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  1. DuckofDeath is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 5:30pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    In Search of the Elusive Mauricio (Maurice) Sakata

    The name Maurice Sakata was first introduced into the BJJ community by its mention in the online bio of one Robson Pereira, who at the time was a BJJ instructor at Rat Pack Fighting Systems of Palmerton, PA. According to that vaguely and ambiguously worded bio, Pereira trained in several martial arts in Sao Paulo, including BJJ, and eventually earned a black belt; he had the opportunity to train with "notable athletes" such as Marco "Macaco" Aurelio and Maurice Sakata; and he was a member of Rickson Gracie's BJJ association. Naturally, people reading the bio would link "trained in BJJ," "earned a black belt," and "member of Rickson Gracie's BJJ association" together and come to the conclusion that Pereira was a BJJ black belt under Rickson--which turned out not to be the case at all.

    Under mounting pressure to clarify whether Pereira was Rickson BB, RPFS posted a statement to the effect that Pereira had earned his BB under both Marco "Macaco" Aurelio and Maurice Sakata, and the Rickson had "approved" the belt. From being a "notable athlete" under whom Pereira had trained in some unspecified martial art, Maurice Sakata had now morphed into someone with the authority to co-award a BB in BJJ. But this revelation simply brought up another question--if the BB supposedly awarded by Aurelio and Sakata was indeed a legit BJJ BB, why would it have to be "approved" by Rickson? This question was soon followed by another RPFS posting to the effect that all references to Rickson Gracie were being removed from their web site and listings because those mentions of Rickson Gracie were an error on the part of the RPFS webmaster.

    A subsequent posting related that Pereira was now training under Rich Latta, a Renzo Gracie brown belt with a school in Hatfield, PA; Latta was also listed on the RPFS web site as the head of their BJJ program. Since Pereira's skills were acknowledged to be subpar by RPFS--he had supposedly been out of the game a long time because of a debilitating work injury--it was hoped that remedial work under Latta would bring him up to speed and perhaps lead to his being re-ranked by Renzo Gracie. But again, if he was a legit BJJ BB under Aurelio and Sakata to begin with--supposed injuries notwithstanding--why would he have to be re-ranked by Renzo?

    A few months later, the news broke that RPFS was now an affiliate of the Marcos Santos / Rigan Machado BJJ Association and that they--having recognized Pereira's previous rank of BB--had now promoted him to second degree. It seems that Pereira now "remembered" that Maurice Sakata alone had awarded him his BB and that Maurice Sakata was himself a BB under none other than the great Carlson Gracie, Sr. Now if Pereira had been a BB under one of Carlson's BBs all along, why hadn't he said so from the very beginning? Why had he instead been dropping Rickson's name and flashing a Rickson association card that anyone can order through the mail? Moreover, when questions about Maurice Sakata had first started making the rounds on the message boards, one of Carlson's students had asked Carlson if he knew any Maurice Sakata, and Carlson replied that fhe did not.

    (to be continued)
  2. DuckofDeath is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 6:12pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    (continued from above)

    In response to continuing questions regarding the legitimacy of Pereira's rank, RPFS posted on its site the following letter bearing the signatures of Rigan Machado and Marcos Santos:

    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    January 30th 2006

    To whom it may concern;


    It has come to our attention that certain individuals are questioning the legitimacy of the black belt rank of one of the members of our association, Mr. Robson Pereira.

    Please be advised that Mr. Pereira was awarded a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu shortly prior to moving to this country in 1995, from Mr. Maurice Sakata of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he trained and competed for 10 years and we give full recognition to his belt and rank.

    He and the academy at which he is currently instructing, Rat Pack Fighting Systems of Palmerton, PA, are now members of the Marcos Santos/Rigan Machado association through which Mr. Pereira was recently awarded his second degree black belt.

    Any further questions may be directed to The Blitz Center.


    Very truly yours,


    Rigan Machado / Marcos Santos

    __________________________________________________ ______________________


    Here is a scan of the printout of the letter itself (the right margin came out slightly cropped on the printout):





    Since the letter invites its readers to direct any questions to The Blitz Center--where Marcos Santos teaches--I decided to do exactly that. During a phone conversation with Santos, I asked if he knew Mauricio Sakata. Although he admitted that he did not, he stated that Mansor knew Sakata, Mansor being Grandmaster Francisco Mansor, head of the New York State Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation. Acting on the lead furnished by Santos, I phoned Grandmaster Mansor, and, with his son helping to interpret, asked if he knew Mauricio Sakata. The Grandmaster stated that he did not know any Mauricio Sakata. (I later made several attempts to contact Machado by phone at his school, but he was always unavailable. His online spin doctor, bjjtapes on the UG, informed me online that Machado was aware of my attempts to contact him, but that he (Machado) wanted me "to leave him alone.")

    (to be continued)
  3. DuckofDeath is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 6:40pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    (continued from above)

    Not long after my conversation with Grandmaster Mansor, he conducted a seminar for RPFS. Not long after that seminar, a letter bearing his signature was posted on the RPFS site stating that he was personally familiar with Sakata and that Sakata had been awarded his BB by Carlson Gracie, Sr.:

    __________________________________________________ ______________________


    March 4, 2006


    To Whom it May Concern:


    May all be advised that the New York State Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation, by its President Grand Master Francisco Mansur, 9th Degree BJJ Red Belt, recognizes and confirms that Robson Pereira earned a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1994 from Mauricio Sakata with who I am personally familiar and who earned his a black belt from Grand Master Carson Gracie, Sr., 9th Degree Red Belt.


    Sincerely,


    Grand Master Francisco Mansur
    9th Degree BJJ Red Belt

    __________________________________________________ ______________________


    Since Mansor's English isn't that good and since his name is typed as "Mansur" in the letter--a common error made by even his students and associates--the letter was probably composed by someone other than Mansor. Here is a scan of a printout of the letter itself (the right margin came out slightly cropped on the printout):




    (to be continued)
  4. DuckofDeath is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 7:35pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    (continued from above)

    RPFS officially severed ties with Robson Pereira on August 9, 2006, also withdrawing from the Marcos Santos / Rigan Machado BJJ Association and the NYSBJJF; the Sakata letters--having been listed as Pereira's "credentials"--were removed from the RPFS site. The owner of RPFS later posted a statement to the effect that the letters--last known to be in the possession of Pereira--were not forgeries since they had been presented to him by the signatories themselves. Moreover, I myself made sure that all the signatories of the letters received copies of them so that they could repudiate them if they were forgeries; no such repudiations have been forthcoming.

    The April 6, 2007 issue of Tatame published an official list of Carlson Gracie, Sr.'s BBs provided by his widow to combat fraudulent claims of those purporting to be Carlson's BBs:

    http://www.tatame.com.br/2007/04/06/...-faixas-pretas

    The name Mauricio Sakata is conspicuously absent from the list.


    Now you see him, now you don't...


    After Pereira and RPFS parted company, Pereira began his own school and put up his own web site:

    http://www.pereirabjj.net/instructor.html

    What is particularly interesting is that the site makes absolutely no mention whatsoever of Mauricio Sakata, the one who supposedly awarded him his BB. The site only mentions the second degree awarded by Santos and Machado, and a third degree later awarded by Grandmaster Mansor. (Note that the CBJJ third degree diploma signed by Mansor is posted on the site; Mansor's signature from that document may be compared with the signature on the Sakata letter.) Being a BB under one of Carlson's BBs is something that anyone should be proud of and should want to put on his web site. Why the conspicuous omission? Could it be that "Mauricio Sakata" was a hastily-crafted fiction all along, brought into being to grace Pereira with legitimacy, and, having served that purpose, now consigned to oblivion lest its inclusion on Pereira's site continue to generate unwelcome scrutiny?

    If anyone can post anything on this thread to conclusively substantiate the existence of a Mauricio Sakata in Carlson's lineage who had the authority to award a legit BJJ BB in 1994, there's a possibility that Pereira's rank may be legit. If not, well, there's little reason to believe that his rank is legit, meaning that his second and third degrees could be spurious.

    Let the search for the elusive Mauricio (Maurice) Sakata begin...
  5. Don Gwinn is offline
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    BJJ wins again!

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 9:02pm

    supporting member
     Style: Guns

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    OK, here's what I don't get, and I'm asking this in genuine puzzlement: it seems at least possible that Mansor, Santos and yes, though I may get flamed for saying it, even Rigan Machado covered for this guy. But what motive could they possibly have for that? What would be in it for them?
    I could see someone putting a letter under Mansor's nose after a seminar and him just signing it, not really getting the nuances of the English on it .. . maybe. But he promoted the guy to 3rd degree. Why do that? For that matter, why would Rigan and Santos promote him to 2nd unless they thought he deserved it? I get the idea of somebody duping these guys with a good story about the good old days in Brazil with Mauricio . . . but not duping them into thinking he has the skills to be 2nd black, unless he does.
    *********************************************
  6. Red Elvis is offline
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    Da Komrads... Again you are MadPelvisOwn3d!

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 10:09pm

    supporting member
     Style: Spetsnaz Shovel-Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
    OK, here's what I don't get, and I'm asking this in genuine puzzlement: it seems at least possible that Mansor, Santos and yes, though I may get flamed for saying it, even Rigan Machado covered for this guy. But what motive could they possibly have for that? What would be in it for them?
    I could see someone putting a letter under Mansor's nose after a seminar and him just signing it, not really getting the nuances of the English on it .. . maybe. But he promoted the guy to 3rd degree. Why do that? For that matter, why would Rigan and Santos promote him to 2nd unless they thought he deserved it? I get the idea of somebody duping these guys with a good story about the good old days in Brazil with Mauricio . . . but not duping them into thinking he has the skills to be 2nd black, unless he does.
    Let me add to that thought Don Gwinn. Why would Carlos Gacie Jr. also vouch for the guy and put his name on the line? The same Carlos Gracie Jr. who the started the Gracie Barra Academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is head of the Gracie Barra, is the creator of the International Federation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Confederação Brasileira de Jiu-jitsu which runs the Mundials, Pan American and European Championships. I'm puzzled too.

    See below...
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    Last edited by Red Elvis; 4/13/2007 10:12pm at .
    .
    :icon_twis
    .

    To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;
    Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without spilling your Guinness.
    Sun "Fu Man JhooJits" Tzu, the Art of War & Guinness
  7. Sam Browning is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 10:14pm

    hall of famestaff
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Duck of Death does provide good evidence that something is admiss.
  8. Red Elvis is offline
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    Da Komrads... Again you are MadPelvisOwn3d!

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    Posted On:
    4/13/2007 10:36pm

    supporting member
     Style: Spetsnaz Shovel-Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
    Duck of Death does provide good evidence that something is admiss.
    This thread is a better start in that direction I'll agree as it's well written and contains less hearsay and speculation. Unfortunately however, I think DOD has already shot himself in the foot with regards to credibility by his previous actions over the last two years. Still, better late than never as some say.

    DOD - Robson mentions on his website that he has trained with Royler, Royce and BJ Penn. Perhaps these are leads you can pursue? I know Royce is very approachable.
    .
    :icon_twis
    .

    To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;
    Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without spilling your Guinness.
    Sun "Fu Man JhooJits" Tzu, the Art of War & Guinness
  9. WaltJ is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/14/2007 2:02am


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Perhaps you can also uncover where, when, and from whom he received his Judo brown belt from, as well.

    I would like to know more about the history of the martial arts in Sao Paulo and find these types of things interesting.
  10. DuckofDeath is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/14/2007 1:56pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
    OK, here's what I don't get, and I'm asking this in genuine puzzlement: it seems at least possible that Mansor, Santos and yes, though I may get flamed for saying it, even Rigan Machado covered for this guy. But what motive could they possibly have for that? What would be in it for them?
    I could see someone putting a letter under Mansor's nose after a seminar and him just signing it, not really getting the nuances of the English on it .. . maybe. But he promoted the guy to 3rd degree. Why do that? For that matter, why would Rigan and Santos promote him to 2nd unless they thought he deserved it? I get the idea of somebody duping these guys with a good story about the good old days in Brazil with Mauricio . . . but not duping them into thinking he has the skills to be 2nd black, unless he does.
    duckII has raised similar concerns--why would BJJ luminaries risk their reputations to promote a garden variety fake? Frankly, I'm puzzled by the whole thing as well.

    As far as the promotions to advanced degrees are concerned, I believe they are more or less based on time in the art, i. e., once someone gets his BB, the other degrees follow automatically as a matter of course as long as the person remains active in the art. Robson supposedly was involved in his debilitating injury around 2000 after supposedly earning his BB in 1994. If he claimed to be active in the art for those six years, perhaps he made a case for himself that he was due a couple of degrees, and the back-to-back, record time promotions by Marcos, Rigan, and Mansor might be construed as retroactive in nature. (For the record, I am of the opinion that if a legit BJJ BB suffers an injury that keeps him from being able to roll competitively at BB level, but doesn't affect his ability to teach, he should be eligible for degree promotions based on his effective teaching of the art.) But if Robson was active in the art for the six years from his promotion to BB and his debilitationg injury, where and under whom was he active in the art? Where did he practice, teach, or compete? Since he came to the US in 1995 or 1996, it would be four or five years before he suffered his debilitating injury. What was he doing in BJJ circles during that time?
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