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aikidoc
02-08-2006, 09:20 PM
I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care?

I have been exposed to this twice in the past where I could not for the life of me verify claimed rank or organization outside of the person's own word. I have done exhaustive searches in both cases contacting everyone with their lineage's last name I could find (to see if they heard of the instructor), contacting the aikiweb and aikido journal and where I knew people contacting locals to see if they have ever heard of the organization/instructor's sensei. This was always a hot issue with the involved person. In both cases, I have turned up empty handed but I'm the bad guy. Hmm.

aikidoc
02-08-2006, 09:24 PM
P.S. we ousted one instructor for being a fraud. In the other case, I repeated the search every year for 5 years and finally gave up.

Michael O'Brien
02-08-2006, 09:32 PM
I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care?

I have been exposed to this twice in the past where I could not for the life of me verify claimed rank or organization outside of the person's own word. I have done exhaustive searches in both cases contacting everyone with their lineage's last name I could find (to see if they heard of the instructor), contacting the aikiweb and aikido journal and where I knew people contacting locals to see if they have ever heard of the organization/instructor's sensei. This was always a hot issue with the involved person. In both cases, I have turned up empty handed but I'm the bad guy. Hmm.

John,

I have always looked at the quality of instruction over the credentials of the instructor personally. Whenever I moved in the military I would sit down with the phone book and talk to people in the fitness centers to seach out local MA dojos. Then for whatever arts that were offered that I was interested in I would drop by the dojo and watch a class or two. Then if I was still interested I would go back and participate in a class or two. Usually if I was satisfied at that point I would stick with it unless I felt a compelling reason not to.

It also depends on if having verifiable rank/lineage in your training is important to you. n rare occasions issues have come up where I felt the actual need to check credentials and for me it has always been getting in contact with the headquarters that the instructor claims to have ties with.

For instance, I heard rumors an instructor I was taking TKD from had his belt pulled by the association for unprofessional conduct so I called USTF headquarters in Bouder Co and asked directly. Unfortunately, they verified it was true which meant my 3 years I studied and ranked under him were not recognized by the USTF.

I still had all of the skills/knowledge I had learned in that 3 years, that can't be taken away and the USTF headquarters directed me to another instructor about an hour away who was gracious enough to retest me back up to my current rank I held at the time so it was all good in the end.

So I guess if you are worried about your rank/lineage make sure to verify it completely and if you just train for knowledge/skill and feel you are getting that need fulfilled then you are ok.

crbateman
02-08-2006, 09:56 PM
Pieces of paper are strange. Some say a lot, some very little. And some lie. But one thing that no piece of paper has ever done is take somebody out on the mat and teach him some Aikido. That's all that really matters. That's where each student should make his own decisions about each instructor, IMHO.

aikidoc
02-08-2006, 10:10 PM
I agree-on the mat it is important and people with extensive credentials may or may not be quality instructors. However, is it not a credibility issue for people to make claims about things that are in fact inaccurate or down right fabrications? One guy claimed a 7th dan-he awarded it to himself and he could not even produce one shred of evidence he held any legitimate aikido rank. My concern is that aikido, see my fraud thread, may end up with so much of this that it will go the way of some of the arts where the only place rank means anything is in the dojo itself. IMHO if you claim a rank, you should be able to verify it and the organization through which it was awarded. Lost in a fire, washed away in a flood, ate by the dog, thrown away by a naive spouse, etc. etc. are about as good as excuses as they were for homework not getting done in school. They hold about as much water as a sieve. If it was legitimately awarded, it can be replaced and verified.

As to the quality of the class issue, I agree that is important. However, one person, the 7th dan, was actually talented enough and had some aikijitsu or jiu jitsu experience that he could pull it off for a while until someone showed up with enough credentials to see through the BS. This is still deceptive and why would anyone want to train with someone with such an ego or little regard for the truth. Kind of like the soke dokey discussions we had on the fraud thread. The unsuspecting public gets snookered.

If your credentials are not verifiable, then you should be able to explain why. With modern computers, anyone can make up their own certificates. The "7th" dan used a student who had a Japanese last name to make his credentials sound impressive in the bylaws.

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 10:11 PM
as a general rule if someone is crowing about their credentials and displaying them ad nauseum on every wall of the dojo... be suspicious... a true follower has no need to display such trappings... indeed you may have to pry and pry to have them grudgingly say anything that relates to rank, because they know what matters is not the color of your belt, but what you can do...

aikidoc
02-08-2006, 10:16 PM
Edwin:

I agree that throwing around rank is questionable. However, I do make my rank and certificate information available on my website for anyone who chooses to verify it. Make no mistake it can be verified. They may not like my instruction but my rank issued is what was issued-nothing more, nothing less, nothing fabricated or made up.

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 10:17 PM
lineage in race horses doesn't make them a sure bet, but you know where they came from and the potential...

heres some threads that discussed this issue and related ones...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9597

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9646

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 10:24 PM
never ending story John, in some cases you then have to verify that verifier and their verifier and so on and so on... some people know how to lay a false trail... this soke makes that soke they soke each other and how do you KNOW what is real and not elaborately fabricated bullshido???

Jerry Miller
02-08-2006, 10:53 PM
Credentials are just that credentials and nothing more. If I may make an analogy to dog breeding. It is not that difficult for a backyard breeder to get papers from the AKC. They are a well respected organization and papers are just credentials. It does not mean that breeder is doing anything to better the breed at all. It just legitimizes the lineage. You can still have poor breeding and health issues with papers. An instructor can have impeccable credentials and still at the end of the day they are still a poor instructor. The students will suffer as would aikido as a whole just like a particular breed will suffer at the hands of a backyard breeder. You as a student have the right to the best aikido instruction you can get.

aikidoc
02-08-2006, 10:54 PM
People who move on often become aware when they train in a verifiable school. A while back, on e-budo, one young man was very pissed off when he found he had been training at a school claiming a certain style of aikido. when he went out west and train in another school he was pissed he had wasted 2 years. Can't say as I would blame him. He thought he was doing an aikikai style and went to a legit aikikai school and they basically laughed at him.

Counsel
02-08-2006, 11:01 PM
John: In my opinion, that doesn't say much about the aikikai school (if they really laughed at him)...

But, that is the very reason to have paper trails. Not for the "he has paper therefore he is good" but for the "if I train here, I can train there." It does, to some extent, give a 'picture' of a person at a given time (when the paper was awarded).

I know people have complained about this type of thing many times.

The American Jujitsu Association (I know nothing about them personally) has an idea...

Post testing results on-line so that everyone can see who was tested and who tested them.

[See American Jujitsu Association Web-site with testing results (http://www.americanjujitsuassociation.org/yudansha.htm)]

I think each person awarding the belt should also be listed (with the person/board that gave them their belt).

I think this is possible? Is it practicable? Is it a good thing? Is it better than nothing (or whatever we have at present)?

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 11:07 PM
exactly john... i met a guy here in my hometown that somehow magically became a 'master' of aikido through an organization that basically sold ranks... i had to break the news to his students that he knew no aikido and had never trained in it... the fuller version of the story is on another thread, but his students had no clue... now many of them say they will never do any martial art again...

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 11:08 PM
thats actually a pretty good idea James...

aikidoc
02-08-2006, 11:17 PM
James: I did not mean they literally laughed at him. However, they did let him know in no uncertain terms that he was basically starting over.

Counsel
02-08-2006, 11:51 PM
John:

I was assumed you were kidding :) and shouldn't have made that comment. My apologies.

I have tried to research instructors in my area (three schools), but I have been unable to find any information on any of the instructors. Two instructors basically said, "Aikido is aikido, there are no schools (just aikido)."

I can only imagine the frustration at someone realizing they had wasted two years of 'training' (especially if what they learned was 'not' aikido or useful for what they wanted).

Although the paper is "only as good as the paper it is printed on," it may give some information on the instructor, his teacher, his 'lineage,' and whether any techniques were actually 'learned.' These three bits of information may allow us, as students, to better judge the instructor and what they have to offer.

Their ability to teach what they have learned is another matter entirely....

rulemaker
02-09-2006, 01:24 AM
I suggest that Aikikai Hombu Dojo publish a directory/book of aikidokas with rank above 4th Dan. They can also post it on their website for easy access. This way we can easily verify if one's rank is authentic.

Alec Corper
02-09-2006, 03:30 AM
What are we talking about here? Protecting the innocent students from being misled or protecting the "licensed" teachers from competition? Whatever happened to the idea of vsiting more than one dojo and selecting your teacher based on your own senses, what you see and feel, what their students can actually do on the mat, how they treat visitors to their dojo, how the instuctor behaves and talks, etc. etc. Yes, I know that without experience its hard to judge, so get some before you commit. A student does not "waste" time studying under a teacher without papers if the teacher can do and teach. They are learning. On the other hand you could end up in a dojo where everyone's grades are accepted but the Budo is still not worth much. I know of one very good teacher near me who stopped grading after his Shodan almost 30 years ago but continued to practise and travel to train with the best he could find (the best, not neccessarily the highest grades). The problem comes if his students want to be graded, where will they go? Will they be laughed at? I don't think so, but they will probably have to pay their "dues" at another school to get graded, and there will be issues of trust, ownership, power and other human problems that will crop up.
Every teacher gets the students that he/she deserves, every student gets the teacher they deserve, it just might take some time. The development of discernment is a real facet of Budo that is too easily overlooked in the supermarket offering of trademarked modern MA.

aikidoc
02-09-2006, 07:05 AM
"A student does not "waste" time studying under a teacher without papers if the teacher can do and teach." WHile that is true, if you are out in some small town hours from anything else with no prior experience, the can do becomes an issue. How can the unsuspecting public know. This is what happened to the young man who was majorly upset when he went to another area. The can do part was so radically different he started over.

ian
02-09-2006, 07:25 AM
I think if you know nothing about the martial art, credentials are useful. However I think if you are experienced I would say credentials are a distraction.

Too much focus on credentials inevitably ends with a rigid set of 'things' which the teacher should know, and the martial or teaching ability gets lost.

This is the best way to check someones credentials: attack one of their unsuspecting students; if they give you a good response, I'd guess the teacher is pretty good.

P.S. I trained once with an instructor in London who said he taught 'aikido'. Not only was he quite a violent man, but he had no concept of why what he was doing was not aikido (it was like 2nd rate ju-jitsu), and unfortunately his students followed him blindly.

P.P.S. I always lament that teaching certificates are not given out, so when you kick somone's arse it discredits their lineage!

Alec Corper
02-09-2006, 07:58 AM
John,
I understand the dilemma for people out in the middle of nowhere. I am simply saying that we run the risk of trying to take all resposibility as teachers for the students, but there is also a requirement upon people who want to begin studying to look around first, even if it means travelling further a few times.

Ian,
I don't know if you are joking but i would not want to teach someone who thinks that "attacking an unsuspecting student" is a good test of the teacher. I have some students that would go into shock, and others that would kick your arse ;-) it's good we all have such differnt opinions of reigii, isn't it?

crbateman
02-09-2006, 09:36 AM
Whatever happened to the idea of vsiting more than one dojo and selecting your teacher based on your own senses, what you see and feel, what their students can actually do on the mat, how they treat visitors to their dojo, how the instuctor behaves and talks, etc. etc. Yes, I know that without experience its hard to judge, so get some before you commit. A student does not "waste" time studying under a teacher without papers if the teacher can do and teach.BANG! Nail struck squarely on head. And ALL credentials are purely subjective, especially from the point of view of someone belonging to a "rival" organization. Let me give you an example: A guy with a Dan grading in Shin Shin Toitsu (Ki Society) Aikido is teaching in your town, but since his grading is not Aikikai, is it less than genuine? You will say "No, It's OK, because Ki Society is a recognized system." Recognized by whom? YOU... that's who. You have made a subjective decision based on your own value system. Ultimately, that's what EVERYBODY has to do. It's just that some (many, actually) prefer to look at a guy's Aikido, rather than his diploma. But the decision is, and MUST be, left up to the student.

SeiserL
02-09-2006, 09:37 AM
I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care? ... In both cases, I have turned up empty handed but I'm the bad guy. Hmm.
IMHO, credential do matter to a degree. They speak to the honor and integrity of the instructor, not the quality of the instruction. If people say up front they have no credentials, then fine. But to say they have it and don't, or bought it, makes me question.

I like knowing the lineage of my instructors. Honor and ethics matter to me. And yes, that has made me the bad guy.

IMHO, usually its the people without credentials that complain that credentials, or where they got them, doesn't matter.

justinmaceachern
02-09-2006, 09:47 AM
imoo I think that if you want to take classes, you should check to see how close this person is linked to japan. I know what your going through i my self have run in to a problem where i couldnt link a certain instructor to japan for that matter instructors that i had contacted never heard of this guys org. if you qustion your instructors abilities contact other instructors to find out if they know that inpaticular organization. You do have to be carefull because there are a lot of foney orgs, that are selling ranks for top dollar.
Thanks for listening.

Counsel
02-09-2006, 11:31 AM
Lo:

You all have valid points. My point is somewhat different in that I want a place where 'newbs' can go to get information? I think more sources of information are better than no sources.

If someone is brand-spanking new to martial arts and is considering AIkido, would not a directory be useful. I don't care if there is a directory for each 'organization' or for all aikidokists (is that the correct term?). Either way, I have direction for more research.

Some towns have no aikido schools. Some have 1. Wilmington, NC, has 3 schools that 'teach' aikido. Two have told me there are no 'schools' or differences in AIkido, there is just 'aikido.'

Isn't that like saying there are no differences in jujitsu or in TKD--don't each school / organization have different techniques for each kyu/dan? Or differences on philosophy? If not, then the organizations are not efficient.. I want something to show me who taught them and what organization, if any, to which they belong. The highest ranking sensi in my area is 4th dan. I would, however, like to see the list begin at 1 dan for those areas that have 1 school led by a person who is not 4th dan.

Does any of this mean anything about their actual skill and ability? No, but the 'paper' does give me and others the ability to make a decision based on information.

With this information, I can then research that organization and its students to find out more data. However, with NO information, how does a real new initiate into the martial arts have any idea whether the 'art' shown in class is actually an art or just some 'fancy moves'?

Once we are no longer a 'grasshopper,' we can make decisions based on our knowledge of Aikido.

Counsel

Mark Freeman
02-09-2006, 11:56 AM
BANG! Nail struck squarely on head. And ALL credentials are purely subjective, especially from the point of view of someone belonging to a "rival" organization. Let me give you an example: A guy with a Dan grading in Shin Shin Toitsu (Ki Society) Aikido is teaching in your town, but since his grading is not Aikikai, is it less than genuine? You will say "No, It's OK, because Ki Society is a recognized system." Recognized by whom? YOU... that's who. You have made a subjective decision based on your own value system. Ultimately, that's what EVERYBODY has to do. It's just that some (many, actually) prefer to look at a guy's Aikido, rather than his diploma. But the decision is, and MUST be, left up to the student.

Nail struck squarely on the head by Alec, and driven home convincingly by Clark! Well done chaps. :cool:

regards
Mark

aikidoc
02-09-2006, 06:37 PM
IMHO, credential do matter to a degree. They speak to the honor and integrity of the instructor, not the quality of the instruction. If people say up front they have no credentials, then fine. But to say they have it and don't, or bought it, makes me question.

I like knowing the lineage of my instructors. Honor and ethics matter to me. And yes, that has made me the bad guy.

IMHO, usually its the people without credentials that complain that credentials, or where they got them, doesn't matter.

Good points Lynn. The other argument sometimes heard is that they did not consider rank important-usually it's not except that they often advance themselves so then it must be. There are a lot of excuses but the bottom line is to progress in an art such as aikido it is generally necessary to be under the direction of a higher ranked individual-especially through the first 4 dan ranks and maybe higher. Just my opinion.

One of my friends posed a good question: Would you want to go to a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, etc. with bogus or no credentials? I think that's a good point. Instructors are hopefully professionals as well and as such they should be able to provide credentials or as Lynn suggests at least be upfront about it. Fake ones are easy to come by with the soke dokey organizations. Real ones can be verified.

crbateman
02-10-2006, 07:43 AM
Fake ones (credentials) are easy to come by with the soke dokey organizations. Real ones can be verified.Fake credentials are just as easy to recognize as they are to get. Think about it... If your "diploma" reads "Mickey Mouse International Soke Society", is it really going to do you ANY good to display it? People with this type of credentials are really only fooling themselves (and those few not smart enough to see through the crap). The ultimate judges are still the PEOPLE AT LARGE. Just watch the man (or woman) do Aikido, and draw your own conclusions. We don't need to rise up and protect the world from those with the "Homeless, Will do Aikido for Food" signs. :rolleyes:

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 08:18 AM
just watch the performance, and just look at the credentials, means nothing to someone who has no reference point or knowledge...

Counsel
02-10-2006, 08:27 AM
A guy with a Dan grading in Shin Shin Toitsu (Ki Society) Aikido is teaching in your town, but since his grading is not Aikikai, is it less than genuine? You will say "No, It's OK, because Ki Society is a recognized system." Recognized by whom? YOU... that's who. You have made a subjective decision based on your own value system. Ultimately, that's what EVERYBODY has to do. It's just that some (many, actually) prefer to look at a guy's Aikido, rather than his diploma. But the decision is, and MUST be, left up to the student.

Right...but the decision was made after seeing his Ki Society certificate, after doing research and seeing that people think highly of the Ki Society and their art (and the way they teach it), and after having some information with which to make my decision (e.g., where else can I learn and they recognize my previous training, etc.).

A teacher with no 'certificate' who says 'aikido is aikido,' and who is not forthcoming on where and with whom he learned aikido is not a person I want teaching me Aikido. However, a popular school in my area that has students that like the instructor may be of interest to me, and the certificate could help me decide if I, the emphasis on the I (that you may not see as well because it is capitalized...), if I am interested or may move to an area with an Aikikai and not a Ki Society (or other organization that may not recognize my training...

As has been pointed out, perhpas not so well...

just watch the performance, and just look at the credentials, means nothing to someone who has no reference point or knowledge...

The certificate does not MEAN the teacher knows aikido, can teach aikido, or anything else, but it lets prospective students (namely me) see some history, affiliation, and opinions. Might you see how this information may be useful to someone (if not you)?

C

aikidoc
02-11-2006, 11:54 AM
just watch the performance, and just look at the credentials, means nothing to someone who has no reference point or knowledge...

Good point. Ability and credentials don't always match especially if they are inflated-i.e., sokey dokey organizations tend to inflate them. Even test aikido ranks when no aikidoka are on staff. karate ranked instructors giving aikido ranks-that's valid.

crbateman
02-11-2006, 08:41 PM
Maybe I'm just in the minority, but if I'm walking down the street, and pass a storefront where there is Aikido going on, I'm going to stop and watch. And if it's GOOD Aikido, I'm going to make like a sponge and absorb what I can. Maybe later, I'll check out the instructor, as I would be curious from whom he learned this good Aikido. But the point is that I would give the man credit at face value for his competence, regardless of whose flag he was flying (even if it was his own). If I can learn something useful from a guy who calls himself 13th dan Super Soke Almighty, then it doesn't matter to me if he wants to be called "Your Highness". I'll take his knowledge, and leave him wrapped in his own grandeur. My desire to learn outweighs most other considerations.

The other side of the coin: If I'm looking at sloppy, uninspired, just plain BAD Aikido, I'll bounce, because at that point, I don't much care if I'm watching Shioda Sensei's adopted nephew. Credentials are often only skin deep, but bad Aikido goes clear to the bone. Just one guy's humble opinion...

aikidoc
02-11-2006, 10:05 PM
http://cosmicfighting.741.com/


your wish is my command

Jerry Miller
02-11-2006, 10:53 PM
http://cosmicfighting.741.com/


your wish is my command


What in the world is this place. :freaky: :freaky:

Don_Modesto
02-11-2006, 11:13 PM
I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care?

It's really disappointing when someone has lied, isn't it. They begin in youthful folly and pay for it later when they've established a reputation which is quickly soiled when the lies come to the surface. Lovret comes to mind. Not worth the quick gain in the beginning.

Then again, credentials are probably like sausage and laws--you don't want to see them made. Osensei jacked people up in DAN to compete with other arts, didn't he...

Tim Olds
02-11-2006, 11:45 PM
http://cosmicfighting.741.com/


your wish is my command


Now THAT was out there....

I think I'd rather go train with the penguins!

Qatana
02-12-2006, 09:20 AM
its really amazing the things that I find fascinating at 7AM on a Sunday morning. Now I really wanna learn the Photonic Pulse!

aikidoc
02-12-2006, 09:42 AM
I had to throw that one in since this was the most amusing of the ones I have run across. It was on a thread on e-budo. I love it where the celestial master comes in wearing a silver robe and medallion which he hangs on a statue of an alien. Then the students stand on one foot, wiggle their fingers with their arms in the air and then bow down to him on all 4. ROFLMAO.

aikidoc
02-12-2006, 09:44 AM
Now there is one set of credentials I challenge anyone to verify. Be ready for a little trip into the galaxy-somewhere. What amazed me is the charge between $400 and $750 a month for in most cases 2 classes a week. I wish I had that much charisma-or BS.

crbateman
02-12-2006, 10:44 AM
Oh, yeah... He's GONE...

jimbaker
02-12-2006, 12:31 PM
Now THAT was out there....

I think I'd rather go train with the penguins!

We resemble that remark!!
http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/index.htm

Mark Freeman
02-13-2006, 06:19 AM
Now there is one set of credentials I challenge anyone to verify. Be ready for a little trip into the galaxy-somewhere. What amazed me is the charge between $400 and $750 a month for in most cases 2 classes a week. I wish I had that much charisma-or BS.

What one really has to wonder at is how anyone can be gullible enough to pay that. Now that really is mind boggling :freaky:

Mark Freeman
02-13-2006, 06:24 AM
We resemble that remark!!
http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/index.htm

Brilliant Jim!

I particularly like "As AaaRk Sensei is always saying, "Soar high; crash hard. We're flightless birds, remember!" :D

Cheers, that brightened up a dull morning!

Mark

crbateman
02-13-2006, 12:49 PM
That penguin thing is hysterical... (But somebody has obviously got WAY too much time on his hands...) :D

Mark Uttech
02-13-2006, 01:03 PM
I am not sure if the late Hikisutchi Shihan made this remark, but as I heard it: "Once you see good Aikido, you know what bad Aikido is."

aikidoc
02-13-2006, 03:09 PM
I am not sure if the late Hikisutchi Shihan made this remark, but as I heard it: "Once you see good Aikido, you know what bad Aikido is."

That is a great statement. Even my wife has developed that ability over the years and she doesn't even train.

Ron Tisdale
02-13-2006, 03:39 PM
Credentials are often only skin deep, but bad Aikido goes clear to the bone.

May I borrow that??? ;)

Best,
Ron

Shipley
02-13-2006, 04:43 PM
How can you call it Aikido if you don't use weapons?

How come we're called birds if we can't use our wings.

That'll keep me laughing for days.

Paul

aikidoc
02-14-2006, 06:58 AM
Here's another that cropped up but it's not as funny as the Grand Celestial Do (GCD): http://www.housekasara.org/kasma.html

Some have far too much free time on their hands.

ikkitosennomusha
02-14-2006, 04:59 PM
I am not sure if the late Hikisutchi Shihan made this remark, but as I heard it: "Once you see good Aikido, you know what bad Aikido is."

This is what I have been saying to alot of people and had no idea others felt the same way. Perhaps it is common sense.

Tim Olds
02-14-2006, 07:08 PM
We resemble that remark!!
http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/index.htm

My humble appologies to AaaRk Sensei... I was refering to the "toss a penguin" page... :rolleyes:



<Bowing respectfully, backing away...>