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JRobert
6/23/2015 3:24pm,
This is in regard to an individual that is a personal trainer over at a Fit 4 Life personal training center in Easton, Maryland. The man's name is Robert Edler and claims to be a Brazilian Jiujitsu Black Belt, as posted directly on the website:

personaltrainingeaston.com/easton-md-personal-trainer-bios.htm
(forth one down on the page).

I understand that this is not a BJJ-specific school or academy, but I actually heard about this place through a gentleman that trains under Robert in his MMA classes. He was recommending to me one day that I should go and check him out because he is expanding the school's martial arts base and taking on students in BJJ. I asked the student what belt he was under Robert and he said that Rob "did not have the ability to certify people to rank, but that's why he wants more students"; which somehow seemed perfectly logical to the student. That was when I asked for some contact info, got the website, and started researching.

At first glance and on its face value, if this guy is a legitimate black belt, I should be jumping in line for the opportunity to train with him. I earned my Blue belt about two years ago under Vicente Junior of Conquest MMA when there was a training center on the eastern shore of Maryland. Since then that center has shut down and it has been difficult to travel the distance to the home school to continue under VJ. I make the trip when I can, but I generally have been training with the other students left behind when our school here closed down; we still meet at the same gym and pool our resources to pay the rent ourselves. So imagine my excitement at hearing that there's another BJJ black belt in the area that is looking to take on students!

I e-mailed the owner of the gym, Kibby Dalton, and sent the following as what I considered to be a fairly soft inquiry:

"I recently was informed about your personal training offers at the Fit 4 Life center in Easton MD. The one that interested me the most was the MMA training. That looks like a good fit but I have a few questions. I noticed that Robert Edler is the trainer and it cites him as being a black belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu on the website. I wanted to inquire his lineage so I can understand the family of BJJ that he comes through to get an idea of what his grappling approach is. If I could get a little more history on that it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you."

Instead of contacting me back, Rob e-mailed me directly telling me to give him a call about his classes, making no mention of any of the questions or his credentials in BJJ.

At this point I was already suspicious and really wanted to talk in a written form without having to deal with live phone sales pressure (and so if he revealed anything it'd be in writing). I sent him the following message back:

"Rob, I did e-mail Kibby and asked for some basic information about the instruction. I've gotten some information about pricing and I will be in touch with you guys as soon as work thins out at the end of the week. To give you a quick background so there's no surprises, right now I'm due for knee surgery in the next two weeks and will be out of commission for a while, but would really like to continue working on technique once I've reached a point in rehab where I can do so. I also have a friend in the area who has no grappling experience and is looking for something more immediate, and I told him I'm look around. I got a recommendation to the Fit 4 Life personal training center because of the MMA instruction, and was excited to see on the web site that there was a BJJ Black Belt who is running the classes.

"My questions regarding the MMA training specifically was where you received your BJJ Black Belt, since I've had the opportunity to train in different areas of the US while in college and know that different lineages have different methods, ideas, concepts, and even techniques in how they approach grappling. So I wanted to inquire your lineage; where you got your Black Belt and from whom, what you do concerning promoting others you train, and whether you are affiliated through someone currently. Please and Thank you in Advance!"

From then I have heard nothing from him and I have hit nothing but dead ends in my own investigation to try to figure out any information on him. When I lived in Utah I knew of fraud who taught "BJJ" at a karate academy and claimed a black belt in "jiujitsu;" which he was, but not in BJJ at all. His grappling was horrible, yet this went unbeknownst to the school owners who knew nothing about grappling so continued to believe his nonsense. Kibby clearly has no clue about BJJ lineage or she may have tried to contact me herself with my initial question. So overall, I have the same feelings about this guy Robert that I did about the other from before. I do, however, always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

So has anyone actually heard of "Robert Edler?" He claims an amateur 11-0 MMA record and a black belt in BJJ. I'd assume SOMEONE would have some input on this guy if he were legit. I will continue to try to contact the school, but I don't want to come out to be accusatory at the same time. Any additional advice going forward would be appreciated.

FinalLegion
6/23/2015 8:45pm,
The problem is that it is going to be difficult to advance in your investigation until he tells you about his lineage. Once he does that than it should be fairly simple to confirm. If he is reticent to discuss the matter than that should be a huge red flag right there. I admit that the fact that he is only 20 yet already has a black belt in BJJ is surprising to me; of course, it's not impossibe for someone to accomplish this.

Your best bet is to speak to him directly, politely inquire about his lineage and then see how he reacts/verify whatever information he gives you.

cualltaigh
6/24/2015 1:06am,
There are no records of any of his fights on sherdog or mixedmartialarts.com, which is almost as surprising as amassing a BJJ black belt and 11 amateur fights by the age of 20.

Omega Supreme
6/24/2015 5:09pm,
The BS on this one is strong. Blackbelt by the age of 20? Could be the person who put up the website might have gotten something wrong? It has been known to happen.

The Cap
6/25/2015 5:34pm,
Could be the person who put up the website might have gotten something wrong? It has been known to happen.

You'd think if there was a mixup the guy would have tried to clear that up with JRobert already.

Omega Supreme
6/25/2015 7:21pm,
You'd think if there was a mixup the guy would have tried to clear that up with JRobert already.

Just hypothesizing here.

The Cap
6/26/2015 12:41am,
Just hypothesizing here.

I know, but I worry that if any of our questionable blackbelts visit us, they might take hypotheses for inspiration. What are the chances though?

Cake of Doom
6/26/2015 4:19am,
11 unrecorded MMA wins? Not on your life but, even if was willing to buy into that; not a single bit of BJJ competition footage or photos? No. Fucking. Way.

He must have been doing about 3 competitions a day to hit black belt at 20.

JRobert
6/26/2015 12:19pm,
Well, I'm glad that this seemed like a worthwhile thing to point out. I've tried to call Rob, but so far I haven't gotten a response. I'm going to drop another E-Mail this weekend when I have a minute do so. I'm still trying to be inquiring and accusatory so he'll have no reason to hopefully open up. I will let you guys know as soon as I here something if and when that happens. If anyone else stumbles on any useful info in the meantime, that would still be appreciated too. Thanks for the help.

3moose1
6/26/2015 2:03pm,
I think the general rule is if you have to question whether or not a BJJ blackbelt is legit, they probably are not.

JRobert
6/26/2015 3:22pm,
I'm going to drop another E-Mail this weekend when I have a minute do so. I'm still trying to be inquiring and accusatory so he'll have no reason to hopefully open up.

OK, so that part made no sense. I meant "I'm going to drop another E-Mail this weekend when I have a minute to do so. I'm still trying to be inquiring and NOT accusatory so he'll have no reason to not open up, hopefully."

BKR
6/26/2015 3:30pm,
Well, I'm glad that this seemed like a worthwhile thing to point out. I've tried to call Rob, but so far I haven't gotten a response. I'm going to drop another E-Mail this weekend when I have a minute do so. I'm still trying to be inquiring and accusatory so he'll have no reason to hopefully open up. I will let you guys know as soon as I here something if and when that happens. If anyone else stumbles on any useful info in the meantime, that would still be appreciated too. Thanks for the help.

You might want to inform the gym owner/manager that you want to join and take classes, but the "black belt" instructor is not responding to your requests for background information on his MA/training history, etc.

FinalLegion
6/26/2015 7:09pm,
What about contacting the gym owner/manager directly? He must have surely presented some kind of credentials when he got the job, right?

hungryjoe
6/26/2015 7:45pm,
He, Robert Edler, needs to understand the stain to his reputation and the possible ramifications to his future if he doesn't come clean.

An increasing number of companies are starting to look at the web, social media posts and what not when evaluating people for possible employment.

This IF he's lying and from a short search there's nothing out there to show he has any background in bjj competition.

It'd be a shame if something like this came back to haunt him years later when he's actually matured.

It is Fake
6/26/2015 11:40pm,
I know, but I worry that if any of our questionable blackbelts visit us, they might take hypotheses for inspiration. What are the chances though?Happened Quite a bit. Many MABS threads start with hypotheses and conjecture, then get whittled down to fraudulent or legit reasons. The best part is when they use a suggested hypothesis, then paint themselves into a corner.

Proof is the key.