For those of you who don't know me, I've been working behind the scenes for nearly 30 years now in the MA teacher's community. I've owned schools, all Ernie Reyes West Coast Schools, most of which are still in business and teaching people the Reyes brand of eclectic, character and performance based martial arts. I've retired from daily teaching, although I still take lessons in BJJ, and I've retired from engaging in school management, although I have, for the last 10+ years, been operating my school and think-tank for teachers of the martial arts --called The 100.
FYI, The 100. was founded based on a correspondence I once had with Ms. Rosa Parks. I had written her a letter and she responded with a 2 page hand-written letter --and, well, it (further) endeared me to her (of course!). One day a few years later I was thinking about her --and wondering if I might ever do something as important as her simple act of protest and I thought, no, I probably wouldn't or couldn't. But I imagined that 100 martial arts teachers, life-timers, might; 100 of us might, given the right subject and good timing, stand up for things that would make our collective efforts something akin to Ms. Rosa's. We haven't managed it yet, but that's the spirit my current work was started with.
We have, however, managed to bring some fine ideas and projects to the table, projects involving anger management, environmental self-defense, community activism, teen suicide prevention, dietary self-defense, bully prevention education, and other non-combative education-based subjects. We stand collectively, I believe, for truth in advertising, transparent pricing, and ethical, sane, and sustainable business practices in the martial arts community.
As for Mr. Avellon (sp?), well, I don't really know who he is (beyond his posts and advertising), what he's done of any significance, or what's wrong with him, but his letters to me have asked if I was retarded, asked me if I was going to continue to carry on like a little girl, and other such bullying tactics --and when I forwarded them to Lloyd to suggest he teach his young student some manners, I got a 30 minute ranting phone call from Lloyd that ended my faith in his coaching, my respect for his intellect, and any desire to cultivate a relationship --on any level --with the man. It was very strange, to say the least (but not half as strange as the sad and thuggish letters I received from MA).
And all of this occurred before all of this other sad nonsense revealed itself. After the rapes and hearing that Keenan's house was broken into by the SWAT team in full riot gear and that Keenan was pushed to the ground, handcuffed, that guns were pointed at him, and that he was taken to jail for questioning, I wanted my son out of there. Keenan told us those two boys who raped that poor girl bragged about it and had taken video on one or more of their cell phones. At that point, I went into full protection mode --and went public with our family's feelings about the disgusting, troubling, and crazy goings on there in MD.
These guys don't need my help in destroying their own reputations or revealing to us what sits behind their work. They're doing a fine job at telling us who they are and what they stand for. It's sad and it's very bad for the martial arts community. I regret, now, engaging with competitive BJJ and introducing my son to this sort of thinking and depravity. BJ Penn is my friend, a former student and training partner, and a teacher of mine, and despite his complete immersion in fight culture, he has managed to retain his integrity, to stand up as a role model of effort and community involvement, and even in defeat, he has carried himself like a champion. I can't say the same for these morally questionable young "instructor-thugs."
That they almost all represent themselves, thru products and hype, as things they are (obviously) anything but, that they have so poorly handled this entire tragedy, that they have engaged in so much stomach churning misogyny and even attacked my daughter's stand on rape and concern for her brother, well, its all becoming quite laughable, I think.
Keenan is a smart young man, raised well, and conscientious about his practice. I don't want to see this collective lack of character and intelligence stain him as he proceeds with his martial arts and life journey. I also recognize that, until things went so bad, they didn't seem "that" bad, but now, knowing what we all know, how can we sit idle and not expect the men and women bright enough to recognize what's going on and to see who is driving the bus, to look for greener pastures?
I still find it hard to believe this has all happened. The only benefit to anyone in all of this mess is what it's taught us, through the revealing behavior of their "team," what this organization is, apparently, constructed of. Shame.
I offer praise to my brave daughter, Chloe, for speaking up, publicly. I'd like to see 1000 more women/men step up and set the record straight about what rape is --and why we don't keep it quiet, tolerate it, or support those who commit it.