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In Search of the Elusive Mauricio (Maurice) Sakata

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    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
    (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)

    Comment


      #3
      (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)

      Comment


        #4
        (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...

        Comment


          #5
          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.
          *********************************************

          Comment


            #6
            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.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Red Elvis; 4/13/2007 9:12pm, .
            .
            :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

            Comment


              #7
              Duck of Death does provide good evidence that something is admiss.

              Comment


                #8
                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

                Comment


                  #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    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?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Red Elvis
                      Why would Carlos Gacie Jr. also vouch for the guy and put his name on the line?
                      My guess is that if Carlos Gracie, Jr. received a request from Grandmaster Mansor to sign off on a 3rd degree diploma that Mansor himself was signing off on, he would have no reason to suspect that anything was amiss. Why would the first thought that pops into Carlos Jr.'s head be "I've got a red belt grandmaster here requesting that I sign off on this diploma, but I'd better check out the promotee because he just might be some fake who's snookering the grandmaster."?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Red Elvis
                        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.
                        The problem was that I was naive enough to believe that if I kicked up a big enough ruckus and stirred up enough shit, it would attract enough attention to the situation that the scales would fall from everyone's eyes and they would all see the light and fix the problem. I was wrong. The problem goes a lot deeper than I ever imagined. So now it's time for a nice, long, steely-eyed, objective investigation whose object is to uncover any evidence that Mauricio Sakata ever existed anywhere other than in the mind of Robson Pereira. If in the coming years no such evidence can be adduced, people reading this thread can come to their own conclusions regarding the veracity of the letters signed by Santos, Machado, and Mansor and their motives for signing the letters.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Red Elvis
                          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.
                          I honestly believe that this is just name dropping on Robson's part. He probably attended seminars given by these big names, after which he could claim that he had trained with them.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by WaltJ
                            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.
                            Here's something interesting: There was a Robson A. Pereira competing in judo in Sao Paulo in 2002 and 2003 (men's senior ligeiro class):

                            http://www.fpj.com.br/resultados/res...3fase_2002.htm

                            http://www.fpj.com.br/resultados/res...08-09-2003.htm

                            Comment


                              #15
                              That is interesting, seeing as how it likely couldn't be him since he'd lived in the U.S. for over 5 years before that. I suppose he could've traveled back to the country to compete, though.

                              Comment

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