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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More on Oklahoma Martial Arts Frauds

So help me, one of the things in life that just "gets" me is how easily otherwise skeptical people will fall, when it comes to seeking out martial arts instruction, for the most pathetic lines of BS imaginable. They may have figured out that certain television evangelists are frauds, they may have figured out that Tibetan Go-whatsis-berry juice isn't really the fountain of eternal youth, and so forth, but let someone claim that they created the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, or have teacher's level certification in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, or have multiple tenth-degree black belts, or to have mastered multiple martial arts systems by the age of twenty-five, and does their bullsnort detector go off? Do they even bother to google the supposed "master" to check out his claims?

God forbid!

We have a few martial arts frauds in Oklahoma. I will not name names. At least one of them is notoriously litigious. But to reiterate what I have said before: if you are not fairly experienced in martial arts--and I am not claiming to be an expert myself, mind you--the odds are **** good that, confronted with someone who is a little bit better than you are and who can spew a good line of swill, you won't be able to tell the difference. In other words, you, Mr. Joe Off-the-Street-Smuckatelli, who's never gotten past yellow or green belt in anything, just by looking and watching, you will not be able to tell the difference between someone who's gotten fairly good at some material that he learned by ordering DVDs on kenpo and pressure points and someone who's actually been practicing in person under established instructors for twenty years. More often than you might think, you will not be able to tell the difference between different systems of martial arts. If I put them all in the same uniforms, like as not, you wouldn't be able to tell the Shotokan guy from the Japanese Goju Ryu guy from the ITF Taekwon-do guy. You will not be able to tell the diffence between somebody who is really good at Ed Parker's Kenpo and someone who's picked up a little kenpo from videotapes and added it to his taekwon-do repertoire.

And people do lie about their martial arts backgrounds. There are people who've made up whole systems based on God-knows-what, and are passing themselves off as "masters."

How the heck do you find out?

Well, for a start, you might take the obvious step of googling them. If you google the name of a "master" of a purportedly old system of martial arts, and you can't find out who his instructor was, or who his instructor was, and so forth, that's usually a red flag. In the older systems, everybody knows his "lineage." That is, they can all tell you, "I took from so-and-so, who took from so-and-so, who took from so-and-so."

If you google his supposedly classical martial arts system and find that all the results point directly or indirectly back to him, well, that doesn't seem terribly likely, now does it?

If you google the guy's name and find out that the folks at Bullshido have made him a running joke, that's not a good sign.

If the guy claims to have invented the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, you might, for the love of all sanity, google "who created the marine corps martial arts program."

Exactly why the heck people would make stuff like this up, I'm not sure. Yes, there's a little money in it. If you've got fifteen dupes students, each coughing up fifty-sixty-seventy simoleons a month for whatever it is that you're teaching, sure, that's pretty good pocket change. It just seems to me that if you're going to tell whoppers of that magnitude, you ought to be getting more than that sort of chump change out of it.

Look, there is good martial arts instruction to be had in Oklahoma. There are two RyuTe instructors, though one of them (mine), due to ill health, is not likely to take any more students. There are actually several pretty good Japanese Goju Ryu teachers, who can trace their lineage very clearly right back to Yamaguchi Gogen. There are some Okinawan Goju Ryu instructors. There are some very legitimate instructors of Ed Parker's Kenpo. There are a whole cluster of good Aikido clubs.

Every single one of them can be checked out on the web and their claims investigated. If you're interested in martial arts, for your own sake, CHECK THEM OUT!

End of rant.

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