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Gracie News


October 9, 2015

Important Information for the Jiu-Jitsu Community

It has come to our attention that a Gracie University member, Mark McMahon, is misleading people to believe he is a 2nd degree jiu-jitsu black belt at HighKix Martial Arts in Latrobe, PA. Since it is very common for legitimate BJJ black belts to join Gracie University (and take the blue belt test) in pursuit of the street self-defense components of jiu-jitsu, before posting this, we needed to confirm that Mr. McMahon had not earned a legitimate black belt from another source. Upon reviewing the Gracie University records, here is what we found:

1. Mr. McMahon passed the Technical Blue Belt test via the Gracie University Video Evaluation Process on 3/24/2015. He is not an official blue belt and has not had his skills verified at a Certified Training Center.

2. Anytime a student submits a video evaluation for Technical Blue Belt consideration, we ask a series of questions to help with our assessment. Here are some of the pertinent GU questions and Mark McMahon's responses to them:

GU Question: What do you estimate to be the total number of hours you have trained in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu? Mark McMahon Response: Approx. 200 hours

GU: Have you learned Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from other sources? If so, please explain. MM: No

GU: Do you practice any other martial arts? If so, please explain which ones and for how long. MM: Tang Soo Do - 12 years

Based on the information gathered and the fact that Mr. McMahon has received no jiu-jitsu instruction from any sources outside of his study through Gracie University, we can conclude, without a doubt, that he is misrepresenting himself as a jiu-jitsu black belt.

Black Belts Are NOT Transferable
With the explosive popularity of MMA and jiu-jitsu, many martial arts schools are offering multiple disciplines under one roof. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. If however, a black belt instructor of one discipline such as Tang Soo Do, decides that he will wear a black belt when teaching a jiu-jitsu class, even though he is not a black belt in jiu-jitsu, this is called "Black Belt Transferring" and this is a SERIOUS problem.

There is a strict policy against Black Belt Transferring at all Gracie Academy Certified Training Centers, and even though Mr. McMahon is not certified to teach, and his school has no affiliation to the Gracie Academy, his actions are condemnable.

As jiu-jitsu's popularity continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, fraudulent black belts will continue to surface. It's up to the community to continue reporting suspicious activity so that people are not mislead regarding the authenticity of their instructor's rank or lineage.

All frauds must fall.