I just got a call from AnnMaria De Mars who was incredibly helpful and forthright about all this. In a nuttshell she explained that KG wanted to bring in 60-80 people and have their dojo ranks recognized by USJA; that he wrote a single large check for all his people (for which he later complained to her he was not thanked); that this transaction was pushed by then chief of operations, now president Gary Goltz with the primary goal of stacking the voting process, and a secondary goal of collecting a large number of fees; that she personally objected that she should be outranked by someone who had never won anything, when she had medalled at the olympics; that KG and his people probably did nothing wong; that Nick and the others lkely did not know this was being done; that the background check forms could not be filled out by solely by USJA because they would need to know the SSN's; and that this event and others like it are indeed the reason that she and Coach Pedro resigned last year.
A class act and as straight a shooter as I've ever met
@Fake This might belong in the USJA PB thread, but I put it here because it has bearing on Nick's case.
@Nick You mentioned earlier that you were surprised when KG presented you with the USJA Judo Hachidan. Were you expecting something else by any chance?
Just curious if anyone thought they were getting USJA Aikido rank, and ended up with Judo.
After reading through this thread, and checking out Sensei Lowry's website, I have to say that I am impressed with him.
He conducted himself well during this investigation.
He seems to have no interest in rank except as a means to motivate his students to learn.
He does frequent fund raisers for charities.
He seems to have been practicing Judo (and Aikido and Jodo) since the early 1980's.
He was promoted to 8th degree in Judo by his teacher Sensei Karl Geis (one of the few US Judo 9th degree black belts, who himself was later promoted to 10th degree in Judo by the USJA) and the USJA.
Sensei Lowry did not hesitate to offer to give the 8th degree USJA rank back, when it was explained to him that there was any concern that he had not met the official/standard USJA requirements for it.
And, Sensei Lowry has a put up about 1,000 videos of he and his teaching staff doing martial art techniques on youtube for free, and with no attached ad revenue.
I'm a bit embarrassed by the good example he is setting.
He is both transparent and freely gives away what many other try to charge for every possible penny.
Regarding the martial arts organizations, uh...none of them are perfect.
The Judo organization wars between the AAU, USJA, USJF, and then Phil Porter's organizations in the US have been well documented for the past several decades.
Even in the early nineties, most players of shodan and lower ranks were confused by what was going to happen, and what was happening in the Judo organizations.
We basically did what our teachers told / asked us to do regarding which organization to join or not join, unless there was a specific organization we needed to card for to compete in a specific tournament that was refusing reciprocal recognition with the organization we had affiliation with.
And, it was common during that time for experienced wrestlers to compete in tournaments at brown or even black belt level and then get spot promoted to that grade permanently if they won their division if for no other reason than it would be cruel to let them destroy the lower belts in tournaments.
I don't remember anybody in the 90's who wore a red and white belt in practice who was not (bluntly) an old guy,
and talk of why the chosen judo organization was the one the club supported, kata, and japanese jujitsu lore were all filed under the category of respected instructor broccoli by many of the rank and file judo competitors in their 20's during those times.
I could easily see why a Judoka in the 80's and the 90's would not think it odd that a Judo organization had made an irregular promotion at the request of Sensei Karl Geis or Sensei Phil Porter, because there was a lot of chaos and conflict during those times as the various Judo organizations battled with each other and internally for who was going to do what, and whether they were going to accept each other.
Also, Sensei Geis (RIP), had a bit of a reputation for not being utterly cordial when someone tried to disagree with his opinions or decisions regarding Judo or the martial arts he practiced.
I could easily see why Sensei Lowry would have left those matters in Sensei Geis' hands, and not really made much opinion to his teacher about the matter either way.
Sensei Lowry appears to be a class act, and a fine Judoka.
In other news, two members of the USJA promotions board just resigned (Ernie Smith and Lynn Roethke), stating that the board of directors instructed them to "jump promote" someone from Nidan to Yodan, with Godan to follow in a year. They refused to have their name affixed to these illegitimate promotions because the recipient is not eligible and the TIG has not been met, so they are not authorized by the promotion guidelines to review the promotion. According to current rank standards, an elite competitor could make 2nd to 5th in 17 years; while a non-competitor would take 37 years, with intermediate and casual competitors falling in between that 17-37 year range.
I applaud Lynn and Ernie for taking a stand.
To my esteemed colleagues,
It is with regret that I am submitting my resignation from the USJA promotion board as of June 6th, 2016.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve with you in the capacity of the promotion board for so many years, but at this time it is time to allow others to serve who have the same philosophy and share in the direction of the current BOD.
I have the highest respect for all the members of this board and will continue to serve judo in other ways.
With high regard-
To Promotion Board Members:
Effective Immediately as of June 5, 2016 I resign from the USJA Promotion Board. I think all of you are honorable people. I will miss working with you. However, I feel that our BOD are mis using their powers. And what They directed us to do is unethical . I will not accept them affixing my name to a promotion that we are not permitted to review. They evidently don't need us any more . I wish you well.
Ernie Steve Smith
Didn't Goltz rubber stamp this whole thing with Karl Geis' (RIP) students getting high Dan without testing or meeting requirements?