John Riggs wrote:
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.
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.