Mark Turner - BJJ

Corey Kuropas

Dec 13, 2007
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Can anyone tell me about a BJJ instructor named Mark Turner. I know he's a purple belt in BJJ, and teaches here in Illinois, but besides that I don't know much. Any info is appreciated.
If you dont want to read this, ill be posting about Mark Turner soon. I will be moving a lot of the posts i made from that forum to this one and would love some feedback from other posters(especially black belts).
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I joined Mark Turners gym in late 2016 got injured and then returned in 2017. I officially left in the late summer of 2018 with a few other students mostly due to the lack of professional behavior desplayed by Mark Turner. A few others have followed suit and it seems like he isnt going to change no matter what.
Throughout the years Mark Turner will post either on his social media accounts or the team only group chat that hes traveled abroad and medaled in various ibjjf events. The picture is usually only of his medals and captioned "good haul" (he takes pride in the fact that he competes with the ultra and super heavyweight competitors while only weighing 180) except he never posts that the division was empty or there was only 1 other person. Its like he doesnt think people can check the brackets. Its a complete lack of respect for his students and other members of the community intelligence. Its ridiculous. This is a man who stresses #factsdonthavefeeling.
Its become a bit of an embarasssing situation. Yes his personal views are the same and he has no problem sharing them, like a professional (sarcasm) in the middle of demonstrating a technique. He took the fun out of bjj for me and i for one am glad that i removed myself from a toxic environment. Its become a bit of an embarasssing situation. Yes his personal views are the same and he has no problem sharing them, like a professional (sarcasm) in the middle of demonstrating a technique. He took the fun out of bjj for me and i for one am glad that i removed myself from a toxic environment.
Ive been competing in either judo or wrestling since i was 9 and was taught to go out and compete and the rest will work its way out. The funny thing is, mark turner is actually a really talented black belt, its weird. His ego just wont let him in a postion where he might lose. Ive seen him rolling with a blue belt and not taking it serious, next thing he gets caught in a kimura and stops the roll right there to "show how to finish it". Smh
In 2018 Mark Turner signed up for a tournament at super heavyweight(hes a light heavy at most) alone. At heavyweight the bracket contained one competitor so he moved up to super heavyweight. In response, Mark actually moved down to heavy. The competitor moved again back down to follow Mark to compete at the same weight class and Mark Turner answered by moving back up again to super heavyweight. The other guy consequently droppedoit from the competition. Smdh. Why would you sign up for and travel to a tournament to NOT have a match? Its almost as weird as signing up for a tournament in Europe knowing that you wont have a match and traveling there anyways. I guess it helps when you have sponsors paying for it and all you do is send them pics of your medals instead of actually winning. Its a shame that he is a representative of such a highly acclaimed black belt in Demian Maia (Mark Turner is Demains first non brazillian black belt and highest ranked insteuctor in the u.s.) and Wagner Mota. I feel bad that their brand ia being associated with this situation.
This is a post from 2013 from somebody else:
Seems like the IBJJF should let more people enter the black belt divisions because aside from the Pans and the Worlds, the local opens have huge gaps in their divisions. So the result is you get guys who lost their only match winning medals by default. I wouldn't blame the competitors themselves for that. Most would take their medals, go home, and own up to the fact that they didn't win any matches. But then you have the guys that put it on their resume, or post it on their facebook or twitter without disclosing they didn't win any matches.

This guy is a case in point. He "wins" and brags about his bronze in the NY open, but he had one match and lost in a 4 man division. The next week he enters the Las Vegas Open, two weight classes above what he competed in the week before. Why would he do that? To challenge himself? No, because his true weight class had 4 competitors. So he wasn't guaranteed a medal. He goes to Heavy with one competitor because he's guaranteed the silver, where just the previous week he competed at Middle. He lost and is now the silver medalist. Didn't enter the Pans though? Congratulations on your participation medals.

Here are his win announcements:

Mark Turner some crazy rules in his academy such as "no clapping". Typically in a bjj class after the instructor has demonstrated a new technique the class goes 123 clap, right? Not at Mark Turners academy. And that is a rule he heavily enforces. Last year he flew sophia mcdermott to his academy for a seminar. Well, she does 123 clap. And at one point she went to do the clap after a technique and Mark Turner took it upon himself to stop her. He physically put his hands on her wrists and told her "we dont do that here". Wtf? How does a person put his hands on another because theyre doing what has always been a tradition? Im not here to come to her defense she doesnt need it. But i just cant help but wonder A) what kind of person thinks that behavior is ok B) how is said behavior the way you act as a representative of Demain Maia and Wagner Mota?

Mark Turner will never admit he is in the wrong. My hope is that eventually people who Mark respects will one day see this and eventually let him know that he needs to change his ways and be honest and somewhat kind to people. That his behavior is unacceptable and that theres a reason most black belts on the Chicago and the bjj community have very little respect for him at all and thats hes making the association look bad. It is a bit ironic that Mark Turner is all about "facts" when he spews his rhetoric. But if you bring it up with him, you're ill-informed and a weak minded asshole. Its a shame really
Mark turner of demain maia bjj why dont you ever compete at any local tournaments so your student and family can see how youre a world class competitor? Is it becasue you know that your actions embarass Wagner Mota and Demain Maia?

Conversation in 2018 i had with Mark Turner

Me: why dont you compete at the Chicago Open?

Mark turner: i dont like to do the local tournaments so i can focus on training my students and coaching at the event.

At that upcoming tournament Mark Turner showed up on Saturday to "coach" his brown and purple belts who competed and made sure to get a picture. But the next day not only did he not show up to coach his white and blue belts (the people who actually needed him) but he sent out a text message to the other instructors after the matches had already begun to cover for him for the day. So much for focusing on coaching his competitors. Its a good thing another student had shown up with his 5 y.o. daughter to watch the matches and cheer on their teammates (me ).

The weeks leading up to the competition were pretty common for the Mark Turner bjj academy:

Mondays wouldnt show but would text the brown belt who teaches the kids class last minute to cover for him

Tuesday: only day he actually ever comes in and runs the clock and jumps in to roll for the last 2 or 3 rounds while yelling "keep rolling you can die when you get home!"

Wednesday: similiar to monday but with a different brown belt

Thursday: see monday and wednesday

Friday: fundamentals class run by a different black belt, no sign of Mark Turner

Saturday: huge numbers for the gi and nogi classes taught by two amazing instructors but no sign of Mark Turner

Sundays: big classes taught by an awesome instructor no Mark Turner in sight


I guess getting your competitors ready for tournaments really isn't such a priority to Mark Turner of Demian Maia bjj.

At the chicago open that year i saw the coaches from 3 of the 4 largest teams in chicagoland area competing and coaching BOTH days. They didn't need one of their blue belts who showed up with his 5 year old to watch the matches, to coach their athletes.

So really my question is...Mark Turner with so many black belts in the area who would love to have a match against you, why won't you show your skills to your students and compete in the chicago open? I doubt they'll even care if you jump up 2 or 3 weight classes to "test" yourself.



Right, Mark Turner? ;-)
To the instructors in this forum?

Would you condone this type of behavior from someone who reps your affiliation that knowingly misrepresents to his students and is a bit of a joke with other black belts not only in the local community but the bjj community, like Mark Turner is? Would you be ok with one of your main black belts, like mark turner, being known as "oh....that guy...."*snicker* *eye roll* ? If you did find out all the info would you sit him down and let him know that its.not acceptable? If he argued how would you respond? How should Demian Maia tackle his first american black belt, mark turner, emabarassing him? Because thats what hes doing, embarassing him.
My aim isnt to call into question his black belt. It is to educate and let future consumers know that maybe this isnt the most healthy environment to learn and enjoy bjj.
I have seen people misrepresenting medals a lot, not mentioning how big the division was, if it's was at black belt or in a masters division. People compete at lesser but impressive sounding tournaments on purpose too.
I have seen people misrepresenting medals a lot, not mentioning how big the division was, if it's was at black belt or in a masters division. People compete at lesser but impressive sounding tournaments on purpose too.
That would be one thing but hes taking money from sponsors(where the money can go to an actual competitor instead), the gym(which is losing members), and business partners just so he can pick up his participation medals and actively not compete at ibjjf events.
You really don't like him do you?
Everything you mentioned are pretty standard things you can encounter in shitty clubs.