Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gracie Barra 6th degree blackbelt Nelson Monteiro accused of felony domestic violence

This is Danielle Martin, a new black belt and longtime instructor out at Gracie Barra Encinitas (California.) Like many instructors, she is an ambassador for her academy and the sport, teaching groups from Girl Scout troops to corporate seminars, women's classes, self defense, and children's classes.


On November 15, 2014, she received her black belt.  This is an honor most jiu jitsu players dream of.




She was promoted to faixa preta by Nelson Monteiro, a 6th degree black belt with whom she used to have a romantic relationship. Her promotion to black belt was marred that night, when Monteiro also allegedly punched her in the face and head numerous times and drove off with her half in, half out of his SUV, dragging her several feet down the road.

That night....



Excuse my amateur redaction of address etc.







Two gentlemen friends of Martin's waited with her in the parking lot until the deputies arrived.  At least one of them has allegedly been threatened by Monteiro not to speak against him, although this has not yet been confirmed by me personally.  Because the deputies did not witness the assault, and because Monteiro avoided returning home that evening, Monteiro was not arrested at the time.  The case and photographs have been turned over to the prosecuting attorney in Encinitas (near San Diego.)

The usual process of filing criminal charges in California is outlined here.  A common misconception is that when a crime occurs that is later reported to law enforcement, police stop what they're doing and rush out to arrest right away.  In fact, many times the prosecutors will take the case to a grand jury and get indictments in felony cases, before any arrests take place.

Some days after the assault:







The detective on the case indicates that Monteiro claims to be the victim, and asked him through his attorney to provide photos or evidence of Monteiro being assaulted.

At this time, no such photographs or evidence have been provided to law enforcement, either by Monteiro or by his attorney, contrary to Monteiro's claims (below.)  In fact, the detective delayed filing the case with the prosecutor's office for days, waiting for any such information, but none was forthcoming.

The officer photographed Martin's hands that night, and indicates that she had no apparent marks that would be expected if she assaulted someone else.  No finger-mark or grab-type bruising on her arms. As you would imagine, her nails are so short as to be nonexistent.

Ten days later, Monteiro's business partner and co-owner of GB Encinitas, Rafael Ramos, instructed Monteiro and Martin to stop participating in academy events:

From: Rafael Ramos
Subject: GB Encinitas
Date: November 26, 2014 at 9:53:39 PM PST
To: Nelson Monteiro , Danielle Martin
 

Nelson and Danielle,

in light of the recent events, we believe its best for you to cease your activities as a member of Gracie Barra Encinitas.

This administrative decision has been made believing it is the best for our school, students and Gracie Barra while the situation follows its course.

The school is grateful for all levels of your involvement in the past and please understand, this is not a permanent decision.

Respectfully,

Rafael Ramos

Gracie Barra
"JIU JITSU FOR EVERYONE!"
www.graciebarra.com
www.gbencinitas.com
www.gbcompnet.com
"Organized like a Team, fighting like a Family!"


But that has not been enforced.  Individuals at that academy allege that Monteiro attended both the instructors' dinner and the holiday party. (Martin did not.) Also, as mentioned above, some report that he has taken steps to encourage/intimidate people to take his side, or to remain silent if they cannot.

I've communicated with Flavio Almeida, one of the "head honchos" of Gracie Barra, about this incident.  He indicated that it was inappropriate if Monteiro was still participating in academy life, and facilitated me getting in touch with Monteiro and Ramos.

Monteiro's response to me was very polite:

  Hi Georgette,

Hope you are doing well. Me and Danielle Martin have very views of an incident. Please understand that at this point i do not intend to get involved in a public argument about it. I have provided information to the Sheriff's department, including photographs of  my injuries, that show that i have not done anything wrong or illegal. About the school, Rafael is sending you an e-mail soon.

Keep training, hope you get your black belt one day, best regards,

Nelson Monteiro


Email from the detective on the case denies that any information was provided by Monteiro or his attorney.

Ramos' reply to me was also very polite:

Hi Georgette,

below is a message that i sent to Nelson and Danielle in the name of Gracie Barra Encinitas.

Until all the facts are analyzed by someone with the capacity to do so , i think everyone should stay unbiased and not take sides, since the versions are so different.

Message sent to them below:

"In light of the recent events, we believe its best for you to cease your activities as a member of Gracie Barra Encinitas.

This administrative decision has been made believing it is the best for our school, students and Gracie Barra while the situation follows its course.

The school is grateful for all levels of your involvement in the past and please understand, this is not a permanent decision."

Respectfully,

Rafael.

Sent from my iPhone


Why, then, am I writing this post-- when, as Rafael Ramos points out, the versions of events are so different?  Should I not stay silent and wait for the courts to do their thing?

As Ferguson, Garner, and the NYE rapes in DC showed, sometimes even events on videotape do not result in criminal charges and when they do, sometimes no conviction.  The jury does not decide innocence... the jury decides whether the prosecutors have met their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  And, too, the justice system is a slow beast.

I hate thinking about a person who, like many of us, finds comfort, social support, intellectual stimulation and fun in jiu jitsu being denied those things at a time when she may need it most-- only to discover that her alleged assailant is enjoying it with the tacit approval of his business partner, and then allegedly pronouncing to all and sundry that she is a liar because he hasn't been arrested yet.  That's not how it works, and I seek to educate the people who may read this blog.

I don't pretend to know what happened the night Martin got her black belt, because (although I offered) I have not seen any photographs of alleged injuries suffered by Monteiro.  I have only seen one side of the story.  But the side I've seen so far is pretty ugly. 

Looking at the offense report, we see she's a very slender 136 lbs at 5'10" tall... he's got at least forty pounds on her.  Not to mention that he is a freaking sixth-degree black belt.

A healthy, male, sixth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu should be able to defend himself and restrain a smaller female of lesser rank without beating the crap out of her.

If I were researching a school, looking for self-defense instruction, high-level technique, or even a nice teacher, and I read this... I might have second thoughts about learning from this guy Monteiro.  I mean, really-- if you can't exercise technique and judgment sufficiently? and (assuming for argument's sake) you "had to" put goose-egg knots and a black eye and horrible bruises all over this skinny lady's face in order to "protect yourself?"  That does not make any sense to me.  MAYBE you bruise her arms trying to hold her.  Better yet, stop the car safely and tell her to get out.  If she refuses, you take the nonviolent path.  Call the cops if you have to.

But You Do Not Bash Her Head.

You Do Not Punch Her Face Repeatedly.

And You Do Not Drive Off Dragging Her On The Road. 

That, of course, assumes the best possible scenario for Monteiro. I only know Martin from a brief introduction years ago at a tournament... don't know either of them well at all. I don't know if she instigated any physical contact with him, but if she did, he shouldn't have responded as the photographs reveal he did.  And if she didn't, then his conduct is a million times more reprehensible.

Gracie Barra handled the Yakima rape incident well by "excommunicating" Cristiano Oliveira when he was arrested for raping one of his juvenile students, and Gracie Barra Northwest established wonderful policies to prevent future occurrences and help deal with any that occur despite best practices.

Edited to add: According to Flavio Almeida, Gracie Barra supports survivors of violence and welcomes Martin to train and teach at another location while she waits for resolution of the case and disapproves of Monteiro being permitted to resume participation at the school.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Gear review: Deus Fight

Well, I meant to write this review before I left for the holidays, and failed.  So I put all the photos into google drive so I could write it from my family's house.  Or.... so I thought.  And rather than wait till after Christmas to post this, I'll show you my thoughts and what pictures I do have.

I reviewed the Deus Fight gi, two pairs of workout/running tights, a sleeveless rashguard and a sleeveless workout top.  They're made in Brazil, not Pakistan or China, too.

From their site: "First, who is DeuS? DeuS is Portuguese for God. Genesis 1:1 No começo Deus criou os céus e a terra. We capitalize the D and S in Deus to emphasize that HE is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega.  Next, who are we? We are a FAITH based fitness brand for the active wear market with an emphasis on yoga and martial arts."

They have also instituted a number of projects to give back to communities.  The Favela Kids project speaks for itself: 

"DeuS is working in Brazil to make a difference in the poorest areas of the country.  By pulling kids off the streets and out of the favela's using Jiu Jitsu these academies are not only saving lives, but giving kids an opportunity and hope for a better future. DeuS Fight contributes through their #Gis4aGi Campaign. For every 3 products purchased, DeuS Fight donates one to these academies. DeuS Fight also provides on going financial assistance from the sales of their products, too, by giving a majority of their profits away. This not only provides these children with the equipment, food, and supplies they need to keep their programs going, but it also allows them to participate in occasional competitions to enhance their skills, motivate, and encourage them."

Please visit the site for more information about several other projects under this banner including Terere's project... DeuS also promotes what it calls the "Witness Protection Program" which visits churches and church schools teaching self defense.

But, back to the gear review. The short version: well-made lightweight gi, noticeably Christian embroidery, suited for longer limbs, doesn't shrink much at all... one of my new favorite rashguards... workout wear with style.

The long version....

I wish I had the photos of me wearing this gi.  It looks great, except the sleeves and pants are quite long.  For reference, I have an A1 (my usual size) and I'm 5'2" and, in these photos, my winter insulation weight of 145. :(   36-29-39 :(

I'll add more pictures when I get home, but the sleeves came well past my wrists but not all the way past my fingertips.  The bottom of the jacket is down past my bum.  The gi pants were about 2"-3" past my ankle bone.  I hoped I could shrink the heck out of it with hot washes and dries, but (good news for you) it really won't shrink much at all. This will be great for taller, slimmer people who don't want all the bulk of a bigger gi, or people like Meerkatsu who feel they have unusually long limbs.  The size chart says an A1 should be for people 5'4"-5'8", but the A0 gi was for slenderer folks than I, weighing under 120 lbs.  I can just get the length altered pretty easily.

Measurements, unwashed, and then after 3 washes on hot and 3 dries on hot:
Jacket:
Sleeve length, top, from cuff to edge of lapel: 30"/29.5"
Length of jacket from shoulder top next to lapel, to bottom hem: 29.5"/28"
Width of jacket bottom at hem: 24"/23"

Pants:
Waist, across laid flat: 20"/20"
Pant length, front: 38"/37.5"
Pant length, back: 40"/39.5"

I liked the colorway, crisp white and medium grey accents.  Here's the clean sholder embroidery. 


All the seams are double or triple sewn.  Here's the inside of the jacket, you can see the weave of the fabric is different, smoother next to your skin.  A minor bobble in one of the triple seams shouldn't affect the wearability or durability.

The pants are ripstop, but they feel cottony instead of plasticy which is how I prefer them.  I have concerns about the differently-colored crotch gusset though... it's a medium grey twill, very comfortable, and probably not visible unless you're looking.  However I have been told that the IBJJF does not permit gi pants with more than one color. The wording of the rules themselves is debatable.  Deus Fightwear assures me the gi has been vetted by the IBJJF and is legal.

Another little sewing mistake in the pants I received, but not a huge deal.

The lined portion of the front of the pants comes to just above ankle length for me, mid-shin for taller folks.


I especially appreciate the shorter rise in front, longer in back, which makes room for a butt.  I also really liked the number and placement of belt loops.  The cord is slim and not too springy, and just long enough for a square knot at the waist.  Doesn't come undone during hard sparring either.

Inside the left lower lapel of the jacket, this quotation.  Doesn't flake or peel yet.


Stress points are well reinforced, and the split hem is nicely covered in twill tape. Cuffs are triple seamed at the wrist without any scratchy lining or tape.


The most noticeably Christian logo appears on the front lower left of the jacket and is about the size of a grapefruit.


They sent me two pairs of workout capris.  I think either could be worn under the gi pants, possibly for nogi as well, and very easily for running, working out, or just around town with a sweatshirt.  I loved the "racing stripes" which are appliqued strips of white and grey fabric.  The material of the pants is not shiny, that's just from the camera flash.  Not sure what size this is on their website, but the label says "3" and I'm thinking it's a large, because they'd first sent the other pants (below) and they were a little small at size "2".

The waistband is contrast white, and on the front over the right hipbone is an embroidered cross inside a laurel wreath.  On the back in the center is a small Deus emblem.  They're very comfortable... I see myself wearing these a lot, especially when it's a little warmer.


The other pants are REALLY cute.  Again, small cross over the right hip bone.  The red accents are a nice touch.  I was also sent a red sleeveless top of the same stretchy, perforated material (like basketball shorts) which I love wearing under a gi and do not have photos of, sorry.


LOOK!  they're actually very low-profile pockets!  Just big enough for an ID/license, a small ipod... but stretchy and slim, so highly unlikely to catch a finger when rolling nogi.

Here's the red workout top I mentioned, as shown on their site:


And then, I LOVED the grey-and-black sleeveless rashie (below).  Couple reasons: the grey accents on the sides create the optical illusion of a more defined waist.  Sadly, with all my comfort eating and working from home lately, I need all the help I can get.  Also, the material is a velvety-but-sleek feeling fabric unlike any rashguard I've ever worn. 

My only negative comment on this sleeveless rashie is that the cross in the center back right under the neckline (not shown in pictures, sorry) is not sublimated but "painted on," so it cracked and started to peel within 3 wears.  However, it's small, about 1.5" tall, and not noticeable unless you're really looking. The cross in front on the hip is embroidered nicely.


They also have traditional rashguards, fight shorts, yoga pants, and other workout wear.  All in all, if you know a Christian grappler who'd appreciate repping the philosophy, or if you don't object to wearing a discreet cross on your workout gear, this is nice stuff to put under the tree. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Hampshire BJJ instructor on trial...

Aldo Batista dos Santos' first trial ended in mistrial when his victim's relative shouted at him.  Now, his second trial is underway.  I will keep you posted on the verdict and sentencing if any.

*****

From www.nashuatelegraph.com, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nashua man’s second trial underway at Superior Court; accused of multiple sexual assault offenses

By DEAN SHALHOUP

Staff Writer

NASHUA – It wasn’t long after the young, athletically inclined girl and her dad and two siblings had settled into their new home in Hudson in February 2012 that she discovered the world of martial arts. And even better, she took to the sport immediately, enjoying class immensely and improving her skills rapidly. And better yet, everyone at ABC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the Nashua studio owned by black belt holder Aldo Batista dos Santos, considered themselves one big family.

By August 2012, six months after she joined ABC BJJ, the girl, who was then 13, was doing so well she signed up for additional classes. By then she was spending about four hours a day, 4 to 5 days a week at the studio. But all that was about to change.

The girl, now 15 and a high school sophomore, described in often–excruciating detail Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court South how her instructor­student relationship with dos Santos descended into one of alleged sexual abuse that prosecutors say caused the girl to suffer physical and emotional distress and led to dos Santos’ arrest in May 2013 on multiple charges stemming from the alleged pattern of abuse.

Testimony in dos Santos’ second trial on the charges, which include two felony counts of felonious sexual assault and 10 misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, got underway Tuesday morning in Superior Court before Judge Jacalyn Colburn. His first trial, in August, ended in a mistrial after a relative of the victim interrupted proceedings with an angry rant against dos Santos and his attorney, Tim Bush.

Colburn found the relative, Victor Traverso, in contempt of court, fining him and sending him to jail for one day. Traverso later apologized, saying he wasn’t prepared for the explicit nature of the testimony. On Tuesday, Colburn reminded those present in the courtroom of the rules and warned against disruptive behavior, saying anyone who acts out will be removed from the courtroom.

Colburn also excused one of the jurors, a man, after a brief bench conference with him and Bush, Gill and David Tencza, the other prosecutor. That left a jury of eight men and five women, one of whom is an alternate.

Gill called the victim to the stand shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after she and Bush completed their opening statements. Bush was in the process of cross­examining the victim when testimony ended for the day. Cross­examination is expected to continue when the trial resumes shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Gill in her opening statement described the victim as a “very social” girl who “liked to be part of the community” of dos Santos’ studio. Soon after the victim joined the studio, she and dos Santos’ wife became fast friends, Gill said, going places together and spending time at the dos Santos home with their son. “That’s when he developed a relationship with her,” Gill told the jury. “It began with a kiss.” Gill said the victim’s testimony would outline how her unwanted relationship with dos Santos
escalated from that brief kiss to him directing her to change her clothes in front of him and eventually to the day he allegedly brought her to his house, led her to the bathroom, undressed and had her do the same, then led her into the shower where, Gill told the jury, “he started washing her naked body ... and had her do the same (to him).”

After the shower, Gill said, and the victim later testified, dos Santos picked her up, brought her into a bedroom, lay her on the bed and performed sexual acts on her. The victim grew emotional during that part of her testimony, sometimes struggling to answer Gill’s questions and crying at times. The victim several times told Gill she didn’t tell anyone what was happening because at first she was confused, then “scared,” and as to why she didn’t tell dos Santos’ wife, she “didn’t want to tell her ... I wasn’t ready to tell anyone.”
 
Bush, in his opening statement and again during cross ­examination, focused mainly on the dates and times the victim was allegedly abused by dos Santos. He pointed out some inconsistencies in statements the victim gave to police and the Child Advocacy Center, where she was also interviewed in May 2013, shortly after she and her father went to Nashua police headquarters to report the alleged assaults. They went to police late the night of May 11, according to the victim’s testimony, shortly after she told her father that dos Santos had allegedly been abusing her.

She told the court that she “began shaking ... crying, hyperventilating” as she talked to her father. She said he made some phone calls, then sometime later that evening they went to Nashua police. Bush, upon cross ­examination, suggested the victim’s physical and emotional problems may have stemmed not from the alleged encounters with dos Santos, but from a difficult breakup of a relationship not connected to this case.

“The reason you needed to go to the doctor was because you were hyperventilating because of the forced breakup” of the relationship, “not because of Aldo, like you said earlier,” Bush said. Bush also challenged wording in the victim’s statement to police, in which she stated that dos Santos “performed oral sex and penetration” on “multiple occasions.” “But you said today that there was only one (incident of) oral sex,” Bush said. The victim responded that what she told police “was meant to be taken that he did stuff multiple times.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

Published: Thursday December 11, 2014.

Text messages, dates of martial arts events and alleged victim’s recollections discussed during Wednesday testimony in dos Santos sex assault trial

By DEAN SHALHOUP

Staff Writer

NASHUA – Defense attorney Tim Bush Wednesday morning showed posters, photographs, cellphone records and two brief videos to the jury in the sexual assault trial of his client, Nashua martial arts studio owner Aldo Batista dos Santos, telling the jury and the alleged victim that the exhibits support to some degree his assertions that the victim’s statements and testimony contain multiple inconsistencies.

The victim, now a 15 ­year­ old high school sophomore, reported in May 2013 that dos Santos, who owns ABC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Nashua, molested her on multiple occasions between August and November 2012 when she was 13. The girl was a member of the studio and was taking martial arts classes from dos Santos during the time of the alleged assaults, which began with embraces and kisses then advanced to fondling, oral sex and attempted digital penetration, according to her testimony and prosecution documents.

Wednesday was day two of dos Santos’s second trial, which comes about three months after a mistrial ended his initial trial after about two days of testimony. The girl, who joined dos Santos’s studio in February 2012 shortly after moving to Hudson with her father and two siblings, responded to Bush’s cross­examination by acknowledging she could have gotten some dates and times mixed up and that it’s possible her various statements and testimony didn’t match up word for word, but insisted she never knowingly made inaccurate or untrue statements.

“I was nervous ... that’s why I forgot some things here and there,” she told the court. As the legal process went forward from May 11, 2013, the day she and her father reported the alleged assaults to Nashua police, the victim said she started to remember more details. “Trial is bringing some things back ... I start remembering things more clearly,” she said. Dos Santos, 39, of 32 Gingras Drive in Nashua, was arrested in May 2013, shortly after the victim went to police. Her parents also filed a report with Hudson police, saying that their daughter told them some of the alleged assaults took place in that town. In all, dos Santos is being tried on two counts of felonious sexual assault, Class B felonies, and 10 counts of sexual assault, all misdemeanors. One of the felonies and one of the
 misdemeanors are alleged to have occurred in Hudson; all others allegedly happened in Nashua.

Dos Santos, a native of Nova Esperanca, a city in the southern Brazilian state of Parana, moved to the United States in 2003 with intentions of opening his own Brazilian jiu jitsu studio, according to Bush.

One of seven siblings, dos Santos spent a year in the Brazilian military then took up jiu jitsu, Bush said. “He came to New Hampshire, all legal and everything, and worked three jobs” in order to save money to open his studio, Bush added. He indicated to the jury that dos Santos will likely testify during his trial “not because he has to, but because he wants to,” Bush said. “He’ll tell you, ‘I have no interest in 13­ year­ old girls. That’s not me.’” Two interpreters have been taking turns sitting with dos Santos, whose first language is Portuguese. He speaks English, but not fluently.

The victim, who spent about four hours on the stand Tuesday and two more Wednesday morning, became emotional when describing details of the alleged assaults but later Tuesday and Wednesday she remained composed throughout questioning. Prosecutors Leslie Gill and David Tencza, and Bush, took turns redirecting and cross examining the victim Wednesday morning. Bush brought out posters showing text messages the victim exchanged with Sonia Batista, the defendant’s wife, with whom the victim had become close friends after she joined ABC BJJ studio.

The records show the two communicated via text messaging the night of Oct. 6, 2012, which, according to the victim’s testimony, would have been just a few hours after dos Santos and she showered together and he allegedly put her on a bed and performed oral sex. In the texts, according to Bush’s exhibit, the victim and Sonia Batista appeared to be making plans “to hang out” the next day, with one of the victim’s texts stating “you should know ... I want to hang out with you guys,” a reference to dos Santos, his wife, and their young son. “This is the same night of the alleged assault, right?” Bush asked. The victim said yes. Bush, citing texts by Sonia Batista suggesting that her family and the victim “hang out” at a city playground that next day, said he was surprised the victim agreed to meet them after what allegedly happened earlier that day.

“You went to that playground one day after those unspeakable acts? Despite what you say he did to you, you still went to be with him the next day?” Bush said. Earlier, the victim told Gill in redirect that she felt OK about going to the park “because I knew I wouldn’t be alone with him." In response to Bush’s suggestions that the victim may not have begun curtailing her friendship with Sonia Batista as quickly as she said she did, Gill produced an expanded version of the victim’s text­ message records.

While the two communicated a number of times in October, records show they texted on only four days in November, three in December, and just once a month from January through April. Gill also asked the victim about one of the videos Bush showed earlier, a roughly 30­second segment depicting a 2012 martial arts event that the victim had said she attended. Bush pointed out that since the victim didn’t appear in the video she wasn’t there, contrary to what she said earlier. But when Gill asked the victim about it, the victim said she spent about half the event in the weight room – one of the places she said she would sometimes go when she didn’t feel up to participating in training or a match.

Friday, December 05, 2014

The elf on a shelf....

I never personally participated in an "elf on a shelf" tradition but I think it's cute. Here's an idea for those of you who do...