Nathan Gidney wrote:
Why is this so hard to believe?
"From his beginnings to date, he has accumulated the equivalent of twenty-seven degrees of black belt in five styles of swordsmanship and six degrees of black belt combined in Karate, Aikido and Aikijutsu"
This isn't hard to believe. It's just not impressive.
I'm a nidan in kendo and a nidan in iaido, both from the All US Kendo Federation, hence the International Kendo Federation. If I wanted, and were in the right area of the country, I could switch to a World Kumdo Federation dojang not affiliated with the IKF. Since it's the same art, it wouldn't be difficult to retest for 2nd dan in kumdo. Let's suppose I then move to Tokyo. I could affiliate myself with the All Japan Iaido Federation and get nidan from them. I could also join the Haga Dojo, which practices pre-war style kendo and is not affiliated with the All Japan Kendo Federation. While there are differences, it wouldn't be that hard to get shodan. I could then switch to the Gembukan, another dojo not affiliated with the All Japan Kendo Federation, which teaches kendo with a stronger Hokushin Itto Ryu flavor. Again it wouldn't be that difficult to get shodan.
I'd then have "10 degrees of black belt" in various sword arts (2 IKF kendo, 2 IKF iaido, 2 WKF kumdo, 2 AJIF iaido, 1 Haga kendo, 1 Gembukan kendo), but I'd still be just a nidan kendo, nidan iaido--just one who has done a lot of organization jumping.