Yesterday, it was announced that Keenan Cornelius left Team Lloyd Irvin.
Today, Keenan made an official statement via facebook:
I think some of you could care less about where I go, or what I do, and I get that, but a lot of people, including professional publications, have asked why I’ve left TLI. I want to make it clear what my reasoning is so there’s no more speculation, or worse the wrong reasons assumed:
Obviously, the circumstances surrounding TLI having been public so I don’t need to clarify a subject that many of you already understand and have been saturated with. In the last 6 weeks, article and blogs have spun out of control, testimonies given, and arguments and explanations made; clearly there are many views – much of which contradict each other.
What I believe and feel about these issues is personal and private, but let me make something understood, I would, and will never, endorse, or support wrongdoing whether it’s on the mat or off. And though I have made truly great friends through TLI, have had the best training of my life here, and the greatest success, its time for me to go. I can no longer be absolutely sure that this is the right environment for me under the current and enlightening circumstances.
Leaving a team is not easy – especially a team like TLI. I owe a great deal of gratitude for many things that Lloyd Irvin has done for me and the training I have had with TLI. And in my decision to leave, I in no way dismiss what was good about training in MD. So I want to thank TLI and Lloyd Irvin for that experience; it was the best I’ve had. However, not all things, or circumstances, are all good, and I had to weigh what was good for, against what was not, and proceed.
I have to to say that my family has been very supportive (everyone should have one of those), but ultimately leaving was my decision. Though their opinion was respected and appreciated; in the end, I came to this decision independent of them.
The future…where I’ll train…I don’t know. From what I’ve read, I think a lot of you know where I’m headed more that I do. But yeah, there’s a lot to think about and hopefully there’ll be a bit of time to do that. I know there is great jiu jitsu and training and good times ahead. My life is bjj, and I hope to be heading out to meet and train with some great athletes who feel the same. But I’ll tell you, I’m gonna make sure that where, how, and who I do that with, is practicing that life on the mat in a way that I can truly get behind.
Recently a fellow team member came to me she was burdened and confused. She sought me out as a confidante a person she could trust. She had been battling with a situation morally inside her head. She explained the details of secret interactions she had with her martial arts instructor and employer.
She started with the question “Are you suppose to do anything to become a World Champion?” I replied, “Yes, there are sacrifices you must make to become a World Champion and you are going to have to do some things that other people won’t do to become a World Champion”. She began to cry as she explained.
She said that when she first joined the team she was given a set of rules. She was told exactly how she should act. Everyone on the team follows the principle of the Android. An Android does what they are commanded with no question and no hesitation. Whatever the Programmer says the Android does. According to the Martial Arts instructor this correlates to Martial Arts if the coach gives a commanded and the athlete hesitates or questions for a moment it can cost them the match. That is the importance of being an Android.
Second rule, your word is your bond. If you do not keep your word you are a liar. If you do not follow what you say you are a faker. If you do not keep your word you are definitely not serious about what you are trying to accomplish.
Third rule, confidentiality whatever you talk about with your instructor stays only between you and your instructor it is a form of trust. She explained the Instructor has been deceived and hurt a lot in the past so it was difficult to prove your trust and loyalty to your instructor.
When first coming to the team her instructor automatically judged her, told her that “I have a weird feeling that you are lying and you do not want to be a world champion, you came for alterior motives”
I noticed that the woman was always getting scolded or on thin ice with my martial arts instructor. She always seemed to be messing up tasks that were given to her as her job. She always seemed afraid that she was going to be kicked off the team and sent home. Every team member that comes from another state can be kicked off the team and sent home at any time. Any member of the team will confirm this. This is a consequence that looms over all the athletes.
At one point I thought she really was being sent home.
She had been trying to tell me, and others. She asked us hypothetical questions like “would you do ANYTHING to be a world champion” and she’d tell me she did some things she wouldn’t normally do but her instructor asked her to do it and he said she was proving he can trust her. She explained the things she did for her instructor was a test to see if she would really do anything to be a world champion. That she would keep her word to him and do anything he asked her to do. And she would do it without hesitation to prove her loyalty and that she was an android. I always thought it was something different, like she messed with someone’s credit card or something but I was so wrong.
Her instructor would both ask and instruct her to do sexually inappropriate things with him. Re-affirming his instructions with things like “I thought you said you wanted to be a world champion, and you said you would do anything I tell you to do without hesitation”. He would make her repeat to him over and over that she loved him like a script.
If she ever hesitated or questioned he would call her a liar and say that she didn’t really want to become a world champion and she wasn’t serious about her goals.
This activity went on for a couple months and then he asked her is she would give herself to him sexually, and if she would have sexual intercourse with him.
That’s when she broke down and came to me she was so wrapped up and confused about the tests and hazing she came to me for guidance. And I am happy she did so that nothing else bad happened to her.
What he has asked of her and made her do is disgusting and abusive. I am so grateful she came to me and I was able to open her eyes.
To explain to her that it was wrong, that she did not have to do those things to prove she really wanted to be a world champion.
I think, but cannot confirm that there are other victims on the team. I would see the instructor sleeping in the same hotel room in the same bed at tournaments with other female teammates. Multiple teammates have also been called to his room to give him massages alone together with him in a hotel room, which I always thought was a little inappropriate considering he is there Martial Arts Instructor.
I trained with the team for over a year. 6 months into my stay there I was offered a unpaid mentorship as his internet assassin, and I would be trained to do internet marketing.
The rules on the team were “no inter team dating” and “you always follow instructions 100%” now that I think about it, both rules together breed the perfect environment for the martial arts instructor to take advantage of his female students sexually. Dangle the dream of being a world champion in front each member of the team to control their every move.
The instructor never did anything to me, the training environment was not the healthiest at times, but I was never harmed. And I cannot speak for other male members, but each has their own story. In addition several of my teammates have left the environment within hours of hearing the story I told them. This confirms that each of them had their own suspicions of what was going on.
I was in charge of a project to make several websites, with the soul purpose of covering up the google search results of keywords.
I now realize that it was wrong to do that. And people need to be informed before they choose to associate with the instructor.
I apologize to the female team member and the other female team members I have spoken about. I had to break her trust and warn others about the situation. She confided in me and was not ready to tell anyone about it. But as my moral responsibility the world needs to know. And I encourage anyone who has been affected or controlled by Lloyd Irvin to speak out.
In closing, I have left the team for good, I have ended all ties with team lloyd Irvin and will never have anything to do with it again in any capacity. I came to the team
thinking it would be the best thing for me, plenty of good training partners, hard training, and to learn marketing. I was a fool, and I apologize to anyone that may have been affected by my actions while on the team.