I wrote to Gokor to aks about Tucci, whether he trained with him, and if he was ranked in sambo under him.
I am writing to confim a claim by a mister Tony Tucci, who is claiming to have a Black Belt in Sambo under Gokor.
There is discussion about him going on here:
Would you be able to confirm whether you trained Tony Tucci, and if you ranked him in Sambo? My understanding is that you do not give out such ranks.
President, American Sambo Association
Manvel, Karo, Jovany, and I do not remember him.
When I first read this thread, I immediately sent an e-mail to Helio Soneca to confirm Tony's belt. I also asked about Ranieri Paiva, the other instructor at X3.
Image cache of web page: http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/8613/tuccipaiva.jpg
After a few e-mails back and forth, I have found the following information:
- Helio did not give Tony any rank. Tony was already ranked by another instructor when Helio asked him to teach. We'll need to eventually ask Tony who originally ranked him.
- Ranieri was a brown belt when he began to train under Helio. Helio has not given Ranieri a black belt. We'll need to ask Ranieri who gave him his black belt.
- Helio does not use the Gracie name when teaching or in marketing; he uses his own name. The mentions of 'Gracie' on the X3 site, outside of the use of 'Gracie Barra', are a bit odd.
Helio was very nice to take time out of his day to reply to my e-mails. He became concerned when I kept asking 1-2 questions in each subsequent e-mail because he believes both Tony and Ranieri to be good people and good instructors.
Classes are at
10:00 am w/ Philip Botha- South African Champion
5:30 P.M. w/ Tony Tucci - Russian Sambo Champ
6:30 P.M. w/ Morrison Butler Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt
8:30 P.M. w/ Ill Will from Nomenclature and Muai Tai Kickboxer
Paul says he met Tucci once at an event, was told he was one of Gokor's guys, and that Tucci had to leave and attend to his fighters before Booe could probe him.
Tony Tucci is relatively well known in Atlanta. I actually worked with him a little bit one time when I was training in boxing over at x3. To my knowledge no one has ever had anything bad to say about him and he seemed like a nice guy. (I liked him)
That being said, x3 does carry a bit of a commercial vibe and like all commercial gyms they probably polish up credentials to make them palatable for general consumption and things probably get lost in translation between the guys that run the fighting and the guys that make the website.
"Were you a black belt?"
"We didn't really have belts, but I was an instructor and had such and such credentials"
"Well we need to say that you were a black belt on the website because we're a commercial gym trying to appeal to the masses and everyone loves a black belt"