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!!!