Thread: Aikido Frauds
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:56 PM   #214
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: Aikido Frauds

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.

(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.

Last edited by aikidoc : 01-04-2005 at 02:04 PM.
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