Ryan Fiorenzi and Robert Brown : bad partnerships for good BJJ guys?
A few months back I went to check out a BJJ program that was pretty much walking distance to me. I had been going somewhere else ( about twice a week) and just liked the idea that there was a place that was closer where I could get maybe more BJJ training done. The program is run by a guy named Ryan Fiorenzi, who is “the top BJJ guy in Michigan.”
My night went terrible and then I searched around the internet to find out more, and read some articles here about the school “Chinese School of Martial Arts” run by Sifu Robert Brown. This was 6 months or so ago. So I stayed at my current place (and continue now to try to train twice a week). Today I was searching around on another forum though and found some people questioning Fiorenzi giving out bad belts. And since I visited your site after my visit to that program, I figure I should post here my experience and stuff too..
So the question: if Ryan Fiorenzi is the greatest BJJ guy in Michigan (Machado) is there a problem if he pairs up with a totally bad program run by someone else? And is it a problem if he is giving the instructor there easy rankings to keep his business going?
Here was what I wrote up about my experiences a few months back at this place.
Fiorenzi is the BJJ instructor there and trains Sifu Brown. The entire program (that I saw) is total crap.
I checked out the program about 6 months ago, after having only about 6 months training in BJJ, because it was closer to my house. Fiorenzi was NOT THERE when I went, so Sifu Brown was running the class. And Sifu Brown was wearing all black. I asked a student who was helping with my "intro" if Brown had a black belt. The student told me that brown had a REALLY high rank in BJJ. Everyone else had gis.
I got creepy cult vibes from everyone the entire time I was there. Everyone kept talking about how great Sifu Brown was, and everyone kept telling me how amazing Ryan was. They repeated to me probably 50 times that Fiorenzi was the highest ranked and best and most advnaced BJJ guy in all of Michigan. However, everyone there, from the other beginners to their most advanced "helpers" were the worst BJJ guys I have ever in my life seen.
I did not roll with Sifu Brown, but anyone I did roll with was completely clueless. They kept saying I was really good and kept saying I must have already trained for a long long time. I only had 6 months (of twice a week training)! And yet they couldn't pass my guard, couldn't control my wrists, couldn't get any choke or submission to work on me. And I could understand when I saw Sifu Brown "demonstrate" a few of the drills we were to go over because even me, with barely a beginners level, could tell he was explaning things terribly wrong. He said everything with lots of this almost mystical explanations too, as if he was some expert in body mechanics and physiology (or maybe it was just how the students in the class were acting). But nothing he said was even white belt level because I have a white belt and I could tell how bad it was. His RNC explanation was terrible (lots of wrenching things back), his armbars were terrible. No wonder his students couldn't get them to work at all (let alone get into position to attempt one in free rolling). And Robert Brown is apparently a purple under Fiorenzi and a Black under... some Gracie thing. His students didn't seem to even know. On s-dog (are we allowed to say other forum names here?) his students claim that he has a BJJ blackbelt from a Gracie program.
And Fiorenzi now runs Brown's programs and "zen" teaching at East West apparently (I have never been to East West). But it can't be good if his website claims to be running Brown's programs at it (but somehow now the website seems to be down but I looked at this stuff before there)..
Does this sink Fiorenzi as a "respectable" guy or a good BJJ guy? Sifu Robert Brown is a load of McDojo crap who has no idea what he is doing, but is re ally good at selling it to soccer moms and suburban fantasy basement dwellers. Is it okay if Fiorenzi (the best BJJ guy in my state) works with him to make money and do business?
So, if running a program there and having things done terribly, does that make Fiorenzi a bad BJJ guy to train under.
I remembered that from the old bullshido article that Brown has no zen training. He just passes himself off as a zen and meditation master to make money off of the suburbanites. And apparently he has no actual kung fu training either, according to the other stuff here. But Fiorenzi is the real deal (through Machado). So should he not be doing business with this guy?