#248 Defending Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Boise, Idaho

Mitch Coats and Gigi Paiva
BJJ black belt Mitch Coats receives his black belt certificate from Alexandre “Gigi” Paiva . Image courtesy Coats.

One of the nice things about Brazilian jiu-jitsu is that when someone claims to have earned a certain belt rank, there is not too much room for variation in their skill level. Sure, while not all purple belts are created equal, when you train with just about any purple belt out there, you tend to say, “Yeah, I can see why that person is wearing that belt.”

But given the very practical and effective techniques in BJJ, it’s nearly impossible to claim that someone knows a lot of jiu-jitsu when they do not. It becomes clear quickly on the mat that their knowledge is shallow. This is disappointing to those who looked to that person for information and can be considered insulting to those who worked very hard for so long to legitimately earn their belt rank.

A situation recently arose in Boise where an individual is said to have made this type of false claim about his rank in jiu-jitsu. As one can imagine, the claims were disproven rather quickly and news travelled fast through the local BJJ community there. This week on The FightWorks Podcast we hear from Mitch Coats, a black belt under Alliance Jiu-Jitsu’s Alexandre “Gigi” Paiva. Coats shares the recent events in his town and how the community came together to set the record straight.

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11 Replies to “#248 Defending Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Boise, Idaho”

  1. I train in New Zealand, which is south-east of Australia. BJJ is still relatively new here in this part of the world. There are under 10 black belts in the entire country.

    Well, we have what’s known as an ‘airport black belt’. That means that it’s someone who decides to come to New Zealand to open a school. They get on the plane a brown or purple belt. When they get off they’re a black belt.

    As shared in the podcast, the BJJ world isn’t one that’s easy to sneak around in. It’s actually pretty easy to check. There are quite a few stories of people being called out and never being heard from in New Zealand again.

  2. Mitch sure is humble… I am happy he has touted his accomplishments. I understand his message but some humbleness should be required for the BB

  3. Mitch may be a great bjj practitioner and instructor, but he did not do himself justice by spending all of his time on the show pointing out how great he is in comparison to… Speaking on the general topic of ‘fake credentials in bjj’ would have been a lot more interesting.

  4. I think the point Mitch was trying to make is that he is the real deal in comparison to the fake black belt, Matt Barvo. Mitch actually downplayed the situation quite a bit- when Mr. Barvo started his school, he made all kinds of bombastic claims about his credentials, his abilities, and his (fake) record as a fighter. To make matters worse, Barvo went on to criticize Mitch and the other Idaho black belts, even calling into question THEIR credibility. (I guess if you’re gonna scam, you may as well go big.) But mainly, he criticized Mitch, because he has the most prolific record of all the BB’s in Idaho. You can find all this on various forums- just do a Google search.

    I think this was finally Mitch’s chance to defend both his and Leandro’s credentials. They’re both great guys and they both got burned by Mr. Barvo for simply trying to run legit schools. And Mitch’s point is a good one: if you’re paying someone a large amount of money every month- not to mention the investment in time and sweat- it behooves. you to know their credentials. A lot of us feel that the best indication of a professor’s ability is his or her competition record.

    Personally, I think Mitch did a great job of delineating what makes a genuine black belt in comparison to a fake one.

  5. This was one of the most interesting (and bizarre!) podcasts in recent years. I’d love to see Matt Barvo come on a future podcast to try to defend himself – but I won’t be holding my breath…

    Yes, I also agree that Mitch seemed strangely defensive himself – spending so much time promoting his own credentials. (This was one of the things that made this podcast so bizarre.) This was unfortunate, because – from what I can tell – noone (other than Barvo) has questioned Mitch’s credentials. In any case, Mitch deserves credit for helping expose and bring down this fraud.

  6. I understood the point Mitch was trying to make, but I agree that the interview had a very odd vibe to it due to the self promotion.

  7. I live in Boise and was the guy how fought Barvo’s Fake Black Belt partner(i was a new purple belt). It was a submission only, no time limit tournament. Here is the link:

    You can hear Barvo in the back ground giving coaching advice to his guy. After I beat his black belt is when the whole nut was cracked open. I think you might find it interesting

  8. Great Job Matt. I remember seeing that match at the tournament (I was a white belt at the time), and thought it was bizarre.

    Not to downplay your skills at all, but I expected a monstrous black belt to have easily crushed a purple. After seeing the way he moved, I knew something was up.

  9. You sound like a turd Mitch. Who cares about your belt or how you supposedly run shit out there. You completely embarrassed yourself on this show. How did you get your BB with this kind of Ego? Remember…it only holds your pants up! Big fish in a small pond IMO.

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