I lost my gym to a child molester and a fake black belt
Reposted from my thread over at the UG for everyone's reading pleasure. Mods feel free to move this thread if it does not comply with Bullshido standards.
Buckle up, it's going to be a long ride.
Here's the back story. My gym was first started back in 1996 by a good friend of mine. I took overrunning things when he got married and moved to another state around 2002. We originally started training out of a local fitness gym where we would lay out our mats in the multi-purpose aerobics room. It wasn't the greatest training facility, but back in the day it was the only training facility within hours.
A few years ago we had the opportunity to link up with a local boxing gym called OC Fight Club run by Charlie Rites. Charlie Rites is a talented boxing coach from the Baltimore area. I've worked with him and learned quite a bit and saw it as a chance to fill in the lack of quality striking my grappling oriented program had. So we partnered up and things were great for about 2.5 years. Membership was on the rise and we were quickly outgrowing our small warehouse facility. I had mentioned to Charlie about expanding to a bigger location and while I was on business up in Pennsylvania he signed on a lease for a new gym. We moved about two weeks later to the new facility which was spectacular. Cage, ring, bags, open mats. Hell we finally even had a bathroom, heat and a/c.
Then it all fell apart. One of my guys informed me that he found out Charlie's assistant boxing coach is a Tier III sex offender.
I was shocked. This was bad. Very bad. I spoke with Charlie in private and showed him the printout from the sex offender registry because I didn't think he'd believe such a heinous accusation about one of his trusted friends, Ruben Martinez,without proof.
Charlie told me to go **** myself.
He knew. He had known the entire time and exposed all of us to the risk. I don't have the exact details on the specifics of his conviction, but I have heard rumors that he was involved with a ten year old female which makes sense considering Tier III is considered the worst of the worst and the most likely to reoffend. Either way, it's irrelevant what he did. Being a sex offender is the modern day Scarlet Letter. I cannot and will not be associated with such a person while teaching martial arts. I will not stake my professional reputation on the chance that a convicted sex offender does not reoffend. We all know what happened in the Lloyd Irving case. I'd be done as both a coach and a competitor if I allowed something like that to happen on my watch. I tried to reason with Charlie. I told his how bad this could be if something happened or even if anyone found out. He told me that if I had a problem with it I could "roll up my mats and get the **** out".
So I did.
We are temporarily housed at a friend's place until we find a more permanent location. Most of my guys made the move with me. Except one. This is where the fake black belt business comes in.
Here's the backstory on that. Like I said before, we started training out of a local fitness gym. Years ago someone told me that Dave Hertzog, a black belt under Rogerio"Tatu" Taborda was teaching classes on my mats in our gym on nights we were not there. As you can imagine, I was quite pissed and put an immediate end to it. Hertzog moved on to teach at a kid's TKD school on the other side of town till he opened up his own school which failed and closed in a year or so. A couple of his guys came to train with us and I was far from impressed. One of his blue belts confided that he didn't think he should have gotten a blue belt as he didn't really know what he was doing, but Dave gave it to him anyway.
My experiences with Tatu BJJ have been less than impressive. Again, all of this is my personal opinion and without proof, but I believe they are selling rank. My first experience with Tatu BJJ was about ten years ago when I was still just a blue belt. I stopped in at a Tatu affiliate up in Pennsylvania because I like to train at different schools to broaden my game. After my first night training there, the coach (who was a mediocre purple belt) said I should come with him that weekend to see his coach, Tatu,to get my purple belt. All I had to do was pay the "promotional fee". It sounded quite shady to me and I politely declined. Now I'm hearing rumors that there has been a falling out between Dave Hertzog and Tatu because Hertzog never paid the $1,600 promotional fee for his black belt. Again,I have absolutely no proof and these are only rumors that I have heard. But here's where it burns me. The one guy who didn't make the move with us is Omar Serrano, a Tatu "black belt". Omar was left hanging when Hertzog's school failed and he abruptly closed its doors. We invited him to come train with us about three years ago, but he said wouldn't stop talking about why he needed to stay with Tatu to get his black belt. I casually reminded him that he was only a purple belt (and not a very good one) and that his black belt was likely years and years away. He since has not been training at all except for attending a few seminars up in Pa every other month or so. Well, he showed back up at my school a few months ago with his black belt (that he paid $1,600 for) and was promptly beaten by my blue belts. But Omar is a nice guy (or so I thought) and if he was ok with taking a beating,than I was ok with him wearing his silly black belt. At this point, Omar isn't so terrible. He probably has a purple belts level of knowledge but still rolls like a blue belt. Anyhow, I reached out to him to see if he'd like to help coach a beginner gi class at the new facility I'm putting together and he declined because he's the new head grappling coach at OC Fight Club. So once again, I have a Tatu affiliate trying to swoop in and steal my thunder. Omar absolutely knows why we left. He is willingly exposing women and children to a Tier III sex offender. He bought his belt and he is not a good person.
So that's my story. Yeah, I'm pissed. I made what I feel is the right choice to disassociate myself from a gym that thinks it's ok to let sex offenders work with women and children. And one of the guys who I graciously allowed in to train with us despite his dubious ranking stabbed me in the back in an effort to capitalize on the grappling program I built there.
**** Charlie Rites. **** Ruben Martizez. **** Omar Serrano. And **** OC FightClub.
These are not good people. This is not the kind of gym you should train at. It especially isn't the kind of gym you should let your wife or child train at. I know a lot of Baltimore/DC/southern PA people come to Ocean City on vacation looking for a place to train. OC Fight Club is most definitely not the place you want to be.
Oh and to back up my claim as to what a shitty organization Tatu BJJ is, here's a pic of the UG's favorite fake black belt, David Lang training with Rogerio "Tatu" Taborda while rocking what appears to be a 3rd degree BJJ black belt.