Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Update on Aldo Batista child rape prosecution

Aldo Batista Dos Santos, a 37 year-old Brazilian jiu jitsu instructor in New Hampshire, was arrested May 17 by Nashua (NH) Police, charged with several rapes. He was then arrested in Hudson on similar charges.

Today, the Hillsborough Southern District Court conducted a hearing on Batista's motion in limine (seeking an evidentiary ruling from the court limiting the admissibility of some evidence, held in advance of a trial.) He was also, from what I am told, trying to get a few charges dismissed.

His motion was denied, but the court granted the motion for an incident alleged to have taken place in another case in Lowell, MA. So he appears to possibly be facing charges now in 3 different communities and 2 different states. He still has all 16 charges in New Hampshire. I believe trial is set for June 9.

The court's website is not the easiest to use, but a look at the cached copy of the docket PDF indicates that his cause number is 226-2013-CR-00423, State v. Aldo Batista Dos Santos.  The prosecutor is David C. Tencza and the defense attorney is Timothy E. Bush.

Information supporting his arrest warrant was obtained that Dos Santos had sexually assaulted an underage female who was known to him. The investigation was furthered by Detectives in the Youth Services Division. The subsequent investigation led to the issuance of an arrest warrant for Dos Santos.

The local news coverage indicates that, as a result of the investigation additional charges were brought forth. Dos Santos is currently charged with: one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, a class A felony; one count of felonious sexual assault, a class B felony; and four counts of sexual assault, a class A misdemeanor.

Batista was also arrested by Hudson Police on a warrant charging him with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, a class A felony. The arrest warrant is the result of an investigation conducted by the Hudson and Nashua Police Criminal Investigation Divisions from alleged incidents that occurred in 2012 involving a minor.

The aggravated felonious sexual assault charge is punishable by up to 20 years in the New Hampshire State Prison, exclusive of fines. The class B felony is punishable by up to seven years in the New Hampshire State Prison, exclusive of fines. Each class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in a county house of corrections, exclusive of fines.

Batista was released on $25,000 cash bail. He was arraigned at the 9th Circuit-District Division-Nashua Court on June 6, 2013.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Let's play the Rape Culture Game!

Rape culture:  a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape.  Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape.

These comments appeared after the KIMA.tv article about Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt Cristiano Oliveira's arrest for raping his underage student over 100 times over a period of two years.  My comments appear after theirs.

[in game show announcer voice:]

If anyone doubts that rape culture is a real phenomenon, please read on!  Ask yourself whether these comments are Victim Blaming, Trivialization, Sexual Objectification, or None of the Above.  Award a Triple Crown to comments that are all three!  Go!

Why, Jayme?  BECAUSE SHE'S NOT A WOMAN.  SHE WAS A CHILD.  And there was enough evidence to convince a judge to sign the arrest warrant.  Why assume it was just a he-said she-said???  Make me want to scream.....

Sorry, Vince, you don't get to blame the victim and then cover your tail with "what he did was wrong, but"-- what he did was wrong, period, end of sentence.  Last time I checked, sir, you were ignorant and misinformed.  Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and eliminate all doubt.

Yes, Jayme, just because she's under age, she legally can't consent.  She has no fault for what she did.  She didn't make any mistakes.  He was the adult and he committed the rape.

Jim, STFU.

Where did you get any idea of money being involved?  Idiot.

DeeJay, you pathetic little selfie you....

So....when I read those comments by the Yakima community.... I have to bite my tongue to keep from calling worse names and being more rude.  They're ignorant.  They're just classical, typical examples of what we mean by "rape culture" alive and well.

Let's talk about what rape is and is not.

RAPE IS: nonconsensual sexual contact between two people.

CONSENT:  Sex without consent by all parties is considered rape. Children below a certain age, the "age of consent", are deemed not to be able to give valid consent.

WASHINGTON LAW: In Washington state, a 14 or 15 year old can consent to sex with someone no more than 4 years older, i.e. an 18 or 19 year old.  In this case, Oliveira was in his late twenties when he raped her.

It doesn't have to be forcible to be considered rape.   A child is not as responsible as an adult in the eyes of the law, lacking the mental and emotional maturity to do many things adults can, such as voting, serving in the military, being charged as an adult when committing crimes, serving on a jury, and even being eligible for the death penalty. Psychology research confirms that young peoples' brains are still developing and lack the capacity for measured moral reflection and consideration of consequences possessed by [most] adults.

THEREFORE-- all you people who think if she liked it, it wasn't rape?  You're wrong.  Of course it's highly probable that she liked it... he's a good looking guy, with a lot of status and prestige, a jiu jitsu black belt, not to mention the instructor.  I'm sure he had a good schtick, a line, "game" with which to persuade an innocent, easily-manipulated young person that she should let it happen, that she should come back for more, that she shouldn't tell anyone else, that it was "their little secret."  Kinda creepy, right? kinda sounds like the stuff we tell our children not to believe, if it's someone who wants to touch their private place at Boy Scout troop meeting, right?

Rape doesn't require force, a knife to the throat, or a stranger in a dark alley.  Rape can be a skeevy slimey predator adult who cons his way into a teenager's heart and pants.  Quit automatically thinking the worst of the survivor who finally has the courage to come forward.  Think about how it feels to read all these skuzzballs calling you a tramp and a "hoe" (garden implements of the world, unite!)  It takes a lot of courage to speak out especially in a small community like jiu jitsu.  Props to the survivor for being so brave. 

Anyone who thinks rape culture doesn't exist? How do you explain Jayme and DeeJay and Vince and Jim and Benita and Ivan and....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to prevent and deal with rape in your academy.

This will be an evolving work as I receive suggestions and input (welcomed from all)...

Sexual assault in the BJJ community is certainly a hot topic right now, and has been for at least the last year or so.  What do you do to prevent it? what do you do if you discover there's been an assault involving your student(s) or instructor(s)?  Here's my suggestions for a "best practices" guide.

1.  Taking preventative steps ahead of time also protects yourself as an individual, and your academy as an entity, from liability.

2.  Encouraging others to come forward.

3.  How to help students, parents, staff and survivors.


1.  How do I prevent this from happening in my academy?  

Require communication with staff:  I think all staff should sign contracts with the academy agreeing, among whatever else is employment-related, to immediately inform the academy upon arrest or being charged with a crime more serious than a traffic offense.  That way, alleged offenses outside the academy family are known to the academy ownership and decisions can be made about continuing employment.  Just think, if your kids' class instructor is arrested for possession of kiddie porn, you and your academy could be legally liable if you don't make attempts to stay aware of that stuff and continue employing them.

Background checks on staff and students: publicdata.com offers a membership for $19.95 a month for 1000 lookups-- you can look by name, driver's license number, etc.  Do it every month on errybody.

Decide what kinds of offenses you'll be willing to tolerate in your student body or staff and make that clear and public.  This stuff is public record so don't worry about people claiming a violation of their privacy.  It's a privilege, not a right, to train with you and you shouldn't tolerate sex offenders (or violent criminals or wherever you want to draw the line) in your family of people.  Use this to differentiate your academy from the others in your area as part of your safety-first marketing plan.

No tolerance policies on romantic relationships between instructors and students: This is a toughie.  Remember, we're talking best practices guide.  Sure, two thirty-somethings ought to be able to handle themselves, but ugly breakups happen and sometimes they tear academies apart.  The power disparity between instructor and student creates all kinds of sticky issues possibly related to control, coercion, retaliation after the breakup, etc.  But it's even worse when it's a 20-something instructor and a teenage student.

No private privates:  Never teach a private privately (any age, any gender)-- always have another person present (student, staff, parent etc.)  Consider installing a nanny cam in your academy that live streams to a website and records for at least 48 hours.  Knowing that everything happening in the academy can be viewed live and is being recorded is a tremendous deterrent to the kinds of behaviors that lead to sexual assault, as well as sexual assaults themselves.  And it protects instructors/teachers from the possibility of a thwarted flirtation turning ugly and retaliatory.

Education of staff and students: Educate your team family about sex and consent.  Lots of sexual assaults come from known assailants who don't seem like a threat.  They're not strangers in a dark alley. Virtually every community has some sort of rape crisis organization that will be delighted to give an educational presentation about assault and prevention to your academy.  Try hosting one annually!  Don't forget-- just because you are a BJJ person doesn't mean all sexual assaults can be prevented with some BJJ!   All the much-vaunted self defense in the world (how to break a wrist grab, how to defeat a bear hug, how to beat a ponytail grip) won't help you if you've been groomed as a victim, if your boundaries are being encroached on, you're intoxicated or otherwise incapable of giving consent.

There are three main considerations in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual (which means that both people are old enough to consent, have the capacity to consent, and agreed to the sexual contact) or is a crime. Because laws are different in every state, it is important to find out the law in your state. You can call your local crisis center or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE to find out more.

Read lots more about grooming for child and adult victims here:



2.  How can I encourage a culture of openness and fairness?  Don't put instructors or upper belts on a pedestal, which may foster an environment of cultish hero-worship. Welcome constructive feedback.  Provide an anonymous means of communicating (not just about rape, but anything that a student might be hesitant to come forward about.  Openness in one realm translates to openness in all.)  Carefully examine your heart to make sure you don't retaliate in any way against this feedback.  Seriously, an academy with a culture of openness in ordinary everyday kinds of ways will have that openness in the big serious stuff, too. Discourage flirtation between students and with instructors. Challenge rape jokes, victim-blaming or misogynistic or harassing statements when you hear them.  Do not agree with abusers’ excuses for why they abuse.  Let survivors know that it is not their fault.  Hold abusers accountable for their actions: do not let them make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, or drugs for their behavior.  Avoid victim blaming in the media especially.


3.  Supporting your team family in the aftermath:

Fast action:  When there are accusations of any sort of wrongdoing, the best policy is to suspend the wrongdoer and eliminate their access to the academy and your students.  Take back keys.  Make a public announcement that reports public information to avoid slander lawsuits but supports the survivor.

To help the survivor:  If the perpetrator was a team member, ban them from the premises, immediately.  Acknowledge that survivors are their own best experts and provide them with resources and support. Immediately, survivors (note: not victims) should get medical attention immediately, whether they want to report the crime to law enforcement or not.  Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.

Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.  Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.

Encourage your loved one to report the rape or sexual violence to law enforcement (call 911 in most areas). If your loved one has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, can help.  Be willing to talk with law enforcement and the prosecution.

To help your team: It can be very stressful to watch a drama unfold in your own academy.  The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) has posted detailed suggestions on how to help a survivor's friends and family here.  Whether it was a teammate assaulted or a teammate accused of assault, these are terribly emotional issues; do your best to keep the gossip mill out of the academy as much as possible.  Discussing the case or the individuals involved may alert one side or the other to potential character witnesses or may negatively affect the survivor's ability to prosecute criminal and civil actions effectively.

Some common reactions to learning a friend was raped:

Shock:  You may be very surprised to hear what has happened.  You might have difficulty figuring out how to respond.

Anger: You might feel angry at the perpetrator for hurting your loved one. You might also feel angry at your loved one for not telling you sooner or for telling you something that is hard for you to hear. This can be especially true if the assault was committed by someone that you know.

Sadness:You might feel sad for your loved one, for his or her family, or for what this assault may change about both of your lives.

Anxiety:  You might feel anxiety about responding the “right” way to your loved one. You might feel anxiety about how this will impact your relationship.

Fear:  Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s assault, you might be concerned that something similar could happen to you.

Almost anything is normal. Everyone has a different reaction when they find out that someone they care for has been sexually assaulted. There is no “wrong” way to feel. What is important is that you show the survivor that you care and that you can help support them.

Oh yes more rape in the BJJ community

I'm so tired of posting about this stuff.  Gracie Barra Yakima's head instructor, Cristiano Oliveira, arrested yesterday on charges of sexual assault of a minor.  He's 35 now, she was well under 18 at the time, and yes, a student of his.



Grace Barra's official statement:


This on the heels of another GB black belt accused of raping and killing his one year old stepson, and on the heels of Hermes Franca being deported after serving his sentence for sexual abuse.

I'm SO TIRED of reporting this stuff.  I have a horribly pinched nerve in my lateral axillary triangle (shoulder blade area) and I can't type (or do anything really) without severe pain.  I'll post more when I can.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rape culture, education, prevention, and mansplaining.

On facebook the other day I posted this picture, which comes from here:

It started getting comments like this:

** Teaching women how to protect themselves works. Teaching predators not to be predators doesn't. That's why they're called predators.

** Most misogynists are timid little assholes who only have the courage to express their repugnant opinions from the safety of the Internet. They're not likely to assault anyone.

** The thinking presented in this sign . . . is sexist and dangerous. It is sexists because it implies that women don't have the same rights and responsibilities as men. That is, the right and responsibility to to prepare an adequate defense. . . . The thinking on this sign is dangerous because she plans to rely on the concept that "No one would dare!" to keep herself safe. And that is why we must all learn to defend ourselves against predators. Because they WOULD dare to cross that line and don't care you, or I, or your dean has to say about it.  

** Hey it's not my fault that the lady in the picture doesn't understand that ultimately we are all responsible for our own wellbeing...

** The problem with activists is that they want to cram their chosen cause down everyone else's throat, and fail to see that the harder they push, the more their audience wants to regurgitate.

** Do we try to stop the rain from falling? There will always be selfish, wicked human beings and they will prey upon men and women alike. It is not an insult, but in fact a great service to be told how to defend against them.

** Every opportunity to say something doesn't have to include your own special viewpoint. School orientation isn't the bully pulpit for the feminists anti-rape-culture.    

** This picture is what's wrong with the world today. Instead of taking something good out of orientation, she has to find a reason to bitch and complain.

** While we're at it we should do away with locks on doors and cars and just educate people to not steal from each other.

And finally... 

**   Is this another 150 comment thread of guys mansplainin' what this girl really needs instead of listening to what she's actually asking for?

Shortly thereafter, a terrifying article popped up covering a "banned" fraternity at American University in DC which had a massive leak of emails making their uber rapey culture an open fact.

Read the Rapey Emails of American University's 'Secret Fraternity'

Pretty timely.

So here's my take on this in kind of brain-dump format-- copying profusely from my own posts on the matter, as well as those by some friends including James Stilwell of Alabama, jiu jitsuka, husband, father, and articulate humanist... and David Wells, friend, classmate and lawyer...

Sorry, but to say we shouldn't bother telling boys not to rape (as we wouldn't tell the clouds not to rain) is the height of both sexism and rape culture.  

Broadly held, repugnant opinions loosely described as misogyny affect the general populace, and even if not a direct assault, the social impact is still real.  Forty years ago and maybe even today, racism made it possible to assault black people with impunity. Widespread misogynistic feelings make it much easier for people who are so disposed to commit sex crimes against women (among other things) and lead to the idea that we should place the burden of preventing rape on the people who are at risk.

I'm actually completely fine with freshmen orientation including a female specific segment about rape risk, awareness and self defense techniques, but why not also a part that's male specific which talks about gender sensitivity, rape awareness, social responsibility to gain enthusiastic consent, social responsibility to not engage in misogynistic behaviors and the social responsibility to call out misogyny when you witness it, to make campus safe for the vulnerable whoever they are and under whatever conditions they are found? Why not have it be the same class with the same message for all?

I'd bet lots of college boys commit rapes that they have no idea is rape. Educate them about what consent means and you can prevent some, although not all.  Plenty of rapes happen because idiots think things like "she wanted it earlier, and she's not saying no now, who cares if she's drunk?"  Plenty of rapes are later excused by saying "well, I was drunk too!  so why blame me?"   Meanwhile fraternities put out how-to emails about rape-bait encouraging guys to get girls drunk so they can get laid. And yeah, I think they know roofies are not legit, but seems they all think getting her wasted is.

Rather than addressing the frustration the commenters above attempted to debunk its cause. The angst felt by this woman and people like her is well founded and justifiable. They live in a culture that consistently creates an environment where they have to be afraid and basically can trust no one. If they trust the wrong person, the society tells them that they should have chosen better. 

The problem is that rape does have a really negative stigma in most people's minds. It's when you rephrase the question that the grey areas start to pop up. When you ask things like, is it okay to have sex with a sleeping girl if she's been into you all night but she passed out before having sex? Most people might still say no, if given a yes/no option but when given a scale of agreement these kinds of questions begin to reveal a startling amount of ambiguity among the responders.  A common thread in the arguments against the idea of rape culture is the narrow re-definition of "rape" as something that is done violently, done by a stranger to the victim, and done in a situation the victim could have avoided. This is obviously (I hope) a very incomplete definition, but it serves to omit "date rape," "acquaintance rape," etc. It's a useful definition for people who want to dispute rape culture's existence by demonstrating that they personally would never do something like *that*.

One problem I'm seeing is the insistence on a binary, forced choice, zero sum perspective. Why can't we have education on what constitutes rape and consent AS WELL AS self defense lessons... also, why equate that education of men with ineffectual pleas of "please don't rape" to a snarling malevolent predator... when instead it could very well be eye-opening lessons in empathy for self centered but basically well meaning idjits? 

The majority of sexual assaults aren't violent assaults by a stranger in a dark alley. They're of groomed victims who have had boundaries encroached and often are friends-ish with their assailants, often intoxicated. So all the "how to beat a wrist grab" and "how to beat a bear hug" won't help them as much as telling that asshole in Steubenville that he shouldn't walk away from a passed out drunk girl being sodomized because yeah, that counts as rape too. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Review: Drysdale's Cradle nogi instructional

My buddy Pete (in the red shorts) has been training for six years, predominantly nogi, and currently trains at BETA Academy in DC under Nakapan Phungephorn, a Pedro Sauer bb.  He kindly agreed to review Drysdale's nogi instructional for me since I hardly train nogi but once a week.

He blogs at selfimprovementninja.com  and also runs a company helping people move-- a super green, super easy alternative to finding cardboard boxes when it's time to pack.  Check it out at elfboxes.com.


"I give this DVD an 8 out 10.   It’s definitely worth the money, but it has some shortcomings.

First, I’ll give the pluses.  This DVD is dedicated to using the cradle (a common wrestling move, but fairly uncommon in brazilian jiu jitsu) to pass or submit someone who has you in their half guard.  If you have trouble passing or submitting from half guard top, this gives a useful game plan for that and goes over any common reactions to these moves that you can think of.

You can find a LOT of videos on very specific things in BJJ (both as DVDs and free on YouTube) but I haven’t seen anyone teaching these moves, so it’s not as if he is just repackaging moves that you can see anywhere.

Also, in terms of valuable material he corrects a very common misconception about the brabo choke that I have seen everywhere.  If you’ve ever seen Ryan Hall’s Triangle DVD where he says that you don’t need to pull the trapped arm across your body, and you thought it was sacrilege until he explained it, but then you realize that even though top level black belts all teach you the same way to do the triangle and that this brownbelt (at the time) was telling you they were wrong, you have that a-ha moment and realize he’s right. Well, sorry for the run-on sentence, but you’ll have an a-ha moment about the brabo choke too. I won’t tell you what the correction he makes to your brabo choke is, because you need to buy the DVD to find out, but I will say that I had a lot more success finishing with the brabo after I incorporated his version of the choke.

Now for the minuses,  the video is not as professionally done as you’d expect from other BJJ videos from the big companies.  That alone is not fatal if the content is good. (I still recommend Erik Paulsen’s leg lock DVDs to people even though the production quality makes gonzo porn look like a Steven Spielberg movie by comparison).  Another minus is that it's only 58 minutes long.  If it was even a half hour longer he could’ve included other ways to use the cradle (from standing to a takedown? From turtle? From sidecontrol?).

It’s $35 from Budovideos or you can order it on his website..  It’s worth the cash to learn these techniques that you won’t be able to find in other teaching materials (free or paid).  And you’ll fix that brabo choke that’s been haunting your dreams.

Now get off the internet and go roll."

There are a few other reviews out there, hope this helps!



Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Review: Q5 supplements for performance

I don't usually review supplements, because I don't take them, honestly.  Always prided myself that, despite mediocre skills, I have one superpower and that's fast recovery.

But, Colin from Q5 persuaded me to give a few of their magic powders a try, and I'll tell you all about them.

Bill Thomas, forty-something founder of Q5, wrestler, and former Marine explained his goals with the company:

"Q5 isn't for the 20 year old juice monkeys looking to bulk up so they can impress skanky chicks down at the local club. Q5 is for guys like you and me. We take our nutrition seriously, but we still want to have some fun and kick a little ass. And while most guys our age are passed out in their La-Z-Boy with a beer and a bag of chips, we'll be making the young lions nervous. They'll wonder what in the hell the old man has been taking. Let them wonder."

I like his style!  I tried five different products: Warrior Purple, Warrior Green, Launch Fuel, and two flavors of whey protein, vanilla and chocolate.  I know, it's better to eat the real foods, but we all get crunched for time, and it seems better to get close than nothing at all.

Warrior Purple:  Antioxidant blend of blueberry, blackberry, black cherries, black raspberries, black currants, plums, elderberries, bilberries, figs, eggplant, purple cabbage, acai, camu camu, mangosteen, and goji, with no added sweeteners.  I tried it mixed with coconut water and it was pretty good, a nice indeterminate fruity/berry flavor that was easy to dissolve and not gritty or powdery.  Next time I'll put it in a smoothie with yogurt, banana and juice, the way I usually use hemp and acai powder.

Warrior Green: "Over thirty superfood vegetables" is what it says, but I can tell there's lots of spinach in here.  (That's a good thing, I love a veggie smoothie.)

 I mixed this one with mango juice [you have no idea how difficult it was for me to stop typing "jiuce"] and it was... okay.  I couldn't get over the cinnamon flavor, so I think I'll stick to putting pile of veggies in the vitamix (or my bowl.)

Launch Fuel:  This is designed to be taken 30 to 60 minutes before you train.  I wasn't sure what to expect, since like I said, I don't do the supplement thing.  I guess I worried when I tried it that I would be wired, jittery, spazzy... or that I wouldn't feel anything (caffeine traditionally has zero effect on me.)

Launch Fuel is supposed to enhance your mitochondrias' ability to process and recycle ATP, the molecule your body uses to transport and store energy.  According to Q5, "Launch Fuel is a much more effective pre-fight supplement that provides energy for sparring, and helps your cells cycle through their energy stores faster, and provides ready fuel for your most important weapon - your mind!  You only have about 250 grams (9oz) of ATP in your body, so you need to recycle each molecule an average of 10x an hour! When you are training this recycling process skyrockets and efficiency becomes critical to your energy level and your work capacity. Launch Fuel helps improve this efficiency. It also contains special ingredients that help minimize muscle soreness after training."    Well... I think it helped me feel more focused and precise, without making me feel jittery or hyped up, even though it was a late evening  90 minute class then sixty minutes of back to back rounds after a long day at work.  That's worth it.  The flavor is citrusy, and I mixed it in water so I wouldn't alter its effects with sugar from juice or whatever.

Whey protein:  I mixed the protein powders with whole milk.  I liked the vanilla better, it tasted almost like a virgin eggnog to me, whereas I was comparing the chocolate version to "real" chocolate milk (and since neither has any added sugar, it came up the tiniest bit short in a head-to-head with Hershey's.)  But both were yummy, easy to mix, and made me feel virtuous and ready to go rawr.

AND... on top of all the good reasons I see for supplementing my diet and training routine with these goodies... I'll tell you another reason I give two thumbs up to Q5.  They used to sponsor Devon Delbrugge from Team Lloyd Irvin, but yanked their support when they read what nonsense he was spouting.  My respect for this company skyrocketed when I heard that.

If you're gluten-free or vegetarian, they have products for you.  Don't want to buy something you haven't tasted for yourself?  get a sample pack!  And read more independent reviews, listed here.  You can buy directly from Q5 (and if you sign up, you can get a weekly text with a discount code by texting JOIN to 207-517-4242.)