, his parents never swooped in BEFORE the morning’s live 3-D reenactment of “Invasion of AstroMonster.” This is what they’d say repeatedly:

“You know! Boys will be boys!”
“He’s just going through a phase!”
“He’s such a boy! He LOVES destroying things!”
“Oh my god! Girls and boys are SO different!”
“He. Just. Can’t. Help himself!”

I tried to teach my daughter how to stop this from happening. She asked him politely not to do it. We talked about some things she might do. She moved where she built. She stood in his way. She built a stronger foundation to the castle, so that, if he did get to it, she wouldn’t have to rebuild the whole thing. In the meantime, I imagine his parents thinking, “What red-blooded boy wouldn’t knock it down?”

She built a beautiful, glittery castle in a public space.

It was so tempting.

He just couldn’t control himself and, being a boy, had violent inclinations.

She had to keep her building safe.

Her consent didn’t matter.

Besides, it’s not like she made a big fuss when he knocked it down. It wasn’t a “legitimate” knocking over if she didn’t throw a tantrum.

His desire — for power, destruction, control, whatever- - was understandable.

Maybe she “shouldn’t have gone to preschool” at all. OR, better if she just kept her building activities to home.

I know it’s a lurid metaphor, but I taught my daughter the preschool block precursor of don’t “get raped” and this child, Boy #1, did not learn the preschool equivalent of “don’t rape.”

Not once did his parents talk to him about invading another person’s space and claiming for his own purposes something that was not his to claim. Respect for her and her work and words was not something he was learning.  How much of the boy’s behavior in coming years would be excused in these ways, be calibrated to meet these expectations and enforce the “rules” his parents kept repeating?

There was another boy who, similarly, decided to knock down her castle one day. When he did it his mother took him in hand, explained to him that it was not his to destroy, asked him how he thought my daughter felt after working so hard on her building and walked over with him so he could apologize. That probably wasn’t much fun for him, but he did not do it again.

There was a third child. He was really smart. He asked if he could knock her building down. She, beneficent ruler of all pre-circle-time castle construction, said yes… but only after she was done building it and said it was OK. They worked out a plan together and eventually he started building things with her and they would both knock the thing down with unadulterated joy.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Take each of these three boys and consider what he might do when he’s older, say, at college, drunk at a party, mad at an ex-girlfriend who rebuffs him and uses words that she expects will be meaningful and respected, “No, I don’t want to. Stop. Leave.”

The “overarching attitudinal characteristic” of abusive men is entitlement.

(Source: saltandsugarsearching)"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Caio Terra nogi seminar, Dallas, Aug 17-18

What an awesome opportunity!  I understand the gi seminar is already full, but there are 9 or so spots left in the nogi seminar.  This will be held in Rockwall TX (near Dallas) and is fantastic in part because it's limited to just thirty people per seminar!

Contact for more information!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pedro Sauer backtake, and Leandro Lo guard-- awesomeness

Ridiculous.  Check around :43.  Smooth!  Fun!  And the brownbelt he's rolling with is no sissy, either.

And BJJScout came out with another killer analysis project-- part two of his study of Leandro Lo's guard game.

I know I've been pretty quiet lately.  This ISN'T the "only-TLI" blog, I promise.  I have been training as much as I can (pretty much 7 days a week) but I have a bunch of work deadlines that are messing with my wa.  Please bear with me, I promise I'll have more interesting stuff to say shortly.  Thanks :)

Friday, June 07, 2013

Why is Kinji San Martial Arts sponsoring Team Lloyd Irvin?

Kinji San Martial Arts Supplies makes Ronin Brand gis and is run by a really nice guy named Doug.

I recently discovered that Ronin is sponsoring some Team Lloyd Irvin fighters.

I feel like this is a bad idea because it sends the message that people who affiliate themselves with Lloyd Irvin will not have to pay a price for their choice.  I think it enables Lloyd Irvin to stay in the community and maintain the semblance of "respectability."

I encouraged Doug and Kinji San to withdraw these sponsorships contingent on the fighters switching teams or affiliations.  If you concur, I encourage you to visit the Kinji San Martial Arts Supplies facebook timeline and add your comments and thoughts there.


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Why did the UFC book a Team Lloyd Irvin fighter???

So, the UFC booked Team Lloyd Irvin fighter James Vick for the first Fox Sports 1 show.  


He's still training in Camp Springs.  Here's a pic from yesterday, also found here.

If you think the UFC shouldn't be supporting this, tweet Dana (@danawhite) asking him why he'd have a Team Lloyd Irvin fighter on television presumably with Lloyd Irvin in his corner, further legitimizing Lloyd's attempt to sweep everything under the rug.