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.