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  1. joejitwho is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 6:42pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Klay Pittman - a critical look at his system

    Kid just had his first lesson BJJ at Pittmans academy in Lubbock. While he was getting his lesson with the instructor Garrett (seemed like a good guy), Pittman was giving his intro speech/trial to some people. He claimed to be a 5th degree black belt, the highest ranking jiu-jitsu in America, and that he was not even aware of another fifth degree black belt in the country.

    I looked at his website (http://www.martial-arts-lubbock-tx.c...su-lubbock-tx/) and it said that he earned his fourth degree in June 2011. Now I don't know much about the belting or promotion system, but it seems a bit odd for him to earn the highest ranking belt in America in eight months. I know he is a student of Carlos Machado, and from what I understand he is well known and 'legit'. Again, I'm ignorant to the system, but wouldn't you need to outrank someone to give them a belt? If Carlos is not a 5th degree himself, how could he give that to Pittman?

    The site doesn't mention who gave him the 4th degree, and I would think that if it was someone as esteemed as Machado, he would have mentioned that, or whoever it was that awarded him the rank.

    From my research it seems that Pittman is talented and a genuine student of Machado for his first black belt. It also seems that he set up a belt system designed to make money (11 belts, 40$ a belt). They had a kid the same size as the 7/8 year olds with a purple belt.

    I'm not here to call out the abilities of Pittman or his trainers, they seem to be legit and were courteous to me when we spoke. What I'm reading about the way they run the system and the oddity of his claims is upsetting. It sounds like a black belt mill that gives belts for showing up and making your payments. If anyone has any information or advice I would appreciate it. Again, if they are talented then they may teach well and produce well trained students. What I don't appreciate is the possibility that he is selling his system with questionable claims and leading my child to believe he has earned a specific belt level when his actual knowledge is much lower. Thank you for the time and help.

    (I fully profess my ignorance to the system and martial art, if I have made unwarranted accusations or assumptions my apologizes to Pittman and his academy)
  2. DKJr is online now
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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 8:24pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Pittman's methods are McDojoish but he's a legit 3th degree under Carlos Machado. Also I can't remember him ever producing any champions. He's for sure not a 5th degree though. He may meant that he was the highest ranking American, which he isn't.

    But he's not Bullshido. Thus we need to move the thread. Unless you could find proof of him claiming something that isn't true.
  3. Omega Supreme is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 8:38pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Where would you like it?

    *Never mind; I moved it into your section.
  4. joejitwho is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 9:14pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ghost of Christmas Fail View Post
    Pittman's methods are McDojoish but he's a legit 3th degree under Carlos Machado.
    Sorry for the confusion, I see now that bullshido would mean Pittman was not legit, which I am not challenging his lineage or 3rd degree bb.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Ghost of Christmas Fail View Post
    Also I can't remember him ever producing any champions. He's for sure not a 5th degree though. He may meant that he was the highest ranking American, which he isn't.

    But he's not Bullshido. Thus we need to move the thread. Unless you could find proof of him claiming something that isn't true.
    I found references to him being a 3rd degree, but could not find any references to his 4th or 5th degrees. How is he able to make these claims if he was not given the 4th and 5th degrees by Machado (check link at bottom, found reference to his claim)? It was a major part of his selling point that there wasn't even another person of his rank. He is also claiming in class and on his website that he started at 6 (there were at least fifteen 6/7/8 year olds when I was there) when everything else online says he didn't start until he was 10. He was specifically saying things like 'i was motivated in the second grade because I knew that by the time I was in 6th grade I would be a black belt.' Which again, I'm no expert, but how does a 6th grader get a black belt after four years of lessons? Even before I read his interviews stating 10 years it felt like he was marketing towards an age that didn't even comprehend the concept of using their body weight. Now it seems like he was trying to sell them on a 4 year plan, as he wants two year commitments for lessons.

    My profession is sales and I have a degree in psychology, this type of selling comes across as very dishonest. Don't get me wrong, I respect the hell out of a 3rd degree BB who started his own business. My issue is the parents of these kids don't know any better and probably won't research it, so he can get away with claims that he is the highest ranking American or person in America, which is a pretty bold claim to be making. He is pitching a sale based on an authority he may not have. Am I correct in assuming only Machado can give him the 4th and 5th degrees? Does going from 3rd degree to 5th degree in 10 months sound suspicious or does that happen?

    Am I making too much of a deal out of this? I assume I am to some extent, I'm just not happy about possibly being mislead as to his credentials. My wife signed our child up on her own because of the claims he made, 'we have the best person in america in our town, why would we send him anywhere else?' I'm not going to sue or anything ridiculous. I'm from a military family and it feels like someone wearing a medal that they didn't earn and then using it to make money from. Maybe it's not as big of a deal within bjj or mcdojos are just considered something that's going to always be there.

    Sorry to make a big deal out of this, I'd just like to know more about this system and his claims if my kid is going to be taking lessons for the next two years at his academy. I'm not happy knowing that his belts won't be legit and wouldn't be equal to the same belt from an accredited belt system, which I felt he should have discussed.

    EDIT: I found a tweet stating he was awarded his 4th by Machado.

    https://twitter.com/#!/pchristy11/status/82229007487221760

    Tweeter is a local sportscaster.

    EDIT: I found an article which referenced his claim. The articles is http://www.dailytoreador.com/lavida/...a.html?photo=1

    His specific claim is this:

    "Pittman said he is now the highest-ranking American student awarded a black belt under the two Jiu-Jitsu masters: eighth-degree black belt Carlos Machado and seventh-degree black belt Royce Gracie.Pittman said he is the only person to have a black belt under both members of the Gracie family."

    Is that a great accomplishment or normal? I found some people saying he paid Royce to endorse his dojo (don't know if that is normal either.) and that it cost $50 if you wanted to come and meet Royce. I saw a youtube video of royce endorsing Pittman but he is obviously reading his lines. I have no other basis to claim these points.
    Last edited by joejitwho; 1/15/2012 9:33pm at . Reason: Quote formatting
  5. DKJr is online now
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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 9:23pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks Omega.

    Yeah I don't know man, it's really at this point your word vs his. I agree with your sentiment, and honestly it wouldn't surprise me if what you say turned out to be true. Unfortunately all he has to say is "Nu uhhh! You're confused", and people are more likely to take his side.

    I'm a big believer in competition for the reason that this kind of bs gets weeded out. If you're a good coach you're student's will show it on the mat. I totally disagree with his crazy belt system, lack of competitors, and extra fees.
  6. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 9:31pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The website you linked said he received his fourth stripe. Yes, that means he is a fourth degree.

    Mr. Pittman is now the highest ranking American student training under Mr. Machado. Receiving his 4th degree stripe in June 2011.
    Now I'm sorry, you "heard" him say something. Right here he is very specific. "Highest ranked American UNDER Mr. Machado."

    That is an extremely specific comment right on his website. Yes, it was there when you first posted. He is an American, under one very specific system, taught by one individual.

    No, I am not calling you a liar. I am just noting that you have missed a couple things in your research that confirm he was 4th.
  7. joejitwho is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 10:05pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I understand it's my word against his in terms of what I heard him say.

    I will say that I heard him called himself a fifth degree and said he was not aware of anyone else that was a fifth degree in the country. I do not recall him mentioning the title of student or Machado in his speech to the parents and prospective students. He could have omitted this to people who would not know that being a student of Machado was very respectable, but he portrayed himself as the best of the best when he said it.

    "Yes, it was there when you first posted"

    I could not find anything else which corroborated what he wrote on his website besides the tweet that I posted. I have looked for a list of black belts Machado has given out but can not find one.

    "No, I am not calling you a liar. I am just noting that you have missed a couple things in your research that confirm he was 4th."

    I appreciate that and my main point was that I can't find another source to confirm it. I had assumed there would be some listing of black belts or resource which cataloged people when they rose that high in bjj. I can not find one.

    The reason I question it so much is because of the belting system he implemented and stories of other people giving themselves ranks. As I mentioned, he is telling 1st and 2nd graders they can be black belts in four years. There are children who look under 10 wearing purple belts. I have seen multiple claims that they have 'provisional' black belts. It feels like a college that will charge you for classes and give you an uncredited degree which is worthless. Obviously a college degree and black belt are different in terms of use and cost, it's the general deception for money which gets to me. I will have to listen next time I go to see what he says to make sure I heard him correctly, but I was specifically paying attention to only him when he spoke because I had heard so much about him. I realize that I need to learn more to fully understand what he is saying.

    If I find that I am completely wrong I will edit my first post to make this clear, I just found this thread on a google search and do not want to tarnish his name if this is entirely due to my misunderstanding or faulty memory.
    Last edited by joejitwho; 1/15/2012 10:26pm at . Reason: Wording of statements
  8. Naszir is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 10:42pm


     Style: BJJ, Judo, SAMBO

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Klay Pittman (Lubbock), Tim Burrell (Rhode Island), Travis Lutter (Ft Worth) and William Vandry (Austin) were the first four black belts given by Carlos Machado here in America. I know William Vandry is a third degree black belt under Carlos Machado. As for a 4th stripe, his website still lists him as a 3rd stripe. (Tweet notwithstanding) As for the having a black belt under Machado and Gracie it looks like he is in the RCJ Machado network as well as Royce's association.

    I can't speak to Mr Pittman's promotional requirements. The idea of a 10 year old purple belt is distressing. I like the idea of child ranks until 16. I hope that is a miscommunication.
  9. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 10:50pm

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    Okay, I'm one of the few that hates the MA=College analogy. It is not the same as getting an uncredited degree. If we are going to use the education analogy it is like a Junior College vs a University. Both are accredited, but one gets to choose what happens when you transfer.


    There are multiple arts with what many call "kiddie black belts." Yes, even the ones people currently feel are legit. 4 years is possible, but highly rare. Still, TEACHERS say "if you work hard you can be president." Coaches say "If you work hard you can play in the________ (insert high playing sport of your choice)." I question your call of motivational being dishonest even if it is a "sales" tactic.

    I am not defending the school as I do not train there or train the style. If it bothers you that much don't go.

    I appreciate that and my main point was that I can't find another source to confirm it. I had assumed there would be some listing of black belts or resource which cataloged people when they rose that high in bjj. I can not find one.
    They tried and it was never really kept up. BJJ is the one art that most instructors gladly answer questions. I'd say contact him and be honest about your misgivings.
    Last edited by It is Fake; 1/15/2012 10:57pm at .
  10. DKJr is online now
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    Posted On:
    1/15/2012 11:00pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naszir View Post
    Klay Pittman (Lubbock), Tim Burrell (Rhode Island), Travis Lutter (Ft Worth) and William Vandry (Austin) were the first four black belts given by Carlos Machado here in America. I know William Vandry is a third degree black belt under Carlos Machado. As for a 4th stripe, his website still lists him as a 3rd stripe. (Tweet notwithstanding) As for the having a black belt under Machado and Gracie it looks like he is in the RCJ Machado network as well as Royce's association.

    I can't speak to Mr Pittman's promotional requirements. The idea of a 10 year old purple belt is distressing. I like the idea of child ranks until 16. I hope that is a miscommunication.
    It's pretty McDojo style. They add stripes and striped belts between each belt ontop of 3 extra belts. Green, orange, yellow for adults.

    Once again, not saying they suck at BJJ though.
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