Yesterday we reported on Rener Gracie’s statement about his testimony in a court case that awarded $4.6M to a white belt student who was paralyzed during a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) class.
The student, who had only been training for a few months, was injured during a “sparring” session with a more experienced opponent. Gracie referred to the move as ‘spiking’.
The injured student suffered a fractured neck and spinal cord damage, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
Gracie testified as an expert witness on behalf of the plaintiff, explaining the proper technique in BJJ and why the defendant’s technique was dangerous.
The court found the defendant responsible for the injury due to his negligence and lack of proper instruction, ultimately awarding $4.6M in damages to the plaintiff.
Gracie emphasized the importance of proper training and instruction in BJJ, particularly for beginners, to prevent accidents and injuries.
Rener Gracie emphasized that the case serves as a reminder for the BJJ community to prioritize safety and responsible instruction in the sport.
Rener Gracie was an expert witness for the defense
But Gracie is far from an impartial observer. For starters, he runs a network of academies that emphasize safety and don’t allow beginners to roll. At a certain point, Rener Gracie was promoting students he’d never even met to blue belt based on a video featuring them demonstrating about 92 techniques.
Gracie was criticized by Dan “TrumpetDan” Lukehart for his expertise on social media. Since the post is quite lengthy we’ll offer some key points first.
- The video showed that the technique used was a Leo Vieira back take, which was a rolling back take.
- The injured student had years of grappling experience, and any claims of him being a beginner should be rejected.
- Lukehart believes that the accident was a freak accident and that the Sinistro should not be judged as negligent. There are mitigating factors at play. Rener Gracie is seen as an attention-seeking parasite who is putting the way most BJJ communities run their academies on trial.
Dan “TrumpetDan” Lukehart pens extensive takedown of Rener Gracie’s statement
His post in full:
“So….I know a whole lot more about the incident that resulted in the paralysis of the student and a 46 million dollar judgment. Some people reached out to me privately with various bits of information. The primary thing leaked to me is video of the incident. I assume if it made its way to me, it will eventually be public and you will see it.
My main takeaways are:
1. First, the video. It’s obviously horrendous it happened. I feel great compassion for the person injured and dont really have a problem that he receives money to cover medical bills and pain and suffering.
HOWEVER. It is my opinion with 17 years grappling experience that this 100% a freak accident that could have happened to ANY gym….ANY instructor…and ANYBODY rolling in general. To make some judgement of Sinistro being negligent is frankly insane…especially when other mitigating factors are in play.(#2)
The movement was the Leo Vieira back take.
This back take can be done a number of different ways. You can jump directly over the top straight on for example…or off to the side….and with various levels of the guy somersaulting forwards. Sinistro jumped to the left side from rear turtle, which gives the head and neck room to be fine with a left shoulder roll into a sideways style rolling backtake. It wouldn’t have been one of those spectacular ones where you pull him straight over the top as you see in some of the instances in Leo’s highlights. Sometimes when Leo did it straight over like this, there were almost 2 parts of the technique…where offensive guy jumps over the top and lands in a bridge position…and then after a moment then pull the guy over. It wasn’t this.
It was a bit more off to the side and intended to be one movement. An analogy is when you try an overhead/balloon sweep from guard, but you take him a tad more sideways than over the top really. Sinistros attempt here wouldn’t have been quite as spectacular as some of Leo’s. It was a rolling backtake still.
Because it was a little to the left, it did give a lot of room for the head/neck to be fine, but only on the one side. This would have happened normally 99.9X% of the time, but a split second after he started the technique his partner turns his head in the exact opposite way of the path to clear the neck. It wasn’t a huge movement. It was subtle. You need to watch it a few times to figure out how it ended up in that position. He did it at the worst possible time. Sinistro already started his jump and just when his momentum translates into his partner, he had turned his neck. Since there was ample space on one side for the neck to clear, it leaves no room should the neck be the other way.
It wasn’t an unintelligent spazzy reaction. It’s not clear what his intention was. It was suggested to me he was attempting a graby roll. It’s possible, but it’s difficult to surmise his intent as it happened early in what he attempted. It all went wrong so fast at the worst moment and there was no possible time to adjust on Sinistros part.
This video can not be characterized as Sinistro going nuts or roid raging on the guy for going too hard either. It was just a normal roll. NORMAL. He showed immediate compassion.
I read on Reddit that Sinistro admitted negligence in the trial. I don’t know how true that is, but if it is then….BULL to his own admission. He might be suffering from insane guilt and I’m not discounting he has PTSD from the experience as any normal person would have. He should be absolved of any judgment of wrongdoing by the grappling community. It…was…a….freak….accident.
2. The injured party had quite a bit of grappling experience and in no possible reality should he be described as a beginner. He had 3 years or so of BJJ and wrestling before that. He was from Baret Yoshidas gym…who is known for sandbagging white belts.
You have read that he was pretty skilled on Reddit now…including from black belt who said he rolled with him and described him as a tough and competent grappler. The information about the grapplers experience level was not allowed to be submitted/discussed in trial. This is part of the basis for appeal. I agree this should have been allowed to be presented at trial as it is relevant to how and what manner Sinistro should have been rolling with him and hence if negligence was in play.
ANY CHARACTERIZATION OF SOME NEW WHITE BELT TRYING CLASS AND SINISTRO DID SOME CRAZY TECHNIQUE HE WASNT READY FOR SHOULD BE REJECTED.
3. Rener Gracie is out of control money and attention hungry parasite. I need some additional clarification and details here before I can blast him properly on the merits of what he said. I know some, and it’s infuriating. Basically Rener is putting the way that 95%+ of the BJJ community runs an academy on trial and representing his very left field views as mainstream. This has implications for ALL OF US because his side won.
For expert witnesses testimony he billed at $3000/hour. He billed 42 hours. He was the charismatic and well spoken star expert witness that sealed the deal for the prosecution. I never cuss….and I want to at that. Parasite.
(Clark Gracie offered expert testimony for the defense)
If this post is mysteriously deleted and I refuse to answer questions about this, one could assume I am involved in the appeal somehow. I reserve the right to modify my viewpoint as new information and facts come to light. If this is screen shot and presented in some trial at some point, know that my expert witness testimony is billed at the rate of 1 chipotle burrito per day just to set Reners $3000/hour @$$ straight and actually represent the grappling standard of practice fairly.”