I return once again to the subject of fraud.
It shames an industry which is supposed to be built upon integrity and other like values that there are so many who are shamelessly promoting themselves beyond all credibility. As a small word of advice, I recommend that you do not put too much faith in the claims of most martial artists. Inflated rank, false histories, fake lineage, fake martial arts, the list of problems goes on and on.
There was a martial arts instructor in central Texas who asked me to certify him at a higher rank than he was worth, I refused. He went to my instructor, who also turned him down. Eventually he found someone who would do him the favor he was asking. I sometimes shiver when I think about the amount of money I turned down when I refused his offer, but I did the right thing and kept my integrity intact.
In the words of Goethe “I wish that the stage was as high and narrow as a tightrope, that way no incompetent would dare step upon it.”
I wish as much for martial arts, but sadly, it is not. For most martial arts instructors, when you look at their bios, it is little more than garbage. Mostly it is exaggeration, and a lot of it is outright lie.
Among the fraudulent martial arts “masters”, there is a common practice of backing up the outlandish claims with fake science. It is important to learn how to identify these frauds in order to avoid becoming a victim. As much as I love to tell people that all martial arts have value, it is not really true. Fighting itself is a low art. There are really only a very limited number of ways to hit and kick someone. One thing that constantly baffles me is the ways in which arts which are proven beyond all reasonable doubt to be pure frauds still have people who follow blindly and swear by it as if their very life depends upon your opinion. There is nothing new under the sun. There is definitely nothing new in fighting. The so called “new arts” are really nothing more than repackaged old stuff.
Another favorite of mine is where the frauds try the claim of “I do not talk bad about your style, so you have no right to talk bad about mine”. This is preposterous. When they try this line I often think of Jack Nicholson telling Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!”
False logic is common among the frauds. Where a legitimate martial artist will provide evidence to show that they are right, the frauds simply question your right to think they are wrong. I have been called closed minded many times for refusing to believe the load of garbage handed to me by the fake “masters”. I don’t believe in ghosts either. Or the tooth fairy.
A student should support and defend the reputation of their instructor. I believe this, and did so for my instructors. But I have to say that you still must use your rational mind. If you are aware that your “master” has given his rank, titles and status to himself, or purchased them from a diploma mill, then you are a fool serving a fool. Earning rank and titles from a self appointed master makes you nothing more than the next in line of a fraud. It is still your choice, and you may do what you wish, but you should use your head for something aside form just a hat rack.
Let us take a look at the overused term “Soke” (pronounced ‘so key’). When the term is used correctly, it is applied only to those who have been appointed by their predecessor as such. In America, it is very common for people to call themselves “Soke” because they have “created” a “new” style. To become a Soke in America, all you have to do is call yourself one. It is not a big deal here. There are too many sokes and not enough students in this country. If you need the security blanket of having the title of Soke put upon you from another person or entity, there are many and more organizations which will be happy to give you the title for a small fee. The organizations which are outright frauds are nearly as numerous as fake masters. Sadly, almost every fake master has his own fake organization. I hate that some of these idiots claim shelter under the law which states that fraud is “the promotion, for profit, of something known to be false or unproven”. They claim they really believe their own B.S., and therefore it is not fraud as defines by law. As George Costanza said, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
The worst part about these people is that they are completely unconcerned with the fact that they teach all of this crap and then when one of their students ends up in a real life or death self defense situation, they will probably get killed which their Qi Blast doesn’t work.
Do not confuse belief with fact. Always treat the claims of any instructor with the scientific method – It must be observable, explainable, testable, and repeatable.