Guest View: ‘Keith Raniere Lied About Being East Coast Judo Champ — I Know, I Beat Him’

Keith Raniere [left] said he won the East Coast Judo Championship when he was 11.

It was always part of Keith Alan Raniere’s bio that he was the East Coast Judo Champion when he was 11. Sometimes he called it the Eastern Coast Judo Champion and sometimes he got a little confused and said he was 12.

But the point is that just like he claimed:

  • He spoke in full sentences by the age of one
  • Was reading by the age of two
  • At age 12, he taught himself high school mathematics in less than a day
  • Taught himself three years of college mathematics by age 13.
  • He played many musical instruments
  • Taught himself to play piano at a concert level by age 12

He also always claimed

  • At the age of eleven, he was an Eastern Coast Judo Champion.

HIs bio gives no other details. It does not say who he defeated to win the championship; no date, no venue, no qualifiers such as weight division, belt designation, how many rounds he fought – as is customary when martial artists list championships on their bios.

One might assume that, since the ‘world’s smartest man,’ and a teacher of ethics, saw fit to mention it in his bio, his judo victory was significant and a verifiable accomplishment.

Unfortunately, no newspaper thought it worth reporting.

Raniere was 11 in 1971. Searching 1971 and going every year for a decade on either side of 1971, there is not a single news report of Raniere winning any judo championship in any of 5,100 newspapers archived by – including Raniere’s hometown newspaper – The White Plains Journal News – which might have thought it newsworthy that an 11 year old hometown boy defeated the assembled judo masters to win the Championship of the entire East Coast.

Online evidence shows Raniere may have competed in the East Coast Judo Tournament held in Newark, NJ.

The amateur tournament – which has been held every year since late 1960’s – is not ranked as an E level event and therefore does not attract top martial artists. Nor does the tournament publish records.

That may be because the tournament is for children. It affords students from local Dojos [Judo schools] in New York  and New Jersey to have a ‘recital’ where children  – starting at age four – compete with kids in other schools in front of their parents.

Raniere may have appeared at the East Coast Judo Tournament and competed with other boys in the yellow or green belt division. He may have won a ribbon.

For a child to get a ribbon, and, as an adult, claim he was East Coast Judo Champion is like the little girl in Miss Agatha’s Dance School who won the Shirley Temple pink ribbon for tap dancing saying she was dancing champion of the entire East Coast.

Now here comes evidence that our Vanguard may have been lying even about winning the children’s competition.  Bradley Hammel writes to the Frank Report.

By Bradley Hammel

I have been watching The Vow and HBO and this whole thing is surreal.

I remember Keith Raniere’s name because I beat him in my first judo tournament at age 10 or 11 (1970 or 71). The tournament was a local tournament with four dojos.

I was a member of the Closter Village Judo Club (Closter, NJ). The tournament was at the Westwood Judo Club in Westwood, NJ. It was on the second floor of a building that was above a Ford dealership.

There were one or two other dojos at the tournament.

Mr. Raniere came from another dojo (I do not remember which one). There were usually two divisions for an age group at that time, lightweight and heavyweight. We were in the heavyweight group.

In the end, we competed in a semifinals match. We fought to a tie and went to overtime. I remember that I had thought I had lost but the judges and referee awarded me the victory.

So Keith Raniere was not a judo champion or even expert. At the time of the tournament, we were both yellow or orange belts (white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, black is the ordering of belts).

I continued on and off with judo into my early twenties and reached the rank of brown belt. I do not remember seeing Mr. Raniere at subsequent tournaments. I do not know if he progressed past orange belt but he was hardly an expert or champion.


Thanks Bradley for giving us the plain unvarnished truth, but frankly another of our illusions have been shattered about our Vanguard. Next we’ll learn he is not really the smartest man in the world.



About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • I think Keith Raniere’s Judo obsession (his “belt system” scarf rankings, mentioning he was an East Coast Champion, video footage of him fooling around and doing “Judo moves” in the HBO doc) has a lot to do with the fact that he lived and operated in upstate NY which actually happens to be home to one of the best Judo Training Center’s in the United States; The Jason Morris Judo Center in Scotia, ran by 4x Judo Olympian Jason Morris who is around the same age as Keith and whose club and students are constantly in the local press for producing home grown Olympians and Judo Champions. This is a little known fact unless you happen to be a Judo aficionado, but Keith would have essentially constantly read about this Judo club in the local press and perhaps even modeled his “sash system” after it.

  • I also watched the entire series of The Vow—fascinating and a very shameful account of, at the very least, a Narcissist. One could also say he might have been a victim of abuse back many years; and playing that out with his adult followers—it also appeared that his desire for attention and power were so misguided, that it was a relief to me to see that he was hunted down and seized for Court hearings and later, prison. Things have a way of: “What goes around, comes around.”

  • I’m impressed that the judo story had even a slight basis in reality. Also that KR “fought” to a tie in round one!

  • Maybe Keith’s insecurity about never progressed in judo is the reason he created the sash system in NXIVM. So little boy Keith could finally be the winner, and his pathetic white belt could become the exclusive white sash.

    • All these bullshit claims by Raniere were out there for years. The retards of NXIVM used them to recruit others. Not only did they probably not bother to check the truth, especially when he displayed zero talent in any of his claims, but even when stuff came out, they still jerked off to him. Raniere AND his retarded followers are dumb.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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