‘Bloodsport’ Martial Artist, Frank Dux: Was Raniere a judo champ at age 11?

Frank Dux is a martial artist, teacher, author, fight choreographer, stunt coordinator, film writer, consultant, security adviser, and coauthor of the US Navy SEAL Special Warfare Combat Fighting Course.  His exploits were the basis of the 1988 movie, Bloodsport, starring Jean Claude Van Damme [as Frank Dux]. 

As a writer, Mr. Dux has recently begun to investigate NXIVM and has interviewed several ex members. 

Judo Champ at age 11? 

by Frank Dux

Keith Raniere has made a number of representations about himself on his website bio , [www.keithraniere.com] which, in turn, I am told, have been peddled by NXIVM recruiters to induce the purchase of their programs.

The claims range from his being a self-made millionaire at age 30, [something that should be reflected by tax returns accessible to government agencies], to being “East Coast Judo Champion, at age 11.”

At age 13, I, unofficially, sparred with the USKA World Karate Champion, Victor Moore. So I can imagine a 11-year old Keith Raniere going toe-to-toe with a skilled fighter or adult Judo player – for a moment.

But I doubt an 11-year old boy, whose body is not fully developed, could go the distance in an official competition, or outperform multiple, highly seasoned, adult Judo players, in a highly competitive and physically demanding contact sport to win an actual championship event.

Despite the urban legend that in Judo “years on the mat, your size and strength doesn’t matter,” I know it to the contrary: experience is key in determining outcome, especially in title matches.

I could find no evidence to support his East Coast Judo Championship claim in the world of Judo. In fact, there does not seem to be an East Coast Judo Championship.

There is an East Coast Judo Tournament, held in Newark, New Jersey, held primarily for students of local Dojos, and certainly not champion players.

This tournament is mainly a student exhibition. Children  – starting at age four – compete with similarly aged children from different Dojos in front of an audience made of up mostly of parents.

If Mr, Raniere had won any sanctioned judo championship, it would be on record, with the name of the event, how it was sanctioned, the date, his opponent, the weight division, bylaws, special rules or conditions etc..  It would have been newsworthy if an 11 year old boy defeated adult judo masters to win a judo  championship in the early 1970s. I could not find any reports of this would-be startling event.

The ‘data ‘ shows there is no evidence that Mr. Raniere won an East Coast Judo Championship when he was 11.  He may have appeared at the East Coast Judo Tournament and competed against boys in the yellow or green belt division. To conflate that to being an East Coast Judo Champion is imprecise, if not unethical.

He might consider offering proof or revising his bio.



Editor’s note: I did considerable research on Frank Dux, as part of an unrelated project and spoke with more than 30 highly credible distinguished fighters in the martial arts world who have fought against him or saw him fight.

Like Vanguard, he has been accused of conflating stories. Mr. Dux provided evidence on every challenged claim.

I spoke with Victor Moore, who Mr. Dux refers to in the article, who confirmed Mr. Dux sparred with him when he was 13. Mr. Moore, a four time world karate champion, added that Mr. Dux, as an adult, was one of, if not the greatest, no holds barred fighters who ever lived. 

Keith Raniere, known also by his self given name of Vanguard,  has had detractors but offers no proof to contradict their accusations other than to suggest his students watch the 2000 movie, the Contender.

Jean Claude Van Damme [l] played the real Frank Dux [r] in the movie Bloodsport.


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