Okay there are literally con men and women in all walks of life. This is also true in the Martial Sciences. While the majority of martial practitoners are not frauds. They certainly are out there. We have all met that guy or gal who simply has too good of a story about their training in the Martial Sciences. (at least most of us have) Usually when it is too good to be true then it probably is. As a practitioner you owe it to yourself to know who you are training with. Before you train with somebody do a little research. Look into their background in the Martial Sciences. Find out who they have trained with and see if you can interview or talk to any of their current students. Even more importantly look online to see if they have ever been arrested. Training with someone is a big deal on your martial path. You owe it to yourself to take the time and investigate before you start training with someone. I was asked the other day by another IRT practitioner to write a blog about frauds in the Martial Sciences. My hope in this post is to save someone from training with a known fraud or someone who simply is a liar. Don Roley a respected Bujinkan practitioner and a long time Japan resident wrote a blog awhile ago regarding frauds in the Martial Sciences. His post is very detailed and can give you a lot of things to look out for. You can read what he wrote here:
Some where along the line anybody who trains in the Martial Sciences should be able to prove that they trained and had a teacher. Pretty simple the teacher can vouch for them or other students can vouch for them. They should be able to easily lay out who they trained with and when they trained with them. Really it is not that hard.
Take for instance my credentials. I can lay them out pretty easily.
I started training over 32 years ago in Tae Kwon Do and I was blessed that my instructor Jeff Fields was also one of the finest Modern Arnis Guro’s in Michigan at that time. So we fortunately got a lot of FMA with our training. I will always owe Jeff a debt of gratitude as he was the best instructor a young man could ever have had. This is easily verified by several friends that I have and you could also contact Jeff. Before training with Jeff I also had a very brief stint with a Kali gentleman who helped me realize that I wanted to train with Dan Inosanto so I started going to Dan Inosanto seminars around the Midwest just as soon as I could drive. Trust me during those seminars and training sessions I learned a lot and was fortunate that Dan usually brought a guest instructor along like Cass Magda, Herman Suwanda, etc. Jeff could only take me so far in Tae Kwon Do so I moved forward with it and trained with Master Humesky. Early on in my training with Master Humesky I was introduced to several other Korean martial systems like Hapkido, Tang Soo Do, etc. Easily verified by people who know me, his website and of course you could call him. Moving along I began training in Budo Taijutsu with Otto Cardew around Ann Arbor, Michigan. While I was a private lesson student at the barn I also had a good friend regularly train with me by the name of Bart Uguccioni. Your welcome to call/email him or Otto and check my credentials. I continued training and had the real advantage of training with Doron Navon, Mark O’Brian, Greg Kowalski and more when they would come to the UofM Bujinkan for seminars. I attended Tai Kai’s with Hatsumi Sensei and the Japanese Shihan, trained with Phil Legare at the Dexter Bujinkan Dojo and also traveled to Japan to train. Just a little later during this same period I also started training in Brazilian Jiujitsu at the Warrior Way just after it had started up. I was blessed yet again to train over a long period here during the noon training time with Harvey Berman, Don Daley III, TJ Yakabur, Fausto and others. During that time we had Rolker Gracie in, Royce Gracie, Caique and more. All yet again verifiable by contacting someone. I also went to some other BJJ seminars with the Machados to get a different feeling in BJJ. Now during all these years I trained with a lot more people during seminars. Most notable I spent some time and had more than a few private training sessions with Modern Arnis legend Remy Amador Presas. I was really fortunate to have been introduced to him early on in my training with Jeff Fields. I believe the first seminar I ever went to was in Burton Michigan at the old American Eagles Academy which then was immediately followed up by heading to Detroit and training in another one. (I was 15 or 16 at that time) I cannot remember all of the seminars and lessons but there were a lot!!! I also did some amature kickboxing for a while won a championship and have people who saw me fight and I could easily use as references to prove it! I also competed on the tournament scene and lord knows I can easily prove that with a slew of witnesses. Now after graduating from Michigan State University and going through the police academy and my wife graduating from Medical School in Detroit and finishing her residency we moved to Alma, Michigan. There I started up the IRT North Training Hall and began teaching there for ten years. During that time I traveled to train but I also had people in regularly to teach or I visited them. People like Rich Parsons, of Modern Arnis and Balintawak, Brian “Buzz” Smith of Kuntaw, Grand Tuhon Jerson “Nene” Tortal of Dekiti Tirsia Siaradas, Mike Asuncion of Budo Taijutsu, Bob Orlando of Kuntao Silat, Dan Anderson of Modern Arnis 80, Remy Presas Jr., and so many more. All of the above is pretty easily provable not only by those individuals but by students who also trained with them! I also have a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University, went through the police academy at Lansing Community College, worked for the DNR, was a private investigator, etc. All easily provable. Pretty simple really. Even though I have been around the block I can provide references to prove it. It really is not that hard and should not be hard if you ask some one to do so! Anyone you train with should be able to provide references!
All of my friends in the Martial Sciences can easily give references on who they trained with as well. It really is that easy!
Bottom line if you ask someone who they trained with they should be able to explain it to you and give you references. So far in my training I have yet to meet anyone who trained with some secret master. Not a one! I have not met anyone who couldn’t say who they trained with and give references. Really it is not that hard.
So when you are deciding to train at least do some research on whomever you plan on training with. Check them out on the internet. Talk to a current or former student. Look to see if they have ever been arrested. View or participate in a class to see if it is for you. Be careful but understand that if you just look into some ones background then you could save yourself from some issues!!!
One fortunate thing is that frauds in the Martial Sciences are not the norm. Sure there are a good amount out there but they still make up an overall small amount. Still check anyone out that you plan on training with! More than likely if it sounds to good to be true it just might be! Check them out!!!
Agreed, but I want to say something here about Chinese martial arts giving out info and frauds
My first shifu was legitimately trained in China and when he first came here would tell you who he trained with and where he trained. However as time went on he started adding people, all in China, that were not verifiable to the average American. He did get caught by the Chen family and told to stop claiming a lineage he did not have and to stop saying he trained with the Chen family since he did not, but there are several others in China that still have no idea he was making these claims. He is legitimate in some things, sanda and modern wushu but he is a fraud in almost all of his traditional Chinese martial arts claims. However this does go if it looks to good to be true, it is. And if someone is claiming mastery of multiple styles generally they are not telling the truth. I get real suspicious once they get past 3 and even then I have my doubts
There was another woman, also Chinese, who I believe is in the Northeastern USA who claims to be a student of a Chinese shifu and even has pictures with him as proof. The Chinese shifu she claimed as a teacher found out and did make a statement on one of his student’s websites saying he has no idea who this woman is but he remembers her walking into one of his seminars with a photographer and asking to take the picture.
Another gentleman in NYC (with the sir name of Yang) was claiming to be the Grandson of Yang Shaohou and claimed to have even trained with him. He did magazine articles and had his students convinced. However if you knew how old he was and when Yang Shaohou died you could tell right away he was lying. There was also a statement made, on the Yang family website, by Yang Zhenduo calling him a fraud and a liar.
A man in Beijing tried to claim he was the last legitimate student of Wang Xiangzhai but in Beijing things are different and he ran afoul of the Yao brothers who made him take out an ad in the main Beijing newspaper saying he lied. I can only speculate that the consequences of not doing that would have been rather painful it is different in China. The Chen family member that told my first sifu to stop making false claims insinuated that as well. But as he said, this is America so there is not much I can do, but China, things would be very different
It can be rather difficult to find out who is real and who is fake in CMA and many Americans are fooled by a Chinese person making such claims
Something that makes this even harder is that a lot of these old school CMA guys from China do not say much about any of these frauds to anyone but their students, unless they start making claims to be students of their teacher, family or them. They also are not really free when giving out information about themselves to people they do not know. And they have been known to agree with people (who are not Chinese martial artists) that they or their martial art are fake in order to make them go away. Heck I won’t give out information to people I do not know over the internet and I will never post who a shifu is if they themselves do not have a website and/or do not advertise.
In Traditional CMA it can be real hard to figure out who is fake and who is not because of the claims to teachers in China that you cannot verify and the old school guys not feeling the need to tell you anything just because you asked.
When inquiring across countries and culture some times things can be very hard to check up on. In Japan very, very, very rarely would a teacher say anything bad about someone else even if they were a mega fraud. Here is another link to thread on Budoseek please read Don Roley’s post regarding just that situation: http://www.budoseek.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?27030-Small-Dilemma That particular thread is talking about how someone fooled American practitioner’s of Budo Taijutsu for a very long time. Cultural differences, time zones, language can all post a problem in verification of certain people’s credentials. However, most of the time you can get enough intel so that you can make a decision on whether to train with them or not. That or after awhile their lies/fraud will be exposed and you will then know. Still language, time zones, culture can pose a problem.
Thank you I am glad you enjoyed it!
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