I recently received a comment from my YouTube video post...Ken Gabrielson, First American Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.    

Scarred10-why would anyone want a belt they got by doing overpriced privates with no sparring needed.Belts are worthless,performance on the mat is the only thing that matters.The whole bjj world knows reylson is a joke.
ken isnt a real black belt,reylson sells belts.Look at his site,twice per week privates with students( not reylson) for 3 years gets black,no competitive performance required.Ken supposedly got his black in 1992,the only academy open long enough to have black belts at that time was rorians in torrance,kukuk was the 1st and richard bressler should have been next but left rorian like everyone else with a brain.
ive trained wrestling bjj for 15 yrs now,ive lots of respect for the art but none for grades not earned through real grappling ability or for clowns who sell those gradesTHE SAME GOES FOR ANY ART AND ANY INSTRUCTOR.
Do you have an example of this?
yeah i have an example ,ken got his belts from reylson via overpriced private lessons in old school self defense,not sparring against resistance for an average of 10 yrs like everybody else.Kukuk was the legit first black after a decade with rorion.Ken is the only 1 of the early blacks that isnt credible because reylson isnt credible.I dont live in the states so my name would mean nothing to anybody there.I got this info on reylson from several prominent sources in californian bjj.Reylson is obviously real black belt from the time he was in brazil but decided to just throw integrity out the window on the plane to america.
Who am I?
i know exactly who you are,ken was your first bjj coach,you were a great fighter with tons of heart in the mid to late 90s.Ken may be a great coach,he has lots of experience in several styles but when he got his black belt,it wasnt credible in any other coaches eyes.He should be black standard by now anyway ,anybody would be after that length of time.
I think I understand. I just watched a Renzo/ Kukuk video on YouTube and checked out his web training website. He is a great instructor.
Scarred10-Are you saying that you are ignoring the fact that craig was the first black belt outside brazil and just choose to believe ken was?Craig earned his the hard way(1992 in rio from royler) and the only way that anyone has any respect for.mat ability.Richard bressler started with rorion in 1979 and still was only a brown in 1994 when he left the academy.Seeing as reylson was only in the states a very short time in 1992 when ken claims to have gotten black,how long did ken train with reylson? 
I trained with rickson in 1999 for a few months but wouldnt join his assoc since evrything was about money,shortly after that his son died and he completely lost interest in the school since then 
Regarding kukuk,lowell anderson who fought in one of the early ufc was his first black belt.He has a website and school now and teaches mma and bjj(no gi).Ive never seen him grapple so i dont know how good he is.Best teachers ive ever trianed with were rener gracie and chris haueter(one of dirty dozen).Im still only a brown belt after 15 yrs due to travel and lack of coaches in the area.
So, is competition the deciding factor here?
craig never competed in bjj as far as i know in the states,he may have when he was in brazil,i dont know .There were no comps for black belts in the states up until the late 90s anyway.Competition isnt the measure of a black belt,sparring is ,some people dont like the whole comp scene but are incredible in the school matches.I can guarantee you royler,rorion gracie and renzo dont let guys who arent legit teach for them.Everyone knows the same cannot be said for reylson.Even rodrigo went back to brown when he went to renzo to be trained for a real black belt.
I believe I need to speak with Kukuk.
yeah,talk with him if you can,id love to hear an interview with craig about the early days,80s and 90s,it would be controversial no doubt and lots of gracie feathers ruffled.

The Dirty Dozen are the first Americans to receive Black Belts from the Gracie's. The argument was who is exactly the very first? Ken Gabrielson or Craig Kukuk?
Kukuk got his from the old man Helio himself. After he left Gracie Torrance, he and Rorion got in a dispute over royalties, so Royce went up there to personally "yank" the black belt from Kukuk, who then hooked up with Renzo (Carlos' #2 son Robson's #2 son (Renzo's brothers are Charles and Ralph). Reylson was Carlos' #3 son, father to Rodrigo) when Renzo needed a foothold in the USA. as a result, they made pretty much the first bjj videos. but yeah, all in the family, so splitting hairs.
My opinion is that first or second, it doesn't really matter. What matters to me is what have each of them produced since receiving the Black Belts and who has competition footage, and where is it? I personally won a shit ton of fights and titles in MMA and Bjj with the skills and knowledge Ken has taught me. I haven't heard of one thing Kukuk has done besides a video with Renzo, Reylson's son. I actually, for awhile thought that Kukuk received his belt from Renzo and thought that wasn't even a valid argument until Ryan gave me the correct info. As far as competition, I personally watched Ken compete against Gustavo, Joe Moriera's cousin at a Pan Am in like '98. It was a stalemate with Ken having the only submission attempt from his guard. Gustavo scored no point to my recollection. I have recently watched a vintage Kukuk/ Renzo video on youtube and was super impressed. Even more than after I saw my first Gene LeBell video, where he choked his buddy out cold with a rear naked.