Imagine a mother, frantic, worried, clammy with sweat and speaking on the phone to a stranger. This stranger is trying to convince her kind-heartedly that her 21-year-old son is ok, that she knows his whereabouts, and that there may be a way for her to get her son back home. Imagine this mother speaking to a cab driver, convincing him to approach a house she cannot see, knock on a door she cannot touch and become the third-party messenger between her and her son. She relied on this cab driver to keep his word and coax a hesitant young man out of a house and into his cab, bound for the safety of her home. Once inside the cab, the first normal words she’s heard from her son in quite a while come spilling out: “Mom, I have never been more scared in my life.”
This sounds like the set up for a great cinematic thriller, and hour and a half drama fest from some lucid producers wildest imagination. Certainly not the backdrop for one of the countries most elite Jiu Jitsu schools. But this is the real life account of Keenan Cornelius and his mother Kathleen and their struggle to get out of the clutches of “Master” Lloyd Irvin.
Irvin and his famous school of Jiu Jitsu, located in Prince George’s County, Maryland was once a name synonymous with discipline, hard work, and most importantly, winners. Now, that name is being tainted by tales of rape, brainwashing, fear that are NOT representative of the honor and spirit of mixed martial artists.
Reporter Jake Rossen from the Miami New Times has written an extensive story on his investigations into the twisted world of Irvin, titled “The Cult of Llyod Irvin” and can be read here.
Some of the stories are sickening, bizarre, and a little hard to read at times, and all of them pose the questions why and how multiple times. Stories about Irvin and his seedy past have existed since 1989 but his alleged new MO seems to be using neural linguistic programming to manipulate other students into hushing his activities, performing menial tasks like servants, and treating any woman that came near the facilities (students, visitors, or spouses and girlfriends of attending students) as sexual objects.
A woman didn’t have to be enrolled in Irvin’s school to catch his eye. Several students allege that Irvin made advances on wives or girlfriends, despite being married since 2003 to his wife, Vicki Irvin. Escobar recalls introducing Irvin to his girlfriend at a club, then leaving them to talk about a potential business opportunity. He looked back to see Irvin with his arm around her. She walked away, telling Escobar that Irvin had invited her to his hotel room.
“No disrespect, but were you hitting on my girlfriend?” Escobar asked him.
“Don’t worry about her,” he recalls Irvin saying. “She’ll be all right.”
Another one of his students explained the way the taught and spoke to the students, using controlling linguistics:
But according to some, Irvin’s podium-ready charisma held a darker side. “He sought out and spent lots of money to improve his skill-set at persuasion,” says Schultz. “He knew he’d have more power that way.”
Schultz recalls Irvin attending a seminar for neural linguistic programming, techniques which can be used to manipulate the mind. One business associate who saw Irvin interact with students described them as “robots,” blank-faced and relaxing their posture only after he had left the room.
Over and over again, Irvin pushed the idea that students were “Androids” who should do whatever the “Programmer” tells them without critical thinking.
An Android does what they’re told without hesitation, Irvin would say. If you want to be a world champion, you have to let the Programmer program you.
In the full article there are more first hand accounts of students and families experiences with Irvin, including the manipulative, borderline cult behavior, the rising fear, the cover-ups of team members alleged rapes, the subhuman treatment of women in the camp.
Somehow I feel like this is just the surface of what is going on behind the closed doors of Irvin’s Jiu Jitsu school and as more students come to terms with the immoral behavior and find safe ways of approaching and overcoming these scare tactics, more bizarre stories will come to light and hopefully bring an end to not only Irvin, but to anyone performing these kinds of acts under the honorable and respected discipline of BJJ.
(Props to bloodyelbow.com for the find)Tags: lloyd irvin, Lloyd Irvin Rape, Lloyd Irvin rape scandal, Lloyd Irvine Scandal