First Name Last Name

Royce Gracie
Royce Gracie

First Name:

Last Name: Cleveland
City: Coeur D'alene
State: Idaho
Country: USA
School: Iron Lion Jiu-jitsu Academy

Reader Comments
You must have a subscription to view privated comments.

1. Submitted by Jacob on Thursday January 19, 2012 10:00 PM
I've been a student under Derek for 6 1/2 years now, and I have yet to see an instructor that pays more attention to detail and respects people the way he does. I have seen his team dominate BJJ tournaments and take probably every MMA title that has come its way. I am very proud to be his student, and I would never be able to change instructors even if I had to.

2. Submitted by Elli on Friday January 20, 2012 1:35 PM
My children and I have been students under Proffesor Cleveland for the past 4 and a half years and are so proud to be a part of the Iron Lion family. He encourages strength of character, diligence, respect, loyalty and positive attitudes for all of his students and has created a learning environment that brings the best out of every participant. Coming to class really is like a gathering of family each and every time. We are honored to be a part of it!

3. Submitted by Sandie on Friday January 20, 2012 7:33 PM
Derek has come from a family of martial artists. Because of his passion as a child at the age of 7, I (Derek's aunt) introduced him to Kodenkan Jujitsu. I have seen him excel throughout the years learning every martial arts possible & incorporating it into his own style. My husband, a Yodan & myself, a Nidan, have instilled the tradition, respect & techniques of a good martial artist. Derek listened & has become very successful, now owing 2 Dojo's. Derek never forgets his roots & gives credit where credit is due as well as loyalty. He is a patient instructor & is respectful & dedicated of all his students as well as their family members. Derek's perseverance, humility, dedication, respect, loyalty, patience, kindness, understanding & courage has made him a rare & incredible instructor that anyone could ask for. I don't say this because we are related, I say this as a proud martial artist!

4. Submitted by Tina Howard on Friday January 20, 2012 8:07 PM
We as a family feel very blessed to have Derek Cleveland as our instructor in Bjj, We beleive him to be the very best in the North West! We are treated as family,and not just students in his school and look forward to each class. Thank you for your knowledge, patients,and respect with all who attend.

5. Submitted by James on Saturday January 21, 2012 12:04 PM
I am very happy with this school and Derek is all you could ask for in an instructor. Besides the patience and attention to detail, He is character oriented. I wanted my children to be able to defend themselves but more importantly I want the discipline and fitness lifestyle incorporated that comes with his training. I would highly recommend him and his school.

6. Submitted by Sean Keough on Sunday January 22, 2012 12:15 PM
The whole Keough family is so thankful to have Derrick Clevland as or Bjj instructor. He has so much wisdom and knowledge in Bjj in how to teach kids of all ages. He has passion, patience , and discipline . Derrick is always ready at the drop of a hat to train, Derrick is a very generouse man. I can't say enough!. Thanks, Derrick

7. Submitted by Nick on Monday January 23, 2012 11:12 AM
Professor Cleveland is a consummate professional and a truly gifted martial artist. His technical, coupled with his interpersonal skills; make him a amazing instructor. He's legit as they get.

8. Submitted by Wolfgang on Thursday January 26, 2012 5:15 PM
Professor Derek Cleveland is an astounding human being and the northwest's best martial arts instructor. His academy in coeur d' alene, Idaho is full of great, well spirited martial artists that are truely caring people. Professor Derek Cleveland is the reason I turned away from the bad crowds I was hanging around. His dedication to help me and the rest of his students helped me achieve my status as a martial artist and a person. He propelled me to win 8 tornaments in the northwest and place 3rd and the world championships. He has always been by my side and i thank him for that. He is a great instructor and a great friend.

9. Submitted by AJ on Friday January 27, 2012 2:02 AM
Derek (My Oldest Brother) is a phenomenal instructor, mentor and person. He has always had a passion for teaching and has a style of teaching that really reaches you within. He began teaching me many different styles of martial arts around 6 or 7 years of age (before MMA or Jiu Jitsu was well known). My time with him was cut short about the time I reached middle school due to him moving to Coeur D'Alene; however the spark that he gave me led me to excel in Wrestling in my High School years. Even now at 30 years old I have recently found my way back to studying Jiu-Jitsu because of his influence. The confidence, discipline and mental strength he taught me as a child has helped me excel in many areas of my life as an adult. Through the many ups and downs in my life he has always been there for me and I can not thank him enough. My hope one day is that my son (who is now only 7 months old) will be able to train with Derek when he comes of age, so he too can possess the confidence and skills that Derek instilled in me as a child.

10. Submitted by Robb on Saturday January 28, 2012 12:45 AM
I have been going to Iron Lion academy for a few months now, but in those few months I have learned a significant amount more then any other previous place combined. Not only has my brother gone and trained under Derek for many years, but many of my friends have as well. There is nothing but good things to say about Derek. I will continue, and I know many others will continue to go to him for years to come. You can never stop getting better if you train at Iron Lion.

11. Submitted by Jesse on Saturday January 28, 2012 4:12 PM
Training under Professor Derek has been the most rewarding experience of my life. He has made me the man I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. I can honestly say that there is no better instructor. From the mental aspects to technique, Derek covers it all in such detail. I would not be an undefeated MMA fighter and a successful BJJ competitor if I did not train under Professor Derek.

12. Submitted by Shawn Lawrence on Saturday January 28, 2012 6:11 PM
I walked into Professor Derek Cleveland's Iron Lion Jiu-Jitsu Academy over two years ago looking for a discipline for my son and after watching him train for 14 months I started BJJ at age 41. Professor Cleveland is a True Martial Artist who lives by the Samurai Code. He is humble in that he sees himself as a white belt who's always learning. He has created a family environment where all students and their families feel welcome and respected. You could search long and hard to find or match his depth of knowledge in Martial Arts. I'm honored to have him as a Professor/Sensei and I'm very grateful for his contribution to my family and for his friendship.

13. Submitted by Rick Albert on Sunday January 29, 2012 12:47 AM
I have had the pleasure of knowing Professor Derek Cleveland for over 6 years now. In that time, he has helped my boys and myself in learning the art of BJJ. His Iron Lion Jiu Jitsu Academy is not only a great family atmosphere, but is a superior learning environment. His attention to detail is what makes this man so unique, he is so passionate about teaching that he inspires people to learn. He is not only a great Teacher/Sensei, but he is also a great friend!

14. Submitted by Anonymous on Sunday January 29, 2012 11:46 PM
We are very proud of all of Derek's accomplishments in martial arts. I wished he lived close by so that we can attend his school as well. Keep up the great work Derek!

15. Submitted by Nate on Monday February 20, 2012 5:00 PM
I have learned ju jitsu under derek for 10 years. In that time I have had to move away several times and trained with other instructors. While they all had something great to offer I found that Derek has a passion for teaching that is unsurpassed in my experiences. His technical breakdown of the game has allowed me to always hold my own when training elswhere. I look forward to many years of learning from a great coach.

16. Submitted by Mariela Jones on Wednesday March 7, 2012 8:39 PM
Hardest Training I've ever done. Yet by far the best and funnest. Thanks Derek

17. Submitted by Chris on Thursday March 8, 2012 12:40 AM
Derek is a knowledgable and great instructor he always wants the best for his clients and goes above and beyond

18. Submitted by Coco on Thursday April 12, 2012 2:52 PM
Derek is a awesome teacher he trEained my son for years I would never go anywhere he reallt goes out of his way for his students and shoots for perfection!

19. Submitted by anonymous on Tuesday February 26, 2013 3:13 PM
derek is a phony. its sad to see so many people under his web of lies. ask him where he got his black belt. i have heard him tell many different stories. ralph gracie(lie),cesar gracie(lie), rigan machado(lie). bart smith gave him a blackbelt because his school became affiliated with bart's. has never rolled with any of his students, reason being he cannot roll. he is a you tube balckbelt. its sad to hear people talk about his resect for others and the martial arts way. ASK SOME QUESTIONS, CHECK HIS LINEAGE BEFORE YOU JUST ACCEPT EVERYTHING HE SAYS. what a joke

20. Submitted by James on Tuesday February 26, 2013 4:25 PM
My children have been in Derek's school since 2007. I would not even think of placing them in another school. The training they receive is excellent. My son competes in tournaments and the level of instruction shows. He has done very well. I am grateful for all the levels that Derek teaches, everything from character development to the physical aspect. I wish that other people had the character to not leave comment like anonymous.... At least have the guts to say your name. As I stated before... My family will stay with Derek. He has my respect and admiration.

21. Submitted by AJ on Tuesday February 26, 2013 5:55 PM
Derek was teaching me Jiu-Jitsu/Mixed Martial Arts 25yrs ago when I was 6 years old. As long as I can even remember he was training almost everyday with multiple instructors and learning multiple disciplines. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; however saying he is a phony is going pretty far. I was a student and lived with him 25years ago, and I can tell you his Lifestyle, Skill Level and dedication to Jiu-Jitsu/Martial Arts and his students is most definitely real.

22. Submitted by Sandie on Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:19 PM
To the Anonymous person...who are you to judge & what is your martial arts expertise to judge another? An exceptional & confident martial artist never has to prove him/herself to others. Only those who show this type of disrespect has no integrity or respect in themselves. As far as UTube goes, I've seen Derek & his students train & believe me, it's no UTube 'set up'. You not only insult Derek, but his students & their families with your ignorant comment. Derek doesn't have to prove himself to you or anyone else. Derek started from the bottom, he trained hard& worked hard & became successful in his martial arts career. Derek has heart, passion, respect, loyalty, humility, patience, perseverance...he's a strong technician, he's traditional in the way he runs his Dojo. His students & their families are an extension of his spiritual family. Something you'll probably never understand. Derek had earned is Black Belt in the Kodenkan Jujitsu System. I know this to be true.

23. Submitted by nick on Tuesday February 26, 2013 11:11 PM
Anonymous facts are as transparent as his name. He or she has posted nothing more than slanderous personal opinion without any supporting facts. You don't have to like someone personally to acknowledge and respect their skills and talents. No one should understand this more than martial artists....real martial artists I mean. Ever been subbed by someone you don't particularly like? Ya' still got subbed! I train under Derek 3 days a week and I can assure you that you can't fake that level of knowledge, detail, passion, and physical attributes when he demonstrates a particular sub, sweep, or transition. If Anonymous has questions regarding Derek's skill sets and lineage maybe they should come in and ask him personally, train with his students, and show some common courtesy and respect. Last point, I've never seen one posting by Derek on any social media website speaking poorly of anyone, ever. Guess that's because he's a true martial artist......

24. Submitted by anonymous on Wednesday February 27, 2013 8:17 PM
it would be slander if i was making it up, everything i've said has been true. i trained with derek for years at the lions den, not once did i see him grapple with any students. and i've heard the story about the kodenkan jujitsu aka judo blackbelt he received from his aunt. he then went to california and magically came back with a gracie bjj blackbelt. he is a class act in the gym, but ask any bar owner in downtown cda how classy he the guy is a bully who uses students to finish fights for him. sorry that he pulled the wool over your eyes. all i'm saying is do some research on your classy, respectful martial artist. everyone outside his cda "bjj" circle knows he's a fake and a phony. he should be called out because his lineage is a lie. HE IS NOT A TRUE BJJ BLACKBELT, and you don't get the title professor until you are a second degree blackbelt. have fun being the joke of bjj in the pacific northwest

25. Submitted by John on Thursday February 28, 2013 8:36 PM
anonymous... I was there when Master Rigan Machado awared Derek his black belt at Bart SMith's School. Bart Smith didn't award anything. If you look Master Rigan himself confirmed the lineage. I was at the table when Master Rigan did that on this web site as well. Master Rigan come to Derek's school at least once a year and has invited Derek to be a guest instructor at his School in California at least once per year. Dont come on here and disrespect a legit BJJ Black Belt because you have some personal beef or alliance with a rival academy. The lies you tell about his behavior in Coeur D'Alene are crap too. I train with Derek in CDA and there are more local Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters who train there than anywhere in the area including Spokane. If your lies were true they woudl not be there training every night. You will also never hear Derek get involved in this type of petty rumor spreading and lies that you're trying to start. Everyone hates the guy at the top. Derek Cleveland and Iron lion Jiu Jitsu have the best jiu jitsu in the CDA/Spokane area for sure. Youtube Black belt? Give me a break. There are more documented World Chmpions at the Iron Lion than anywhere else in the area. Also the IBJJF owudl completely disagree with you bullsh*t lies. Piss off anonymous

26. Submitted by anonymous on Friday March 1, 2013 12:14 AM
laugh out loud. you are highly delusional bud. derek has been lying about having a blackbelt for 12 years. and he is under bart not rigan. he has never trained a day with rigan let alone long enough for a blackbelt. wool has been pulled over your eyes. i'd say its hilarious but really its just sad. IRON LIAR. thats all.

27. Submitted by Robb on Friday March 1, 2013 4:07 AM
@Anon You still have no proof to back up your experiences. I still do not know why you even posted on here? Do you have a specific agenda? Would you like people to go to another gym? Possibly the one you are attending? If so why not be a professional and set up adds for the place? Rather the coming on here and try and troll an honest bunch of people.

28. Submitted by anonymous on Friday March 1, 2013 11:32 AM
first off, i am not the who needs proof. i have not lied about having a bjj blackbelt for 10 or so years. ask him for some proof. if he can prove it, i'll stop. but knowing him and training with him for 6 years i'll say that there is no proof. he is lying, ever wonder why you have never seen him grapple live? as far as my agenda, it is to bring someone who portrays themself as a respectful honorable martial artist, who is actually a complete liar and phony to the table. if there is proof, i would like to see it to know my training wasn't in vain.but its ok, there is a sucker born every minute if you don't need any proof, any pictures...anything i'll buy my bjj blackbelt online and open a gym. you sheep can come train with

29. Submitted by Coco :) on Friday March 1, 2013 12:54 PM
I think what you are over looking are the results. No I havent gone digging through anyones past to prove anything, thats a paprazzi job I trust the results I get and results of the people i train with. I mean I am not looking at where he came from becuase I'm basing it of what is being taught what is being learned and the progress of all. How would your training be in vein? Any skill learned cant possibly be in vein, are you mad from what you learned? Why did you stick around for 6yrs if you thought it was all bull? Sheep really? because those who have trained and benefited under Derek are happy with their results and their instructor? I fail to see the point in the negativity your spawning, other then you want proof of his lineage for your own personal satisfaction.Your right, anyone can claim anything but the proof of their word shows in the quality of their skill work and dedication.Based on those things thats proof enough for me.

30. Submitted by anonymous on Friday March 1, 2013 11:12 PM
o.k. coco, here is analogy on why i need to know my teacher has actually done the body of work he says he has done, other than the fact that honesty is a great trait to have. say you send your kid to school and he's in a math class. would you want his teacher to just know the answer because he googled it or actually be able to explain it because he has worked the problem out before himself? derek has not done the work. bjj is suppose to be an honest, respectful sport. your lineage is very important to a serious practioner. his fakeness makes what belts that he gives out completely irrelevant in a legit brazillian jiu jitsu world. i am sorry about the negative way i come across but how he carries himself aggravates me. phony. iron liar. i'm done

31. Submitted by John on Saturday March 2, 2013 1:10 AM
If you want proof. Check with the IBJJF. Check with Master Rigan Association. Contact Zen Walker the manager of the Rigan Machado Association. Bart Smith didn't give anybody a black belt. If you trained there for "6 years" then you know he is legitimate by the training you received. As far as grappling Derek rolls with upper belts all the time. His students compete nationally and always come home with hardware. More so than any other school in the inland northwest. You sound like a douche bag with an axe to grind. You should tell people where you train so normal respectful people know to avoid it as not to be infected with your negative attitude and disrespectful lie spreading agenda

32. Submitted by anonymous on Saturday March 2, 2013 2:50 AM
ok. so lets say master rigan gave him a blackbelt. you understand how that works right? you pay a fee and a percentage then you're school gets to carry a real bjj name. he has never trained our earned, i'll say, a belt under master rigan. it is a purchased affiliation belt and was purchased maybe 2 yrs ago. that a side, i am speaking more about the 1st "blackbelt" he was awarded. that he's been claiming for 10+ yrs. it is a lie bud. as far as rolling with upper belts. you understand when i say rolling, i mean live, 100%, both guys trying to sub each other. not a demonstration or a slow roll. big difference genius. i'm gonna call b.s. on that. he has never gone live with students, in front of people. ever.

33. Submitted by anonymous on Saturday March 2, 2013 3:41 AM
i am done guys, i probably should apologize to the world's only 0 degree blackbelt who makes his students call him "professor". the guy who has lied for 10+ yrs about having a gracie backbelt. the recent affiliation, bought blackbelt. but, i just cant...

34. Submitted by John on Saturday March 2, 2013 12:10 PM
You're right. You should apologize. You're a jack ass trying to use this site to discredit another school with out giving your name. Stop calling me "bud" by the way. It's annoying and make you sound dumb. It's funny now how your allegations change once you get the proof you asked for. But then you drag a legend like Master Rigan Machado through the mud with allegations that he is selling black belts? Where's your honor? Master Rigan Machado a member of the founding Gracie family and one of the first black belts of his generation arguably the best grappler to ever step on the mats equalled only by Rickson Gracie is going to trade a black belt for an affiliation in Coeur D Alene Idaho, a place he has no tied to. Don't be an idiot. Master Rigan awarded Derek the title of professor by the way. In public at a seminar. Derek has been invited by Master Rigan on several occasions to be a guest instructor at his Hollywood academy and has made the trip every time he has been invited. As far as his first black belt earned in Japanese jiu Jitsu goes, well his Aunt Sandie who was there when it was awarded and a black belt herself has posted above confirming it. I don't know when the last time you trained with him was or if you ever have (and I have my doubts) but yes he rolls live at full speed with his upper belts who have the skill sets to avoid injuring some trouble spots he has. But as he approaches 50 years old no matter how in shape you are there are some trouble spots. So you've said your done before... I really hope you mean it this time because the reality is if you did train there in the past you left the academy and we got rid of you. After seeing your behavior here, getting rid of you is a positive for any academy. Go about your business and take your hate someplace else. We'll just keep training under one of the best instructors I've ever met. And I've rolled all over the country and in every academy in the inland northwest.

35. Submitted by Coco :) on Saturday March 2, 2013 1:09 PM
Perfectly said John

36. Submitted by anonymous on Sunday March 3, 2013 7:05 AM
okay, i will stop calling you bud, lets just go with bitch. so, listen here bitch. the belt with rigan, what else would you call giving someone a blackbelt you have never seen roll, rolled with, or has never put in any work under you training. derek is a good talker and i'm sure he sold rigan on his imaginary skills the same way he did you bitch. his kodenkan bullshit belt, thats great, it doesn't change the fact that he changed it to a "gracie blackbelt". he never has rolled, thats bullshit. never done any competition. he's a phony and a liar bitch. don't drink the kool-aid

37. Submitted by Coco :) on Sunday March 3, 2013 12:36 PM
Anonymous, now really that is extremely disrespectful. Your issue is with Derek why don't you take it to him rather then insulting the students? I do not think that's right at all. If I have an issue with someone I'm going to take it to that person directly not everyone around them. You come on here and insult people you don't even know while remaining hidden. If this is so important to you take it to Derek and let him squash this with you. Why put down and drag in and insult everyone else. I can't help you validate your skills. I'm not here to offend any either I resent being called "sheep" for majority are pleased with Derek and the Iron Lion but to go on here and call students a bitch and stuff? That's way out of line you brought your negativity here what type of reaction did you expect to get? No one on here can clearly give you what you want you have so much to say n can be so bold as to put it on his page, if you feel so strongly you need to take this , out of respect, to Derek to his face. You say you speak the truth quit hiding n confront then. People are on here to pay their respect and show gratitude naturally people are going to be angry so you can't get offended when it comes back to you. As of right now from what I see there is nothin to prove your word so that makes you story just as phony as you claim his to be. I'm doin my best to be polite on here but this whole thing is really fucked up

38. Submitted by Jacob on Sunday March 3, 2013 5:11 PM
Anon... Why do you care? What is your purpose here? I really don't see one. I have been training with Derek for almost 8 years now. I have rolled with him numerous times myself. He has made me both Idaho and Washington State champion, as well as the NW regional champion back when I competed. All of the skill I used to do so was taught to me by him. Now, please explain to me how a fraudulent black belt can teach me the details that stopped and shut down all the reversals I encountered. It definitely didn't come from Youtube. Those guys barely go over the techniques. I've seen Derek throw in an extra 5-10 steps for every move I was showed while training with my cousin in Hawaii (Relson Gracie Academy). Also, I would love to know where your proof is to support your argument. All I see here is someone saying random stuff and slandering my instructor. Unless you can prove that what you say is legitimate, please leave Derek and all of us at the Iron Lion alone. You don't train with us obviously, so it's really none of your business what we're learning or who is teaching it.

39. Submitted by John on Sunday March 3, 2013 5:53 PM
I knew that you being done was too good to be true!!! Ha ha... Call me what you like. Everything you type is propaganda to discredit the best instructor in the inland northwest because you train at some small little school that can compete. Everybody is going to hate the guy that's out front. Well keep on hating... But save some hate because we're moving forward and wait until you see what we are doing next. I've answered your questions and given you the proof you asked for. You have given no proof to back your propaganda and lies. What gym are you training out of? What's your first name? It's best you tuck your tail and walk away now before you embarrass yourself any further. We'll see you on the awards podium... Well, maybe we won't see you there but you'll see us.

40. Submitted by Ryan Thompson on Sunday April 14, 2013 2:47 PM
Trevor prangley is better

41. Submitted by Tony L on Saturday November 9, 2013 11:17 AM
I started training with Derek over 10 years ago. I took private lessons 5 days a week for the first 5 years I trained. During that time I rolled with Derek every single day. Over the years I have traveled all over the country to train with some of the greatest BJJ practitioners on the planet. Some of the people i have trained and rolled with: ADCC Champion, 5x IBJJF and the best grappler in the world Marcelo Garcia, 7th degree black belt Royler Gracie, World champion and founder of world champion team Alliance Alexander "Gigi" Pavia, the first graded black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr. Rigan Machado, 6x IBJJF world champion Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles, IBJJF world champion Tarsis Humphreys, Ralph Gracie black belt Dave Camarillo, fifth degree black belt under Carlson Gracie Marcelo Alonso and numerous world class MMA/UFC fighters. I've learned from the best of the best, so believe me when I say Derek is the best instructor I have ever trained with. You can have all the knowledge in the world if you can't convey your knowledge to your students none of it matters. Derek has an uncanny ability to teach techniques in a way that is rarely found in any type of teacher. Coupled with his teaching ability Derek has an insatiable hunger and love for BJJ that keeps him constantly searching for new ideas and innovations that keeps his students constantly evolving their games. Many BJJ instructors teach the same techniques year after year, Derek is revolutionizing his students games month after month. It's no accident his students have completely dominated the west coast tournaments. I read in the comments that Derek's "live grappling" ability came into question by an "anonymous" poster. As I stated before I rolled with Derek daily for 5 years until his breathing problems became too difficult . In 2013 Derek was diagnosed with a rare life threatening lung condition that answered the question as to why he has been unable to roll live the last 5 years. Anyhow, I have more experience rolling with Derek than anyone. I've rolled with the very best and Derek ranks among them in technique, skill and knowledge. Anyone who knows BJJ understands how it feels to roll with truly exceptional grapplers, so again believe me when I say Derek can apply his techniques as well as he teaches them. As to the comment of lineage, I don't care if Derek got his black belt out of a Cracker Jack box. Derek knows BJJ inside and out and anyone who has ever trained with the caliber of people I have will tell you he is a phenomenal instructor.

42. Submitted by anonymous on Saturday April 5, 2014 3:03 AM
Billie Magallon is living in Kenewick, and uses a different last name. It's not Strouse either.

43. Submitted by nick laudenglos on Thursday May 29, 2014 1:45 AM
Not knowing Derick Cleveland on a personal level, I can say that he is a fantastic coach at the revolution. I've reffed hundreds of matches and his coaching was spot on.

44. Submitted by Jay on Friday July 18, 2014 12:38 AM
I was one of Derek's 1st students when he opened up his first school in north idaho. 1997 I believe, on government way in hayden lake. It was called North Idaho Martial Arts Academy. Derek was a great instructor, and he showed me stuff that I use to this day. He never rolled with is back then, but that could be attributed to the fact that we were all brand new white belts. Bjj/mma here was in its infacy. I enjoyed his classes quite a bit. Anyways, for the sake of bjj's purity, and the need to self-police our sport at all times.. Even at the risk of being labeled a "creonte," I have to confirm what's being said about Derek. From day 1, he proclaimed to be a Ralph Gracie blackbelt. We know this is false. See, back then you couldn't just jump on the internet and fact check this stuff. You weren't just gonna hit up Ralph and ask him. There was no reason to doubt the man. Years after I left I looked into it, emailed Ralph gracie, and learned that he wasn't a gracie bb, but he remembered derek attending a couple Gracie seminars in SoCal. That's as far as the affiliation went at that time. Now I will never say he isn't skilled, and it's entirely possible that at a point between then and now, he became a legitimate bjj bb. Not far fetched at all. Take what I'm saying for what it's worth. He's a good teacher, good guy, and everyone can learn from him. But the way he represented himself back then is bullsh*t. This is tough for me as I really liked the guy, hope he gets past his health issues. But this is what dissuades the rampant lies and claims that plague our sport.

45. Submitted by Elli on Friday July 18, 2014 12:39 PM
I find it really in poor taste to discredit someone based on what may or may not have happened in the 90's. I hope people who know me aren't judging me based on who I was then but rather who I am today. So, in turn, I would simply like to say that Coach Derek Cleveland has been an absolute blessing to our family over the last 5+ years we have been students of his in many capacities. He has helped shape our lives with his excellent training, support, teaching and encouragement. He is the epitome of an upstanding, gracious, honest and integral member of society. My son Hunter started training in Jiu Jitsu at the age of five (he's now 11), and he continues to grow in his skills with each class. I know we are not just another registrant paying our tuition each month, but rather, part of the Iron Lion family, cared about as individual people. We are grateful to Coach Derek and his team and will continue to support and recommend the Iron Lion to everyone we meet.

46. Submitted by Anonymous 2 on Friday May 8, 2015 4:37 PM
its funny how many people do not know the real Derek Cleveland. Where do I start. Started robbing banks with some friends in the early 90's before snitching on them to the Feds. Then bought his black belt from Bart Smith (Bart has actually admitted to this now). For years Derek taught children and adults with so much courage and respect, all the while going downtown CDA every weekend and literally beating the fuck out of helpless untrained citizens and would even encourage his fighters to do the same. I know, I experienced it first hand. Then he got sick, and everyone supported him financially because he was broke and needed help. Oh then he was caught buying Rock Revival jeans with the money "raised" to cure his disease. As stated above, why doesn't he roll with his students? It's quite simple, He is a fraud.

47. Submitted by anom on Friday May 8, 2015 4:55 PM
Why did the gentleman who did time over the bank robbery come train at iron lion as soon as he was released?

48. Submitted by Anonymous 2 on Friday May 8, 2015 5:04 PM
Idk, I'm not in the bank robbing industry. I wonder if the one who is still in prison because of it will train there when out. I hear he's not too fond of the situation.

Post Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to the post. Inappropriate or promotional comments may be removed. Email addresses are required to confirm comments but will never be displayed.

Name (required):

Email (required):


Darell Moodley
Darell Moodley