Lloyd Irvin is the head coach of one of the most successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools in the United States. Through his often brash marketing campaigns that gave us lines like: “The Grappling Blueprint” and “Get your BJJ black belt in 3 and a half years”, Irvin managed to become a recognizable figure within the BJJ community, yet somewhat of an outcast. In any case, Lloyd Irvin has earned his place in Jiu Jitsu having successfully raised the games of tremendous competitors such as JT Torres, James Harbison and Mike Fowler (to name a few). His team has also medaled in some of the most established tournaments in the world, being the first American academy in BJJ history to truly and consistently make a mark in the sport.
Lloyd Irvin Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Lloyd Irvin
Main Achievements (BJJ):
- 2x World Nogi Champion (2008, 2012 Senior 1)
- Gracie Open Champion (1997)
- Brazilian National Teams 2nd Place (1999)
Favourite Position/Technique: N/A
Weight Division: Peso Pesado (94kg/207lbs)
Team/Association: Lloyd Irvin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Lloyd Irvin Biography
Loyd Irvin was introduced to Martial Arts at the tender age of 3, being initiated through Tae Kwon Do. As he progressed in life, he also wrestled (which he started in 1983). By the time he hit college, however, he left martial arts aside to move on to more traditional sports. It was only years later, after watching UFC I that the martial arts bug started growing again within Lloyd.
After watching Royce Gracie perform in the early UFC’s, Lloyd Irvin decided to come back to martial arts, though there weren’t many places to train jiu jitsu in his native Maryland. Lloyd tried to move to California, where BJJ was already spreading, but the exorbitant prices of the local clubs led him to give up on the idea. Irvin returned to Maryland and there, at a local Karate tournament, he met a man wearing a Gracie Jiu Jitsu t-shirt who would change his life forever, his name was Brian Welsh. Lloyd immediately established contact with Brian who practiced BJJ with his friends (without proper instruction) twice a week, and invited Irvin to join him, an invitation he gladly accepted.
Shortly after, that same friend (Brian Welsh) also found out about a new BJJ gym that was being run in Rockville, MD. which was named Yamasaki/Dalla. Lloyd Irvin immediately travelled to this gym, where he met and took the class of Mario Yamasaki and Leo Dalla. Irvin enjoyed the class so much, he enrolled that same day and paid the $100 necessary for the unlimited classe package, he was 26 years old at the time.
Within a month Lloyd Irvin received his blue belt, much due to his physical attributes and his observant eye. However, not long after that his instructor Leonardo Dalla left for Brazil permanently. From there on, Lloyd Irvin trained mainly by himself, he also opened a BJJ school at that time using his students for sparring. His progress was unbelievably quick, especially for someone who did not have any particular full time supervision. he eventually received his black belt while on one of his travels to Brazil by the hands of Leo Dalla.
Upon his return to the United States, Lloyd Irvin made better use of his marketing degree at Blue State University and released a series of advertising campaigns to divulge the Jiu Jitsu School. His aggressive campaigns earned him many students, but they were highly frowned upon by the grappling community as fears that his “Americanized” approach to the sport might dilute it. Fortunately for BJJ, and against what many believed would happen Lloyd Irvin managed to keep the standard of his team, and produced several quality students in different belt divisions. Fighters like Mike Fowler, JT Torres and even Ryan Hall (who would later part ways with Lloyd Irvin).
In 2001 Lloyd Irvin had a serious neck injury while competing which took him out of the mats for 13 months. Many doctors believed he would never return to the sport, but through healthy living and the necessary amount of luck, Irvin returned to the mats after the long yet necessary recovering period.
In 2008 another breathtaking moment in Irvin’s life as two armed men entered Lloyd’s residence to rob it, taking his family hostage. In that same house however were none other then Lloyd Irvin himself, and professional MMA fighter Brandon Vera. Irvin made use of his self defense experience (Irvin is a black belt also in Judo and Combat Sambo) managed to disarm one of the attackers, while the other fled the location. No one was hurt in the ordeal.
Team Lloyd Irvin’s Rape Case and Reactions
On 2013, after two of Lloyd Irvin’s students (Nicholas Schultz and Matthew Maldonado) were accused of raping a fellow team mate of Lloyd Irvin’s academy in a barbaric affair, Lloyd Irvin himself came under scrutiny when it was revealed that Irvin himself had been accused of gang rape in the past. A case that dated back to 1990 (check link).
To make matters worst, in response to the public interest and outrage, Irvin launched a PR campaign to try and suppress the negative publicity he was receiving, publishing at least 8 videos from his rape prevention seminar on his YouTube channel in the hopes of pushing out the negative buzz. He also issued a press release for the same seminar and launched a website under the domain name (address) “lloydirvinrape.com” gaining with this at least one Google listing for the keyword “Lloyd Irvin Rape”.
Although this shameless way of dealing with the matter didn’t shake many of Irvin’s following – who rained down a plenty of support through social media, some did speak out against the worshiped instructor, including the father of one of Irvin’s top students (Keenan Cornelius) and an old student of Lloyd, Ryan Hall (check Ryan Hall’s response here), along with many others.
In a continuation of the shocking case that came to light on January 2013, early in March of the same year a Team Lloyd Irvin competitor, named Jordon Shultz, revealed that one of the female students at TLI had come to him explaining how Lloyd Irvin tried to sexually molest her, by using his team leader status to put the girl through “tests” using the infamous phrase “how bad do you want to be a world champion”. This behaviour shone light into possible multiple cases of sexual abuse to many more female students, which led most of the senior competitors of the team to abandon the academy, athletes such as Keenan Cornelious, JT Torres, Marcos Yemaso and Jordon Shultz himself.
In the end Nicholas Schultz and Matthew Maldonado supported by Lloyd Irvin’s team of attorneys avoided (what looked like a straight forward) conviction, even with video evidence (check more details of the trial in Georgette Oden‘s blog, a lawyer and part time BJJ practitioner).