Re: Aikido Frauds
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.