Saturday, July 11, 2015
First the good news-- I'm told that the academy heads in the area around Cancun where Pierini teaches have banded together, informed local schools, and gotten law enforcement authorities involved.
But the bad news-- Pierini was invited to teach a seminar at the Brasa affiliate in Cancun where the instructor is Ismael Sacramento. I've messaged Prof. Felipe Costa to get his input on this.
Also bad news, Pierini is apparently teaching at the Lotus affiliate in Playa del Carmen. I've messaged Prof. Giva Santana inquiring, as well. In a brief reply (since he's at Nationals in Vegas) Prof. Santana assures me that the Lotus people there are not affiliated with *his* Lotus. He'll explain more when he returns from competing and I'll update you then.
I hear that Pierini is lying and telling people that he was merely fined for buying alcohol for minors. Folks, if you have any access to students or families in Quintana Roo, Mexico and that general area, please encourage them to look at the screen shots in this blog. It's way worse than getting teens some booze. He's a predator.
Thursday, July 09, 2015
In 2006, Pierini assaulted teenage boys in Half Moon Bay CA and pled no contest ( to 1 felony, 3 misdemeanor charges of child molestation) and was convicted in 2007.
He was deported after a year in jail and is a lifetime registrant on the sex offender registry.
In 2010 he sneaked back into the United States illegally.
Mugshot from his original arrest for child molestation.
Detail from the probation violation case (sneaking back into the US) when it was on appeal. Contains detail from the original convictions. I don't have all the screen shots, sorry, just the ones most relevant to the facts of the cases.
June 30, here's Joao Marcos Pierini, posting as Joao Campeoes Marcos, in Mexico.... compare to the photos in this post. It's Pierini in the well-striped-up blackbelt. June 30 is the facebook post date... the actual promotion took place June 27, 2015 (look at the certificate below.)
And here's Joe Moreira promoting Pierini...
Read the certificate. And guess how old the young man he has his arm around is. (I do not know, but he's a green belt so I blanked out his face.)
I am grossed out.
Pierini aka Marcos is the Mestre at Live to Fight in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Here's an email exchange I had with IBJJF staff. Read from the bottom up.
On Jun 17, 2015 6:49 PM, Rebecca Silva <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
we never had a problem with you at the event. You are definately right about that. You were always professional with while working for us and I appreciate that.
However, its our police that people who have an active voice/take stands (i'm sorry for the language barrier) should not be added to our staff. Our staff should ne neutral.
I wrote you that because I believe its best to be honest. I agree that you have the right to have your opnions and we have the right to have our polices.
▼ Hide quoted text
On Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 4:12 PM, Georgette Oden <email@example.com> wrote:
By the way, there were no issues at Seattle Open. And if it helps, of course I will always behave, as I have always in the past, with complete professionalism. My rights to free speech stop at the door of the workplace, which of course includes the IBJJF. Thanks :-)
▼ Hide quoted text
On Jun 17, 2015 5:52 PM, Rebecca Silva <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thank you for your interest on helping us out.
You do work very well in our events. However, you are a very active blogger in our community.
IBJJF avoids as much as possible to take sides on controversial situations that are not our business. Because of this reason, we may not have in our staff team a person who may or may not like one of our athletes.
I hope you understand my situation, but I cannot add you to the staff team at this point.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Georgette Oden <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 2:14 PM
Subject: Austin Open
To: Jacob Vasquez <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Event Staff <email@example.com>
Need staff? I moved back and happy to work the open....
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
First, with his "Hot or Not" postings on facebook this past January:
Next, with his sexy photoshoot with San Francisco purple belt Jena Sapinoso:
I did a little looking at his other work including his facebook page and it's clear he's quite talented. (He was named 2014 BJJ Photographer of the Year.)
It also seems to me that he has an interesting attitude towards women... not only for his views on sexualization of women in jiu jitsu, but also the arguable objectification of women in these examples, and because of his wholehearted support of the "PUA" pick up artist/seduction artist community. If you look at William's facebook page, you can see he's attending/listening to pay-per-view broadcasts of "Seductive Instinct" lessons taught by Arash Dibazar. William filmed a promotional clip he refers to as a "documentary" about this person, who is a BJJ black belt and "#1 ranked" pick up and seduction artist.
Here's Dibazar's "highlight" reel. I thought this was interesting just for insight into his jiu jitsu practice:
After reading the uproar with people taking both the pro and con positions regarding Ms. Sapinoso's modeling in a gi, I thought it would be interesting to interview William about these issues. After soliciting input from people in the scene (and I really appreciated all the great suggested questions) I emailed him and below you can see our exchanges, unedited, with his replies in italics. Enjoy :)
Questions for William Burkhardt
How old are you?
I’m turning 27 this month.
Is photography your profession or your vocation? Both.
Tell us about your education. I dropped out of university after four days.
Are you based in the US now or do you still live in France? I live in Rio de Janeiro since 2012.
Are you married; do you have children? No.
How did you begin treating photography seriously? When I started covering jiu-jitsu tournament in 2010.
How did you get into jiu jitsu? I used to do muay-thai and wanted to learned another martial art so I started jiu-jitsu when I was in Brussels, then moved to Brazil in 2009.
Where do you train and for how long have you trained? I started in Goiania then trained for two years with Roberto Gordo in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro and now at Ricardo de la Riva in Copacabana.
How long have you been a vegan, and why did you choose to be?
I chose to be vegetarian in 2010 then vegan in 2012 first for health reasons then for moral reasons. If I share posts about veganism it’s because meat consumption is now the number one cause of death in the World, (14 millions deaths from heart attacks caused by animal cholesterol), number one cause of pollution in the world and the biggest holocaust of animals ever known. Gorillas only eat plants and so should we. It’s as simple as that.
Do you view your photography as an unbiased vessel of your subject’s views and agenda, or is your photography an expression of your own?
How do you accomplish that goal without upsetting the subject? Or are the subjects just props for your own artistic expression?
What are your criteria for the subjects you choose to work with? Anything that is exciting to watch. World Champions, badass fighters, beautiful women…
Would you ever choose subjects of other ethnicities? Age groups? Weight classes?
The most recent controversy would probably be your shoot with Jena Sapinoso. How did you meet her?
How many times have you used her as a model?
What is your relationship with her?
What was the intent of the shoot? Was it a gi ad, a boudoir shoot, was she building a modeling portfolio?
Whose idea was it to use the gi?
Whose idea was it to do sexy jiu jitsu pictures? Whose idea was it to be in a hotel room? On a bed?
Who else was present during this shoot? How do you choose who will be present?
What are the photographs showing or saying?
I’ve met Jenna at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo in Long Beach last year. Then when I came back in San José to train at Caio’s academy, I had the idea of the shoot. I showed Jenna some of the pictures I had shot before and she said yes. Jenna and I are good friends.
Are you planning more photographs of this type (and with whom, women or men)? Yes, both.
What do you think about the controversy surrounding these pictures?
I think it got a lot of positive feedback and only a couple of people reacted the wrong way. First, if a girl wants to show off her body, she is free to do so without random people having to judge her and shame her. Luckily, Jenna is very comfortable with her body and doesn’t care about other people opinions. Men and even women constantly judge other women clothes. They’ll call a girl a slut if she wears too little and a prude if she wears too much. Why can men show theirs nipple and not women? Religious cultures shaming bodies. Everybody is made the same way.
Sexist men will consider women as objects after watching the pics? It’s their behavior that has to change not the women that have to dress more.
What did you think about the uproar when you posted “hot or not?” about Ana Carolina Schmidt on facebook?
That was a rethorical question, of course everybody would think she was pretty. A couple of people overreacted.
Do you think “hot or not” posts and sexy pictures in a gi have objectified women in jiu jitsu? Why or why not?
Do you think interjecting sexuality contributes positively or negatively to women’s status in the BJJ community? Positively.
Do you think people who object to your photos of Ms. Sapinoso are being a prude? Why or why not?
Do you feel you have a responsibility to promote women's jiu jitsu in a positive manner?
I don’t have a responsibility to promote anything. I just take photos of what I like.
What role do you believe female athletes currently play in the jiu jitsu community? Do you think that will change as the sport grows?
Do you recall the “girls of surfing XIII” video on your facebook wall?
[Edit: here is the video to which I was referring:]
Do you see any differences in how those athletes are portrayed versus how Ms. Sapinoso is portrayed in your work with her?
Do you believe you have influence on how women athletes are perceived in the BJJ community? No.
What is a pick up artist? And what is a seduction artist?
Pick-up artists are about sociology. There is no magic trick. It’s about learning to be the man that women wants. Women seduce men all the time and better than men do. It’s about understanding women. You can look up Arash’s video on YouTube or ask him questions directly to know more about him.
How much do you pay Arash Dibazar to be able to listen to his “Saturday night live lectures”?
Monday, June 01, 2015
114 jiu jitsu students +
eight hours +
a giant high school wrestling room in Bellevue WA (just outside Seattle)
almost too much of a good thing. But really, there's no such thing as too much jiu jitsu, right?
Rener's super seminar was amazing. I'd done a Rener seminar before, a few years ago when I was still a pretty new blue, but that was just three hours on the back mount. This was four seminars compressed into one solid day.
Rener and his wife Eve (expecting their first baby in about three months!) came to Seattle so Rener could teach the Gracie Survival Tactics course to law enforcement this week. The lead organizer is my good friend Craig, a Bellevue police officer. Craig runs a Gracie Garage in his garage, and trains all over Seattle at most of the jiu jitsu academies. He is a blue belt through the brothers and visits Torrance several times a year to train directly with them. This personal connection is certainly part of why Rener agreed to teach this super-seminar in the Pacific northwest, and we were the happy beneficiaries.
The schedule called the first two hours "Cross Chokes" but that didn't do it justice. Try jiu jitsu pedagogy including how to be a good training partner, how to get the most out of a jiu jitsu seminar, how to design effective drills, and how to teach a complex concept in "slices" or smaller, more digestible chunks. Then add mount maintenance, mount escapes, grip strategy, cross collar and pile grip chokes, injury prevention, S-mount, and armlocks from mount. That's just your first two hours.
The next seminar segments were similarly under-titled as Guillotines, Submission Counters, and Street Self Defense. All in all, eight hours of instruction, with half-hour breaks between each and a two hour lunch. The breaks were much needed, and my brain felt very full by the end of the day.
Rener is a talented and skilled instructor. He'll gather the group into a half-moon shape and demonstrate from a few angles. He'll take questions. He's VERY practiced as an educator, so he is adept at reaching all audience members no matter their learning style-- Aural/Spoken, Visual, and Kinesthetic/Gotta Feel it people. You'll hear him use unique and memorable phrasing that help you recall essentials and details. "If you own the chin, you own the choke!" "Grab the brother!" "Rattlesnake shot" and so on...
(You can thank Craig for that nice group shot and these other pictures below.)
Somehow the man also can get personal hands-on time with nearly sixty pairs of drilling partners without making anyone feel hurried, answering questions and giving one-on-one instruction. Here I am, with Rener choking my drilling partner and fellow purple belt Tyy Withrow. (and yes, I forgot my belt. Dammit.)
The crowd was stacked with upper belts. People from Canada, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, and California mixed with Washingtonians, and many different academies were represented. It's a great location for a seminar, too, with ample room to do the techniques. Even several varieties of guillotine escapes and escape counters that involved flipping around on one axis or another, up down and all around without knocking into each other. The only downside was it did get a little warm up there after lunch, although building staff brought in some commercial power fans and got the air circulating again comfortably. There's plenty of free parking nearby, mens' and womens' locker rooms with showers handy, and it's convenient to quite a few food choices. (We went for sushi with Rener.)
I felt so dumb about forgetting my belt that I didn't get a picture with Rener. Fortunately Tyy did. And Tyy is bigger than me :) Rener is TALL!!!
Rener is a very good instructor. Anyone who's ever taken a Rener seminar knows that the man can pack tons of insightful detail into every sentence. Trust me, bring a legal pad or notebook FULL of blank pages and two pens in case one runs out. You'll leave with enough information to fuel your drilling and strategizing for months.
I have nothing but respect for him. Can't recommend these super seminars highly enough. The Gracie Academy website has a partial list of upcoming seminars which you can check out here. Do it!
Monday, May 25, 2015
Julia Johansen, who writes the Jiu Jiu BJJ blog, addressed Tukano Kimonos' use of naked women in body paint to advertise their company here. She also discussed the sexy photos of Kyra Gracie in just a gi top.
I agree with her perspective. I tend to think it's great to celebrate a healthy body image, to revel in being fit and attractive, to put yourself out there. BUT I also get really creeped out by the kinds of comments that are made.. I don't like thinking of my training partners saying or thinking things like .. well, we all know the things that are said and thought.
So I tried to stay out of (and not click on) recent articles about a photo shoot done by BJJPIX, William Burkhardt. He shot a sexy series of a female purple belt from California in various stages of undress from her gi.
I wouldn't have pursued it any farther, except a friend recently shared with me some other work of William's that I found startling, weird, disturbing, and creepy.
He shot a promo video "documentary" for a BJJ blackbelt who is also one of those PUA's (pick up artists).
Arash Dibazar runs a women-only fitness studio in San Jose, CA called IMC Academy. That's him on the left. He says he is the only Persian black belt in BJJ, instructed by Sandro "Batata" Santiago, who is under Gordo. It appears he was promoted in 2012.
He also runs a "Survival and Fight" center, apparently only for men, in San Jose.
If you can't make it to the academy to learn "Panjo," the Persian street self-defense system he invented, you can order online lessons.
Here's the "documentary" Burkhardt shot of Dibazar's bizarre ramblings... NSFW. In it, Burkhardt proclaims that Dibazar was the "2013 and 2014 #1 pickup and seduction artist in the world." How is that kind of thing ranked?
I tried to look up something about Panjo, but for four pages on google, it's just stuff about exotic cars or a tiger that was lost and later found. "Panjo martial arts" pulls up only Dibazar.
Here's the thread on Bullshido which covers negative yelp reviews about Dibazar hitting on his female clientele. Later, Dibazar renamed his business and got the negative reviews removed-- but they're immortalized on the Bullshido thread. On the IMC Women's Fitness yelp, read the second review:
"This place was terrible. Arash makes uncomfortable remarks towards girls. The trainers ripped me off on countless occasions. Read through the filtered reviews to understand what this business really is. They created a second yelp account to hide the crappy reviews. Do not work out here unless you feel like being harassed. I regret ever coming here."
His response: "Imc Women's Fitness Center Inc. is a company built from an ethical nature. Owner, staff and students are welcome to participate in all IMC Academy events, classes, meetings and any other affiliation in regard to current standard membership if and only if the individual has proper exchange, is mentally stable, doesn't participate in drug use (psychiatric or recreational), expresses healthy emotions, has acute social skills and an ambitious drive to honestly improve themselves all the way from their inner beliefs transferred into their physical appearance, and most importantly, overall carries a positive attitude.
IMC Women's Fitness Center opened and converted into an Incorporated Establishment in November of 2012. Hosting several new programs, employees and other staff members, the business strategies as well as daily business operations became separate from the prior, IMC Academy. By true nature of changing the business and business structure a new Yelp Page was created, as it rightfully should be per the above documented facts. IMC Women's Fitness Center members are extremely passionate about the value IMC Owner and Staff continue to provide to all members. It is recommended you reference each one of the reviewer's public Facebook accounts to see their daily involvement at IMC Women's Fitness Center as well as their life changing experiences stemming from their consistent participation at IMC Women's Fitness Center. IMC Women's Fitness Center has over twenty-five thousand check-ins on Facebook and every single member is proud to be apart of such a vicarious movement.
Any member who chooses to demonstrate unsatisfactory ethics, malicious behavior, and an erroneous attitude is not permitted to stay a member at IMC Women's Fitness Center. The environment is packed with women who are passionately dedicated to achieve their personal bests' in fitness and their lifestyles everyday! The energy is vibrant, the smiles are permanent and the instructors and employees understand that it is crucial to keep the environment as such. You can see that somebody with ill intentions would not stay in an environment listed above. To proclaim such slanderous banter towards individuals, who dedicate their entire lives to bettering the community, is a direct representation of the erratic bi polar behavior displayed by Heather. Each instructor spent many hours working with Ms. Heather, unfortunately her volatile, criminal behavior overtook her membership with IMC. Ms. Heather has exhibited bi polar behavior and spasmodic communication through her invalid, desperate attacks on the owner and staff at IMC Women's Fitness Center. She has requested reviewers from a former irrelevant yelp page where the business is currently closed to spread devious reviews attacking the owner and current staff on false pretenses that have nothing to do with the current business and business operational standards of IMC Women's Fitness Center. She has posted private photos on a public forum with volatile intentions. IMC Women's Fitness Center Owner and Staff are currently in due process to serve Ms. Heather with a civil harassment restraining order. A cease and desist letter was directly sent to Ms. Heather no longer than six months ago to interrupt her slanderous, libel and defamatory behavior. The legal action is taken to ensure the safety of the staff and current members.
Do not reference Ms. Heather reviews as a valid opinion. This review is not a direct representation of the Owner, Instructors, or daily business operations or regulatory standards of IMC Women's Fitness Center; it is a slanderous spew of unsatisfactory words spoken from an individual who holds herself at the lowest of regard. (Entrusted to her criminal record, bipolar behavior and heinous personal ethics"
Her response: "**In regards to the incredibly inappropriate comment added to my post by "management" trying to make me seem like a bad person does not and will not change the fact that my post is full of straightforward truthful facts. It's quite sad they had to make a new Yelp page to hide the negative reviews posted here. . Also, to be clear.. I left IMC on my own and was not "kicked out" or "removed" The IMC trainers ripped me off beyond belief, I have no "real" criminal history unless you'd include tickets haha.. nor do I have any "mental issues". Posting such lies was a really juvenile thing to do. I clearly stated there was a time I enjoyed working out here but that doesn't change the fact that things got really crappy after some time. I came to work out not be insulted, criticized, cheated, lied to and made uncomfortable on a daily basis."
There are quite a few glowing yelps, and yet... the negative ones, which allege sexual remarks and hitting on young teen women, ring more true.
Apparently he invested in a Scientology course. Another thread about Dibazar on MartialArtsPlanet with some hilarious old video. Here's a portion of Dibazar's bio about his pickup skills, which I pulled from here:
"Having the confidence of a champion martial artist, the skills of an expert actor, and a deep background in Zen Buddhism and body language, Arash had a chance encounter with the book the "Game" that started him on the path to meeting Mystery from the Venusian Arts and devoting his energies and creativity to mastering the art of the pickup. A personal student of the Master Pickup Artist James Matador, Arash brings to the game a unique vibe that is extremely impressive and enjoyable to watch. A teacher for more than 18 years, Arash has a keen instinct for amplifying an individual's inner game and removing quickly the mental barriers that prevent men from succeeding in any field. This, coupled with his extensive understanding of the game, makes for one of the most potent instructors in the world of pickup today.""
I'm rambling, I guess, but I just want to know... why does a very talented BJJ photographer not see a problem with popularizing this tacky guy? I'm told he did the documentary for free. Why? Dibazar doesn't even know how to pronounce Rafael Mendes' name right... he lets a dog run all over his jiu jitsu academy mats... he has a horrible attitude towards women. Ugh.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Today Cristiano Oliviera, blackbelt and former head instructor at Gracie Barra Yakima, WA, pled no contest (technically known as an Alford plea) to two charges of rape of a child. Sentencing will take place in July. He faces approximately three years in prison and then deportation.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
The two most common questions I get-- why, and which one is best.
Why is easy: I train 6-7 days a week, often twice a day. When I was back home in Austin at Relson's and then Humaita, sometimes it was three times a day. You can't just have four or five gis... you'll wear them out, even if (like me) you can machine-dry them without worrying about shrinking. (I prefer to shrink my gis because usually I'm an A0, sometimes an A1.)
Edited to add: for fit evaluation, just know that I am short (5'2") and fat (too much to fight leve/lightweight) and my shape tends towards pear with junk in the trunk.
The gis I have:
Mizuno Rickson model (vintage)(size 3.5)
Black Eagle Predator (men's fit) x3 (A1)
Black Eagle Predadora (ladies' fit) x3 (F3)
Black Eagle Raptora (F3)
Atama ladies' fit (F3)
M Kimono (vintage) (A1)
Scramble Sengoku (A1)
Moya Hawaii (got it used, I wouldn't buy a Moya new and in fact I want to sell this one as wearing it embarrasses me because of this.) (A1)
Fenom x2 (one is A1/A2, the other is A1/A1C, jacket/pants)
Maeda Conde Koma (A0)
Datsusara hemp x2 (A1)
Kauai Kimonos ripstop x3 (A0)
Vulkan Pro Light ladies' fit (F3)
Vulkan Ultra Light mens' fit (A0)
Vulkan Ultra Light ladies' fit (F3)
Aesthetic Whiteout (A0)
Lucky (the original Lovato version) (A1)
I've semi-recently also had DFKC and BJJ Globetrotters gis.
There is NO ONE BEST GI. Sorry.
Coolest for collector/rarity reasons: Mizuno Rickson
Most comfortable material: Datsusara hemp
Lightest/best for hot weather training and travel: Kauai
Best fitting pants for smaller waist, bigger butt/hips/thighs: tie between Predadora, Fenom slim cut but curvy (half size between one and the next), Fenom classic cut
Best heavy jacket/hard to grip lapel: tie between old (no longer made) Ouano and Scramble Sengoku
Best light gi for competition: cross between no longer made, limited edition Predadora, the Aesthetic Whiteout, and Vulkan Ultra Light (either fit)
Best gi for cool colorway/embroidery/interior lining: tough call, some worthy options are the Aesthetic Whiteout, Competidor white with pink flower (no longer made), Maeda Conde Koma, DFKC (2014 womens' competitor, white or black), Scramble Sengoku, Fenom white with dark magenta embroidery.
There you go, my humble opinion, as of now. :)
Friday, May 15, 2015
Sorry for the informal nature of this review! I bought this gi instead of receiving it from a manufacturer for review, so I feel somewhat better about this quick and dirty go over ;)
This is a pearl weave 550g jacket in white with deep magenta floral embroidery on both upper arms, surrounding the iconic capital F of Fenom fame. The pants are a looser, classic cut versus Fenom's other, slim cut and they're made of a nice soft twill instead of ripstop. The drawstring is fabric not cord. The pants have doubled fabric from mid thigh all the way down to the bottom hem which I especially like. The waist has two belt loops, each about a quarter of the way in from the outer hip. There's also some stylish embroidery across the top of the right thigh which says Fenom Kimonos in dark magenta and silver thread.
I didn't measure pre wash, sorry. I bought an A1 jacket and A2 pants (love that Triin allows separate sizes!) because this model didn't come in A1C (curvy) and at the moment I'm definitely, insanely fat. I'm not posting pics of me in the gi, but I'll tell you I weigh about 20 lbs more than I usually do and haven't figured out how to add six inches in height.
The top and bottoms were both too big when I took them out of the bag...sleeves too long, the bust area bulged outwards in a peculiar way when I closed the lapels, and pants definitely about 2" too long. But after one wash in hot and a long dry on high heat, they're absolutely perfect. Ok, fine, I'm 5'2" 154 lbs. :( Interestingly the bulge in mid chest disappeared after washing and drying. The jacket is a good length from top of the shoulder to the bottom hem and closes with good coverage across the chest.
I found this gi extremely comfortable to train in....The pants are very soft, the cut is just right as far as being roomy, not form fitting, for my fat rump without having extra diaper material wadded up between my legs, with a slightly low rise but still no plumber's crack.... and after the wash/dry the length is ideal, right at ankle bones. If my behind didn't stick out so far, the pants would be longer, probably long enough for someone even 5'6" or 5'7" tall or so. The sleeve length also adjusted to just skimming my wrist bones, but if I had longer arms I could easily shrug my shoulders back at an IBJJF gi check and pass.
Note the gi is nice and light; website says an A1 weighs 3 lbs 1oz.
Very well made as Fenom usually is except a small one-inch section on a front interior side of the lapel with one row of stitching undone. Nothing significant though.
This gi is available for only $95 from:
Here's Sally Arsenault's excellent review of this gi, too:
Can't wait to try the navy blue gi with pink F and ripstop pants next; it's an A1 top, A1C slim cut pants.