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aikidoc
12-20-2004, 10:45 AM
I have noticed recently there seems to be a quite a few aikido frauds cropping up in various places and some are being exposed by various forums. This seems to be increasing. By frauds, I categorize them "aikido frauds" based on the following criteria:

1. Lofty ranks awarded by organizations that cannot be identified or located. Lots of 6th to 10th dans (usually the person is in their 40s).
2. Start their own "style" of aikido with weak credentials to do so. Usually no traceable lineage. Many have never held higher than 3rd dan in a legitimate organization.
3. Organization sites which have dubious, non-verifiable rank histories or questionable promotions.
4. Promotions and styles are often sanctioned by dubious Soke Organizations which frequently sell their ranks. They say they don't award ranks just document earned ranks.
5. Websites frequently have dubious claims about their skills or they have studied under masters that no one has heard of or can verify.

How do we stop this from happening? I don't have answers and don't know if we really can. My concern is we are going to end up with a public being duped and legitimate aikido ranks will be watered down. Many times the new student public does not have the experience or knowledge to see through the bovine feces. They see the 10th dan or 5th to 6th dan and don't have the knowledge to realize they are bogus degrees.

I am concerned this will end up causing some of the same things that have happened to some of the other martial arts where rank is so bogus in most groups that it has little meaning and has destroyed the credibility of the art. Such hucksters often prey on the popular arts with impunity. We now seem to be fair game.

aikidoc
12-20-2004, 10:50 AM
Oh, I'd also add the following:

6. Aikido ranks being awarded by non-aikido organizations: karate for example.

akiy
12-20-2004, 10:58 AM
Hi folks,

I just wanted to intervene here and ask that no specific names nor information that can be pointed towards any specific individual/organization/etc be discussed in this thread. Thank you.

-- Jun

aikidoc
12-20-2004, 11:30 AM
No problem.

Jorge Garcia
12-20-2004, 11:48 AM
I guess that the old adage, "may the buyer beware" needs to be in place here. New people need to do some research and ask questions but I would think that good research comes first. Unfortunately, in every field, that is the problem. Car dealers dupe millions of people every year by taking the customer into the finance office to buy the vehicle. In fact, the dealer will never try to give you the best deal on the financing. If you want that, you have to get the financing through an outside company that will work for you.. The dealer works for himself. The finance man gets his commission off of any additional products he can sell so they are highly motivated to add stuff on. Only research will reveal that. I was cheated for years because I was too lazy to do the research. The martial arts public feeds the problem by not doing their homework. As aikido becomes more popular, this may be a trend. I know one dojo where the instructor is now offering his own ranks. He did so after realizing that every one coming through the door didn't know who the Hombu Dojo was until he told them. At some point, he decided to keep the money he was sending to the Main Headquarters for himself which was all legal and proper. The ethical problem is that he is taking advantage of the public's ignorance because they don't realize that his certificates aren't as valuable as the ones from the Hombu. We can fight it at least by educating the people who come to check out our dojos on what they should look for in a martial arts school.
Best wishes,

David Humm
12-20-2004, 12:03 PM
<gets can opener out>

There is unfortunatly nothing physical that can be done to "prevent" the fraudsters.

Exposure on the other hand is something that can be undertaken but, this must not be done without forethought for one's own reputation which I can assure all of you, if you decided to expose a person whom you have evidence of their fraudulent activities; you yourself will suffer a denting of your own reputation as the "defenders" of the supposed fraudster counter attack your and I quote...

"Campain" "Victimisation" "Un-aiki" "You do not know the meaning of Aiki" exposé.

Only comit yourself if you have the courage of your convictions to stand tall when many will critisise your actions.

Dave

David Humm
12-20-2004, 12:08 PM
Oh and before I get slated AGAIN - I won't post further on this subject.

Anyone wishing to PM me however is very welcome to do so.

Witch-finder sorry I meant Dave

aikidoc
12-20-2004, 12:18 PM
I suppose exposing them also has the risks of legal action.

Jorge's points are good. How do you tell it is a good aikido dojo?

Here are some of my thoughts.
1. Verifiable rank: You can verify the rank with a legitimate (maybe mainstream is a better term) aikido organization with a direct lineage to O'Sensei. And that does not mean studying at a weekend seminar with a person with a link to O'Sensei). The sensei should not be offended by you checking them out. Why should they have anything to hide?
2. The instructor should be willing to post his rank certificates in the dojo and explain where they came from and who awarded them. Where's the lineage? The lineage should also be from legitimate instructors authorized to issue rank-not karate organizations or soke organizations who will do it for the money.
3. The instructor does not make outlandish claims-humility is the mark of a good aikido instructor not one with an ego a mile high bragging about all he/she can do-like cutting paper or moving people with ki.
4. Willingness of the instructor to allow students to attend seminars. This is a real red flag. Questionable instructors often don't want their students to go to seminars especially with quality shihans since the student might see reality.
5. Check around-watch some aikido tapes, read some forums and then watch a class. If it looks strange it probably is strange.

Can anyone add some more to this?

John Boswell
12-20-2004, 12:42 PM
Two thoughts:

1) Aikido FAQ. This is an excellent source that new-comers to aikido need to be refered to. It is quite through and answers most questions, but takes a while to get through. I remember when I first looked into aikido 3 years ago, I spent a week just reading everything on this web-site and STILL never covered it all.

2) A "Caution" sign in dojos. Members of bone fide organizations could come up with a poster/sign that explains who/what they are, what affiliation they are with. Have a second paragraph that explains that many styles of aikido are out there and that there are also "schools" that are not legitimate... that the students should feel encouraged to ask question. AND, where the asking of questions is not welcomed, that this should be taken as a sign to keep looking.

Just my 2 cents. ;)

Michael Hackett
12-20-2004, 12:54 PM
Educating the walk-in student is difficult at best. Many, if not most, walk in to a dojo after seeing a movie or a Discovery Channel program and have an interest in learning the art they just witnessed. They have no idea where the art came from, how it developed, what it represents, or how difficult it is to achieve any level of competence. Most also seem to have the belief that a "black belt" represents mastery of the art and that is the endpoint of study.

I think it's important to educate potential students when they arrive to a certain point. In our dojo, Sensei receives many telephone calls from potential "Never Trained Before" students. His standard litany is to invite them to the dojo to watch a few classes and talk with him. If they do so, they at least have some idea of what they are getting into.

A friend of mine was teaching karate several years ago and a guy came in and asked how long and how much it would cost to get a black belt. The school up the street told him that they would guarantee him his black belt in one year for $2000. My friend told him that he would award him a black belt that day for $100, and then went on to say that no one would recognize it, he wouldn't be able to teach, he'd get his butt kicked in tournaments, and he wouldn't know anything, but he would have a black belt. He told the student that it wouldn't be any worse off martially, and would save a year and $1900. After a few minutes of discussion, the prospective student decided to actually study with him and earn his rankings. From what I was told, the guy studied a year or so and then dropped out due to lack of interest.

I don't know that you will ever eliminate the frauds, but you can influence those you come in contact with by giving a few minutes of education and straight talk.

Bronson
12-20-2004, 01:16 PM
When I receive enquiries I now also invite people to check us out through independant sources. I supply the url's for both AikiWeb and E-budo and encourage them to ask questions about me, my sensei, the dojo, and organization. I also encourage new students to check out the other teachers in town. I tend to agree that when someone doesn't want you to see other classes it smacks of shadiness.

1. Verifiable rank: You can verify the rank with a legitimate (maybe mainstream is a better term) aikido organization

Hmmm, I don't know if I'd say mainstream. I don't think Seidokan is mainstream but I'd consider it a legitimate org. independant from Aikikai Hombu, I'm sure there are others.

Bronson

bkedelen
12-20-2004, 01:20 PM
Each and every person who has a dubious heritage has to live with that fact every time they claim themselves as an authority. This is true whether the infringing party is falsely claiming to be a Navy Seal, Secret Government Agent, or Aikido Soke Level 20 Grand Master Of Flowers Ryu-ha Lord. It is not the responsibility of the rest of us to point out how ridiculous they look, as they are already painfully aware of it. Best to just not patronize their "studios" and proliferate educational material about the history of our art.

mj
12-20-2004, 01:32 PM
You cannot get rid of fraud, or in this case 'questionable claims'.

Martial Arts are not a well covered subject, and minor branches such as Aikido and others remain totally unknown to most people except through chance or desire.

kironin
12-20-2004, 02:00 PM
I suppose exposing them also has the risks of legal action.


Going around exposing them could be a tricky business in the US.
I post this only in the interest of helping someone who feels strongly enough about a local issue and has all the facts to back up their statements. There is an affordable way to make it expensive for someone to come after you with a lawsuit or to attempt to intimidate you with a lawsuit or other legal action. You can check out my website :
high quality legal service (http://www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/chocker)

This is my way of supporting my non-profit aikido and iaido programs.
Personally, I think everyone in the US every needs it as much as medical insurance.


That said, I really don't know what a good solution would be in the general case. It puts a lot of burden on legitimate teachers to police the local situation given the way thinks work in this country. I would hate to see the kind of regulations some other countries have imposed. That doesn't solve the problem either and brings up other problems.

When students walk in the door who are obviously shopping, I can't see telling them where not to go because they don't have any basis to value my opinion. I ask them in what part of the city they live and if they say they have been looking I ask where they have looked. If they are not joining up then, I encourage them to try a class and then I recommend to them other legitimate teachers in town nearest where they live. I try to keep it positive. If they have visited somewhere questionable, I try to get them to check out a legitimate school. As much as I would like it to be, I know we are not a fit for everyone.

I guess by John's criteria, I know of at least one fraud and some borderline fraudulent activity by some who should know better. Trying to deal with that would probably consume the time and energy I have for my own practice, teaching my students and supporting my organization.

The best it seems I can do is to help prospective students include a good sample of legitimate schools and encourage them to ask good questions and check out useful online sources. Arm them with a little information.

csinca
12-20-2004, 02:07 PM
The "quality assurance" that some of you are looking for is going to be very difficult to achieve! This thread demonstrates some of the challenges...

1. We need to do something about these frauds ... but we can't actually name them or talk about them

2. A respectable sensei should prominantly display his rank and certification and be ready to talk about his lineage ... but be humble and not make claims

3. Of course everyone should visit multiple dojos and be on the lookout for "anything strange", but there is a rather lengthy thread at this very website debating the authenticity of "no touch throws". Now to a beginner, and apparently to a number of us that have experience; "no touch" techniques would fall into that "anything strange" category ...

Unfortunately, "martial arts" still carries an air of mystery to the general public and there will continue to be people to pray on that. If you really want to pursue some form of quality control, the "aikido establishment" whatever than may be, is going to have to be vocal about it. That includes naming names and getting specific. And then of course we are each going to in turn be thrown under the magnifying glass!

Chris

Jorge Garcia
12-20-2004, 02:21 PM
John wrote ,
" 3. The instructor does not make outlandish claims-humility is the mark of a good aikido instructor not one with an ego a mile high bragging about all he/she can do-like cutting paper or moving people with ki.
4. Willingness of the instructor to allow students to attend seminars. This is a real red flag. Questionable instructors often don't want their students to go to seminars especially with quality shihans since the student might see reality."

I recently received an invitation from a group in a nearby city to give a three hour aikido seminar. They were an unaffiliated dojo with some instructors that had cross trained and created a composite martial art of sorts. They had looked at a book with aikido techniques in it and included about 10 aikido techniques into their repertoire but they had never seen Aikido done "live" or in person. Joel Molina, our instructor in Corpus Christi and I went. I started the seminar by asking the instructor to show me their techniques and he did them for me. I then went on to teach and to show them the way my teacher, Hiroshi Kato taught me to do those same techniques. After I got home, I received the following email from that instructor. I will give only the relevant portion.

It said," Dear Garcia Sensei and Molina Sensei, First of all, I and the rest of the crew in ________ would like to thank you both for your attendance at our Dojo this past Saturday.
I was humbled and in awe of the skill level Molina Sensei and you demonstrated for us. I have to tell you both that I feel that in good conscience I will not be able to transmit any Aikido techniques to my students in the future, as I feel I will be doing them, myself and the art a great disservice. I thought about this going home on Saturday and at great length at my home. I feel that if it is not taught correctly then it should not be taught. My competence in Jujitsu, Judo and Kyusho jitsu are well developed, but my Aikido leaves much to be desired. I take my task and calling as Sensei very seriously and in good conscience cannot teach something I have learned incorrectly.
Our arts are similar but so very different. There is such a great distance from learning Aikido third hand or from a book, as there is from learning it from an extremely qualified instructor who can transmit information correctly. I have done my students a great disservice and am deeply saddened by this to the point of tears, even as I write this. Watching you both at work was like observing graceful poetry in motion. Aikido lives in both of you very strongly and for that, as a brother in the arts I am truly grateful. The students in Corpus and Houston should count themselves privileged and blessed to have you both as their Sensei. I hope and pray that I may continue this journey and learn this beautiful art...May God bless you both as well as your families and students...."

I have to say that I was impressed with this instructor. I witnessed their exam for two black belt students in jujitsu and they were outstanding. Each candidate had a two hour exam and demonstrated the best martial arts has to offer. Here was at least one example of an independent unaffiliated dojo looking for truth and willing to face it when they found it. There was no pride or fear of letting their students see someone else.
Best wishes,

frivolouspig
12-20-2004, 02:25 PM
Perhaps there should be a martial arts equivalent of ratemyteachers.com

bkedelen
12-20-2004, 02:43 PM
I couldn't disagree with you more, Ryan. Rating teachers online is not only appallingly disrespectful, but reduces the entire community to an infantile popularity contest. What there should be are sites like Aikiweb where we can communicate in a civilized manner, and dojos where we can do battle with the flaws in our own character. There is no need for a venue to expose the flaws of others.

csinca
12-20-2004, 03:23 PM
Jorge, thanks for sharing that letter. That is a great example of a sensei! Congratulations to you as well as you guys must be pretty good!

Chris

aikidoc
12-20-2004, 03:48 PM
Personally, I don't have a problem with indepent dojos-I started my aikido in one but switched to the aikikai for the reason I wanted to be affiliated with the founding organization-that's just me. There are many independent dojos and organizations that split off the aikikai at some point. Although I think it is the aikikai's position that they are doing something other than aikido (not going to get into that debate on this thread) there are many that are very legitimate organizations. Why? Well, most of these break off senseis went to high ranks and trained many years before they split off to do their own thing-some with O'Sensei's blessings.

I also don't have a problem with people teaching mixed martial arts as long as they identify it as such and don't make outlandish claims and claims of rank that was self awarded or awarded by some bogus soke organization with no claim to any knowledge of aikido other than reading about it or seen a demonstration one time. Mixed martial arts are a popular thing and a lot of people like to pull in different things. I've done some other arts and when I show my students something that is not directly aikido I tell them where it comes from. I generally put an aikido flavor to whatever I show them but if it did not directly come from my aikido training I let them know.

I think overall this whole thing gives me the ethical heebie jeebies. I know a lot of it is ego and the feeling these guys have that they are better than they are ranked. However, the ethics end of it sucks. To me, it perpetuates a fraud and dishonors the art and the teachers and students who have dedicated years to its study. The unsuspecting public may go through years of training and thousands of dollars seeking training that is sub par or will not allow them to advance or be recognized other than by their own instructor. The publich will look at a "10th dan" and say wow he or she has to be better than the 4th dan or 5th dan because they are higher ranked. They have no way of knowing it is bogus. I know when I first started aikido right around the time of the split with Tohei and the formation of the Ki Society I had no clue there was other aikido out there.

Charles Hill
12-20-2004, 04:14 PM
There is a guy in Tokyo who has a ki power/ ki breathing group and sells books and does seminars. In his promotional video and at his seminars he throws up to ten people by waving his hand at them. A friend of mine attended the seminar and was told that he only throws his top students because regular people cannot take such strong ki power.

This guy has seventh dan from the Aikikai Honbu dojo where he trained for a period of less than 10 years. I'm not so sure that "legitimate" ranks are all they are cracked up to be.

Charles Hill

aikidoc
12-20-2004, 04:46 PM
The infamous no touch throw eh? Mass hypnosis is more like it. Of course, it is convenient to only throw your senior students using the ruse that no one can take the power. There's a "master" out in California that claims he can cut paper and move people with his ki. Of course, now he can't do it any more since he was injured in an auto accident. What are these people smoking? Heck. If I could figure out how to do that, I'd call up James Randi and make some money proving I could demonstrate telekinesis.

Although his rank may be legitimate it sounds like his ego got away from him or he's lost his mind and his students are enabling him.

JayRhone
12-20-2004, 05:32 PM
I think the better part of the Aikido community can do it's part to de fraud the frauds is simply by teaching it's students the spirit of the art and being open and honest with the public. You know, explain the organization in aikido and answer questions. The general public can get informed by asking questions. The way to stop fraud is by both parties doing what they need to do. Aikido schools by being informative to the public and the public asking the questions they don't have the answers to. Wow, I just read that over and realized, I repeat myself alot. Oh, well it's late and I'm going to bed.

-Jay

MaryKaye
12-20-2004, 05:52 PM
The difficulty with invoking lineage is that anyone can lie about lineage, and it's going to be *really* hard to educate the public to tell the difference between a legit organization and a fictional one. (I subscribe to a charity rating report, and one of the recurring patterns is bogus charities with names very similar to legit ones.)

One pleasing thing I learned when I started subscribing to this report is that I'd never given money to any of the organizations they downrated. I was looking for warning signs in the solicitations, and apparently always managed to spot them. Perhaps we would do better to focus public education efforts on things that people can observe for themselves when they visit a school:

--Is the teacher generally respectful of other styles and organizations, and open to his students studying elsewhere, or is he dismissive and disparaging? Will he let students attend seminars elsewhere? I know that there are legit schools which prefer their students not to cross-train, but even they should be willing to suggest comparison-shopping to complete newcomers.

--Do the claims sound too good to be true? I recently looked at a dojo website which said "We guarantee that you will not be injured." Common sense should suggest that where there's one unreasonable claim, there will be others.

--Does the sensei come across as trying to sell you something? Does he use high-pressure tactics, extravagent promises, etc? Does he ask for unreasonably long initial contracts or high initial expenses? In my experience, reputable schools start off with fairly modest dues (dollar amounts vary by area) and may increase the financial committment for senior students, but fly-by-night schools often want the money up front--for obvious reasons.

--Are the students relatively happy, confident, and open? Or do they seem afraid of their teacher or each other, demoralized, sullen, or secretive?

--Are you allowed to watch classes before signing up?

This is stuff that if people knew it, would help them with more than aikido; and I suspect it will weed out most of the questionable aikido schools pretty well. And it doesn't get into issues with legitimate and excellent independent dojo (I've visited several of these) the way that pure tests of lineage and/or organizational membership do.

It's a sad truth, though, that if someone is ripe to be scammed, someone will come along to scam him. (I lost $125 to a scammer who managed to catch me half an hour after I had all four wisdom teeth pulled. They have an amazing nose for vulnerability.) In some ways the best we can do is to run our own dojo with the utmost responsibility and honesty, and try to shine by contrast. We can't really protect the public from itself.

Mary Kaye

aikidoc
12-20-2004, 07:18 PM
Legit vs. fake organizations are difficult to identify for the public. One "master" I encountered actually used the name of one of his students because it was Japanese to set up his organization so it sound more official.

Good comments Mary.

Magnus Brown
12-21-2004, 04:12 AM
There's a site dedicated to exposing martial arts fraud http://www.bullshido.com

PeterR
12-21-2004, 04:25 AM
And they are a joke in their own right.

Basically if you don't wrestle or do BJJ you are .... log on in and I am sure they'll tell you.

David Humm
12-21-2004, 05:03 AM
The difficulty with invoking lineage is that anyone can lie about lineage, and it's going to be *really* hard to educate the public to tell the difference between a legit organization and a fictional one.

... Mary you have no idea how hard you've just hit the nail firmly on it's head.

Even with documentary proof, it's virtually impossible to convince those who simply don't want to listen to the truth.

Dave

Magnus Brown
12-21-2004, 05:12 AM
Yeah I've been on the site (which is barely moderated) and they are mostly a bunch of one on one fighters and if you've got a thin skin you won't survive but at least they do name and shame the people who they think are fraudsters. And the only test seems to be one of proving your skills in a fight which doesn't seem like a bad premise for people who are claiming that they can fight. So if you ignore the crassness you can find out about teachers and schools, which you can't do here.

L. Camejo
12-21-2004, 06:48 AM
Hey folks,

My personal preference for checking out fraudsters is the Bad Budo and Baffling Budo sections of E-Budo.com. A lot of the Instructors who post here on Aikiweb are also signed on there and like Aikiweb, one must show their real name when posting. I've also found that E-Budo folks carry a wealth and breadth of knowledge experience well outside the art of Aikido alone, which can give some alternative perspectives on things.

As far as stopping or thwarting fraudulent claims in Aikido goes, I've had to deal with some of that here, where the general awareness of Aikido is small among martial artists and pretty nonexistent outside that sphere. Because this is a small country, what we've been doing is trying to make ourselves more visible to the public so that what they know who we are and what we are doing and also give them an idea of what Aikido is supposed to look like. We also give general guidelines regarding the questions one should ask when visiting a dojo that claims to teach any martial art, especially Aikido.

I have come face to face with Aikido fraudsters here and when they meet me they often quickly change their story in a myriad of ways while in my presence (like claiming to teach some unknown school of Aikijutsu), so pinning them down is a bit difficult. I think the best way to fight misinformation in this case is to flood the environment with a lot more correct information and hope that those who really need that information listen to what is correct, or at least question things before deciding to train with these groups. The thing is, those who have nothing to hide will welcome pointed questions on things like lineage, training methods, affiliations etc.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Mark Mueller
12-21-2004, 08:34 AM
Hmmm....a man grows up studying a variety of martial arts......breaks away from his primary teacher and develops his own interpretation and name for a "new" type of martial art....claims a spiritual connection that seems to many to be "divine" ,develops almost a cult-like following of disciples....claims the title of "O'Sensei" or Great Teacher.....sound familiar?

Don't get me wrong on this.....but there are some interesting parellels with other modern day martial artists that we label "frauds"


Maybe its all in the marketing................

aikidoc
12-21-2004, 08:41 AM
Mark: I think there is a big difference in what O'Sensei did. He actually studied and gained teaching proficiency in the arts. Many of the fraudsters do just the opposite. They get bogus soke organizations to give them ranks far above what they have earned or legitimately trained to acquire. Also, some of them award themselves their own ranks based on bylaws of the organization they set up. As the SNL church lady used to say: How convenient. O'Sensei invested his whole life in the study of martial arts and development of aikido. These people are taking major short cuts and de-evolving the quality of the arts not contributing to them. I think this is an apples and oranges comparison.

David Humm
12-21-2004, 09:16 AM
I think this is an apples and oranges comparison.Indeed, unfortunately however Joe Shmo doesn't know the difference.

One individual here in the UK (lol no... not the one everyone will assume) Publicly proclaimed on his website that he was...
"The only westerner to have ever been made a MASTER of aikido"

Thankfully that farcical statement was changed following a short email however; I did get a "visit" from a couple of his "boys" to my dojo... Classic entertainment value

Mark Mueller
12-21-2004, 09:32 AM
"I think this is an apples and oranges comparison."

John, to a certain extent I agree...however lots of times these guys do invest a particular amount of effort into whatever martial art they start with.....Ego comes into play a lot of times and they think they have a better way......and to promote it they decide to embellish...i.e. "establishing the legend" before there is one....

"He actually studied and gained teaching proficiency in the arts."

If I read Stanly Pranin's stuff correctly O' Sensei was largely self-taught with the exception of Daito-Ryu...I have read some reference to Jukendo (sp) along with some bokken and staff....but no formal certificates or learning from an "established" authority or lineage. A lot of the "frauds" out there are largely self-taught......there are just a lot more ways now to "fraudulently legitimize" (how's that for an oxymoron!) your credentials.

and FWIW who gave O'Sensei his rankings in Aikido?....once again he created his own art and placed himself at the top...not as much difference as we might think....

Jorge Garcia
12-21-2004, 09:55 AM
"who gave O'Sensei his rankings in Aikido?....once again he created his own art and placed himself at the top...not as much difference as we might think...."

O Sensei had the second highest teaching license issued by Sokaku Takeda (Kyoju Dari) and was authorized to teach on his behalf which in Daito Ryu is a rare honor. When he separated to form his own brand of Daito ryu or aikibudo, he became his own credential or as some like to say, "his technique spoke for itself". That's why his art has gone around the world. The frauds fool the gullible with inflated credentials. O Sensei never claimed to have what he didn't have and what he had was apparent to all. If a fraud tries to do what O Sensei did, he would eventually be exposed because as Abraham Lincoln said," You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." There is a world of difference between O Sensei and the modern frauds.

sunny liberti
12-21-2004, 09:56 AM
Even with documentary proof, it's virtually impossible to convince those who simply don't want to listen to the truth.You have no idea how hard *you've* just hit the nail firmly on it's head...

We're dealing with delusions and the strong desire people have to keep theirs.

My dad used to say that one should never tear down anyone's mental playhouse unless you can build them a better one. I think this is a perfect example of being able to do just that!

Legit aikido teachers are in prime position to build a better path for those who have already shown interest in aikido, but stumbled upon a crook. For those who are seeking delusion, we will never help them. They don't want it.

jebel
12-21-2004, 10:12 AM
Aikido Soke Level 20 Grand Master Of Flowers Ryu-ha Lord.

LMAO :D

kironin
12-21-2004, 10:25 AM
My dad used to say that one should never tear down anyone's mental playhouse unless you can build them a better one.


Okay, I guess, I did okay then. I visited a dojo when I first moved here and it resulted in practically getting a group thrown in my lap because the students realized their teacher wasn't any better than the 3rd kyu he had earned from a legitimate aikido organization. Just because he was wearing a black belt didn't keep his students from seeing through the deception when presented with a comparison. In the process of disillusionment, did lose some of the students, but those that stayed are strong. They had to start over.

Given he had students he had awarded a 2nd kyu to and they were starting to help teach classes, I try not to imagine what it would have evolved into in 5 more years. :rolleyes:

nipped it in the bud. :D

Bronson
12-21-2004, 10:30 AM
I've noticed over time that many people who's first contact with martial arts is one of these frauds have a difficult time admitting they chose poorly when faced with genuine training.

We'll get people in who assume we're a rinky-dink facility because we don't have: contracts, fancy uniforms with patches all over them, high-priced dues, trophies everywhere, or the heads of our vanquished opponents displayed on pikes. Because their first experience had such things and the first experience always colors subsequent experiences we are judged through that lens. Some people can see it for what it is and they'll often join us for a while but others just can't get past the lack of hype.

Bronson

Chris Li
12-21-2004, 11:13 AM
O Sensei had the second highest teaching license issued by Sokaku Takeda (Kyoju Dari) and was authorized to teach on his behalf which in Daito Ryu is a rare honor.

I'm not arguing against your point, but Sokaku Takeda gave kyoju dairi certification to some thirty people - so it wasn't all that rare after all.

Best,

Chris

jonreading
12-21-2004, 11:36 AM
Ahhh. If only dojo raiding was still acceptable...

I see a comon thread of education running through many of these comments. I work hard to learn about aikido dojo in my area by attending class, talking to current (and former) students, attending seminars, and reading up on each dojo. I believe that education is the key to minimizing the damage of frauds. When potential students ask about other dojo, I answer questions truthfully and provide information to aid their choices; I do not make negative comments or participate in name bashing. I provide resources to gather additional information and send them on their way. I have a responsibility to provide information to assist a potential student in making a decision to join a dojo. The responsibility does not include making the decision, so I avoid comments that may taint a decision.

I made a similar comments in another thread about the quality of instruction, so I apologize if I sound like a broken record. We have a duty to uphold the quality of aikido, though sometimes that is not popular.

aikidoc
12-21-2004, 12:11 PM
"but no formal certificates or learning from an "established" authority or lineage."

Besides the Daito-ryu credentials cited by Jorge, this comes from The Master Course: Best Aikido 2. p. 204 "Morihei continued his studies under Nakai even after he was discharged frm the army in 1906, and he was awarded a teachng license from Nakai's school, the Yagyu Ryu Goto Ha, signed by Grand Master Masanosuke Tsuboi, in 1908." "In March of 1913, Morihei received a first-level teachng license from Sokaku..." (Although "Aikido" states he received one in 1916). He also studied several jujitsu arts and even judo as well as the spear. So he had teaching certificates in at least two arts.

Mark Mueller
12-21-2004, 12:58 PM
"An offshoot of the mainline school of Yagyu Shingan-ryu centered in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. Morihei UESHIBA trained in this art in Sakai near Osaka from c. 1903-1908. Ueshiba's practice began around the time he entered the army and continued after his discharge when he would periodically commute from Tanabe. The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons. Records are unclear as to whether Ueshiba's direct teacher was Masanosuke Tsuboi or Masakatsu NAKAI. Ueshiba received a transmission scroll from this school in 1908 but the document bears no seals thus shedding doubt on its authenticity."

From Aikido Journal

http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia.php?entryID=230

Jorge Garcia
12-21-2004, 01:11 PM
I'm not arguing against your point, but Sokaku Takeda gave kyoju dairi certification to some thirty people - so it wasn't all that rare after all.

Best,

Chris
Even with thirty, if you know anything about Daito ryu, it's certainly not a K Mart blue light special. Sokaku Takeda's enrollment books show he taught about thirty thousand people. I don't know how you do your math but in the world I live in, that's rare enough! :)

Chris Li
12-21-2004, 01:56 PM
Even with thirty, if you know anything about Daito ryu, it's certainly not a K Mart blue light special. Sokaku Takeda's enrollment books show he taught about thirty thousand people. I don't know how you do your math but in the world I live in, that's rare enough! :)

The usual pattern would be that Takeda would breeze into town, have somebody (such as Yukiyoshi Sagawa, or his son Tokimune, who would travel with him) set up a local seminar and then move on to somewhere else. Everybody in the seminar would be required to sign his enrollment book. Most of the 30,0000 people in the books were therefore people who saw Takeda no more than once for a couple of hours. The number of students who actually studied with him over a number of years was really quite small, so 30 represents a fairly good percentage of them.

Best,

Chris

rob_liberti
12-21-2004, 02:10 PM
As John Riggs and others explained very well, these frauds do a lot of damage to aikido. My opinion is that you have to ask yourself "what is best for aikido?" and do that. I fully believe in the the Ghandi saying "satya-grah" which means "protest for truth." You speak up without fear of the counter attacks from the supposed fraudster and their supporters (like Dave Humm was mentioning). What the heck was all of that "enter without fear" training for if you cannot apply it? Aikido is worth protecting! What's the big fear anyway? - I'm not running for aikido class president or king of the prom.

As far as the devil's advocate sub-thread here about O-sensei, didn't he welcome all challengers? I have to say that if some guy just announces he is self-taught, but he's got the stuff and welcomes all challengers well I have no problem with that.

Rob

MaryKaye
12-21-2004, 03:35 PM
Given he had students he had awarded a 2nd kyu to and they were starting to help teach classes, I try not to imagine what it would have evolved into in 5 more years. :rolleyes:

nipped it in the bud. :D

I appreciate you may not want to answer this question, but I'm really curious on a technical level: what did this end up looking like? Was it sloppy-but-aikido-like or was it evolving into something else?

Mary Kaye

DaveO
12-21-2004, 04:06 PM
We'll get people in who assume we're a rinky-dink facility because we don't have: .. the heads of our vanquished opponents displayed on pikes.
Bronson

You don't?!? What's wrong with you then? Not to have heads on pikes; why next you'll be saying you don't even brand yourselved for the shodan test anymore!
Geez; the MA is really getting soft nowadays! :disgust:
:D :D :D

JayRhone
12-21-2004, 04:41 PM
I'm not arguing against your point, but Sokaku Takeda gave kyoju dairi certification to some thirty people - so it wasn't all that rare after all.

Hmmm. How many billions of people are there in the world? I dunno. But divide it by 30 and see the percentage of people in the world with these ceritifications. :freaky: Heheheheh. -Jay

Don_Modesto
12-21-2004, 05:20 PM
FWIW who gave O'Sensei his rankings in Aikido?....once again he created his own art and placed himself at the top...not as much difference as we might think....

IIRC, founders and their progeny typically have no rank. This includes the 2nd and 3rd Doshu, too.

I'm not arguing against your point, but Sokaku Takeda gave kyoju dairi certification to some thirty people - so it wasn't all that rare after all.

Chris, wasn't kyoju dairi the highest rank Takeda gave at the time UM received it? Didn't Hisa, or someone around Hisa, talk Takeda into giving menkyo kaiden?

Thanks.

kironin
12-21-2004, 05:40 PM
I appreciate you may not want to answer this question, but I'm really curious on a technical level: what did this end up looking like? Was it sloppy-but-aikido-like or was it evolving into something else?
Mary Kaye

technically not good mostly because the level of understanding about ukemi was not good.

They couldn't throw me. It's weird to think about it now because those same students are in such a different place now when I take ukemi for them. They definitely can throw me now. Back then I would just look at them and they would just look at me, I wasn't trying to stop them, there just wasn't anything in what they were doing that was close to correct and my balance was not taken etc.

my students tell the story much better because it made a big impact on them. I was just visiting.

where it would have gone I really can't say.

Chris Li
12-21-2004, 05:45 PM
Chris, wasn't kyoju dairi the highest rank Takeda gave at the time UM received it? Didn't Hisa, or someone around Hisa, talk Takeda into giving menkyo kaiden?

Thanks.

Kyoju dairi is really a certification to teach rather than a rank itself. There really were no ranks at the time, just a traditional scroll based system which is not quite the same. Anyway, Ueshiba received Goshin'yo no te and Kaishaku Soden, which were the highest level scrolls that Takeda was giving out at the time. Takuma Hisa and Masao Tonedate (Asahi Shinbun) both got menkyo kaiden from Takeda, although Tonedate's seems to have been largely honorary. Kodo Horikawa's menkyo kaiden was apparently approved by Sokaku but actually issued by Tokimune after Sokaku's death.

Best,

Chris

Lyle Laizure
12-21-2004, 10:16 PM
How do we stop this from happening?
I do not think this is possible as aikido has spread so quickly and there are so many different organizations and splintered groups. I know of an aikido sensei who also practices/teaches another martial art. This art is not very wide spread and is as far as I can find located in the state he lives, Hawaii. When a school opens and they claim to be teaching this other style, since it is very closely monitored teachers of this style know one another pretty well, so if the individual is not legit they are merely confronted and told not to advertise as such or face certain consequences. Meaning a serious spanking as I interpretted. So in short unless we go back to the day of dojo storming frauds will continue to pop up.

Jorge Garcia
12-21-2004, 10:55 PM
The usual pattern would be that Takeda would breeze into town, have somebody (such as Yukiyoshi Sagawa, or his son Tokimune, who would travel with him) set up a local seminar and then move on to somewhere else. Everybody in the seminar would be required to sign his enrollment book. Most of the 30,0000 people in the books were therefore people who saw Takeda no more than once for a couple of hours. The number of students who actually studied with him over a number of years was really quite small, so 30 represents a fairly good percentage of them.

Best,

Chris

To know that for sure, you would have to know with some authority the actual amount. What was the number of people that were regular students of Takeda vs.the temporary students? Was it 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 100, or less and can you give a source for this information?

Chris Li
12-22-2004, 12:17 AM
To know that for sure, you would have to know with some authority the actual amount. What was the number of people that were regular students of Takeda vs.the temporary students? Was it 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 100, or less and can you give a source for this information?

Well, he never had a dojo of his own, so 20,000 would be quite an unlikely number. You could check through the enrollment books and make lists, I suppose, but the fact that he had relatively few regular students is fairly well documented through interviews with his students and son, and by books like "Tomei na Chikara" (in Japanese), which gives a fairly good picture of what he was doing. If you think about it, 30 instructor level students is a fairly large number for anyone, but even more so for someone who never had their own dojo or any kind of established organization.

Best,

Chris

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2004, 05:12 AM
Well, he never had a dojo of his own, so 20,000 would be quite an unlikely number. You could check through the enrollment books and make lists, I suppose, but the fact that he had relatively few regular students is fairly well documented through interviews with his students and son, and by books like "Tomei na Chikara" (in Japanese), which gives a fairly good picture of what he was doing. If you think about it, 30 instructor level students is a fairly large number for anyone, but even more so for someone who never had their own dojo or any kind of established organization.

Best,

Chris
When I made my original point, it was not that Sokaku Takeda rarely gave out the kyoju dairi but that in Daito ryu, it is a rare thing to have the kyoju dairi. I based my idea on the fact that Daito ryu is an art that takes decades to learn because of its comprehensiveness and that in light of that O Sensei couldn't be compared to the modern frauds who just set themselves up.. Your point seems to be that thirty instructors over the span of Sokaku's lifetime isn't that rare. Should then I rephrase and say that O Sensei studied Daito ryu and other martial arts over a 21 year span (albeit for short periods of time) and therefore may have put a little more into his art than the modern frauds?

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2004, 05:20 AM
Well, he never had a dojo of his own, so 20,000 would be quite an unlikely number. You could check through the enrollment books and make lists, I suppose, but the fact that he had relatively few regular students is fairly well documented through interviews with his students and son, and by books like "Tomei na Chikara" (in Japanese), which gives a fairly good picture of what he was doing. If you think about it, 30 instructor level students is a fairly large number for anyone, but even more so for someone who never had their own dojo or any kind of established organization.

Best,

Chris


I just thought of another one. Could I say that O Sensei was different from the modern frauds in that he was a regular student of Sokaku Takeda which was a rare thing to be? :rolleyes:

David Yap
12-22-2004, 05:37 AM
I have noticed recently there seems to be a quite a few aikido frauds cropping up in various places and some are being exposed by various forums. This seems to be increasing. By frauds, I categorize them "aikido frauds" based on the following criteria:

1. Lofty ranks awarded by organizations that cannot be identified or located. Lots of 6th to 10th dans (usually the person is in their 40s).
2. Start their own "style" of aikido with weak credentials to do so. Usually no traceable lineage. Many have never held higher than 3rd dan in a legitimate organization.
3. Organization sites which have dubious, non-verifiable rank histories or questionable promotions.
4. Promotions and styles are often sanctioned by dubious Soke Organizations which frequently sell their ranks. They say they don't award ranks just document earned ranks.
5. Websites frequently have dubious claims about their skills or they have studied under masters that no one has heard of or can verify... <snipped>.

Then again, potential students are also faced with "wannabe" aikido instructors in legitimate organizations. By "wannabes", I would categorize them in the following criteria:

1. Does not have the skills and attitude of a true aikido practitioner.
2. Has a low level of integration of the powers of mind and body.
3. Possess unharmonized combination of physical means and ethical motives - potential to cause injury.
4. Still cannot get rid of the (egotistical) mean streak - the will to cause injury is innate.

Surprisingly (or not), some of these "wannabes" hold high ranks (even shihan perhaps) from legitimate organizations and their individual list of injured students could be at least an arm long. The danger is "wannabes" are molded from "wannabes". I can't help wondering that O Sensei's mission of Aikido might have taken a wrong turn at some point in time. Will it come back to its rightful path is the critical question.

Just looking from another side of the coin.

Regards

David Y

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 06:10 AM
Although your points are valid David, that strays from the thread.

rob_liberti
12-22-2004, 07:20 AM
Maybe we can solve both problems. I think someone had the idea of coming up with a new copyrighted certification. I've been thinking about it and I'd be willing to video a class I taught and send it in to a review panel and/or visit a few places and demonstrate where I'm at in aikido every year or so. If there were suggestions on how to improve my technique or my teaching - I'd be willing to pay for those lessons and implement the changes as fast as I could. I'd be willing to have people visit for inspections or suprise inspections. What do you think? As long as people with fradulent rank are willing to do the same then I'd be fine with them. We can even come up with our own teacher ranking system where loyalty and teaching ability can be seperated out from tai jitsu proficency (- as opposed to the way it is now).

Rob

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 07:47 AM
Interesting idea Rob but getting different organizations to agree on a standard is a problem. The instructor quality issue should be left in my opinion to the organization. If there is a bad or abusive instructor as David suggests, the organization has a repsonsibility to fix that problem. People are people.

So, here are some thoughts as I ponder this:
1. We could come up with a list of what generally identifies a legitimate aikido background/instructor and publicize it in our respective areas.
2. Re-implement dojo raids or challenges-too many legal issues here.
3. Hope the frauds get found out and just go away. Some get caught in their lies when their egos run away and get publically exposed. Unfortunately, not enough of them.
4. See if their is a way to get the Ueshiba family to copyright the term "Aikido" and then sue everyone who is not authorized to use it.
5. Encourage these frauds to rename their art excluding the word Aikido (I could go with this one).


Regarding number 1. Here are some thoughts on screening criteria for a legitimate aikidoka/instructor.
1. Must be certified/ranked at all levels by a recognized aikido organization that split off from the Ueshiba family and can trace a lineage: Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.
2. Ranks are in line with these organizations and not self awarded or awarded by groups with no one qualified to do so: soke organizations, karate organizations, etc.
3. Legitimate instructors should accurately document credentials on public media such as websites. This is not to be an ego thing but rather to establish credentials and accurately reflect what you have "earned". I know some don't like to do this especially at high ranks (opposite of what the fraudulent high ranks do) but not only should the rank be documented but when it was awarded and by whom or what organization. The rank should be verifiable through the organization. No excuses for certificates getting burned up in fires or awarded by someone nobody can find or some defunct organization. If you have legitimate credentials from a legitimate organization and it gets burned in a fire you can get it replaced. They should have a record of you anyway and it can be verified if you can't afford to replace it.
4. Senseis in legitimate dojos should be willing to display their rank certificates on a wall in the dojo if possible unless working in a YMCA or something like that. They should be willing to show and prove to students their rank and source without getting offended that someone asks. Usually, people with legitimate credentials do not have any problem with being asked to provide proof of their rank and its source-probably because they can.
5. Legitimate instructors should attempt to keep in contact and or at least know where their instructors are and actually should be able to name them. A good red flag is the instructor cannot remember who they studied with. If I earn a black belt with someone I should be able to remember their name-besides sensei:). Their instructors should actually be people that are living or who have lived in the past and that this is verifiable. In other words, given the ease of finding people with today's technology, I should be able to locate and if desired contact these people.

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 07:58 AM
Another approach would be a red flag list. If you see some of the following, run, run, run:
1. Rank awarded by a soke organization, non-aikido organization or the individual themselves through an organizational charter.
2. Multiple high dan ranks. Generally, these are not verifiable. Sometimes they are from styles the person made up themself. Frequently they are awarded by soke groups.
3. High dan ranks for someone in their 30s or early 40s. There are very few 8th, 9th and 10 dans awarded in legitimate aikido organizations and in the aikikai apparently there are age requirements. The 40s does not qualify one for an 8th or 9th or 10th dan.
4. Vague websites. Websites that claim lots of awards but give little information. Generally the information is not verifiable when checked.
5. Outlandish claims. Some I've seen are: cutting paper and moving people with ki, claims of being the best (martial humility), and the one I love are references to doing secret work with the government (never verifiable of course). They'd probably have to kill you if they told you too much about this.
6. Claiming mastery of several arts with high ranks. One site I saw had the person claiming he mastered 40 arts and he was in his 40s. Impressive.
7. References in their bios about surpassing their instructors and being so good it was necessary to seek outside rank. Generally, these people may get to 3rd or 4th dan before they are being politically suppressed and must go on their own so as to be recognized for their true ability. I feel one of those sneezes coming on with a sound like a crass version of bovine feces.
8. Setting up their own style at a young age (30s-40s) without having achieved a high rank like 6th or 7th dan from a legitimate or verifiable organization.
9. Students that defend their skills to the death and refuse to recognize they have been duped.
10. Can't remember their senseis or don't know what happended to them. Or another is a made up Japanese name that no one can find ever existed.

Anyone think of any others?

sunny liberti
12-22-2004, 09:05 AM
I'd like to add to this general discussion (over many threads) that it's a red flag to me when students (or teachers) get so up in arms and hostile over a question of legitimacy.

I can't in my wildest dreams imagine having the urge to come to my teacher's defense if someone called him a fraud. I love him dearly, but I (and anyone who's ever met him) wouldn't be able to breathe from laughing so hard. It wouldn't even register on the scale of what offends me.

I think those who get so hostile in response to a legitimacy question or accusation really know the truth about their "teacher" deep down. The questions or accusations cut too close to their bones.

bkedelen
12-22-2004, 10:38 AM
Considering how long humans have been making illegitimate/fraudulent claims about martial arts (since we emerged from the diluvian waters), I am going to go out on a limb and say that these claims are not as harmful as we would like to believe. Just look at the incredible amount of misinformation about Chinese martial arts that was generated by kung-fu cinematography, yet many forms of wushu are alive and well in this and other countries. The only harm I can see is that unscrupulous peoples may be able to more aggressively advertise their mcDojo, taking business away from real dojos. If you run your dojo as a business you have to expect competition. Of course, athletic clubs and sports teams take business away as well, but there is no thread on how we can shut them down.

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2004, 10:58 AM
Interesting idea Rob but getting different organizations to agree on a standard is a problem. The instructor quality issue should be left in my opinion to the organization. If there is a bad or abusive instructor as David suggests, the organization has a responsibility to fix that problem. People are people.

So, here are some thoughts as I ponder this:
1. We could come up with a list of what generally identifies a legitimate aikido background/instructor and publicize it in our respective areas.
2. Re-implement dojo raids or challenges-too many legal issues here.
3. Hope the frauds get found out and just go away. Some get caught in their lies when their egos run away and get publicly exposed. Unfortunately, not enough of them.
4. See if their is a way to get the Ueshiba family to copyright the term "Aikido" and then sue everyone who is not authorized to use it.
5. Encourage these frauds to rename their art excluding the word Aikido (I could go with this one).


Regarding number 1. Here are some thoughts on screening criteria for a legitimate aikidoka/instructor.
1. Must be certified/ranked at all levels by a recognized aikido organization that split off from the Ueshiba family and can trace a lineage: Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.
2. Ranks are in line with these organizations and not self awarded or awarded by groups with no one qualified to do so: soke organizations, karate organizations, etc.
3. Legitimate instructors should accurately document credentials on public media such as websites. This is not to be an ego thing but rather to establish credentials and accurately reflect what you have "earned". I know some don't like to do this especially at high ranks (opposite of what the fraudulent high ranks do) but not only should the rank be documented but when it was awarded and by whom or what organization. The rank should be verifiable through the organization. No excuses for certificates getting burned up in fires or awarded by someone nobody can find or some defunct organization. If you have legitimate credentials from a legitimate organization and it gets burned in a fire you can get it replaced. They should have a record of you anyway and it can be verified if you can't afford to replace it.
4. Senseis in legitimate dojos should be willing to display their rank certificates on a wall in the dojo if possible unless working in a YMCA or something like that. They should be willing to show and prove to students their rank and source without getting offended that someone asks. Usually, people with legitimate credentials do not have any problem with being asked to provide proof of their rank and its source-probably because they can.
5. Legitimate instructors should attempt to keep in contact and or at least know where their instructors are and actually should be able to name them. A good red flag is the instructor cannot remember who they studied with. If I earn a black belt with someone I should be able to remember their name-besides sensei:). Their instructors should actually be people that are living or who have lived in the past and that this is verifiable. In other words, given the ease of finding people with today's technology, I should be able to locate and if desired contact these people.

These are interesting ideas John. I was thinking of a real way to implement them and I realized there is something like this in the religious world. As you know, television evangelists have about the worst reputation because of the scandals and money issues. Years ago, a few of them headed by Billy Graham formed the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability or ECFA. They set up a group to which ministries could join. The group has standards that every member must meet and they are audited and checked. Ministries then post the seal of the ECFA on their websites and literature indicating that they have been through a verification process and are legitimate and not charlatans. It's not a cure all because a lot of the public doesn't know about it but these guys have done good work and have made an impact. Someday, maybe someone could come up with a 501 (c) 3 like this for Aikido groups or maybe for all martial arts schools. Then you promote it and groups join it so they can display the seal of the group indicating they meet those standards. It helps educate the public too. You could get responsible and well known people on the Board of Directors. Their names would give the group some integrity and "gravitas". It's a big job and not a cure all but it would practically go along way toward solving the problem. The financing could be raised by small dues and the group could print brochures and contact major organizations etc. trying to get large groups of new members. The EFCA has been very successful using a format like this.
In religious circles, it is interesting to note which major ministries won't join ECFA. When you investigate, it's usually because the whole board is family or they pay themselves too much. That's the red flag the public is looking for.
Here's the website if you want to take a look at what they are doing. Could we do this for aikido or martial arts in general?
http://www.ecfa.org

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 11:02 AM
I like that idea Jorge. If you could get the legitimate ones to join, then it would work nicely.

rob_liberti
12-22-2004, 11:02 AM
This is in regards to the previous post by Benjamin Edelen.

Is the fact that there is generally no competition in aikido kind of a major factor in this equation? If you open up a "krotty" school and make credentials up, I think you have a much worse chance of getting away with it for too long.

It also hurts the legitimate schools because many perspective students in an area might get their (mis)information from one of the many duped students and former students.

...And if there is a health club in your area, you should try to get a satellite dojo in there!

Rob

happysod
12-22-2004, 11:07 AM
Rank awarded by a soke organization, non-aikido organization or the individual themselves through an organizational charter. dammit I knew it, I'm a fraud! Twice over in fact! No, seriously, using this definition... I'll expand. (most recent example first) head of my old association left ki soc, wanted to still do ki so ended up under the umbrella of a martial arts organisation who covered several martial arts for insurance etc. i.e. not solely aikido - I graded under them hence my rank is fraudulent.

First time round was again a non-affiliated society who's auspices I think were the BAB, but I don't know (DaveH, as we found out, started in the same group, any idea of their then affiliation Dave?) - again, here I'm a potential fraud.

Sorry John, while I can understand your wishes for aikido not to be misrepresented, sometimes politics does get in the way of a nice lineage.

rob_liberti
12-22-2004, 11:14 AM
If the person left ki soc, then I still think Tohei sensei would be in your lineage.

akiy
12-22-2004, 11:24 AM
Hi folks,

Just a quick reminder: let's keep specific names and organizations out of this thread. Thanks.

-- Jun

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 11:26 AM
Ian: I'm not familiar with the UK situation. Most of my interest has been on what I see happening here in the states. There is no regulation here like there is in a lot of European countries. you can pretty much do what you want.

Splinter groups will always be an issue. O'Sensei had many of them and some he even encouraged from what it says in the literature. They all earned that right by years of rigorous training and study. A 40 year old master of 40 arts and a half dozen self awarded or soke organization awarded 6th and 7th dans however does not in my mind fall into the same criteria. So if your group head was a long term student/instructor and broke away with some decent rank, more power to him. Although some of the guys doing this are physically gifted and can fake a lot, they generally aren't just all that good and their understanding is pretty shallow and their egos pretty deep. A lot of them have pretty weak connections with legitimate organizations as well. One here in Texas studied under a legitimate organization but did not like to test and never was awarded a black belt. Now 10 years later he's a 5th dan shihan. It can get pretty bizarre with the stuff these "masters" make up. One had a 3rd dan in a legitimate organization, made a new organization and became 10th dan and wrote a lousy book.

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 11:32 AM
By the way, I really like the good responses I've been getting in this thread. It appears I'm not the only one concerned about this issue and the proliferation of bogus ranks and groups. Although the current organizations are not perfect and definitely not apolitical, it may be the best we have until we work out a better system. Some of the ideas have been great on identifying, containing, and wishfully eliminating or marginalizing these groups.

As Jun says, lets keep this on a conceptual non specific level.

happysod
12-22-2004, 11:35 AM
John, my apologies, there just seems to have been a lot of threads recently espousing the "true aikido" (tm) and linking this to organisations/countries whatever - even to the extent of dojo storming (which was only mentioned half in jest). As an unreconstructed independent (my own experience of one of the larger organisations was totally negative) has left me with misgivings over blanket statements regarding some of the more august bodies.

Jun, sorry, please edit my thread as you wish - put this down to not thinking clearly.

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 11:44 AM
Ian. Good point. I hope I have not been "espousing" the true aikido. This is not my intent with the thread. However, there are many claiming to do aikido and calling it that who don't have the qualifications. Unfortunately, when something is popular people do that a lot. When I was looking for aikido in California, a lot of karate dojos would advertise it. You would call them up and ask questions and find that he had seen aikido at a seminar and taught some techniques he remembered. That was funny to me. Advertising you teach aikido when you only know a couple of wrist locks. It was popular so it brought in the students for the hook.

David Humm
12-22-2004, 11:45 AM
First time round was again a non-affiliated society who's auspices I think were the BAB, but I don't know (DaveH, as we found out, started in the same group, any idea of their then affiliation Dave?) - again, here I'm a potential fraud.
Hi Ian, Jeez that was a looong time ago :)

Yep the organisation was, if my memory serves me correctly under the umberlla of the Governing Body. Not that that actually gives any major credibility to it.

Thing is... Students aren't frauds, their grades are issued by their 'organisation' thus are "valid" but, it's the credibility of the organisation (ultimately it's Principal) which determines the quality or "worth" of the paper the grade is written on.

There is no such thing as a poor student... Only poor instructors.

Dave

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 12:09 PM
. . . Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability or ECFA". J. Garcia.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on Jorge's idea. Here are mine.
1. Non-profit.
2. Organizational and individual dojo memberships.
3. Website with member dojos and their lineage history and latest verified ranks.
4. Grandfathering in organizations like: Aikikai affiliates (USAF, AAA, ASU, etc), Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.)
5. Board of Directors with power to accept or deny membership
6. Membership criteria and criteria for removing someone from membership (ethics)
7. Some kind of membership pledge statement to quote Dave Chappelle to "keep it real."
8. A publicized red flag list somewhat like the one above. By the way, anyone wanting to use those criteria in their area is more than welcome to steal anything they want from my suggestions.

This would be a extremely challenging undertaking but would definitely be interesting and worthwhile. Just my thoughts.

Fred Little
12-22-2004, 12:18 PM
ISo in short unless we go back to the day of dojo storming frauds will continue to pop up.

I think that there are steps that can be taken short of aggressive dojo storming.

There's a USAF dojo in Southern New Jersey that last year organized itself to do an Aikido Friendship tour. In the first year, they visited all the USAF dojo in New Jersey. This year, they've expanded the circle beyond their organization and are working toward a goal of visiting every dojo.

After an initial approach via e-mail and some correspondence to nail down a time that worked for us and them, they drove up and we played for an evening. When they visited the club here at NJIT, about half-a-dozen of them, ranging from mid-kyu students to their instructor, a USAF yudansha who was also a retired police officer were in attendance, which seemed like a good mix to a) see how any given dojo might deal with a range of experience and skill levels and b) provide a good skills base and head count if the dojo being visited wasn't so friendly.

Having seen some odd things presented as aikido myself, based on what I saw of their practice, I'm pretty sure that their visits have been eye-openers for students in some of the more out-of-the-way places they visited, in ways similar to Craig Hocker's account of his encounter with the students he is working with now.

Friendly visits. Reaching out. Making nice. Sometimes it works better than dojo storming.

Hope this helps,

Fred Little

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 12:25 PM
Good idea Fred. Another approach might be just for a bunch to show up and pay a mat fee for for training. Everyone could wear a white belt if they are not in your organization. Don't say anything unless asked and just train. Your training will show your quality. Then if they ask you you can tell them who you are and where you are from. Of course, you might want to leave out your purpose. :p Showing up at their seminars might also work.

Getting fraudulent groups to let you come train with them could be a problem-they often forbid their students from going to seminars as they might see something to make them question what they are learning. If it is done often, enough they might just quietly fade into the woodwork.

Mary Eastland
12-22-2004, 01:27 PM
I can't believe that anyone could think or write about this subject so much. What does it have to do with your training and your authenticity? I am from an independent dojo that recieves no recognition from anyone but I would not trade my training or my teacher for anything in the world. I could care less if anyone else finds it authentic. It works for me.
Mary Eastland

jimbaker
12-22-2004, 01:57 PM
The problem isn't with independent dojos or groups who, for the most part, simply state their lineage and their ranks. Their intention is to practice Aikido in a way that makes sense to them, in a way they like. They are happy to say where they learned the art and the rules of the dojo are there for the benefit of the students.

Frauds invent their lineage and ranks. Their intention is to lure and con students. Rank and lineage are marketing tools to be used to draw the fish to the frying pan. Lies have to be told to keep the fish..um ..students hooked. Part of the lie is to push away questions of where they learned what little they know of Aikido and the dojo rules are set up in a way that reinforces the con, which is never to the students benefit.

Why do they do it? Some are just out for money. Some like the money but also want the pretend power of being Sensei, but without all that effort and time wasted actually learning the art.

A con is a con. The same tactics are used regardless of the scam. Without naming names, one sensei with a self-inflicted rank who had his own Aikido group has recently given it all up. He's now running an internet based christian church (lower case intentional). The word "donations" shows up on the first page.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 02:03 PM
"I can't believe that anyone could think or write about this subject so much. What does it have to do with your training and your authenticity? "

Actually, with my own training and authenticity-absolutely none. However, it does affect the art and it is increasing. I found 5 organizations of this ilk in about an hour and can think of another 4-5 I have run across in the past. This is so prominent in some arts that it has virtually destroyed the credibility of any ranking and only makes rank valuable at the individual dojo level. As a member of the art, I don't want to see the egos of a few destroy the credibility of those who have actually worked at it. Again, I'm not criticizing the nature of independent dojos-I received my shodan from one, although I changed to the aikikai later. They have their place and value-as long as people keep it real-realistic grades, promotion/advancement criteria, and a lineage to aikido. Some don't even bother to have a loose connection-they saw it written somewhere, like the word and have never taken a legitimate aikido class. Yet, they use it anyway. The public does not know enough about the arts to sift through the bs. It is luck if they know more than the terms kung fu or karate. Unfortunately, they probably have a belief we are all honest and have high integrity in the arts.

Bronson
12-22-2004, 02:03 PM
Mary,

I don't think that anyone here is against the idea of independant dojo or instructors. The main concern is people who, to put it bluntly, lie. They take the new unaware student's trust and use it to feed their egos and wallets. These are the people who need to be watched and exposed, not the independant teacher who is honest about his history and training.

To quote Ray Charles mother from the movie Ray; "scratch a liar find a thief"

IMO

Bronson

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 02:10 PM
Jim: He has a dojo in Oregon now (type his name in with sensei). I checked after your private e-mail.

MaryKaye
12-22-2004, 02:43 PM
I don't think that anyone here is against the idea of independant dojo or instructors. The main concern is people who, to put it bluntly, lie. They take the new unaware student's trust and use it to feed their egos and wallets. These are the people who need to be watched and exposed, not the independant teacher who is honest about his history and training.


The concern is that we should be careful not to write standards that discriminate against legitimate independent dojo. It is easier to assess the legitimacy of association dojo (we can, hopefully, count on the association to do some of the policing) but that's not a good reason to make things hard for the independents. That's why I like tests based on how the dojo is actually run more than ones based on lineage or association standing.

I also wonder a little about lineage. I study under someone who appears to have had a wide variety of teachers, and who therefore is uneasy about claiming any one of them as "her teacher." She also holds her highest dan rank as a result of winning a taigi competition, so the question "Who gave you yondan?" has no very straightforward answer. (Tohei Sensei did, technically, but not because she was his student at the time, as the flat statement would tend to imply.)

The rest of the dojo, with more conventional lineages going back to Tohei Sensei by an intervening step or two, notoriously regards her as the reference model for checking correctness, especially in taigi. She has extraordinarily precise aikido. I don't know how she did this without a singular teacher/student relationship but clearly she did. I expect there are other people like her, and it would be a pity to throw them out along with the frauds.

Mary Kaye
(not the same Mary)

spinecracker
12-22-2004, 04:03 PM
I have found this thread, and others regarding questionable credentials/experience/etc very interesting. The watchword (or should that be phrase?) might be 'Caveat emptor' for those of us who care about the lineage and credentials of a martial art instructor. For me, the point is being assured that the instructor is going to teach you what you want to learn (i.e. I wouldn't want to learn about obstetrics from a plumber :P ). There are plenty of instructors out there who are after a fast buck, and I have had the misfortune to have encountered a couple of them. If in doubt about the credentials of your instructor, then do research on the instructor, the art and the organization. If we want to learn anything, then we'd better be prepared to ask questions and expect replies. I am extremely grateful that I'm beginning Aikido training again (after a long layoff) and that I have been fortunate to find an instructor who trained under Morihiro Saito sensei for quite a few years. I researched the instructor and the parent organization thoroughly, and am looking forward to getting back on the mat and learning some good Aikido (but not, knowing my abilities, doing good Aikido :P ). Another latin phrase that I'm partial to, and will probably become my training motto is 'Illegitimi Non Carborundum' - good advice for anyone.

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 04:55 PM
Good points Robert. It's sort of like starting college. If I'm going to commit 4 years or more to something I ought to spend the time to check it out.

stuartjvnorton
12-22-2004, 07:42 PM
Hmmm....a man grows up studying a variety of martial arts......breaks away from his primary teacher and develops his own interpretation and name for a "new" type of martial art....claims a spiritual connection that seems to many to be "divine" ,develops almost a cult-like following of disciples....claims the title of "O'Sensei" or Great Teacher.....sound familiar?

Don't get me wrong on this.....but there are some interesting parellels with other modern day martial artists that we label "frauds"


Maybe its all in the marketing................

If the people we're talking about in this thread were as skillful than O'Sensei obviously must have been, then I don't think anyone here would have a problem with them calling themselves Soke, Grand Super Dooper Trooper, whatever.

aikidoc
12-22-2004, 08:38 PM
There's the test Stuart! When their "style" of aikido spreads across the world and starts turning out master instructors the quality of Saotome, Yamada, Chiba, Kobayashi, Saito, Kato, Shirata, Tohei, Tomiki, Shioda, etc., etc., then we'll know they really deserved their claims to fame and we were just jealous.

I don't think Ueshiba Morihei gave himself the name O'Sensei.

PeterR
12-22-2004, 08:42 PM
The best defence really is the different forums such as aikiweb and e-budo among others.

You can no longer hide.

Chris Li
12-22-2004, 10:01 PM
I don't think Ueshiba Morihei gave himself the name O'Sensei.

Actually, I've always wondered about that, but my hunch is that he did - probably in imitation of Sokaku Takeda, who also used that title.

Best,

Chris

David Humm
12-22-2004, 10:39 PM
The ONLY way that "frauds" can be exposed is to do this in such a way that sends this information to a wide audience and is available to whom ever wants it.

The problem is four fold.

1) The legal issues involved in naming a person or organisation and having somewhere to present that information. IE a well known aiki website

2) The willingness of 'someone' to undertake an investigation which is solid enough to stand up to cross examination by anyone who wished to challenge it.

3) As I've already mentioned... *Some* are just not willing to accept what 'truths' may be presented to them no matter what evidence/proof is available.

4) Not all newcomers are forthright enough to research an instructor before joining their dojo thus, efforts (often efforts which cause the investigator greif) are essentially a waste of time.

And I speek from direct personal experience on all 4 points.

Don't get me wrong, the discussion of this issue is worthwhile however, unless anyone here is willing to pick up the mantle and actually do something other than discuss the problem, we are... blowing smoke up our own hakama (for those who wear them :) )

Mary Eastland
12-23-2004, 07:17 AM
I see that that you are not pinpointing independant dojos. However, I think you are using fear and sensationalism to promote fundamentalism. 5 to 10 dojos out of the several thousand in the United States is not enough of a percentage to implement the rigid rules and regualtions you are exploring.

Adults are adults and don't need your protection. They can discover and dicard just as we did. It is part of their process.

Going to another dojo with motives to uncover "frauds" is not at all in keeping with Aikido principles. My understanding of O'Sensei's teaching's is to focus on my own path, that testing and competing would only harm me, and I think the Art.

I appreciate your concern. I also think that Aikido has something bigger watching over it and we will be ok.

Mary Eastland

aikidoc
12-23-2004, 08:15 AM
"I think you are using fear and sensationalism to promote fundamentalism. 5 to 10 dojos out of the several thousand in the United States is not enough of a percentage to implement the rigid rules and regualtions you are exploring."

First, I don't think anyone is using fear and sensationalism to promote fundamentalism. Tolerance for different styles of aikido has been expressed throughout the thread. Although the posters surely have their preferences I don't think anyone wants to promote fundamentalism-generally to me that means an extreme group with very narrow views. I found 6 "styles" some of which have more than one dojo in about an hour and with little difficulty. I know of at least another 4. Now, we are not trying to point those out and as Jun asked keeping names/organizations out of this. However, there is a bigger issue here. The number over the last few years has been growing regularly. I know of other arts, which I do not want to comment about, where the problem has become so large that rank has become meaningless except for individual dojos. This in itself allows more perpetuation of fraudulent activity/ranks. So, do we just sit back and not address the issue and allow aikido to become like such other arts? I for one would rather elevate awareness and hope aikidoka become more cognizant of the problem and maybe take steps to prevent it from proliferating.

I have run into 4 of these frauds personally in my short career. One of which I was a participant in getting him kicked out of his own dojo and stopping his claims of teaching aikido. They are out there and in my observation growing. Especially with some of the soke organizations out there that will certify anything for a buck. The public knows little about martial arts and less about aikido.

"Adults are adults and don't need your protection. They can discover and dicard just as we did. It is part of their process." Really! Personally, I think this is overly optimistic. Cons perpetrate frauds on adults on a regular basis. Charismatic cons can make people think they are getting something of value. It costs the public money and leaves them with a bad feeling about the martial arts. The values most arts promote are thereby diminshed. The public looks on us with disdain when that occurs and undoubtedly prefer not to expose their children to such bad role models. My feeling is the martial arts has a lot to offer in terms of ethics, getting kids to exercise which is a rarity in schools now days, teaching discipline, etc. I don't want a fraud to burst that bubble.

"Going to another dojo with motives to uncover "frauds" is not at all in keeping with Aikido principles. My understanding of O'Sensei's teaching's is to focus on my own path, that testing and competing would only harm me, and I think the Art." I think most of the comments in this regard were tongue in cheek. Although it might be fun and solve some of the problems, I don't think anyone really feels this is a viable option given legal issues.

"I appreciate your concern. I also think that Aikido has something bigger watching over it and we will be ok."

I think the something bigger watching over aikido has to be legitimate aikidoka. It is my feeling we have have to be vigilant of the deceptions and do whatever we can to prevent them and educate the public. A legitimate instructor can for example arrange an interview or spotlight on his art and school. This would be a good place to highlight some of the red flags for example. The public then can take it upon themselves to use a screening tool to see if the local frauds measure up. Often times students will start looking at the literature and tapes and books and hold their instruction up to such a yardstick. They will also sometimes start to research instructor backgrounds and lineage on their own out of interest. They may not like what the find-no one likes to be duped-but eventually they get the point. However, some charismatic instructors can convince the pope to change religions. Elevating awareness and where possible doing things to bring light of such practices while not creating legal problems may be all we can do. It is better than nothing.

Fred Little
12-23-2004, 08:44 AM
Good idea Fred. Another approach might be just for a bunch to show up and pay a mat fee for for training. Everyone could wear a white belt if they are not in your organization. Don't say anything unless asked and just train. Your training will show your quality. Then if they ask you you can tell them who you are and where you are from. Of course, you might want to leave out your purpose. :p Showing up at their seminars might also work.

Getting fraudulent groups to let you come train with them could be a problem-they often forbid their students from going to seminars as they might see something to make them question what they are learning. If it is done often, enough they might just quietly fade into the woodwork.

John:

I've seen surreptitious "visits" go badly precisely because the home team felt that what was going on was dojo-storming, even when that wasn't the case.

So one of the things I liked about the "Friendship Tour" approach is the frame. Nobody is singled out, either positively or negatively. The visitors are upfront and it eliminates a lot of potential problems at the outset.

If places are closed to visitors, that may be a sign, though of what varies from place to place.

Best,

Fred Little

MaryKaye
12-23-2004, 09:04 AM
I've seen surreptitious "visits" go badly precisely because the home team felt that what was going on was dojo-storming, even when that wasn't the case.

So one of the things I liked about the "Friendship Tour" approach is the frame. Nobody is singled out, either positively or negatively. The visitors are upfront and it eliminates a lot of potential problems at the outset.


I like to visit other dojo when I'm travelling, and sometimes it seems in retrospect that this has made the local sensei feel "under scrutiny" even though that's far from the case.

I particularly remember a tense moment when the sensei of an independent dojo said "Oh, Ki Society would do a 'ki test' here" and gave me a shove. Their novice student said wistfully "I think that would be really useful, balance is such a problem for me--" and there was a moment of quite uncomfortable silence. I was not meaning to poach on their students--the idea honestly hadn't crossed my mind--but I can see why it crossed sensei's.

If we visited each other more often in general this problem would likely go away, along with many problems involving unnoticed fraudulent dojo. I went to a seminar recently where we did a closing circle and asked people to name themselves and their dojo: there were six different dojo of, I think, four different traditions. If we encouraged that actively, frauds would stand out by their absence. (Of course, so would a few legit dojo with strong bans on cross-training; but it would be a start.)

I would volunteer for a Friendship Tour like a shot--it sounds like fun in itself, as well as positive for the community. Doing it cross-tradition does take some delicacy, though: you don't want to learn "Hey, we don't teach the breakfall from that--" the hard way. (Been on the receiving end of that one myself; the person who threw me said apologetically "You looked as though you knew what you were doing....")

Mary Kaye

David Humm
12-23-2004, 09:07 AM
...Adults are adults and don't need your protection. They can discover and dicard just as we did. It is part of their process. Mary, If I may, I'd like you to answer the following questions if you'd indulge me?

How would you, after say 10 years of dedicated study feel if you discovered the following:

1) The person you considered your Sensei had attempted to forge a dan grade and coaching certificate with the intent of misleading a Sports Centre ?

2) Your Sensei had publically (Via the internet) attempted to claim he was one of the first people in his country to study Aikido (and this had been proved incorrect)

3) Your Sensei attempted to inform the masses that he was "The only Westerner to have ever been made a Master of aikido" When this is in fact an absolute fabrication

4) Promoted himself to lofty yudansha ranking and began refering to himself as "shihan"

5) Claimed to have been THE FIRST person to study Karate in your country (despite that being proved incorrect)

The list of examples I could present is endless, all of which have been tried by several individuals here in the UK alone.

The point I'm making is that these pillocks have attempted to con people for one reason only - Personal Gain which is brought about through EGO. Unless the general public are made aware of these people and their activities they are going to be taken for a ride. And THAT is not Aiki in principle.

Dave

kironin
12-23-2004, 09:45 AM
I would volunteer for a Friendship Tour like a shot--it sounds like fun in itself, as well as positive for the community. Doing it cross-tradition does take some delicacy, though: you don't want to learn "Hey, we don't teach the breakfall from that--" the hard way. (Been on the receiving end of that one myself; the person who threw me said apologetically "You looked as though you knew what you were doing....")


differences in ukemi is much more tricky than differences in technique,

Friendship tours for positive reasons of building bridges I am all for.

I think Friendship tours that have a covert idea of ferreting out frauds had better have only people with excellent ukemi skills. The nature of aikido practice being what it is.

John Boswell
12-23-2004, 10:03 AM
The point I'm making is that these pillocks have attempted to con people for one reason only - Personal Gain which is brought about through EGO. Unless the general public are made aware of these people and their activities they are going to be taken for a ride. And THAT is not Aiki in principle.

More to the point: It is truly NOT Aiki to let such injustices slide by. A sin of ommission, or a crime of non-action (however you want to put it) is going against the harmony of your world and art, is it not?

I love finding a good "Thought to ponder." :)

Mary Eastland
12-23-2004, 10:11 AM
Dear Dave:

I think I would feel duped and betrayed. But I am an adult. I can deal with those feelings. I am training to not be a victim . I don't need to be rescued.
I am not saying we should protect people like this. I just feel like the regulations that have been proposed are too rigid.

I think that information passed about individuals who are fraudulent would be better than trying to regulate Aikido.


The very things I appreciate about being independent such as, no politics or systematic sexism are threatened by some of the regulations that are being proposed.

Mary Eastland

Qatana
12-23-2004, 10:44 AM
"Systematic sexism???"

I can't find any mention of gender in this thread...

aikidoc
12-23-2004, 10:48 AM
"I just feel like the regulations that have been proposed are too rigid."

Mary, I'm not sure where you are picking up the idea of regulations. I think several good things have been thrown out in a brainstorming fashion to "red flag" the frauds. Realistically, I don't think anyone on this site wants to be regulated or expect to regulate others. I think getting rid of the bad apples is a good idea although not probably likely to happen. I do think personally many, at least on this site, would have little problem with some of the suggestions: willingness to communicate your lineage and prove your rank sources (whether independent or not); realistic websites; avoidance of soke groups giving out ranks for money, etc. etc. Legitimate styles/dojos should have little to hide. The 40 year old 8-10th dan, soke, grandmaster, professor, doctor does-his or her lies.

spinecracker
12-23-2004, 10:55 AM
There seems to be a consensus of opinion on this thread that communication between aikidoka (or insert martial artist of your choice here) regarding the qualities and credentials of instructors and organisations could be used as an effective self-policing method. Should an aikidoka run across an individual or group that is not what he/she/it appears, then their experience should be shared amongst those who should be informed i.e. prospective students of that individual or group. I agree that regulations that are too rigid would be detrimental to many admirable instructors and clubs out there, so perhaps the only way to ensure that aikido keeps it's reputation is by the dissemination of information. But if there are legal impediments to naming names on forums such as AikiWeb, then the whole thing becomes just a philosophical discussion (i.e. as much use as glasses to a blind man - or, my favorite - as much use as a chocolate teapot). One thing that we should also be doing is praising those individuals and organisations out there who a wonderful job in promoting and teaching aikido. Perhaps having a list of names of good aiki people and groups might help us focus more on the positve around us instead of the negative. Now I have to go and have a lie down - all this thinking has given me a headache :freaky:

Don_Modesto
12-23-2004, 12:53 PM
Not really. But they might as well do that as us regulate aikido:

Texas woman pays $50,000 for cloned cat (http://www.startribune.com/stories/484/5151590.html)

First Professional Wrestling;

then silicone implants;

robot pets;

draft dodgers as more patriotic than decorated heroes;

cloned pets.

Sheesh! Even when we can have the real thing, we don't want it. We should be setting up a consulting firm to promote these aikidolts and take a cut.

If you can't beat 'em, MUSUBI!

Lan Powers
12-24-2004, 12:18 PM
> I think that information passed about individuals who are fraudulent would be better than trying to regulate Aikido. <

I would agree with you.
That is the issue that was brought up concerning how to DO this without the lawsuit issue coming up.

You name specific individuals or groups, it can become very tricky.(see above)
You don't name specifics, you don't really warn.
Frivolous lawsuits abound in this country....could a slander case be made out by a fraud and made to " stick" against his accusers/exposers? :blush:

As well,
how long before you get the "I can ruin this jerk"(nevermind if it is true) rears its ugly little head? evileyes


Just some random thoughts on the subject
Lan

RonRagusa
12-24-2004, 10:20 PM
When I was very much younger it was important to me that I be asked to join a particular organization at my high school. The organization lay slightly to the outlaw side of legitimacy as far as the school was concerned and, as such, membership was much sought after by students. Being a member of this group brought with it instant recognition and a modicum of respect from other students due to the rigorous entrance requirements exacted upon new recruits. Well, I got my bid, lasted through the six weeks of systematic abuse dished out by the members and was sworn into the group. That moment in time remains vivid in my memory; indicating that it must have meant very much to me. Looking back I now realize that it was the conferring of recognition by a body of people I considered superior to me that drove my desire to belong to that group. Forty plus years of experience now allows me to laugh at the very idea that my self worth needs affirmation from without.

In the early years of my Aikido training I experienced many of the same feelings related to the legitimacy of my practice. Never mind that my sensei's technique combined grace and power in ways that left me awe struck when I watched him; he was a maverick, a breakaway from his teacher and out there on his own. As I moved up through the ranks my feelings of isolation from the larger Aikido world intensified. Yes I was growing, both as an Aikido practitioner and a person. Yes my technique began to pour out of me and my strength grew in ways I could never have imagined in my weight lifting days when muscle was all the rage. But for all my growth and advancement who was there in the larger world to pat me on the back and say "well done"? Sure my rank was recognized by my sensei's organization but that was a small ripple in a very large pond; what about the rest of the Aikido world?

As I'm sure that Sensei knew would happen, I reached a point where I realized that none of those feelings of inadequacy really mattered. Regardless of what the larger body thought of me I would continue to train and teach. I would continue to grow, my Aikido evolve. This was not a slow realization; it hit me like a thunderbolt. It's as though I was jolted out of sleep. Suddenly my path lay before me, broad and bright. I knew at that moment that my 25 years as Sensei's student had come to an end. I have since become an independent practitioner. My need to "join" and be recognized has been burned away by the sheer joy of following my own road.

I believe that all this worrying about so called frauds ruining Aikido is really coming from the need of many Aikidoka for conformity. To say that the art is threatened by the few who may not conform to ones idea of what constitutes a legitimate instructor is to miss the fact that the Art of Aikido is much larger than the sum of its parts. O-Sensei's gift to the world is forever beyond the control of a small group of people who wish to set standards and have everyone conform to them. The seed planted by O-Sensei has grown into a tree with many branches; the branches have dropped seeds, some of which have grown into trees with branches of their own. Natural selection will determine which trees will live to pass on their knowledge and which will fade into obscurity.

Enjoy your training. Teach and allow your students to discover the Aikido that lies within them. Realize that for some, their Aikido will be very different from your own and it's ok.

L. Camejo
12-24-2004, 10:29 PM
Very interesting thread on a topic very close to my heart as well. For me this problem is an extremely serious one and has possibility to totally destroy a country's (and by extension Aikido students from that country's) credibility in the art of Aikido (among others) if left unchecked. The trend may have already begun in this country as a thread in E-Budo's Baffling Budo section would attest.

I have to agree with John Riggs' post that speaks about the increasing numbers of these schools and the resultant effects. It is something I also experience regularly and sadly have to be pointman for as regards representing a certain subsection of Aikido (sometimes representing Aikdio as a whole) to those who may be fortunate enough to know better than that being put forward by the fraudsters.

Imagine a small country where there may be a few very powerful, charismatic instructors of what one may deem a McDojo, and these instructors decide to spread themselves across the country, regionally and even internationally teaching a myriad of different styles and awarding ranks. The good thing (for them) about this is that they tend to command a certain level of finances that can allow for further large scale expansion into other areas of instruction easily, even in the face of other legitimate schools who may be teaching the styles they profess to teach.

Now imagine these huge McDojos with all their assets and financial and political (via local sporting bodies) clout deciding to teach Aikido, though their "instructors" have only learnt from books and videos or "done a few classes and seminars" and have given themselves fraudulent rank and started to teach. The average person will tend to gravitate towards these schools since they are most visible to the public (as regards MA in general), have the finances to litter the country with dojos and the absence of ethics to have a slew of "black belt level" instructors populating these dojos within a year - all teaching Aikido learnt from a book, video or a couple seminars. They combine this with having demonstrations using very skilled Ukes who can make any technique look good and executing techniques similar enough to that in the latest Seagal flick to seem like Aikido to the untrained eye.

The general public sees these people every time the word Aikido is heard and soon whatever they do becomes imprinted in the average mind as a mental image of what quality Aikido is supposed to look like.

Now place in this situation the internationally affiliated, recognised and trained instructors of Aikido who may have been teaching for years prior without having the level of contacts to attain the sort of finances commanded by these McDojos.

In this scenario no amount of "correct and useful information" is going to be able to stop this great behemoth of a McDojo since the legitimate schools are merely a speck compared to the sheer size of these fraudsters. The only folks who tend to escape the fraudsters are folks who actually know what Aikido is supposed to be and look like. However this means that legitimate Aikido is not really spread to new people within the country but only practiced by a choice few who know what the real art is supposed to look and feel like and choose to stay away from the lure of the charlatans.

Of course as far as the rest of the Aikido world is concerned, the Aikido practitioners of that particular region are basically a pack of jokers, since they are practicing "God knows what" and trying to pass it off as Aikido and may only see the light when they travel outside the boundaries of the McDojo system itself.

As far as controlling this situation, I like the concepts given by David Humm with the addition of possibly having a recognised representative (or a few) in each country to act as point men for the global organisation and carry out the basic levels of research required. As an Executive Member of our local Judo Association we are constantly in the process of validating the claims of schools that want to enter the association.

Just my thoughts. The problem may be more dangerous than it appears in certain environments where the leverage is enjoyed by those teaching BS and calling it Aikido. To me it's not about styles but about quality of training regardless of style. We all have certain things (based on our own training) that we look for to judge quality Aikido - do we want Aikido of poor quality to become the standard for those who do not know better?

LC:ai::ki:

David Humm
12-25-2004, 08:39 AM
...I believe that all this worrying about so called frauds ruining Aikido is really coming from the need of many Aikidoka for conformity. To say that the art is threatened by the few who may not conform to ones idea of what constitutes a legitimate instructor is to miss the fact that the Art of Aikido is much larger than the sum of its parts. Ron
Seasonal wishes at this time of year fella :)

Whilst I read with great interest your accounts, I feel you've missed the entire plot of this thread.

No one is saying that independance = rubbish

No one is saying that frauds always come from independant organisations

No one is actually worried.

What we are discussing is the very real fact that bogus aikido instructors DO exist. they perpertrate their fraudulant behaviour for no other reason other than personal gain.

Some of us would rather that didn't happen.

Dave

MaryKaye
12-25-2004, 08:58 AM
Larry,

Might it be possible for the legitimate aikido organizations in your country to cooperate in sponsoring a yearly seminar with some top foreign teachers? It might be easier to compete with the large McDojo's in publicity if you only had to do it once a year and for a well-defined special event, and if the costs and organizational energy were spread among several dojo. And once people experience excellent aikido they are less likely to be impressed by frauds.

A recent seminar here was co-sponsored by several dojo including an independent one. It doesn't have to be done within organizational boundaries as long as the excellence of the teachers is generally agreed upon.

Mary Kaye

aikidoc
12-25-2004, 09:33 AM
Ron: I agree with David in that I think you missed the plot. Let me state it more clearly. This is not about the independents who do their time on the mat. 25 years on the mat if one is seriously training and learning should not detract from anyone's aikido.

This is about the following:
1. Lofty ranks awarded that make no sense given the age and training background of the individual.
2. Ranks awarded by themselves, a soke organization that gives them out for money (one organization even has founding/head member on a most wanted list for the state of Arizona), or by karate organizations that have no legitimate rank in aikido).
3. People who make fraudulent claims about things they have done and made up people they've studied with. There is a whole thread on E-budo or bullshido (don't recall) where they list the best excuses these guys put out. E.g., I can't tell you about my CIA experiences because its top secret and I'd have to kill you, I was an ex-SEAL, Green Beret, Ranger, etc. (never verifiable), I was adopted at 7 years old by this Japanese maintenance man who was an aikido master (of course no one has ever heard of them), I can't remember my sensei's name-he was so secretative we just called him sensei, misleading statements and claims where it sounds like they've studied with masters for a lifetime when in reality they took a seminar class, or watched them on video.
4. Lots of lofty ranks in multiple arts-most of which they made up along the way to pad their resume and make it look like they are something they are not.
5. Ridiculous claims-cutting paper and moving people with their ki. Of course they can't do it when called on, usually do to an injury. How can a physical injury affect your ki?
6. Vague and non-verifiable lineages and claims.

This is NOT about independents who earned their ranks or broke away from their own instructors for whatever reasons. It is about FRAUDS as we have discussed. Some of those may be independents and some may be traditional instructors as well. These people prey on the public and as Larry pointed out could be dangerous to the arts credibility if charismatic. They are also growing. Unfortunately, due to soke organizations certifying them as masters. One of the soke organizations doing this in addition to the wanted person I referred to the other founder was a 4th dan legitimately and then jumped to 10th dan. Bovine feces is Bovine feces.

Whether you are an independent or a certified instructor from a traditional school perpetuating such a fraud. It's still a fraud and bad for the art.

Bronson
12-25-2004, 11:04 AM
To say that the art is threatened by the few who may not conform to ones idea of what constitutes a legitimate instructor is to miss the fact that the Art of Aikido is much larger than the sum of its parts.

I think the point of this discussion is that the legitimacy of MA's in general are threatened by the growing number of people who lie about their training, skills, and rank.

This hits home for me also as I was taken in by one of these hucksters (in a different art) when I started MA. These frauds rely on the fact that most people will trust them or at least be too lazy to do the research. Many people don't even know where to begin doing research. Of course it's much easier now with the availablility of web access and sites like AikiWeb and E-budo.

These fakes also rely on peoples unwillingness to expose them as frauds. After I left the fraudulent instructor many of his ex-students came out of the woodwork to tell me they had left (much earlier than me) because they found out he was a sham. But none of them ever exposed him as a fraud and they allowed him to continue his lies.

Bronson

aikidoc
12-25-2004, 11:12 AM
Bronson makes a good point about the unwillingness of people to expose the frauds. Unfortunately, this is too common. I think there are several reasons but a key one might be the unwillingness to accept the fact you've been duped. Especially, when you realize you've poured a lot of money down a rathole and have nothing legitimate to show for it other than some weak skills.

If anything, I hope this thread has raised awareness of the frauds that are out there and hopefully if you happen to be practicing with one that you start questioning whether you should continue. I think several good ideas have been presented that will let you assess the claims. That may be the most effective way to put them out of business. To quote DeNiro in "Meet the Fockers" we are are watchng you :freaky:

L. Camejo
12-25-2004, 12:22 PM
Larry,

Might it be possible for the legitimate aikido organizations in your country to cooperate in sponsoring a yearly seminar with some top foreign teachers? It might be easier to compete with the large McDojo's in publicity if you only had to do it once a year and for a well-defined special event, and if the costs and organizational energy were spread among several dojo. And once people experience excellent aikido they are less likely to be impressed by frauds.


Hi Mary,

You offer a good concept which I have attempted to bring to fruition and now that I have made even more links in the Caribbean regarding Aikido may be able to make a reality sometime soon.

The thing is we only have 2 legitimate teachers of Aikido in this country that I am aware of. The other is also heavily involved in another MA which has had its share of ridiculous local politics, splinters of splinter organisations and fraudulent claims over the past years. As such there are not that many dojo to share any sort of cost. However, we did have a J.A.A. Shihan here recently and I made it a point to get press and media coverage of his seminars here to let the public know. My next project is to be an Aikido festival where we can have reps from a few different flavours of Aikido, but this requires great planning and resources. The good thing is, through our affiliation with the Judo Association, the most consistent and longstanding of all MA bodies in this country, we are getting access to greater resources and are conducting a lot more demos and seminars to spread the word. However, the amount of fraudsters greatly outnumbers the legit folks at present. Hopefully at some point the tide will change. The good news is that those who know better are seeking out the dojos who are not trying to pass off some other MA as Aikido.

I think this is the point that John Riggs and others has been making all along. It's not about independent orgs doing their own things after having a solid foundation under a teacher of Aikido who has the lineage and skillset to prove it. This is about people who are misrepresenting Aikido itself and its training methods to an unsuspecting public who are expecting these people to be the experts to guide them.

As indicated elsewhere - imagine training for 10 or 20 plus years in something only to go to another country where others are doing the same art under legitimate tuition and you realise that for the past years you were totally and horribly mistaken as to what you thought your chosen training method was. Imo this should not be encouraged.

LC:ai::ki:

Rocky Izumi
12-25-2004, 12:34 PM
I think how this should be handled depends a lot on the Shihan for the area and ryu. The Shihan who I have worked under generally did not care who did what as long as they did not claim that they were from the same ryu. Nor did they really care about people who were from the same ryu but claimed independence. It is the loss of the person who claims independence, not the Shihan. (I remember an old admonition from a Shihan -- be careful who you allow to call you Sensei.)

I am younger, and more concerned about the viability of my organisation than those Shihan. I do not allow other Aikido groups underneath the Aikikai standard to operate in what I consider my territory (where my dojos are) unless they have a prior affiliation with a Shihan from elsewhere,

Mary Eastland
12-25-2004, 02:35 PM
Whose to say Aikikai sets the standard? And how can you prevent other dojos from operating? And who are you to decide who does what?
Mary Eastland
Berkshire Hills Aikido

aikidoc
12-25-2004, 02:45 PM
"Whose to say Aikikai sets the standard? And how can you prevent other dojos from operating? And who are you to decide who does what?"

Mary, are you actually reading all the posts? No one has said anything about the aikikai setting the standards or preventing other dojos from operating, nor deciding who does what? This discussion is about the frauds-the people lying about their credentials or getting fake credentials, etc. Please read all the posts-again they are not directed at independents or telling people what to do. No one is trying to tell the frauds what to do-other than being honest. In fact if people want to train with these people and they often defend them aggressively, more power to them. However, I think this thread has pointed out clearly that no one-aikikai, independent, etc. wants frauds to bastardize the art. With all the factions and splinter groups, we will never agree on a standard aikido. We all have our opinions in that regard-egos and politics won't let us come to consensus.

I'm not trying to be mean, but I did not understand your post with respect to what has transpired on this thread. If you are only selectively reading comments, you are not informed about all of the issues being addressed or suggestions (some tongue in cheek).

Mary Eastland
12-25-2004, 03:25 PM
I am younger, and more concerned about the viability of my organisation than those Shihan. I do not allow other Aikido groups underneath the Aikikai standard to operate in what I consider my territory (where my dojos are) unless they have a prior affiliation with a Shihan from elsewhere,

What am I misunderstanding here?

I don't think you are being mean....maybe a little condescending, but not mean.

I simply disagree with you. My point is and has been that although there are frauds out there I think that any attempts at regulation would harm Aikido, especially independant dojos. I have not felt like anyone is attacking me or my organzation personally. I just feel fiercely independant and don't like the idea of regulations proposed to stop a few fraudulent teachers that could affect many more.

Perhaps if you could come off line slightly you could look at your proposals from my point of veiw.

I strongly feel that by implementing some of your ideas that smaller organazations would be affected adversely.

Maybe you could consider those points and include ideas that would be inclusive of all Aikido Styles even those not affilated with a Shihan or major organazation.

These are what seem like regulations to me.

. . Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability or ECFA". J. Garcia.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on Jorge's idea. Here are mine.
1. Non-profit.
2. Organizational and individual dojo memberships.
3. Website with member dojos and their lineage history and latest verified ranks.
4. Grandfathering in organizations like: Aikikai affiliates (USAF, AAA, ASU, etc), Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.)
5. Board of Directors with power to accept or deny membership
6. Membership criteria and criteria for removing someone from membership (ethics)
7. Some kind of membership pledge statement to quote Dave Chappelle to "keep it real."
8. A publicized red flag list somewhat like the one above. By the way, anyone wanting to use those criteria in their area is more than welcome to steal anything they want from my suggestions.

This would be a extremely challenging undertaking but would definitely be interesting and worthwhile. Just my thoughts.

Especially numbers 3 through 8.

Mary Eastland
Berkshire Hills Aikido

aikidoc
12-25-2004, 03:52 PM
Mary:

Those were just ideas thrown out for a quality control organization-a voluntary one at that. One I doubt many would participate in unless the problem was significant enough-they usually just chuckle at the frauds. What suggestions do you have for the independents?

The fraud red flag list is one I came up with as a result of seeing these on websites and being exposed to them. Others might have a different experience. However, I might add any organization or dojo whether independent or traditional would be of concern when several of the red flags pop up. The biggest one in my mind are rank awards by world sokeship councils. Everyone I have ran across has had this problem. One used most often has two people at its head. One is wanted in Arizona (or was) for fraud. The other went from 4th dan to 10th dan when he set the organization up. How convenient. These are karateka and promoting aikido ranks! That would be like aikidoka promoting karateka to high ranks-makes no sense to me, ethically, logically, or in any other way.

3. Website with member dojos and their lineage history and latest verified ranks.

Why would this be a problem for Independents? If you have earned legitimate rank somewhere and not just awarded it to yourself and then got it sanctioned by a soke organization this should not be a problem. What I was suggesting is that people actually document on their sites what they have earned or the source of each rank. Not vague references to studying under some dead master who was a gardner working for your father whom discovered you at age 7 and made you a lineage holder.

4. Grandfathering in organizations like: Aikikai affiliates (USAF, AAA, ASU, etc), Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.). Not sure why this is a problem-many cited above as examples are long standing organizations that split off from the aikikai. Other groups do that as well. They may be eligible for membership based on their lineage. I would recommend however that this not be done for people splitting off below 6th dan just because they get pissed at their senseis.

5. Board of Directors with power to accept or deny membership. Why is this a problem?

6. Membership criteria and criteria for removing someone from membership (ethics). Most organizations or sanctioning groups have criteria.

7. Some kind of membership pledge statement to quote Dave Chappelle to "keep it real." This statement was designed to keep out the bovine feces statements and lies about skills and/claims to rank not earned but bought or self awarded. Things like cutting paper and moving people with ki, CIA ties, etc. The 10th dan soke, doctor, professor, grandmaster titles that are not traditional to any legitimate aikido organization.

8. A publicized red flag list somewhat like the one above. By the way, anyone wanting to use those criteria in their area is more than welcome to steal anything they want from my suggestions.
These are the things I saw consistently that set off my BS detector every time. There may be others and some may not apply. I was presenting my observations and fishing for others.

Sorry, I did not mean to sound condescending but simply felt you were missing the point and maybe had not fully read all of the comments. In a thread as long as this has turned out to be people sometimes pop in without keeping up on the discussion. Their comments subsequently miss the previously discussed points.

David Humm
12-25-2004, 04:15 PM
John,

Here's a thought for the new year.

I own a considerable amount of domain space. I would be very willing to provide a suitable amount of space and wilingness to co-maintain what ever website resulted.

I would also be prepared to register a dedicated domain name.

Obviously if some form of "international red flag" system were to begin, legal aspects of such an undertaking would need to be sought. Do we have any solicitors or lawyers here?

Many things would need to be discussed and agreed such as content.

I am willing to assist where possible but to make this worthwhile, it really needs to be a truely international effort with people prepared to submit information from their own countries.

Thoughts?

Dave

aikidoc
12-25-2004, 04:34 PM
David:

I like the idea although it would be a major undertaking. I think there are several concerns that would have to be addressed up front. One I think it would definitely have to avoid outright labeling of groups or organizations as frauds as much as we want to do this. It would prevent the legal issues. However, it could be a clearing house for legitimate organizations and dojos to provide students with a place to go to identify known legitimate organizations and obtain a set of criteria to screen out the bogus groups. Two, we would probably have to make sure that it would be focused on statements that these are our opinions as to what makes a legitimate organization/lineage and that there may be groups that chose not to participate. I think members should be able to provide a link on their site to such a place.

I don't have programming or website skills-I'm lucky I can type :). It would definitely be an interesting site. I know of your issues over there and have read many of the threads on the situation. I don't know whose laws it would fall under.

Anyone have any thoughts on this or David's idea? I think we would have to have some different areas:

Traditional organizations, independent organizations, non-affiliated independent schools/dojos.

David Humm
12-25-2004, 04:59 PM
Hi John,

Off the top of my head :

Avoiding definitive statements which use the word "fraud" in connection with individuals or organisations

Creation of a 'mission statement' which clearly sets out the purpose of the site and the definition of what is considered a "red flag" -- And why the site exists.

A definition of what is considered 'legitimate'
A definition of what is <generally> considered 'illegitimate'

A forum for the discussion of related subjects.

Food for thought and indeed a massive project

aikidoc
12-25-2004, 05:03 PM
I like it-goods ideas.

Chris Li
12-25-2004, 05:23 PM
I am younger, and more concerned about the viability of my organisation than those Shihan. I do not allow other Aikido groups underneath the Aikikai standard to operate in what I consider my territory (where my dojos are) unless they have a prior affiliation with a Shihan from elsewhere,

What am I misunderstanding here?

Well, mainly that he was referring only to other Aikikai dojo, not to dojo from other organizations.

In any case, my question to the first posting here would be how do you allow or not allow other Aikikai groups to practice? Dojo storming? Mean looks?

Anyone who was training in the mainland US in the 1970's and 80's should be aware of what a mess that kind of thing turned into and how poorly that kind of terratorialism turned out in the end. IMO, one of the great legacies of Kisshomaru Ueshiba was his movement to end the little kingdoms that had been set up and re-include many of the people who had left because of that type of practice.

Best,

Chris

Mary Eastland
12-25-2004, 05:45 PM
Whoops...I took that to mean that the Aikikai was the standard and everything else was less than that....Sorry. I guess I am feeling a little uppity.

Mary Eastland
Berkshire Hills Aikido

Lan Powers
12-25-2004, 09:13 PM
Mary
>....Sorry. I guess I am feeling a little uppity. <

Actually, you just sound like a concerned and invoved member af a school you love.........or an art.
Right?
:)
Regards
Lan

csinca
12-26-2004, 11:08 AM
For those of you that are part of one of the recognized "associations" USAF, AAA, ASU, Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki or others...

1. Are you paying dues to your organization?
2. What is your organization currently doing about this?

I'm curious because I trained in and was ranked by an independent. I've trained with many, many different "styles" by visiting dojos and attending seminars but I don't have any experience with any of these organizations from a "business" perspective. It seems to me that the subject of this thread is really the main reason any of the organizations would exist but maybe I'm missing something else!

Thanks

Chris

David Humm
12-26-2004, 11:29 AM
Chris,

None of the organisations you mention or indeed any organisation in the world will be remotely interested in 'administering' any form of control over any 'other' group.

The fees we pay to our respective organisations have nothing to do with the possible control of the less than legit nobjocky who has alterior motives behind calling himself a soke, professor, 10th dan etc etc. For exactly the same reason why the Aikikai in Japan couldn't give two monkey's about those proclaiming to teach Aikikai Aikido when they don't.

Dave

akiy
12-26-2004, 03:22 PM
Hi everyone,

Once again, let's keep specific names of people and organizations out of this thread. Thanks.

-- Jun

RonRagusa
12-26-2004, 05:53 PM
Two quotes from "The Art of Peace" by John Stevens that seem to be relevant to this thread:

"...Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not critize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts or shackles anything. It embraces all and sacrifices everything."

and

As soon as you concern yourself with the 'good' and 'bad' of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with and criticizing others weaken and defeat you."

O-Sensei seems to have foreseen the eventuality of the subject of this thread.

David Humm
12-26-2004, 06:53 PM
Ron,

I guess you look upon the wide world with rose tinted glasses.

I genuinely hope no one you know gets suckered by the type of people we've been discussing in this thread. Because the words of a man long returned to the source will have ZERO solice. No matter how meaningful they may appear.

However; each to their own. I respect the sentiments behind the words of the founder but, IMHO I don't feel they are entirely relevant today - But that's just me.

Happy New Year

L. Camejo
12-26-2004, 07:08 PM
"...Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not critize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts or shackles anything. It embraces all and sacrifices everything."

Actually I agree with the above quote in the context of the thread (though I believe the next to last word was "purifies" and not "sacrifices").;)

Of course the whole point (which you appear to have been missing) is not about "other teachers or traditions" but about people who have no actual right (or knowledge) to be teaching what they say they are teaching (i.e. are not teachers) and have never/hardly actually experienced/trained in the tradition they profess to be preserving (hence no tradition either). So the quote does actually indirectly support the thread in question. These are not "teachers of the way trying to preserve the Aikido tradition" but "conmen out to make a quick buck through falsified credentials and lies."

Will you willingly study for an electrical engineering degree under a lecturer who has a PHD in basket weaving? Or worse a lecturer who bought his Engineering PHD certificates online for $9.99?

If you want another quote from T.A.O.P.: "The Way of a Warrior is based on humanity, love and sincerity; the heart of martial valor is true bravery, wisdom love and friendship."

Where is the humanity of a person who is over a number of years unfairly taking your money and teaching you something that he knows that he is not trained or qualified to teach?

Where is the love of a person who misleads you and attempts to imprison your mind from the truth as a means to support and propagate his fraud while blocking you from that which can shed the light of truth on your own training to help you progress?

Where is the sincerity of someone who lies to you about his training history, his lineage and his credentials to make a quick buck off your ignorance?

As soon as you concern yourself with the 'good' and 'bad' of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with and criticizing others weaken and defeat you."

Personally I have found that criticizing myself and competing with others in a friendly atmosphere a great tool towards learning and not deluding myself with my own BS. So I'd say competition and criticism not only strengthens the individual, it opens one's eyes to the "good" and "bad" elements of training that can create an opening for poor and delusional training practices and ultimately a poor and delusional Budoka.

In this same way we must use the fraudsters as a training tool to challenge us to maintain the highest standards in our own training and make us desire to present and propagate our Aikido in its most powerful form to those who seek to understand the truth about Aikido.

"Be grateful even for hardships, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace."

LC:ai::ki:

aikidoc
12-26-2004, 08:13 PM
"...Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not critize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts or shackles anything. It embraces all and sacrifices everything."

The operative here is "other teachers or traditions". I have a difficult time putting someone who gets a 10th dan soke organization leader who is wanted for fraud (actual case) and who is not an aikidoka certifying his aikido rank an other teacher or tradition. This person deserves no respect and is simply perpetuating a fraud. He is definitely not a teacher and definitely not another tradition-at least an aikido tradition. Again, this is not about independents or orther legitimately trained people.


As soon as you concern yourself with the 'good' and 'bad' of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with and criticizing others weaken and defeat you."

I admit I fall guilty of the criticizing element and labeling good or bad-if by calling a fraud a fraud meets that then I fall in that category hook line and sinker. Personally, I'm not concerning myself with such a fraud since I'm pretty sure I've seen enough of the warning signs that my bs detector will forewarn me. However, I see no conflict in concerning myself with the issue when it involves someone not having the experience or background to detect such cons. I'm definitely not competing with them. I'd love to expose them so they'd go away. They are a reality and as such ignoring them does not make them any less so. Raising the level of awareness and hopefully planting the right seeds will allow people who may be taken in by charismatic charletans to reality check the situation. I'm sure their karma will catch up with them down the road but perhaps spotlighting the types of behaviors exhibited by such people will speed that process up. The 10th dan kareteka with a fraud warrant awarding a 5th dan aikido rank especially when this person, from what I and a friend knowledgable about this person have been able to find (neither the awarder or the recepient), has ever held any rank in any aikido organization-traditional or independent is definitely perpetuating a false reality. I feel this is a problem for the other legitimate instructors in the area. Reality is reality and hopefully threads like this can shed light for people being cheated by at least making them think that the reality presented by the fraud may just not be real. Buddhism is the study of reality and removal of illusion. I'm all for removing the illusion. The decisions made after that are the choice of the individual.

David Humm
12-26-2004, 08:31 PM
A question to all...

Does your Sensei claim to have a dan grade in "Budo" ?

If so where, when and with whom was this grade obtained ?

I know of 4 "Sensei" here in the UK who proclaim such grades in the public domain.

I have yet to cross the path of a Japanese instructor who holds budo dan grades. Indeed I know of a professor in Japan who holds academic qualifications, but this is entirely different to a dan grade as awarded for martial skills.

One such attempt to "explain" how a person obtained grades in Budo was... after a person has Yudansha in three separate arts. Presumably one 'awards' one's self with this accolade then ? Highly credible. Not!

Grades in Budo are IMO pure unadulterated bullshit adorned to merely pad out experience. Another example of egotistical behaviour from some who care less about tradition and more about image.

Dave

csinca
12-26-2004, 09:19 PM
Dave,

Thanks for the reply.

I can understand that no organization is interested in policing other organizations. Please forgive the question but what role does the organization play? What do you get for your fees/dues? If the answer is rank and certification then I would think that there would be some interest in maintaining the legitimacy of that rank and certification. From a pure business perspective I woudl think any of the organizations would have a vested interest in not having ranks and lineage diluted or fabricated...

I'm also now curious about this hypersensitivity to naming groups and organizations. Who got sued?

Chris

aikidoc
12-26-2004, 10:43 PM
Chris: I think organizations generally will require you to pay membership fees.. If you cease to pay, you cease to be a member.

Rupert Atkinson
12-26-2004, 11:14 PM
I have been to more than a few dojos and I can honestly say I have come across a couple of suspect, yet supposably legitimate, ones too ... Sometimes, even legit orgs just grade people too fast to open up new clubs.

I also know of stories where two competing legit UK orgs graded their instructors in similar regions so as to be of a higher grade than the opposition in their quest for authority.

David Humm
12-26-2004, 11:20 PM
...I'm also now curious about this hypersensitivity to naming groups and organizations. Who got sued?

Chris Hi Chris..

Well I for one have been threatened with legal action (although the less said about that person the better) Nothing came of the threat BTW.

Oh I've also been physically threatend several times mainly via emails (lol)

Speaking generally, I think legal action is a mathematical certainty. Not if or whom but when.

Dave

PeterR
12-27-2004, 12:46 AM
So after all this what are you going to do about it.

An International database maintained by an outside party? Frankly I wouldn't put my name on it and what guarantee do I have that its not just another Grand Soke Phoobah site albeit for lesser mortals.

My organization has a list but you wont find me on it. Shihan in his wisdom has given my dojo a place on the affiliated clubs board in the dojo but not on the web site. Of course up-dates are notoriously slow. Does that worry me - no. Should it worry you - even less so.

I am pretty sure that if you wrote Honbu from outside of Japan and asked about my rank and affiliation they would not answer you - again it is not your business. They might ask me what I want done but same answer.

It's the old adage a fool and his money are soon parted. If you are willing to do research you will probably find a half decent dojo. If not - you are not my problem.

Rocky Izumi
12-27-2004, 01:56 AM
Whose to say Aikikai sets the standard? And how can you prevent other dojos from operating? And who are you to decide who does what?
Mary Eastland
Berkshire Hills Aikido
I go and talk to them and practice with them. Logic and goodwill will prevail most times. I have never had a situation where it has not and will not consider a situation where it will not until it happens. At that point, I will have to make my decisions. Well, I guess it has and it meant a little match on one of the match platforrms on the mountains around Hong Kong.

As a Shidoin, it is my duty to deal with these types of issues in the most effective way possible. I have no choice. As my Shihans have said, make sure I win or don't come back.

Rock

aikidoc
12-27-2004, 08:53 AM
"I am pretty sure that if you wrote Honbu from outside of Japan and asked about my rank and affiliation they would not answer you - again it is not your business" P. Rehse

You can verify ranks with the aikikai. I have in the past on someone claiming to be something and having a multitude of excuses as to why they don't have a sho-sho to prove it. I simple wrote them and they got back with me stating they did not show the person having been awarded any rank with the aikikai. It was real helpful since the guy was claiming to be a shodan and he wasn't. Another form of fraud or dishonesty in my mind. Sometimes in small towns people think no one will figure out their lies. I check all ranks people claim and ask for rank certificates.

PRapoza
12-27-2004, 09:12 AM
If you guys spent half as much energy training as you do thinking and writing about something that has always been, is now and always will be you'd be much further along in your own journey. That being said I too am and have been very critical of other teachers, lineages etc... but one thing I do know for sure, it (criticizing, worrying about how others practice) is a waste of time and a fruitless endeavor. The reason this thread is so popular is that by our nature we want to criticize others to justify our own way. This is why we need training. The words quoted by O'Sensei are not just some unattainable ideal but a road map for our training. It is a difficult road to hoe and one that I often wander off but it is the road no less. We have very little time here (on earth) don't waste a single moment!

SteveTrinkle
12-27-2004, 09:20 AM
Hello Paul Sensei, Happy Holidays. I agree with you. Usually the answer to all my questions is: Take more ukemi!

Best,
Steve

csinca
12-27-2004, 10:50 AM
Chris: I think organizations generally will require you to pay membership fees.. If you cease to pay, you cease to be a member.

John,

Thanks for the reply. This of course makes sense but I'm wondering what value an organization creates and brings to a dojo in exchange for the membership fees. It seems to me that the biggest thing they could offer is credibility and/or rank authentication. If this is the case then the fraud being discussed on this thread only serves to dilute this value and it would be in the interest of the "valid" organizations to address this issue.

Chris

csinca
12-27-2004, 10:52 AM
Hi Chris..

Well I for one have been threatened with legal action (although the less said about that person the better) Nothing came of the threat BTW.

Oh I've also been physically threatend several times mainly via emails (lol)

Speaking generally, I think legal action is a mathematical certainty. Not if or whom but when.

Dave

Dave, thanks for the response. I'm not running a dojo and only taught an occasional class so I guess I've been insulated from this sort of thing. Unfortunately I think you are right, it's going to happen!

Chris

Bronson
12-27-2004, 11:08 AM
...but one thing I do know for sure, it (criticizing, worrying about how others practice) is a waste of time and a fruitless endeavor. The reason this thread is so popular is that by our nature we want to criticize others to justify our own way.

AAAGGGHHH!!! Sorry, had to get that out.

People still seem to think we are criticizing other training methods...WE ARE NOT. We are voicing concerns over instructors/entire organizations who provide fraudulent histories and training in order to take advantage of people for whatever purpose (money, ego, etc.)

This is not about justifying my way or saying that one training method is to be the standard over all others. I'm almost positive that Sensei Riggs training methods and my own are at opposite ends of the spectrum, yet I share his concerns in this issue. I definitely don't feel like he and any others here are advocating one set style or organization as the standard.

Please read the posts. (that's for everybody :) )

Bronson

Qatana
12-27-2004, 11:31 AM
I think that some people never get past the "subject " line when replying to posts. Like there's a new thread about bowing, with a very specific question asked, and not one single person who has responded to that post has actually responded to that specific question.

I found Riggs Sensei's post and subsequent clarifications absolutely clear, and i agree with his points and possible solutions.

However i also bothered to do my research into lineage and history when I was considering the practice and searching for a dojo. I was lucky enough to find my sensei without shopping around, and his lineage and credentials are public knowledge.

Bronson
12-27-2004, 11:41 AM
I think that some people never get past the "subject " line when replying to posts. Like there's a new thread about bowing, with a very specific question asked, and not one single person who has responded to that post has actually responded to that specific question.

:) I noticed that too.

Bronson

Don_Modesto
12-27-2004, 12:20 PM
My organization has a list but you wont find me on it....I am pretty sure that if you wrote Honbu from outside of Japan and asked about my rank and affiliation they would not answer you - again it is not your business.

Funky, this.

Organizations should at least be clearing houses for sound information about their own teachers.

I bring this up because the attitude above is sort of prevalent, actually. There was some pretty nasty stuff going on a while back on one of the threads (here or another board, I don't recall) about someone or another's bona fides. He'd claimed a lineage and others in that lineage vociferously denied it and quoted folk at the top to that effect. I emailed another org. that this individual claimed rank from to check with them. I would have thought that they'd be glad to confirm the rank if it was genuine, deny it if fraudulent. They were suspicious of me! After demanding and getting my own credentials, they finally confirmed that the person in question actually had received the claimed rank from them. But why this attitude I don't understand. Care to explain further, Peter?

Thanks.

aikidoc
12-27-2004, 12:35 PM
"People still seem to think we are criticizing other training methods...WE ARE NOT. We are voicing concerns over instructors/entire organizations who provide fraudulent histories and training in order to take advantage of people for whatever purpose (money, ego, etc.)

This is not about justifying my way or saying that one training method is to be the standard over all others. I'm almost positive that Sensei Riggs training methods and my own are at opposite ends of the spectrum, yet I share his concerns in this issue. I definitely don't feel like he and any others here are advocating one set style or organization as the standard.

Please read the posts. (that's for everybody )"

Thanks. I think I have and most of the other posters have taken great care to not get into the issue of your style vs. my style. My concerns on this issue have come about due to an increase in the number of these frauds out there. Not only are they increasing but they are buying ranks from non-aikido organizations. The public has no clue.

AGAIN-WE ARE NOT ATTACKING DIFFERENT STYLES WHERE RANK HAS BEEN EARNED. I do aikikai style aikido because that is what I want to do. I started with a splinter organization and then ranked with an independent organization but switched-because I wanted to stay connected with the founding organization. That's just me. I don't expect everyone to follow my path nor do I expect them to agree with it. However, what I am hoping is that there is actually a path followed not fabricated.

MaryKaye
12-27-2004, 12:50 PM
I pay dues to Ki Society International (not very large dues at my level). My impression is that they would react to attempts to use their name or to claim to be teaching in their style by someone who was not qualified to do so. In one of their newsletters they sent a reminder that the name is copyrighted and not to be used without permission.

I am fairly sure that they would verify a claimed dan rank if asked, though knowing the organization I suspect it might take quite a long time to get a response.

As a kyu rank, my main interaction with International is that they hold teacher-training workshops, and introduce new material as "this is how we're doing it now." Such new material filters down through the ranks and does get to people at my level. So even though there's no very direct contact, we're quite aware that they exist. My dojo is wrestling with a different way to do nikyo, filtered down from HQ.

They also set the test criteria, which gives a certain assurance that a Ki Society student from elsewhere has some predictable base of knowledge. It's not entirely predictable, though: we have an Eastern European student who knows the same throws we do by name, but a couple of them are startlingly different in form. Coherent and effective, obviously well-taught, just different. It doesn't help that most throw names correspond to more than one throw! The details of which throw was actually meant come by filtering down from HQ, and clearly they can mutate en route.

Compared to other national/international organizations I've belonged to, this one is actually somewhat functional....

Mary Kaye

PRapoza
12-27-2004, 02:22 PM
I read the other posts. Almost all say the same thing, in slightly different ways. The dojo's being called frauds have always, are now and will always exist period. People stretch the truth, lie, scheme, etc... Do you think time is better spent trying to control those people or on training yourself ? That is what the quote from O'Sensei is speaking of. We all have a limited amount of time and energy. Why spend it on things that are outside your control, everything outside your skin.. Because it's easier to look outward than in. The question inevitably comes back to "What does this have to do with my own training/dojo?" I know what my answer is...what's yours?

PRapoza
12-27-2004, 02:36 PM
P.S. I met a guy who is a,certified Aikikai, fifth dan who claimed on his website to have trained with my teacher. He visited my teachers dojo a couple of times when visiting Japan. That was enough for him to include my teacher as one of his or someone he "studied with". Everyone who practiced with that guy and knows my teacher thought it was ridiculous. No one ever said anything to him though. What's the point? He's making a fool of himself and he doesn't even realize it. Ever heard the story of The Emperor's New Clothes...

aikidoc
12-27-2004, 03:08 PM
Commenting does not affect my training at the dojo in any way shape or form-I do it when I'm not there.

I agree, these frauds are likely out of our control realm.

As to what it has to do with my own training? In my case, it has affected it 3 times in the past via affiliations. I currently have a friend in another part of the state trying to keep a dojo functioning. It affects his because he was recently promoted to nidan and a local is one of the frauds. This is not speculation. The guy got all his rank from a soke organization made up of a 10th dan wanted for fraud in another state. The 10-th dan is also not an aikidoka yet he is promoting this guy to 5th dan. A newbie in the area does not have the ability to discerned the difference. I personally would look for quality and generally a 5th dan should be a lot more knowledgeable than a 2nd dan about the art. That is if both are legit and did not buy their rank.

I'm sure frauds have always existed. However, one of the reasons for posting this thread is that it is my opinion that it is increasing. I personally can come up with at least 10 of these cons and that's with little effort. To me I feel a responsibility to raise the awareness of other aikidoka (many on this site have had the experience) and hopefully get some ideas as to what can be done as an aikido community to at least shed light on the topic and give the local legitimate schools some criteria they can use to educate prospective students and their own. Will we solve the problem? Not likely but it has been an interesting discussion in my opinion with lots of good ideas. My biggest hope is they chose to change their names and drop the aikido moniker. If they do that, I'd be happy. So-all the cons-if you read this site-change your names and drop the aikido. I don't care what you change it to. Make something up. Then you can use doctor, soke, professor, grandmaster of ikkyo or whatever you want to call yourself and promote yourself to whatever rank your little heart desires (I understand some of the ninja groups are now going up to 15th dan). At least that way, it will not reflect on aikido.

David Humm
12-27-2004, 03:36 PM
The mentality of the delusional egotistic

A good friend of mine runs a fairly successful mail order martial arts shop (he is also a 5th dan in Shotokan)

I'm in his shop when he tells me of an order which had been placed by a chap who'd recently been graded to Shodan in Aikido, his order requested a black belt with his name and grade embroidered through the entire length of the belt.

The owner corresponds with the customer to advise the costs involved and to <ahem> actually confirm the request :rolleyes:

The customer confirmed accordingly however he additionally stated that he'd realised the cost would be greater than 'normal' due to the greater amount of stitching so; He'd changed his mind on one aspect of the belt. That, instead of wanting Shodan on the belt, he now wanted Godan.

The shop owner phoned the customer to check this was indeed correct asking why he wanted Godan on the belt when the customer was a newly graded Shodan.

The customer replied that he'd realised the cost of the belt and that he didn't want to have to pay this each time he got promoted in the future. That his instructor had told him he'd probably reach Godan in time to come. So he wanted his name and Godan written on the belt. The shop owner asked if he wanted a second 'plain' BB to wear in the mean time to which the answer was no, he was going to wear the embroidered belt.

-------- And there's more --------

Another friend of mine and a Principal instructor here in the UK was invited to teach at a dojo, on his arrival he was greeted by the club instructor who, the Principal noted was wearing a very odd type obi under his hakama.

On closer inspection the club instructor was in fact wearing curtain/drape tie-backs wrapped around him complete with the tassel ends, one for each of his dan grades (4) These were strategically placed two at each side of his waist so they would be visible through his hakama.

When the principal asked about his ukemi and if 'they' would get in the way, the club instructor replied "I don't do ukemi anymore because I'm the teacher here"

Dave

Charles Hill
12-27-2004, 04:34 PM
Like there's a new thread about bowing, with a very specific question asked, and not one single person who has responded to that post has actually responded to that specific question.

Hey!!! I clearly responded specifically to that specific question!

Charles "The Thorough Reader" Hill

mj
12-27-2004, 04:52 PM
Until we see light from an attacker....
Until we can stand in the middle of 12 people we do not know and down them....
Until 8 people can hold us.....
Until we can pin real Sumo wrestlers...
Until we fight union beaters, fight in wars...
Until we can sit with 3 people pushing our head and another pulling our neck with a belt...
Until we can stand with a wooden stick and have 3 people pushing it and not move....
Until we can smile with the love of life....

What exactly is the definition of fraud here? All of us. Not one of us, frankly, is worthy to lace his boots...and yet we argue over little things. And we probably shame him.

Anyway tomorrow I will be back to my own arguing, carry on.

PeterR
12-27-2004, 05:25 PM
OK I can think of one member of this board off-hand that founded his own organization and subsequently assumed rank from that organization. He would fit into some of the descriptions I've heard here of fraud - I would not call him such.

David Humm
12-27-2004, 05:54 PM
As a matter of interest..

What "rank/grade" did the founder hold in "his" art Aikido

Subsequently what "rank/grade" does the Doshu hold ? Indeed what colour belt does the Doshu wear under his hakama ? Cos it isn't black.

Perhaps there are a couple of important lessons here.

With regards to "assuming" grades from an organisation which one is responsible for forming... IMHO If someone wants to form an organisation and create a rank for themselves, I'm afraid I for one would be most suspicious.

We have a growing number of 8th dan in this country despite only three officially appointed Shihan (one of whom is the Aikikai representitive) The worth of these 8th dan certificates is frankly ZERO IMO mainly because they are awarded from within their own respective organisations or, as previously indicated issued from some pants multi-art facard who issue certificates for money. I actually found one such organisation with a dedicated aikido section headed by a person claiming grades in "BUDO-DO", "BUDO" & "Aiki-BUDO". for christ sake thats a LOT of BUDO something like a combined number of 15 dan grades in BUDO related arse. Not to mention the 6 dan in AIKIDO

Indeed what credibility is there in printing off on my PC a 5th dan certificate and giving it to myself ?

More to the question.. Why do this in the first place.

Answer - To fool people

PeterR
12-27-2004, 05:58 PM
But why this attitude I don't understand. Care to explain further, Peter?
If someone from the Himeji area wrote to Honbu and asked if I was really what I claim to be they would answer. That has relevance. I was very clear in my post when I said outside of Japan.

The problem has to do, I think, with the number of strange e-mails known organizations get and by extention their members. I would say it has to do with protecting your own.

Don_Modesto
12-27-2004, 06:09 PM
If someone from the Himeji area wrote to Honbu and asked if I was really what I claim to be they would answer. That has relevance.

Quite right. Thanks for the response.

Peter Goldsbury
12-27-2004, 06:42 PM
There is a fine line between (self-) delusion, deception and fraud (which to me includes a more distinct financial motive). I suppose the base line is knowing the truth and the many ways of wishing it were otherwise\or pretending it is otherwise. In Japan there is an organization called Aum Shinrikyou. The leader, now on trial for his life, claimed to be enlightened, even to be able to levitate\given his weight, this would have been a major feat. Clearly a charlatan, one might think, but the organization attracted hundreds of followers who would otherwise have made successful careers as doctors or lawyers etc. The police targeted the organization not for defrauding the members, but on other, more serious charges.

Now Aum Shinrikyou is part of a long tradition of 'new' religions in Japan and it is believed that 10% of the population are members of such 'new' religions. The pattern rarely varies: someone comes along claiming to have received 'enlightenment' on some occasion and to be carrying out the request/commission of the supposed enlightenment-giver to found a new heaven and a new earth etc. Of course, the movement attracts followers and if the followers are wealthy, so much the better. Now where would one draw the line between genuine belief and self-delusion, deception/fraud?

Compare this with the latest type of fraud, very prevalent here in Japan. Someone uses a cell phone to target middle-aged people, pretending to be a relative, or the police. The story is always similar. The son has had an accident and needs to make a large payment to the other party. He needs the cash and so please transfer x hundred thousand yen into a certain bank account\right now. I am a member of the local police committee and you would not believe how many people fall for this scam. Japan is still a cash society, so it is common for people who cause accidents to make a cash gift to the injured party, to avoid the case going any further. There is a tradition of unquestioning obedience to authority here and this leads to a certain gullibility. To me the middle-aged couple would also be blameworthy for not taking reasonable precautions, but this is because I come from a culture where authority is routinely questioned. This is rarely the case here and it is much more likely that people will get on with their own affairs and try to avoid encounters with authority figures like the police.

So if someone starts his/her own martial arts organization, it would be obvious that here genuine 'enlightenment' would require at least 8th dan, or a soke-ship. Such a person might well attract disciples, for the reasons I have suggested above. I think this is one of the advantages of belonging to an organization, but an organization by itself it not enough. Aum Shinrikyou was a large organization. Nevertheless, the lineage if Shoko Asahara was in question and so lineage\a direct line traceable to an original, respected, founder is also crucial.

I am not, of course, saying that independence is not possible or even desirable in many cases. But independence has a stronger basis if a direct line traceable to a founder is also clear. Again, there are occasions where this is also questionable, as the following case may show.

I know of someone, not Japanese, who apparently has the rank of 8th dan. When I knew this person, back in the late 70s, he was 1st kyu. So we are talking about 1st kyu to 8th dan in 25 - 30 years. The very minimum time for advancement from 1st kyu to 8th dan in the Aikikai is 50 years and there are no non-Japanese of 8th dan rank (except perhaps for the late Andre Nocquet\I have not checked). This person founded his own organization and the advisers he chose, at least in the beginning, had impeccable predigree, but the provenance of the 8th dan is not clear to me. Is this fraud? Possibly, but I doubt that any of his students would think so. Is the aikido any good, and if it is, does this make up for the rapid promotion to 8th dan? My knowledge of what an 8th or 9th dan is supposed to be capable of is based on my own training with such shihans in Japan, so I myself am very very sceptical. But I think this is as far as I can go.

Apologies for the long post,

PeterR
12-27-2004, 06:44 PM
Subsequently what "rank/grade" does the Doshu hold ? Indeed what color belt does the Doshu wear under his hakama ? Cos it isn't black.

We have a growing number of 8th dan in this country despite only three officially appointed Shihan (one of whom is the Aikikai representitive) The worth of these 8th dan certificates is frankly ZERO IMO mainly because they are awarded from within their own respective organisations
The Aikikai Doshu is not the best example - he was born to his position.

Other groups have their own structure - and again who are you to say what is or is not fraudulent. In fact once again it sounds very much like you are making judgment calls on organizations and training methods.

The Japan Aikido Association is an association much like the Kodokan. There was a conscious decision to avoid the Iemoto system. Nariyama Shihan after over 20 years as 7th Dan assumed 8th Dan - there was no one to give him the rank. There were a few reasons for it - one it allowed other people to be promoted that deserved it and two 8th Dan was supposed to be the top rank in the JAA. Now you are saying he's suspicious.

aikidoc
12-27-2004, 07:24 PM
Reminder. Let's keep aikido names out of this.

"Enlightenment" in the eyes of the ones who take the soke route in this country seems to have more to do with the eyes lighting up at the sign of green. The traceable lineage is often vaguely referred to and not provable. To take a seminar with someone does not mean you have studied with them, at least in the sense I know it. I have taken several seminars with top shihan over the years, but I can't really say I have studied with them. I have learned from them but to me this is different. One Texas "5th dan shihan I know of never even tested under an 8th dan shihan" -he was training with a sensei that did not believe in testing. He claimed he didn't either. However, he went to a soke organization and got his rank "certified" by an non-aikidoka. Apparently, no one in his area takes him seriously. He does not have a direct, traceable lineage to any founder as a "student". His lineage claims would be like me saying I'm a direct student of O'Sensei's because I read a book about him or saw him on video.

David Humm
12-27-2004, 08:23 PM
...Other groups have their own structure - and again who are you to say what is or is not fraudulent. In fact once again it sounds very much like you are making judgment calls on organizations and training methods.

I have never questioned other organisation's training methods, so where do you draw that conclusion? What I have questioned and continue to do so... Is the validity of a self awarded grade.

Chuck Clark
12-27-2004, 08:31 PM
Paying dues to an organization that you want to be part of, in my opinion, should not be a commercial transaction that is designed to "get you something", but instead, should be a means for each member/participant to help support the organization and the practice that makes up the communitiy and the continuation of the system.

The nature of the organization determines whether it is open to the public scrutiny or is more private in it's practices.

PeterR
12-27-2004, 08:32 PM
Grades are part of the method - as is the appropriateness of the head of an organization taking on a higher rank so that the method may function correctly.

In my opinion, in the context of the organization, the grade is completely valid.

Again my point isn't so much about one particular practice - it has more to do with the idea of making judgement calls because a person or group approaches things in a different way then yourself.

David Humm
12-27-2004, 08:43 PM
Grades are part of the method - as is the appropriateness of the head of an organization taking on a higher rank so that the method may function correctly.

In my opinion, in the context of the organization, the grade is completely valid.

And in the theory of what you say, I would agree. The practice (and the motives of some) are however quite different.

By your reasoning then, I can break away from my present organisation as a junior dan grade. Set up on my own and then assume the rank of 6th dan in the style of aikido previously studied as a junior dan grade.

Then... publisise myself as a 6th dan, gain students from this information and conduct myself as such until I decide it's time to promote myself again to say 8th dan and start refering to myself a Shihan ?

And who would know what my actual graded skill was ?

Legit or not ?

PeterR
12-27-2004, 09:20 PM
Set up on my own and then assume the rank of 6th dan in the style of aikido previously studied as a junior dan grade.
Where did I say that?

PeterR
12-27-2004, 10:18 PM
So OK - beside listing a litany of horrors. What do you suggest be done?

I mentioned before the availability of the Internet and how easy it is for someone to get informed, generally or specifically, if they so choose. Do you really want the students that can't be bothered to do any research?

Do you want more done, is it feasible?

I was once told when I worried about starting a dojo with only Shodan in an area with more experienced and higher ranks in different Aikido styles. If you are any good they will come. This is even more true with the "frauds".

And what is your motive - to get more students? To protect the innocent?

David Humm
12-28-2004, 04:16 AM
So OK - beside listing a litany of horrors. What do you suggest be done? I don't profess to have the answers, merely hold opinion on the subjectI mentioned before the availability of the Internet and how easy it is for someone to get informed, generally or specifically, if they so choose. Do you really want the students that can't be bothered to do any research?Do I want them ?Do you want more done, is it feasible? Realistically I doubt it but the size of this thread is indication that problems do exist, and people acknowledge it. By open discussion we make it easier for those who do, do their homework to realise things aren't always cut and dry.And what is your motive - to get more students? LOL if you knew anything about where I live you'd realise how funny what you wrote is. I can literally walk from one end of Grimsby and Cleethorpes in about 2 hours.

As for protecting the innocent? Please don't patronise me it isn't required.

ruthmc
12-28-2004, 05:01 AM
And who would know what my actual graded skill was ?
Using your own criteria, that would be obvious as we observed your demonstration on the mat...

I don't care what grade somebody claims to have - good Aikido is good Aikido and bad Aikido is bad Aikido. I have seen good Aikido from an ungraded beginner and bad Aikido from a 7th dan, also the reverse, with the same people, during the same class.

It isn't possible to put people into neat little boxes to measure their skill in Aikido. Grades are an indication of many things, and far too general to function in the way you would like them to.

Ruth

ps Please tone down your language - this is an open forum Dave!

David Humm
12-28-2004, 08:22 AM
Please tone down your language - this is an open forum Dave!
Pardon me ! I'll wash my mouth out with soap at once.

David Humm
12-28-2004, 08:27 AM
Using your own criteria, that would be obvious as we observed your demonstration on the mat...To a beginner ? I doubt that.I don't care what grade somebody claims to have - good Aikido is good Aikido and bad Aikido is bad Aikido. I have seen good Aikido from an ungraded beginner and bad Aikido from a 7th dan, also the reverse, with the same people, during the same class.-Indeed but until you actually "know" the difference, what "difference" is there? It isn't possible to put people into neat little boxes to measure their skill in Aikido. Grades are an indication of many things, and far too general to function in the way you would like them to. And Ruth, you've just made the point for me. The general public simplify the matter of grades IE the higher the grade the better the person (irrespective of what we really know as the truth of the matter) Why do you think people embelish their grades in the first place?

To fool people <I think i've said that twice now>

David Humm
12-28-2004, 08:33 AM
... Where did I say that ?...

"Grades are part of the method - as is the appropriateness of the head of an organization taking on a higher rank so that the method may function correctly."

Your own post mate.

With due respect to everyone I'll bow out of this discussion as it is rapidly going now where. I think my views and opinions are well lamented on this subject and I have no wish to merely p*ss people off by repeating what I've said before.

After all I wasn't actually going to contribute to this thread :)

Regards to all for the New Year

ruthmc
12-28-2004, 08:34 AM
Indeed but until you actually "know" the difference, what "difference" is there?
And this is what people have to learn for themselves. It's no different than learning how to judge a good steak, or how to avoid being ripped off by a used car dealer - one learns these things through life experience. :)

Why would you assume that you need to tell people how to judge good Aikido? For me that's part of the learning process.

Ruth

Bronson
12-28-2004, 08:55 AM
While this subject hits home for me I can't really think of any clear cut solution. I think the best we can do is make sure the information is out there for people who look for it. I would agree with Peter R. that things like AikiWeb and E-budo are probably the greatest tools we have against frauds. We just need to get the word out about these resources...especially AikiWeb :D

Bronson

aikidoc
12-28-2004, 12:03 PM
"And this is what people have to learn for themselves. It's no different than learning how to judge a good steak, or how to avoid being ripped off by a used car dealer - one learns these things through life experience.

Why would you assume that you need to tell people how to judge good Aikido? For me that's part of the learning process"

Judging good aikido being a learning process I would agree with. However, judging fraud may be something that needs a boost. Should we just let people get ripped off by these frauds and assume it is part of the learning process? I feel we should help them see the truth since we can only rely on frauds to manipulate the truth. Ghandi felt we should always speak the truth though with gentle language (I'd say with gentle and careful language to avoid lawsuits).

There are many out there with good aikido and bad values or integrity. Should we let those who lie and cheat the public do so with impunity or should we raise the awareness. I have no problems with someone wanting to train with someone who has good aikido and poor values if that is what they chose to do-free will. I do have a problem with their lies being represented as what aikido is about and major qualms with people claiming they do aikido with no legitimate background in the art.

As David notes the threat is starting to sputter, however, I think in the long run the discussion far exceeded what I had hoped for when I posted it. I do appreciate all the thought and comments given to the ideas discussed. I also appreciate the restraint exercised in not commenting on specific individuals or groups.

I think we all recognize that frauds are inevitable and not likely to go away, especially if they think there is a buck to be made. However, raising awareness and communicating with our students and the public may help shed light on these crooks. Establishing and demonstrating good morals and values and being willing to communicate our credentials and how we got them will go a long way toward credibility. The frauds are generally not willing to do those things. They make vague references to their history and lineage and inaccuracies abound. The majority of their background is extremely difficult to verify (probably since it is fabricated). Independents and traditional schools can go a long way helping the public understand these things without criticizing each other based of stylistic or lineage differences. Such valid backgrounds should be perpetuated in their own traditions. I do however think all martial artists should be wary of the traps of soke organizations and the limited credibility of such groups that abound and sell ranks for money and certify ranks with no lineage in aikido themselves. Joining such groups and receiving rank from them not only perpetuates the problem but puts you in the same questionable arena. I'd be all for an international validation body or website but I think this is not likely to receive much support. Too much ego and turf issues would make it fail.

David Yap
12-28-2004, 12:18 PM
And this is what people have to learn for themselves. It's no different than learning how to judge a good steak, or how to avoid being ripped off by a used car dealer - one learns these things through life experience. :)

Why would you assume that you need to tell people how to judge good Aikido? For me that's part of the learning process.

Ruth

Ruth,

Please allow me to assist you. If I'm invited to demonstrate to a group of potential students as to why aikido is different from other MA; this what I would do:

1. I will break a brick with a knife hand strike, break a second one with an open palm strike and the third one with a punch.
2. I will place a 1 inch thick wooden board at angle against wall and proceed to break it to halves with my heel.
3. I will invite a member of the group to attack me using frontal strikes, diagonal strikes (hook punch, upper cut) and I will proceed to demonstrate to them how easily, either with and without kuzushi, to touch the vital parts and joints of the attacker's body using the strikes/blows/kicks demonstrated in 1 and 2 above.
4. Having done all the above, I will tell the audience that what they just seen are not the practice and intention of PURE aikido.
5. I will then attempt to demonstrate the immobilization techniques of aikido against those types of attack.

The point is not that I'm against the use of atemi in aikido. On the contrary, I believe in the use of controlled atemi as much as controlled kuzushi. Once in a while, I have been accused of giving "charity" falls due to uncontrolled kuzushi (I will leave the stories for another day).

Back to the point of judging "good" or "bad" aikido. Ruth, absolutely agreed with you that this is part of the learning process. I hold yudansha ranks in karate (both sports and traditional schools) and aikido from legitimate international organizations (names withheld to protect the innocents) - these IMHO probably help to shorten my learning curves in both chosen arts.

I have trained with 1st kyu students and yudansha in a particular dojo - they absolutely believe that the ONLY way to bring the uke down to lock them in ikkyo is to apply pressure or strike to the uke' elbow joints. As far as I know, ikkyo is one of the first techniques taught to beginners at all dojo and it is the basic and most fundamental aikido technique. Doesn't the saying, "You judge the quality of the teacher by the quality of his students" meant anything here?

At another, I have seen a senior instructor in a legitimate organization flipping his uke with kotegaeshi; just as the uke was about to break the fall with his free hand, the instructor yanked the uke up into the air again with the uke's other arm oblivious to the injury that can be caused to the uke then and in future. This and amongst other techniques of disallowing the uke to have a clean breakfall have since become a trade mark of this instructor in various embusen given by the organization. As I have said earlier in this thread (a post that has been judged to be irrelevant), different people has different ethical motives when selecting a MA to train in. Whether they will eventually grow up - no one can tell. Though this thread dealt on aikido frauds - people with no or little credentials in aikido - they are not much different with the people in legitimate organizations who dish out "bad" aikido. So without the experience of training with some of these aikido frauds (within or without legitimate organizations), who are we to judge?

David Y

Alvin H. Nagasawa
12-28-2004, 01:28 PM
Frauds: A person(or thing) that is not what he (it) seems or pretends to be. from O.A.Dictionary@1980

:ai: :ki: :do: ? What is your definition. If you understand its meaning, You are on the right path. If not re access your training, look at your self in the mirror.

If you are a Aikido student with experience you should see through the individual.

If there teacher's condone their actions, What can I say. (end of subject) its a internal matter. The individuals conduct can be only corrected by their respected Dojo Cho.

The Lone Wolf of San Jose :cool:

Rupert Atkinson
12-28-2004, 05:31 PM
A solution: The Aikikai lists all its dan grades on its website. Other associations follow suit.

MaryKaye
12-28-2004, 05:59 PM
By your reasoning then, I can break away from my present organisation as a junior dan grade. Set up on my own and then assume the rank of 6th dan in the style of aikido previously studied as a junior dan grade.

Legit or not ?

If you award yourself a dan rank and you are clear and open about where it came from I see no problem. That must be, after all, where ranking systems originate: someone who has no formal rank in the system gives rank, either to themself or to their student. This must continue to happen as new martial arts styles are invented. If you're not really any good, well, your new art or style will end up in the dustbin of history.

If you award yourself a dan rank and then claim it came from Association X when it didn't, well, that's lying--why would it be okay?

The two cases seem utterly different to me.

Mary Kaye

Holly Nesbeitt
12-28-2004, 06:06 PM
"And this is what people have to learn for themselves. It's no different than learning how to judge a good steak, or how to avoid being ripped off by a used car dealer - one learns these things through life experience. Why would you assume that you need to tell people how to judge good Aikido? For me that's part of the learning process"


Aside from it simply being wrong for people to lie about their credentials, rip off others in the process, and leech business from honest dojos, there's also a safety issue. Would you say that learning to find a good heart or brain surgeon is just one of those life learning experiences? Or would you rather have surgeons strictly regulated, so that you can trust that whomever you go to will be at least competent, and have medical malpractice laws to fall back on should something go wrong?

OK, aikido isn't as risky as surgery. But you are still learning to fall in a variety of ways, receive techniques, throw people across the room, and manipulate sensitive joints. I doubt that anyone loony and greedy enough to set themselves up as Soke Grand Poobah 20th dan is going to care much for your and your partner's safety. And SGP will probably have made you sign a waiver stating that no one is liable if someone gets hurt.

aikidoc
12-28-2004, 06:50 PM
OK, aikido isn't as risky as surgery.

Now there's where I'd say I disagree. There have been deaths and paralysis attributed to aikido. The safety issue is an interesting point. I wonder what the legal liability issues would be of injuring someone while claiming to be something you are not?

PeterR
12-28-2004, 06:54 PM
Your own post mate.

With due respect to everyone I'll bow out of this discussion as it is rapidly going now where. I think my views and opinions are well lamented on this subject and I have no wish to merely p*ss people off by repeating what I've said before.

After all I wasn't actually going to contribute to this thread :)

Regards to all for the New Year
Followed immediately by In my opinion, in the context of the organization, the grade is completely valid.
Where exactly did I say it was outside the organization he founded.

aikidoc
12-28-2004, 06:55 PM
A solution: The Aikikai lists all its dan grades on its website. Other associations follow suit.

I like the idea but it would be a behemoth undertaking which I doubt the aikikai or anyone else would like to take on.

Aikido Journal has a place where one can post their certificate. I like that idea-although I'm sure that could be forged as well. Although it would be tougher to forge an aikikai certificate since it has a water mark on it.

PeterR
12-28-2004, 06:57 PM
A solution: The Aikikai lists all its dan grades on its website. Other associations follow suit.
That wouldn't work - privacy issues. Unless of course Dan grade holders could choose to be listed or not.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-28-2004, 07:10 PM
A solution: The Aikikai lists all its dan grades on its website. Other associations follow suit.

If these guys can do it...

http://bjj.org/a/ranks.html

aikidoc
12-28-2004, 07:16 PM
Wow. They have all their ranks listed. Lot of work. I don't know how the privacy issue plays out internationally. It would definitely be an issue in the states. But if it was kept up to date, it would be easy to see who is lying about rank.

PeterR
12-28-2004, 07:28 PM
I need to point out that in Japan this is probably far less of a problem with respect to Aikido if it exists at all. It might be hard to convince them of the need.

Why not a voluntary data base where entries are confirmed by the parent organization. There is no reason that could not work.

Would it do any good? Probably not.

In the US the JAA(USA) maintains a list of dojos. In Japan Shodokan maintains a list of dojos both internationally and nationally.

I think this is just as good.

Rupert Atkinson
12-28-2004, 08:07 PM
If these guys can do it...

http://bjj.org/a/ranks.html

What an excellent site - I clicked on one of my mates I know to have a BB and he was there. Indeed, it even included his lineage. Excellent stuff.

Few will be able to set themselves up with false credentials in BJJ, that's for sure.

Come to think of it, I recall a UK school that had all their dan grades listed for their own org. Not sure which it was right now.

Peter Goldsbury
12-28-2004, 09:51 PM
The Aikikai lists all dan ranks awarded in the "Aikido Shimbun". They are classified by rank in the order of yudansha in Japan, yudansha abroad, and yudansha in university clubs in Japan. The first 500-odd issues were recently issued on CD-Rom. There is a database, but, since information is given strictly on a need-to-know basis, I doubt very much whether this would ever be made available to the general public.

If it were to be shown that there was a worldwide problem of people fraudulently claiming to have Aikikai grades, this would be a strong case for some sort of official list of dan ranks on a web site. A thread such as this, which discusses dubious and fraudulent grades and titles in general\mainly in the US ans without mentioning any specific cases, would not constitute a strong case. The Aikikai is simply not concerned with dan ranks outside its own organization.

Ellis Amdur
12-29-2004, 12:23 AM
The older menkyo system of koryu seems to be quite different from that described in many people's posts regarding aikido. When koryu was genuine training in contemporary military arts, (it wasn't "ko" ryu then), people got menkyo kaiden as soon as their instructor deemed them "roadworthy." In Meiji, for example, I've seen menkyo kaiden that were achieved in five years. Age was also not a consideration in most ryu. Murakami Hideo became 17th generation menkyo kaiden/shihan in Toda-ha Buko-ryu in her mid-twenties. In short, menkyo meant that the training wheels were off - one learned all one needed to know to pass on the tradition in it's true form, and would polish one's skills in the real world, not in a dependent never-ending involvement with the teacher.

Aikido, too, used to be ranked very differently. Didn't Mochizuki receive a menkyo kaiden in AikiBudo or Daito-ryu from Ueshiba after only a few years of practice? Thus, disturbance about the length of time in which someone gets 8th dan, or 6th dan seems out of place, as that length of time is determined within the organization. I was amazed how little time it took to get rank in Japan, as opposed to the states, within Aikikai organizations. For example, I received nidan within three years from my first aikido class. In the states, at least in the seventies, it would have taken a lot longer.

Fraud has some different implications now than it used to. There were several limits on fraudulent lineage or claims in older Japan. First of all, if you were employed by a daimyo or other official, you would be defrauding the government - rather a risky proposition. Secondly, dojo yaburi was always a failsafe. (One of my instructors, very old school, demanded I break some dojos. Upon my reply that they hadn't caused me any harm, he replied, "They insulted you. They put up a sign in public announcing themselves. This is a direct challenge to you because they are saying that you are no threat to them, even though YOU are in the same town.")

Today, not only are challenges defined as harassment or even assault both in Japan and the States, but in addition, the public is quite uneducated and thus easily fooled. This is a shame, particularly for sincere, truly eager to learn young people, who trustingly enter a relationship with a fraud - either on a technical or a moral level (they are liars, aren't they). The students lose an opportunity to learn something solid and instead receive something corrupt.

Of course, lineage is no guarantee, particularly in big organizations, which are as much political as martial. But at least one can trace things back to the source. WIth the self-created lines, obscured in a fog of fantasy or allusion, it's much harder to clear up the gold from the dross. At hte same time, as for other ryu, I do agree with the other posters who say that it's not my business. I might have personal opinions but budo isn't religion and becoming a missionary of the true way is not an edifying role.

By the way, some people who may, for various reasons, leave an organization, may object that they have to have some way to get rank, or how can they get students/how can they get respect/how can they pass on what they have learned/created/achieved in the years since. And so they go to various organizations to receive their rank, or simply rank themselves. Speaking for myself, that nidan I got in the late 70's was the last official rank in aikido I ever received. I've never been tempted to join any group to move up further in rank. I just train. And I continue to be invited to various dojo where people up to 6th dan happily take my classes. I point this out not to brag, but simply to point out that the aikido commuinity is, on the whole a lot bigger than those desirious of certification thru rank are willing to give it credit. Rightly or wrongly - opinions vary :) - many find value in what I teach, and nobody gives a 2nd thought what rank I am or am not.

Best

Ellis Amdur

aikidoc
12-29-2004, 06:05 AM
Great comments Ellis. One of your points is well taken-if your skills are what is important, why do some of these frauds have to make themselves 10th dan soke professor doctor grand poopah? I've seen sites where rank, soke, doctor and professor titles were all used in one sentence to impress the public. Ego? Inferiority complex? Con? Pathological liar? True master? Combination? The aikikai takes a strong stance on what they consider aikido-probably why they don't recognize any other gradings-yet they are not concerned about people using the name aikido fraudulently.

It is interesting to note they keep everything on a CD and verify on need to know basis.

aikidoc
12-29-2004, 06:59 AM
Today's Non-Sequiter comic made me think of this thread. Danae was talking with her horse and he was commenting on truthfulness. She states she hopes for "truthful accuracy" and gives the example of being voted by her teachers as the "underachiever of the year" which she states on her resume would be shown as an "academic award winner." I guess you can spin anything these days and make it look impressive. Truth in advertising vs. truthful accuracy. I like that term. Some of the faudulent aikidoka sites I have seen are just careful enough with their claims that technically "truthful accuracy" is achieved.

kironin
12-29-2004, 09:35 AM
That wouldn't work - privacy issues. Unless of course Dan grade holders could choose to be listed or not.

only those listed that are teaching any public classes

I find it kind of odd if someone is teaching classes to the public to be objecting to only their name and dan rank being available in a public online database maintained by their organization.

why not parse it down in to managable junks ?

however an organization breaks up it's regions, by country or whatever,
there is a locally managed online database of yudansha instructors.
The HQ has links to the verified sites of these local online databases.

or some system of breaking it down into to managable bits.

raul rodrigo
12-29-2004, 10:44 AM
I agree with Craig. What privacy issues? Why would anyone object to that kind of information being publicly available? Or am I missing something in Peter's post? If so, then please enlighten me.

R

aikidoc
12-29-2004, 10:55 AM
Some instructors are very cautious what they have written about them. I know of one shihan who prefers not to have his picture up and much information put out about him. He does not want to infringe on anything the aikikai is doing. He's a very humble and kind man and an 8th dan shihan as well.

aikidoc
12-29-2004, 04:23 PM
Here's an article I ran across by Wayne over at Furyu: http://www.koryu.com/library/wmuromoto4.html

It is about fakes in koryu

PeterR
12-29-2004, 06:34 PM
Hey don't look at me. I would put my name in there and most people have a pretty good idea who I am.

However, not all information about me do I want put out on the Internet and who am I to say you must. I am sure there are people who do not want anything about them publicly posted and in some locals it is illegal to make that assumption.

If one of my current or potential students needs to know more about me with respect to my place at Honbu or my right and ability to teach he asks Honbu.

raul rodrigo
12-29-2004, 07:01 PM
[QUOTE=Peter Rehse]

However, not all information about me do I want put out on the Internet and who am I to say you must. I am sure there are people who do not want anything about them publicly posted and in some locals it is illegal to make that assumption.

We're not talking about "all information," just name and dan rank. Its no different from a university keeping on its website a list of all its graduates. if it were more than that, I agree there might be a problem. But with such minimal data requirements, I still don't quite get what the problem is. Perhaps I am slow on the uptake.


R

PeterR
12-29-2004, 07:11 PM
I know some people very coy about doing martial arts. One of my own students travels over an hour each way just so no one can find out (I'm not that great a teacher).

Now one of his friends does a google search on his name and guess what.

Again - if my organization created a public data base I would say go right ahead but not everyone feels this way.

aikidoc
12-31-2004, 07:09 AM
I would think Name, location, rank and date awarded would be sufficient. Dojo might be optional.

mriehle
12-31-2004, 01:54 PM
I've been following this thread for a while now without comment. In point of fact I found myself starting to skim rather than read whole messages because the points started to get, well, redundant. I think that's typical of a thread like this, so no criticism is meant.

There are a couple of comments I'd like to make, though. They are, in fact, echoes of things already said, but I feel like it's worth putting my two cents in.

First of all, it's not always about whether the school is teaching fraudulent MA, sometimes it's simply whether the school is right for you. People who have no MA experience are easily lead into schools which are completely wrong for them. They frequently have no guidance and no frame of reference. The instructors credentials will not help these people.

When fraud is a problem, inexperience remains a problem for these same people. They have no way of knowing if what they are learning has any validity. No guidance and no frame of reference. FWIW, this problem is not unique to MA. When I started in the aquarium hobby years ago I quickly discovered that not all aquarium stores are created equal and, in fact, two different people at the same store would give me different advice and one of them was always wrong.

Now, for those of us with experience the problem still exists, but credentials (like actual dan ranking) can help with this. Still, it doesn't tell you everything. It's a place to start (a good place, actually), but more is needed.

I actually think that something like a product review would be the way to go. But there is a catch. Look at most magazines that do product reviews. Notice that for the most part they only publish positive reviews. I was once involved in a discussion about this on another forum. A prominent reviewer was part of the discussion. When pressed about why he was always positive about products he reviewed his reply was basically that he simply wouldn't submit a negative review. He might send such a review to the product manufacturer, but he wouldn't submit it for publication.

Well, why?

Because negative reviews lead to lawsuits, right or wrong. Nobody sues over an overall positive review, even if a few problems are pointed out.

But, more than "is it good, is it bad" such reviews would provide a place to describe the overall atmosphere of a place. Because, fraudulent or not, if you are training in a place that isn't right for you, your learning experience will suffer.

A summation of what I'm saying might be: rather than try to ferret out the frauds, how about recognizing the good places?

Qatana
12-31-2004, 04:51 PM
.

A summation of what I'm saying might be: rather than try to ferret out the frauds, how about recognizing the good places?

Um, because usually the frauds advertise Much Louder, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't Know to look , or Where to look for accurate reviews, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't think or know to research lineage and authenticity?

frivolouspig
01-01-2005, 10:50 AM
I couldn't disagree with you more, Ryan. Rating teachers online is not only appallingly disrespectful, but reduces the entire community to an infantile popularity contest. What there should be are sites like Aikiweb where we can communicate in a civilized manner, and dojos where we can do battle with the flaws in our own character. There is no need for a venue to expose the flaws of others.

I just happened upon the site (ratemyteachers.com) a couple of weeks ago and looked up my old high school. Looking at the teachers I thought the ratings were fairly accurate IMO. One of my old teachers had a low rating, he's a really nice guy and the classes were fun but you would leave the class feeling like you really hadn't learned anything useful and that reflected in his rating.

Secondly I don't think it has anything to do with respect. If a student doesn't like you, no matter what the reason, you failed that student as a teacher. That being said if I'm going to go pay someone money to teach me a martial art that’s going to take years to learn your damn right I want to know what other people think of that person. I don't think that finding out 5 years too late and $2400 poorer ($40 per month) that what they taught you was a whole lot of nonsense is a good way to spend my money/time.

If you go and buy a car are you going to just go to the lot and pick whatever looks the best or are you going to do a little research first and see what other previous buyers had to say about the product they bought, what problems they have had ect. If your smart your going to do some research otherwise you will get a nice looking lemon.

Education is the same way. You can get a good one or a bad one and it depends on the teacher, which is why I think students opinions, good and bad should be heard by anyone looking to purchase an education.

aikidoc
01-01-2005, 05:13 PM
Ran across this on Furyu.

http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue9/realor.html

mriehle
01-01-2005, 10:29 PM
Um, because usually the frauds advertise Much Louder, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't Know to look , or Where to look for accurate reviews, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't think or know to research lineage and authenticity?

Yes, I see your point and it's a good one. My main counter to it would be that small action is better than no action. This is especially true if such "reviews" are in a public place where a certain amount of advertising can be provided.

Be loud with a positive spin.

Moreover, it seems to me that such a repository should be set up such that a dojo with a positive review can link to it. "Here, look what someone else said about us."

I don't know, maybe it's as much a pipe dream as tracking down and exposing active frauds. But it seems a place to start.

ironcoque
01-02-2005, 07:03 PM
... small action is better than no action...

I agree.

About the reviews...

If we do not compite in our training, why should the dojos compite for students? I think that competence would be oppossite to Aikido spirit.

In fact, I think everyone of us take Aikido in a different way, so what is extremely good for you maybe is not so for me. Even in a dojo, teachers may be quite different at teaching.

Don't get me wrong, I think reviews are good, but I think they should be managed carefully.

About the beginner...

I think, my own opinion, the best way is to visit a number of dojos, be an onlooker during training for a couple of days and talk to the instructor and students. Then you can chose which one fits you best.

I don't think reviews would help the beginner to chose. Because the reviews are inmerse in the "martial arts world" and the most inocent beginner does not. So he/she would not have access to them.

David Yap
01-03-2005, 10:51 AM
Hi all,

I had some free time today while waiting for a report from a staff. I went on the Net and did a search on Google for "International Sokeship". I found at least 3 organizations. Some of the names look familiar and legitimate enough in the sense that the Sokes have proved themselves in competitional circuits since the 70's. Some professorships and doctorates were something else. The names they have given to their organizations/arts were exotic - Japanese and Chinese sound-alike but not sure about the meanings (wonder whether they know the meanings themselves).

Can't help wondering too that almost 100% of these Sokes and 10th Dans are Americans. It reminded me of the time when I was based in Yaounde, Cameroon on work assignment, I went to train at the Olympic Club and ended up leading class for 2 months; I stopped teaching after an incident involving myself and a colleague and 6 armed policemen who tried to extort us for a traffic offense that didn't take place. Anyway, at subsequent classes after the first, I was introduced to not less than 3 10th dan sokes in various MA disciplines. I was impressed that they have heard of my karate teacher - Hirokazu Kanazawa (sorry, there wasn't any aikido in Cameroun). So I asked whether they have had trained in Japan before. Surprisingly none of them have set foot on foreign soil and except for Tanbo of the framed Tanbodo, no Japanese instructors or high ranking non-Japanese MA instructors had set foot in Cameroon. So, my question - who taught them MA? They unashamedly told me that they learned from books and magazines, not even videos. When they addressed me as sensei, I just told them, "Ne pa la sensei (no sensei), monsieur okay".

Regards

David Y

SeiserL
01-03-2005, 12:04 PM
IMHO, I am not sure what if anything can be done about people who do not belong to certain organizations or conduct business in a way you might not agree with, thus considering them frauds.

I do think that the more we educate the general public, the better choices they can make. Books, articles, and places like the Aiki Web are excellent for that.

IMHO, worry less about others being fruadulant and take care that we are not.

Dan Rubin
01-03-2005, 06:53 PM
Every once in a while an article is published in martial arts magazines or in a newspaper that addresses how to find a good martial arts school, written for a general audience. Such articles talk about watching a class, asking questions, checking with the Better Business Bureau, etc.

If we are concerned that there is a fraudulent teacher in the neighborhood, then whenever prospective students ask for information they should receive our class schedule, our fee schedule, and a copy of one of those articles. If the inquiry is by telephone, prospective students should be told that the article is available at our dojo. Perhaps permission could be obtained to post the article on our dojo's website, or a link to the article.

Since there is no connection between the dojo and the author, the student can assume that it contains information and warnings that are unbiased.

Or, we could write our own article, to include warnings that specifically address fraud. Of course, such warnings would have to be written very carefully if they are to be (a) useful but (b) not libelous. Prospective students might interpret even well-written warnings as biased, which would not make us look very professional, even to other legitimate teachers.

Having provided the article, any further conversation would be about how wonderful our own dojo is, with no mention about any suspect teachers. If the student should ask, the response could be that we don't know enough about that other instructor to comment pro or con.

It seems to me that this is the best we could do. If a student still signs up with the fraud, it could very well be that the fraud offers that student something the student wants, something that a legitimate dojo does not offer.

Dan

aikidoc
01-04-2005, 10:36 AM
Here's some of the simplist solutions I can come up with for this problem. I received some offline comments which suggest this problem is becomming more pervasive that we'd like to think.

1. Make it known that aikido is a specific art with some styles but is not a generic term like kung fu or karate. If we see frauds in our specific area, encourage them to change their name and drop the aikido term. Teaching a few aikido like moves as part of your curriculum does not make it aikido.
2. Put pressure on the frauds with no lineage and fake credentials that the art will not tolerate the use of aikido when they have no legitimate right to do so.
3. Go public in a general sense without naming names and do interviews or ads or public service announcements outlining some of the insights to detect frauds in this post (soke organizations, extremely lofty titles at young ages which are rare in most legitimate aikido organizations, weird claims, outlandish claims about military service, etc.).
4. Give the public some brochures or tools that show them how to check lineage, etc. Document your lineage on your website. Be proud of your heritage and make it known. The frauds generally make theirs up or try to obscure theirs by very general statements. Legitimate schools can document a lineage and rank paper trail.
5. Refuse to recognize any kyu rank issued by the frauds. If a student comes to your school and has some reasonable skills then it would be appropriate to advance them more quickly. However, recognizing rank given by frauds only legitimizes the fraud.
6. On e-budo, one person actually sent a fraudulent school a letter letting them know he knew they were fraudulent.

To me, demeaning the art by tolerating these people is unacceptable. I know there are a lot of legal issues and one has to be careful but I think most of the steps above if kept non-specific and focused on the seemingly common practices of such people will hopefully at least get them to drop the aikido term.

John Boswell
01-04-2005, 10:36 AM
One thought I just had, and I'm just tossing this out there for general consideration, is the Newspapers.

Our local paper does a weekly article on a professional in the city, tells their story, what they do, why they do it, how they got started, etc. Perhaps hooking up with local papers for such a write up would be a good thing.

The owner of our dojo, Sensei Les Kelso, was the subject of such a write up. The paper told the story of his kids class and how children learn discipline, confidence, get exercise and have fun. Great pictures and write up. His was a TKD class and write up, but perhaps the same can be done for Aikido in the future... as well as others around the country?

There are also paid articles that can be done which act as both informative articles and adverts at the same time, but of course these cost money. Could be a good way to get the word out.

Those chosing to do this should stress lineage, perhaps? Where the instructors were trained, who they are affiliated with, how long they have done this and what their goals in the future are.

Just a thought. :)

jimbaker
01-04-2005, 10:59 AM
About newspapers: Unfortunately, most reporters doing a piece of this kind rely on the information provided by ther person they're interviewing. I've seen an Aikido Fraud profiled and the article simply took everything he said on good faith. The result was that the guy now had a newspaper article showing that he was for real, because, as we all know, if it's in the newspaper, it must be true.

As for harm, once I wanted to get t-shirts made up for my new dojo. The second the guy heard "Aikido", he wanted the money in full up-front. He had been burned by the Aikido Fraud in town. The same thing happened at the local martial arts store. The word had gone out to watch out for the "Aikido" people. It took about three years of reputation building to get past that.

Jim Baker

aikidoc
01-04-2005, 01:56 PM
OK this is a little long but here are some thoughts I have put down as a result of the thread that may serve as a boilerplate with additions or deletions for screening the frauds. Just my thoughts but other suggestions are welcome. This can be used by anyone who would like to use it. This could be used as a handout to prospective students looking at many schools.

How to Choose an Aikido School/Instructor

Choosing an aikido school can be a very important decision. It is necessary to find a good match between what you are looking for in martial arts training and the ability of the school to provide it. Aikido is unique in the martial arts. It provides a strong philosophical point of view as well as a martial art heritage. The founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba intended for it to be a martial art but wanted to raise it to a new level of understanding. Different schools and styles of Aikido are prevalent. Some schools and organizations ascribe to the goals and rules of the founding organization which is often referred to as World Headquarters Aikikai-Hombu dojo. This organization has organizations which report to them directly through various master instructors and others that are affiliated through the International Aikido Federation (IAF). There are other organizations that have over the years separated from the founding family and have legitimate Aikido heritage and lineage. There are also independent organizations that have separated as well and have a lineage to one of the major organizations. These different organizations may vary by their philosophy orientation, weapons training, and whether they are more "hard" or "soft" styles. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU CHOOSE.

On another note, as is true in most endeavors in life, there are frauds. Generally, these schools have fraudulent backgrounds and instructors with misleading or bogus histories and ranks. Many have ranks issued by themselves, an organization they made up, or from some organization that awards titles and ranks for money. Many of these organizations award Aikido ranks without having Aikido ranks themselves.

I have put together some red flags that seem to crop up with organizations of questionable heritage and questionable right to label their martial art Aikido. The following are "red flags" and are not all inclusive. Please keep in mind that legitimate schools may have instructors that behave in a questionable manner as well.

AIKIDO FRAUD RED FLAGS
(many apply to other arts as well)

1. RANK-generally instructors of fraudulent Aikido schools will be in the 30-50 range with ranks normally in the 8th to 10th degree black belt areas and some in the 5th to 7th degree range as well. Rank RED FLAGS:
a. TITLES: high degrees are often accompanied by high titles such as soke, professor, grandmaster, or doctor. Legitimate Aikido organizations do not generally award high ranks to such young individuals and also do not use such titles. For example, in the Aikikai (founding organization) I believe you have to practice Aikido 50 years and be age 60 or 65 before even being eligible for 8th dan. There have only been 3 10th dans awarded (2 verbal) in its history and very few 9th dans. Other legitimate Aikido organizations appear to be as rank conservative as well. Multiple high level black belt (dan) ranks are also common with frauds.
b. RANK SOURCE: Many of the frauds cannot or will not identify the source of their rank. Those that do often receive rank from organizations that have no connection to Aikido whatsoever. For example, soke and karate organizations. Research into these organizations often shows they did the same thing-started their own organization and awarded themselves high ranks.
c. STYLE: Often such frauds found their own "style". Generally, this is done at a young age and with little legitimate rank (rarely above 3rd or 4th dan) prior to doing so. Careful research into their background usually shows a very fuzzy connection to any legitimate Aikido style.

2. CLAIMS: Here is where it gets real interesting. Fraudulent instructors generally make many non-verifiable claims. Here are some examples:
a. MILITARY BACKGROUND-they often or usually have elaborate claims about secret military backgrounds and elite special force's groups like SEALS, RECON, Green Beret, etc. They make claims about secret missions and numerous kills.
b. MARTIAL ARTS BACKGROUNDS. Many of the frauds have secretive or unverifiable backgrounds in the martial arts. Claims about organizations that they studied under that were made up or don't exist or no one has ever heard of before. Claims about family heritages passed down by master instructors that no one has heard of or cannot verify ever lived. Aikido is not a traditional family Ryu where the art is passed on to inheritors.
c. SKILLS/POWERS: Ridiculous unverifiable claims about their abilities. Fought 150 fights and was undefeated. Can cut paper and move people with their energy (Ki).
d. HUMILITY: Or the lack of humility. Bragging about things that are not verifiable or seem outlandish or odd. Most martial artists are humble.
3. WEBSITES. Fraud websites are often vague with a lot of listing of all their fancy ranks and titles. When trying to verify their titles and organizations usually one comes up blank on a web search or you find their site is the only reference.
a. REFERENCES to being politically suppressed or not recognized for their skills as the reason for starting their own style.
b. NON-JAPANESE changing their names to a Japanese name due to being taken in as an inheritor (Aikido does not follow the family hand down method).
4. AMNESIA. Poor recollection of the instructor you trained with, especially with regards to name, rank, and location. Lack of knowledge as to the whereabouts of the instructor or how to contact them. Inability to find anyone who ever existed with their instructor's name.
5. VERIFICATIONS. Rank certificates are often lost in fires or other catastrophic events. Ranks printed with their own school information/logo.

The above are red flags for potential frauds. Keep in mind that the quality of instruction, the chemistry between you and your instructor and the atmosophere of the school all play an important role in your decision.

Qatana
01-04-2005, 08:43 PM
Thanks, Riggs Sensei!
I think it would be extremely helpful if this statement was given its own web url, so that we can post it around other to groups and lists where people are always asking how to find a good dojo. It helps to let them know what to avoid and I think you've stated it well.

spinecracker
01-04-2005, 09:53 PM
Perhaps this article by Wayne Muromoto regarding 'real or fake' martial arts schools might be of interest.....

go to http://www.aikido-database.co.uk/calendar/

and look for '2. Exposing the frauds in aikido' (bottom left hand corner under 'Past 4 Announcements')

I'm not sure if this has been posted before, and I might get round to reading it one day :D

Rupert Atkinson
01-04-2005, 10:51 PM
If the fraudsters are reading this, they will no doubt alter their sites, claims, grades ... then how will you find them?

Rocky Izumi
01-04-2005, 11:41 PM
Two sayings are brought to my mind through this discussion:

1. Any training is better than no training.
2. In a world of blind men, the one-eyed man is king.

Whether a teacher is a fraud is, to me, somewhat relative. If there is no one of a higher ability within hearing distance, then the 10th Dan Aikido teacher who learned from a video or book is as valid as anyone else, if they have tried their best to emulate what they perceived as the important lessons from their instructional materials. The only point this person becomes a fraud is when someone of greater ability who is of a lower rank that is recognized by some outside group enters the scene. For instance, a person who teaches some ki development or physical development system comes into my area may have good reason to call me a fraud since I purport to teach Aikido which involves the development of ki and the body. In his eyes, I am the fraud, if I cannot show that the abilities I have developed in ki and body are not better than his or hers. And I would have to concur with that evaluation if I am unable to defeat them in combat, whether that combat is physical, mental, emotional, or economic.

If a person comes into your area and they seem to you like they are "frauds" yet you do nothing about it, you could be accused of being the fraud. By doing nothing, you are just as complicit in their fraudulent activity as they are. It is like standing by while someone is screaming for help as they are being beat to death. If the "fraud" actively does something to continue promoting themselves and there is no challenge, then they must be the real thing. If they are the real thing, then you must be the fraud. Aikido is a budo. The only real test of who is the fraud then, is combat to submission or death. If you don't want to be the fraud, then don't come back unless you win.

Another solution is to have the other person recognize your system of ranking and submit to it, or have them agree to leave the field so that they no longer call what they do the same as what you do. They have to clearly differentiate themselves - often by taking the word "Aikido" out of their advertisements.

The last solution which is more market-oriented and less combative is to arrange martial arts expositions where many people can compare the different groups and see the real versus the fake. I prefer this approach which works to expand our dojo as well. Having a little 8 year old girl cut a rock with a shuto that a grown man could not break is usually a good way to expose fakes and draw more people into Aikido.

Rock

mriehle
01-05-2005, 01:28 AM
If we do not compite in our training, why should the dojos compite for students? I think that competence would be oppossite to Aikido spirit.


Yes. I see your point. Competition is inevitable any time there are two or more providers of similar services in a given area. But I wouldn't like to be an instrument used in cutthroat tactics. :(


In fact, I think everyone of us take Aikido in a different way, so what is extremely good for you maybe is not so for me. Even in a dojo, teachers may be quite different at teaching.


Hmmm...

Another good point. I'd hazard, though, that the one who really matters from the standpoint of a review is the head instructor. It would be nice to mention the others in the sense of "well, they're pretty good too" or "not quite up to the standard the head instructor sets", but you'd want to avoid saying too much about them, I think.


Don't get me wrong, I think reviews are good, but I think they should be managed carefully.


Absolutely. I tried to imply that in my original comments on the subject. Mainly, I think, standards need to be observed.

Okay, now it sounds like I'm making work for somebody. I hate doing that when I know I can't be that somebody. And I can't for two reasons:

1) I'm plain not qualified. Simple as that. And if that weren't enough...

2) I run a school. Granted, I do so under the approval of my teacher*, but it still seems like a conflict of interest.


I don't think reviews would help the beginner to chose. Because the reviews are inmerse in the "martial arts world" and the most inocent beginner does not. So he/she would not have access to them.


Another good point. But this is one of the reasons I think it's important for such reviews to be readily available on the web and for schools to be encouraged to link to them. People do a lot of research on the web these days before committing to stuff. Not always as much as they should. But that brings us back to the "small action" argument again.



* He'd be within his moral rights, if not necessarily legal ones to yank my right to run the school anytime he felt it was appropriate. Strictly speaking I don't have the rank to be a dojo cho. But I'm told I'm a good teacher and I maintain close ties with the home dojo in order to make sure we keep standards up. And I'm working on that rank thing...

mriehle
01-05-2005, 01:48 AM
Okay, in general I agree with your points. But there are some pitfalls in a couple of them. It's not that they're wrong, but they could be misleading in some cases.

AIKIDO FRAUD RED FLAGS
(many apply to other arts as well)

1. RANK-generally instructors of fraudulent Aikido schools will be in the 30-50 range with ranks normally in the 8th to 10th degree black belt areas and some in the 5th to 7th degree range as well. Rank RED FLAGS:
b. RANK SOURCE: Many of the frauds cannot or will not identify the source of their rank. Those that do often receive rank from organizations that have no connection to Aikido whatsoever. For example, soke and karate organizations. Research into these organizations often shows they did the same thing-started their own organization and awarded themselves high ranks.


This one is not necessarily a problem. I think the issue here, really, is to be sure that they have the lineage to back it up. Moreover, it's important to recognize that after a certain point, rank is as much about politics, experience and seniority as anything. You can argue where that point is (but I'd put it at 3rd dan, minimum) but at some point the teacher is a good teacher, period.

I'm not advocating discarding this from consideration, but a little caution when considering it is worthwhile.


c. STYLE: Often such frauds found their own "style". Generally, this is done at a young age and with little legitimate rank (rarely above 3rd or 4th dan) prior to doing so. Careful research into their background usually shows a very fuzzy connection to any legitimate Aikido style.


Another one where more information may be required. Is it a new style, or simply a new organization? If it's a new organization, make sure they respect their lineage and find out why they made the split.


2. CLAIMS: Here is where it gets real interesting. Fraudulent instructors generally make many non-verifiable claims. Here are some examples:


This one is, IMO, the most critical point. But...


d. HUMILITY: Or the lack of humility. Bragging about things that are not verifiable or seem outlandish or odd. Most martial artists are humble.


Be careful here. Remember that any time there is competition between schools - and there will be - some marketing will happen. Separate the marketing from the ego. It's actually not that hard, really. Look at the other points under "CLAIMS", they pretty much say it all.


The above are red flags for potential frauds. Keep in mind that the quality of instruction, the chemistry between you and your instructor and the atmosophere of the school all play an important role in your decision.

I really like this statement, though.

When it comes right down to it, I think my feeling is this is all good, but you can go wrong by being too skeptical just as easily as you can by being too gullible and that needs to be addressed in any comments to potential beginners.

aikidoc
01-05-2005, 08:19 AM
"Another one where more information may be required. Is it a new style, or simply a new organization? If it's a new organization, make sure they respect their lineage and find out why they made the split".

IMHO someone setting up a new "style" at 3rd or 4th dan is questionable. However, 6th dan and above with involvement in other martial arts and a clear definition of what makes their art different and why they wanted to set up something, new other than for political reasons, would seem more reasonable to me. I'm talking about someone with legitimate rank in an art at a mast level which is usually considered to be about 6th dan minimum in Aikido.

Setting up a new "style" with a new name to me should require something new and innovative not just a different interpretation of what you have been taught or more emphasis on a particular aspect of aikido.

Dan Rubin
01-05-2005, 03:16 PM
If I were thinking of taking up aikido and were to receive a handout like the one proposed by Riggs Sensei, I'm afraid that I might reconsider my quest. I would find the length and tone of the handout to be too negative and, in fact, intimidating, especially from an art that purports to encourage (and even require) a positive mental attitude.

I would prefer something a lot simpler, like this (I found it by Googling "How to choose a martial arts school"): http://www.ccmagazine.org/edit/staff/vito13.htm

If one feels strongly about it, at a couple of places in the article a note could be placed that refers the prospective student to a website with additional information, should the student be interested. Where the author refers to the existence of fraudulent instructors, the reference could be to the Furyu article that has already been mentioned, at http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue9/realor.html

Dan

aikidoc
01-05-2005, 05:01 PM
Dan: your points are well taken. I could have been a lot more positive in the wording. Here's a different shot at it. See if this is more palatable.

How to Choose an Aikido School/Instructor

Choosing an aikido school can be a very important decision. It is necessary to find a good match between what you are looking for in martial arts training and the ability of the school to provide it. Aikido is unique in the martial arts. It provides a strong philosophical point of view as well as a martial art heritage. The founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba intended for it to be a martial art but wanted to raise it to a new level of understanding. Different schools and styles of Aikido are prevalent. Some schools and organizations ascribe to the goals and rules of the founding organization which is often referred to as World Headquarters Aikikai-Hombu dojo. This organization has organizations which report to them directly through various master instructors and others that are affiliated through the International Aikido Federation (IAF). There are other organizations that have over the years separated from the founding family and have legitimate Aikido heritage and lineage. There are also independent organizations that have separated as well and have a lineage to one of the major organizations. These different organizations may vary by their philosophy orientation, weapons training, and whether they are more "hard" or "soft" styles. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU CHOOSE.

CREDIBLE SCHOOLS WILL GENERALLY HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
1. RANKS/TITLES. Ranks: Generally, Aikido instructor ranks can range from 1st degree black belt (shodan) in smaller schools up to 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts in larger schools or as heads of organizations. Most 6th, 7th and 8th degree black belts are Japanse master instructors and head up large organizations. Titles: Master instructors are generally referred to as shihan and are normally 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts. Intermediate level instructors generally range from 4 to 6th degree black belt and are normally ranked as instructors as shidoin or sensei. Lower dan rank instructors are normally 1st to 3rd degree black belts and may be identified as fuku-shidoin. Such titles as grandmaster, soke, professor, or doctor are not traditionally used in legitimate aikido organizations. Very high ranks like 9th and 10th dan are very rare in legitimate aikido organizations. They are also not awarded high ranks at young ages (30s-40s).
2. LINEAGE/RANK SOURCES: Legitimate aikido schools will be able to trace their lineage generally back to the founding organization. There are many different splinter groups but all have one common source: O’Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). The most common organization groups are: aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, and Yoshinkan, to name a few. There more groups and sometimes sub groups and splinter groups from the above. There are also independent organizations that have separated from the various major groups. All these groups generally have a past connection with a major or splinter group and have attained high rank within that group before separating. Legitimate aikido ranks are not awarded from soke councils or karate groups run by non Aikido masters.
3. BACKGROUND: Legitimate aikido schools will generally be able to identify their martial arts background and provide information on previous training. The sources should be verifiable through major organizations.
4. WEBSITES/CLAIMS: Responsible Aikido schools provide factual and verifiable information about their history, lineage and ranks. Outlandish claims about secret military backgrounds and arts handed down from family to family are generally not part of the Aikido mindset. Aikido styles are no ryu arts (family or clan arts) handed down from secretive societies or instructors. Aikido is practiced world wide.
5. SPECIAL POWERS. Aikido as an art places special emphasis on harmony with energy or Ki. This is a foreign concept for non-oriental students and may seem somewhat esoteric. However, responsible instructors do not make claims about impossible powers that cannot be verified-such as cutting pain with Ki or moving people without touching them by using Ki.

Bronson
01-05-2005, 07:49 PM
Hey John,

Just a few proofreading corrections for your post. I'll put the corrections in bold.

Bronson

Dan: your points are well taken. I could have been a lot more positive in the wording. Here's a different shot at it. See if this is more palatable.

How to Choose an Aikido School/Instructor

Choosing an aikido school can be a very important decision. It is necessary to find a good match between what you are looking for in martial arts training and the ability of the school to provide it. Aikido is unique in the martial arts. It provides a strong philosophical point of view as well as a martial art heritage. The founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba intended for it to be a martial art but wanted to raise it to a new level of understanding. Different schools and styles of Aikido are prevalent. Some schools and organizations ascribe to the goals and rules of the founding organization which is often referred to as World Headquarters Aikikai-Hombu dojo. This organization has organizations which report to them directly through various master instructors and others that are affiliated through the International Aikido Federation (IAF). There are other organizations that have over the years separated from the founding family and have legitimate Aikido heritage and lineage. There are also independent organizations that have separated as well and have a lineage to one of the major organizations. These different organizations may vary by their philosophy orientation, weapons training, and whether they are more "hard" or "soft" styles. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU CHOOSE.

CREDIBLE SCHOOLS WILL GENERALLY HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
1. RANKS/TITLES. Ranks: Generally, Aikido instructor ranks can range from 1st degree black belt (shodan) in smaller schools up to 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts in larger schools or as heads of organizations. Most 6th, 7th and 8th degree black belts are Japanse master instructors and head up large organizations. Titles: Master instructors are generally referred to as shihan and are normally 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts. Intermediate level instructors generally range from 4th to 6th degree black belt and are normally ranked as instructors, shidoin or sensei. Lower dan rank instructors are normally 1st to 3rd degree black belts and may be identified as fuku-shidoin. Such titles as grandmaster, soke, professor, or doctor are not traditionally used in legitimate aikido organizations. Very high ranks like 9th and 10th dan are very rare in legitimate aikido organizations. High ranks are usually not awarded to people of young age (30s-40s).
2. LINEAGE/RANK SOURCES: Legitimate aikido schools will be able to trace their lineage generally back to the founding organization. There are many different splinter groups but all have one common source: O-Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). The most common organization groups are: Aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, and Yoshinkan, to name a few. There more groups and sometimes sub groups and splinter groups from the above. There are also independent organizations that have separated from the various major groups. All these groups generally have a past connection with a major or splinter group and have attained high rank within that group before separating. Legitimate aikido ranks are not awarded from soke councils or karate groups run by non Aikido masters.
3. BACKGROUND: Legitimate aikido schools will generally be able to identify their martial arts background and provide information on previous training. The sources should be verifiable through major organizations.
4. WEBSITES/CLAIMS: Responsible Aikido schools provide factual and verifiable information about their history, lineage and ranks. Outlandish claims about secret military backgrounds and arts handed down from family to family are generally not part of the Aikido mindset. Aikido styles are not ryu arts (family or clan arts) handed down from secretive societies or instructors. Aikido is practiced world wide.
5. SPECIAL POWERS. Aikido as an art places special emphasis on harmony with energy or Ki. This is a foreign concept for many students and may seem somewhat esoteric. However, responsible instructors do not make claims about impossible powers that cannot be verified-such as cutting paper with Ki or moving people without touching them by using Ki.

aikidoc
01-05-2005, 08:41 PM
Bronson:

Thanks for the catches. I was rushing out the door and did not have time to proof read what I wrote. :D

Bronson
01-05-2005, 10:15 PM
Hey no problem...this should be a group effort ;)

Bronson

kironin
01-06-2005, 01:32 AM
Nice, but I think the first paragraph is a bit problematic for anyone but an Aikikai school.

aikidoc
01-06-2005, 06:01 AM
The general paragraph or number 1? How so?

Big Dave
01-06-2005, 08:00 AM
It seems to me that the average beginner is not going to even be aware of the possibility of "frauds" when choosing to get started. The decision to start at a particular school/discipline can be influenced by so many other considerations. In my case, I knew I wanted to start martial arts to help me with my health issues. But which? I had lived in China for some time and had observed Tai Qi Quan there - so I opened up the yellow pages and found that there are endless choices of different styles of MA. So I then start making phone calls, talk to a few friends who have some experience, meet a few teachers and observed several classes of various styles. I also consider things like parking, hours of class, convenience, the tempo of the class, the price, etc. It never even occurred to me that some of the instructors are frauds. Finally, I choose a teacher/school/system and hoped for the best. I doubt that most beginners are reading aikiweb or martial arts magazines before they start their training. Maybe I am wrong about this. But how does one suggest getting the information, written in the articles above, to the very people who most need it? Surely an aikido fraud is not going to hand out the information to people who really need it.
It's similar in some ways to the entire organization question to me. I had no idea there were different styles of aikido, different organizations and interpretations of Osensei teachings until I had been doing aikido for half a year or so and went to a seminar where everyone kept asking me what style I did, who my instructor was, etc...I had chosen "aikido" not judo or karate, and was ignorant of the different styles out there.

aikidoc
01-06-2005, 09:44 AM
"But how does one suggest getting the information, written in the articles above, to the very people who most need it? Surely an aikido fraud is not going to hand out the information to people who really need it."

That is a good question. I don't have a good answer other than legitimate dojos taking on the task of educating the public through demonstrations, newspaper articles, networking, etc. It is something that will take time. Hopefully, with the advent of the internet and its pervasive use people with do searches and end up on Aiki-Web.

"It's similar in some ways to the entire organization question to me. I had no idea there were different styles of aikido, different organizations and interpretations of Osensei teachings until I had been doing aikido for half a year or so and went to a seminar where everyone kept asking me what style I did, who my instructor was, etc...I had chosen "aikido" not judo or karate, and was ignorant of the different styles out there."

True. Most people not in the art will not be aware of the different groups. I recall when I first started aikido in 1973-it was relatively unheard of back then. What I did not realize until several years later was that I had started not long after the split from the Aikikai. I just thought shin shin toitsu aikido was the only name with the shin shin toitsu explaining or emphasizing the mind body connection. Little did I know of the history.

Perhaps that is why we see so many what I call "martial arts lookey loos". They don't really research the arts and see what fits them. I had dabbled in shotokan and taekwando but did not really like them. I stumbled on aikido by accident looking for a karate class at a YMCA. in Southern California. There wasn't a lot written about the art and few had heard of it. I was hooked once I tried it. The opportunity to do the research and the number of schools out there makes it more imperative that one checks out the arts thoroughly -they may spend the rest of their life practicing it. I definitely know that if I invested years and thousands of dollars studying something and later found out the instructor was a fraud-I'd be pissed.

Bronson
01-06-2005, 10:44 AM
But how does one suggest getting the information, written in the articles above, to the very people who most need it?

When a prospective student comes to our dojo they leave with a flyer, schedule, and waiver. A copy of an article like this could be included in a "prospective student package". Then those people who are in the stage of visiting different dojo to find one they like would have the information needed to make an informed decision.

I would also add references to Aikido FAQ (if it's still up), AikiWeb and E-budo in the article and encourage people to check out dojo, instructors, and whole organizations through these independant sources.

As for the article itself; I think it needs to be shortened. There is some great info in it but it is too wordy and at points convoluted. Most notably in the opening paragraph where it starts to go into Hombu and different organizations, and sections 1 & 2 need to be pared down a bit. Also for some reason the phrase "splinter-group" just seems to carry a negative connotation to me, I know it's not meant that way but to me it just has that ring :rolleyes:

Bronson

aikidoc
01-07-2005, 07:19 PM
I'll work on paring it down-any suggestions are welcome.

aikidoc
01-08-2005, 05:30 PM
He's an effort at paring it down some. See if this is more succint and less convoluted.

How to Choose an Aikido School/Instructor

Choosing an aikido school can be a very important decision. It is necessary to find a good match between what you are looking for in martial arts training and the ability of the school to provide it. Aikido is unique in the martial arts. It provides a strong philosophical point of view as well as a martial art heritage. The founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba intended for it to be a martial art but wanted to raise it to a new level of understanding. Different schools and styles of Aikido are prevalent. Some schools and organizations follow the goals and rules of the founding organization (World Headquarters Aikikai-Hombu dojo). Several master instructors and organizations affiliate with the Aikikai directly or through the International Aikido Federation (IAF). There are other organizations that have over the years separated from the Aikikai and have legitimate Aikido heritage and lineage. There are also independent groups with lineages through such groups. These different organizations may vary by their philosophy orientation, weapons training, and whether they are more "hard" or "soft" styles. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU CHOOSE.

CREDIBLE SCHOOLS WILL GENERALLY HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
1. RANKS/TITLES. Generally, Aikido instructor ranks can range from 1st degree up to 8th degree black belt. Lower ranked instructors (1st to 3rd degree) generally teach at clubs or dojos and may have the assistant instructor title fuku-shidoin. Intermediate level instructors (4th to 5th degree) generally teach at dojos and may be teaching committee members. They may have the instructor title shidoin. Higher ranked black belts (6th-8th degree) are master level instructors and may head up larger organizations or be representatives for countries or regions. They may have the master title shihan. Aikido does not use such titles as grandmaster, soke, shodai, professor, or doctor. Very high ranks like 9th and 10th dan are very rare in Aikido with such masters studying in the 50 year range.
2. LINEAGE/RANK SOURCES: Legitimate aikido schools will be able to trace their lineage generally back to the founding organization. There are many different splinter groups but all have one common source: O-Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). The most common organization groups are: Aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, and Yoshinkan, to name a few. There other major groups and independent groups as well. All these groups generally have a past connection with a major and have attained high rank within that group before separating. Legitimate aikido ranks are not awarded by non Aikido masters or soke councils.
3. BACKGROUND: Legitimate aikido schools will generally be able to identify their martial arts background and provide information on previous training. The sources should be verifiable through major organizations.
4. WEBSITES/CLAIMS: Responsible Aikido schools provide factual and verifiable information about their history, lineage and ranks. Outlandish claims about secret military backgrounds and arts handed down from family to family are generally not part of the Aikido mindset. Aikido styles are not ryu arts (family or clan arts) handed down from secretive societies or instructors. Aikido is practiced world wide.
5. SPECIAL POWERS. Aikido as an art places special emphasis on harmony with energy or Ki. This is a foreign concept for many students and may seem somewhat esoteric. Ki training is an integral part of many Aikido organizations. Outlandish clamis are not.

aikidoc
01-08-2005, 06:47 PM
OOPS. I missed some corrections.

He's an effort at paring it down some. See if this is more succint and less convoluted.

How to Choose an Aikido School/Instructor

Choosing an aikido school can be a very important decision. It is necessary to find a good match between what you are looking for in martial arts training and the ability of the school to provide it. Aikido is unique in the martial arts and has spread worldwide. It provides a strong philosophical point of view as well as a martial art heritage. The founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba intended for it to be a martial art but wanted to raise it to a new level of understanding. Different schools and styles of Aikido are prevalent. Some schools and organizations follow the goals and rules of the founding organization (World Headquarters Aikikai-Hombu dojo). Several master instructors and organizations affiliate with the Aikikai directly or through the International Aikido Federation (IAF). There are other organizations that have over the years separated from the Aikikai and have legitimate Aikido heritage and lineage. There are also independent groups with lineages through such groups. These different organizations may vary by their philosophy orientation, weapons training, and whether they are more "hard" or "soft" styles. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU CHOOSE.

CREDIBLE SCHOOLS WILL GENERALLY HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
1. RANKS/TITLES. Generally, Aikido instructor ranks can range from 1st degree up to 8th degree black belt. Lower ranked instructors (1st to 3rd degree) generally teach at clubs or dojos and may have the assistant instructor title fuku-shidoin. Intermediate level instructors (4th to 5th degree) generally teach at dojos and may be teaching or testing committee members. They may have the instructor title shidoin. Higher ranked black belts (6th-9th degree) are master level instructors and may head up larger organizations or be representatives for countries or regions. They may have the master title shihan. Aikido does not use such titles as grandmaster, soke, shodai, professor, or doctor. Very high ranks like 9th and 10th dan are very rare in Aikido with such masters generally studying over 50 years. 2. LINEAGE/RANK SOURCES: There are many legitimate organizations and all can trace their lineage back to one source: O-Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). The most common organization groups are: Aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, and Yoshinkan, to name a few. There are other major groups and independent groups as well which generally have a past connection to a major organization and their leaders have attained high rank before separating. Legitimate aikido ranks are not awarded by non Aikido masters, karate organizations, or soke councils.
3. BACKGROUND: Responsible Aikido schools provide factual and verifiable information about their history, lineage and ranks.
4. WEBSITES/CLAIMS: Aikido styles are not ryu arts (family or clan arts) handed down from secretive societies or instructors. Claims about secret military backgrounds and arts handed down from family to family are generally not part of the Aikido tradition.
5. SPECIAL POWERS. Aikido as an art places special emphasis on harmony with energy or Ki. This is a foreign concept for many students and may seem somewhat esoteric. Ki training is an integral part of many Aikido organizations. Outlandish clamis are not.

There-I hope that's a little better.

mriehle
01-08-2005, 07:46 PM
John,

I think this second effort is far better in both tone and content. The point has been made, though, that this kind of thing needs to be made available to prospective students.

I think, really, it's a matter of getting schools to be willing to distribute this stuff. For me, I don't have a problem with this (except the cost). I shouldn't think most legitimate schools would, either, but I'll bet one or two will surprise you.

aikidoc
01-08-2005, 08:11 PM
It should be printable on a single page now.

The orginal stuff was all the red flags-hard not to go there when you see so much b.s. It makes it easy to identify. However, I did apply the above to another thread. The interesting thing is the aikido wasn't bad-it was just all the other fluff stuff that detracted from the legitimate part. The ego seems to prevail far too often and common sense goes down the toilet.

Bronson
01-09-2005, 12:03 AM
I think this second effort is far better in both tone and content.

I agree. I think this works very well.

Nicely done :)

Bronson

aikidoc
01-09-2005, 08:25 AM
p.s. The last sentence should read Outlandish "claims" not clamis. Does this have spell/grammar check? :)

Ali B
01-09-2005, 04:48 PM
I agree about the "aikido frauds" to a certain extent, was thrown out of a dojo when the "master" told me he was an eleventh dan. I think we must be careful in our criticism of teachers or styles whom we do not understand...

I have changed organization several times, also studied with an independent teacher for 4 years whilst living in Spain. He was an excellent teacher, with all the relevant credentials and he practices and studies aikido twice a day, almost every day of the year. I have witnessed behavior which have to say, disappointed me, especially those who had the backing of organizations but who's' aikido left much to be desired.

I cannot believe the amount of "snobbery" I come across in my aikido life, find the politics strange as when I joined, I was taught that I had become part of an "aikido" family. I hope my "family" judge me on my aikido and not on the lineage of my teachers when I meet them on the tatami.

Love and light
Ali

Ali B
01-09-2005, 05:01 PM
Also...
We live in a world where everyone seems to want to tell us what is best for us, there is a lesson even from a "bad" teacher and we should be grateful to them, that way, we can recognise the good teachers without having to read their qualifications to know it.

kironin
01-10-2005, 03:15 AM
not just in aikido
came across this essay

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/history_of_the_martial_arts/107470

and a contrary opinion from the other side

http://www.ndcma.com/Page8.html


enjoy
evileyes

rob_liberti
01-10-2005, 07:45 AM
I cannot believe the amount of "snobbery" I come across in my aikido life, find the politics strange as when I joined, I was taught that I had become part of an "aikido" family. I hope my "family" judge me on my aikido and not on the lineage of my teachers when I meet them on the tatami.

AND

We live in a world where everyone seems to want to tell us what is best for us, there is a lesson even from a "bad" teacher and we should be grateful to them, that way, we can recognise the good teachers without having to read their qualifications to know it.


I have "attachment" to this issue because I was tricked into wasting a lot of time. As I moved from teacher to teacher in my search I did learn some things (that I value now) but mainly - at the time - I just got more and more screwed up. When I finally found my current teacher - who is qualified to teach aikido - he basically spent about 5 years helping me undo almost all of my previous experience. That sucks because life-energy is a precious thing.

If I can do something to help other people from that kind of thing, then I'm going to try because that's the right thing to do for aikido.

I have read several times on this thread that 'people are adults and we should let them find out for themselves'. That is bogus. I have adults start aikido class all of the time, and they have no way of knowing what is real or fake in aikdio until they have invested quite a lot of effort into building up a skill set and then then going out and working with many other folks in aikido and at friendship semianrs to see for themselves if any of what they are doing matches up to what else is out there. Also, the frauds love to talk about the "snobbery of tradional aikidoists" and the students of their weird cult cling on to those words to protect their mental playhouse when they are confronted with the reality that their ability (which is almost always low-level JJ at best) and corresponding relatively high rank NO WHERE NEAR COMES CLOSE to their tradional counterparts.

When I first spoke out about this, I got an email from a "yondan" telling me that he remembers when we were similar levels and he got the better of me in a technique years ago. So I looked at his web site (which I will not post, Jun) and checked out his pictures and video section. OHMYGOSH! It was maybe 1st kyu wasa at best. The techniques were so low level and he is obviously SO proud of them. Also, his head (which was pretty much straightover his shoulders 13 or 14 years ago) is now about 6 or 7 inches forward - which is the same posture as his fraudulently ranked aikido teacher. He is now TEACHING that nonsense as a new style of aikido. That guy had the makings of a real aikido warrior. If he had met a real aikido teacher initially, he would be that .0001% (guess!) of the students who went out and started his own dojo and kept things going. Instead he and his students are basically lost to delusion.

Here is a basic flow chart for aikido I've been thinking about:

Are you directly pushing? (think ikkyo) If Yes then that's not aikido (yet)..
If no, then are you directly pulling? (think iriminage) If yes then that's not aikido (yet)..
If no, then are you directly lifting? (think shihonage) If yes then that's not aikido (yet)..
If no, then are you cranking/paining uke to the ground without regard to either of your safety? (think kotegaeshi) If yes then that's not aikido (yet)..
If no, then are you ever yelling at or belittling juniors? If yes, then that's not aikido (yet)..
If no to all, then you should probably be teaching aikido.
If you answered yes to any of these then keep working on it because you should be a student a little longer - or even a student teacher (provided you didn't answer yes to the yelling one!) but keep learning...

Rob

aikidoc
01-10-2005, 09:02 AM
The article by Soke Ed Annabel was interesting but I think it is very weak for the following reasons.

1. Many Americans practice traditional martial arts. As such it is appropriate to use the terms used by their organization or instructor. Poor pronounciation is more by the general pubic and sometimes by the marital artists as well. That is unfortunate but it's a weak argument for using the terms.
2. He makes references to Ueshiba and Bruce Lee and others that started arts art young ages. So what? These were "exceptional" martial artists who spent their lives studying and training and researching. They were training all the time. Ueshiba apparently did not have to work and was able to devote himself to training. Many of the so-called "sokes" that are cropping up with increased regularity have not. One I ran across did his in under 20 years. I doubt very much he studied hours a day.
3. He muses as to why it is a problem for Americans founding their own arts. I have several answers. One, many buy their titles from soke organizations. They rarely hold high rank in any one art and rarely any other art (at least legitimately). Also, when you look at what they do on tape it either looks like traditional arts or poor examples of such. Learning a few techniques to throw into a core art does not make a new art.

I do not have a problem with Americans developing their own art. Wally Jay's small circle Jiu Jitsu for example is one American who did so. What makes such arts valid? I personally think there has to be some type of paradigm shift-something new or innovative. Bruce Lee for example researched, studied and took the most effective techniques from several arts to modify his core art of Wing Chun. It has the flavor of wing chun since it was his core art. He threw out the traditional things he felt did not work and significantly modified the art.

Many of these "dimestore soke's" not only present poor quality in their core arts they accentuate it by adding stuff of equally poor quality. You simply do not get to the skill levels of Ueshiba or Lee by practice a couple hours a night for 20 years as you do living the martial arts life daily and practicing for hours a day. The majority of these arts do not in my mind appear to add anything impressive-i.e., no paradigm shift. Adding atemi waza to aikido does not make a new style. It was already part of the art and de-emphasized by subsequent masters.

To me the article seemed more like a weak justification of his own title. I have not researched his background. Yet.

Rob's points are well taken. True one can get poor instruction in traditional and legitimate groups as well. However, when you have "grandmaster, soke, doctor, professors" who have not earned the right to the title but have more or less bought it from groups perpetuating the problem teaching bad skills it creates a problem. If I have spent years studying with someone claiming they are masters of an art and move and traing with someone who really is a master, I may very well find I've been duped and wasted not only time and money but now have to relearn everything. As I have pointed out in another thread, years of doing things poorly or incorrectly will build a neurological pattern that has to be unlearned. It is hard to break habits after years of practice. I have seen students apparently break such patters after years of studying with an instructor and then get in a stressful testing situation and revert right back to the bad habits.

No one wants to be duped and I have seen those that have been cling to not only rank but techniques with bad kihon. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they are putting people at risk. Students thinking something show works because the instructor can make it work may very well try to do such in a real situation and get seriously injured.

aikidoc
01-10-2005, 09:40 AM
Sorry for the spelling errors above. I had to rush off and treat a patient.

I also want to comment on the snobbery issue by traditionalists. Why is it that argument is always used. Fraud is fraud. This is not about being a snob it's about being legitimate.

Fred Little
01-10-2005, 09:50 AM
Sorry for the spelling errors above. I had to rush off and treat a patient.

I also want to comment on the snobbery issue by traditionalists. Why is it that argument is always used. Fraud is fraud. This is not about being a snob it's about being legitimate.

The best thing I have read on the charge of "snobbery" is a piece by Dave Lowry and posted on the main page of e-budo, titled "BICYCLES AND BUDO, A LOOK AT KORYU "SNOBBERY."

http://www.e-budo.com/html/snobb.htm

Some of his points are more specifically related to koryu only, but the general "traditional art" vs. "modern art" outline of the argument is relevant here.

Hope this helps,

Fred Little

aikidoc
01-10-2005, 10:07 AM
By the way, the university section is a real interesting read.

http://www.ndcma.com/GrandmastersCouncil.html

Gee. I qualify for a Masters Degree since I meet the rank and years requirement. Now if I could only get to 7th dan then I'd qualify for the prestigious doctorate. Hmmm. Set up my own style, apply to the sokeship council. That's the ticket. Good grief Charley Brown!

Why is it people have to "double doc" themselves? It is grammatically incorrect to put doctor in front of your name and followed by your degree. Dr. Joe Schmoo, Ph.D. It's either one or the other.

Alex Megann
01-10-2005, 10:22 AM
Perhaps I'm just showing my age, but for some reason whenever I hear mention of "Grand Masters" I can't help thinking of the classic Goodies "Ecky-Thump" episode.

This featured the ancient Lancashire martial art, in which men in flat caps laid about one another with black puddings...

Alex

http://www.jumptheshark.com/g/goodies.htm

aikidoc
01-10-2005, 10:35 AM
Here is one example (no names) from a soke organization: A 29 year old soke. Claims nine 8th dans, two 7th dans, seven 6th dans, Three 5th dans and 2 grandmaster titles and one soke title. This guy must have started when he was gleam in his grandfathers eye. This is from the same site that has the soke article on the counter side. Now if he started at 7 years old-that is a common age with these masters-then that means he has been training for 22 years. This is very impressive.

I really would hate to see this kind of hubris move to the aikido world.

sunny liberti
01-10-2005, 10:35 AM
We live in a world where everyone seems to want to tell us what is best for us, there is a lesson even from a "bad" teacher and we should be grateful to them, that way, we can recognise the good teachers without having to read their qualifications to know it.But see, if I'm looking for and PAYING for aikido instruction, I'd like to get aikido instruction please - not "Life University". Sure, lessons about judgement are valuable, but it gives no one the right to defraud me in the name of "teaching" me. How could that possibly be relevant here?!

I get plenty of hard knocks on my own, thanks!

aikidoc
01-10-2005, 12:23 PM
I was just reading a site linked to some of the "questionable" promotions. It was interesting that the founder of the art was awarded a 9th degree by the US Judo Association and then founded his own organzation which subsequently awarded him 10th degree. This is judo but later in the site he brags about there being very few 10th degrees ever awarded and no living Japanese 10th degrees. At least he indirectly admits he awarded himself the 10th. To compare his 10th with the Japanese just because he studied with one of the 10th dans is ridiculous. If I award myself 10th dan via organizational bylaws or whatever rationale, does that make it legitimate?

To me, self-awarding oneself a degree is incredible. You have to be a legend in your own mind. The problem then perpetuates to awarding others 10th degrees and sokeships and the ranks in non related arts like aikido.