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Old 07-07-2004, 02:33 PM   #1
p00kiethebear
 
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Fake Credentials

Recently the topic of fake credentials came up in the thread "These Styles"

This isn't the first time that i've seen this topic come up. I guess there are organizations out there that are willing to hand out titles like "8th dan" and "shihan" like they're candy.

What exactly do these organizations gain other than a few hundred bucks and their name in some guys resume?

More importantly, who are these organizations? Is there a big mega-list out there of what is crap and what isn't? I know i'd like to have one.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 07-07-2004, 02:59 PM   #2
jimbaker
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Re: Fake Credentials

Given that there are over seventy organizations giving out black belt ranks in Aikido in the US, it's possible that some of them might be giving out self-inflicted high ranks. Okay, maby more then "some".

You can check out the "Bad Budo" or "Baffling Budo" forums over on E-Budo.

Jim Baker
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Old 07-07-2004, 03:11 PM   #3
aikidoc
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Re: Fake Credentials

E-Budo is a good start. Type in soke sometime and see what you come up with. Anything beyond the major organizations (which I believe there is an article somewhere on this site or Aikido Journal outlining them), needs to be scrutinized with care-check the credentials, See who issued them and what their credentials are. Check websites for discussions. A beginning student does not have the background to watch the training and see if there is any quality there.
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Old 07-07-2004, 03:13 PM   #4
crbateman
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Re: Fake Credentials

Know what? It's all relative. People who want to be judged by their "credentials" (real or otherwise) still will have to demonstrate real ability at some time or other, and will be labeled accordingly. A wall full of dubious certificates can't conceal a lack of ability for very long.

I'm reminded of a demonstration I once saw where a self-styled "grandmaster" got on the mat, and could barely move around at all. The guy sitting next to me commented thusly: "No wonder he can't move... He's being weighed down by all the stripes on his belt!" Couldn't have said it better myself. You are what you are, and eventually that's all it comes down to.
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Old 07-07-2004, 06:07 PM   #5
siwilson
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Re: Fake Credentials

One thing to remember is that x-Dan in organisation-a bears no relation to y-Dan in organisation-b!

Who cares what grade they have. What is important is that we have quality Aikido teachers, which give us quality Aikido, which we can pass on to those who want to learn and practice it.

Osu!
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Old 07-07-2004, 06:39 PM   #6
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Fake Credentials

Quote:
Who cares what grade they have.
Not about the grade they have. About the grade they Lie about.
Do you want to be taught by someone who lies about themselves?

I want to know the truth about my instructors. Not some fancy qualifications that they WISHED they had.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:31 PM   #7
otto
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Re: Fake Credentials

I agree with Nathan , is all about INTEGRITY , and i'm contrary to being overcautios about outing those bogus grandmasters....people out there need to have the "facts" about x or y organization/dojo/teacher before comitting themselves to training.

Just my opinion.

Last edited by otto : 07-07-2004 at 08:34 PM.

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:36 PM   #8
aikidoc
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Re: Fake Credentials

Ditto. Integrity is important. Unfortunately some are legends in their own mind. I'm sure there are cases where rank has not been awarded for various reasons when deserved. Those are simply life's injustices that are difficult to explain. The ones that seem to think they should be a certain rank without earning it need to check their egos and award them the rank but don't insult the art. The other one that is disturbing is organizations or sokeships awarding ranks in arts they have no training in or give someone a video to study then test them. How can you award aikido rank if you don't have aikido rank? Escapes me.
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:47 PM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Re: Fake Credentials

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
The other one that is disturbing is organizations or sokeships awarding ranks in arts they have no training in or give someone a video to study then test them. How can you award aikido rank if you don't have aikido rank? Escapes me.
Hmm, IIRC both Shioda and Mochizuki took Aikido ranks from the Kokusai Budoin (IMAF), which is not an Aikido organization...

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-08-2004, 02:40 PM   #10
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Re: Fake Credentials

I agree that we face a tremendous problem with claims of rank and lineage. But I also see that at least part of this is brought about because students are impressed by and and expect it.

How many of us make an assumption of a person's skill level because of who the train under (either real or claimed)?

Nathan, you said "I want to know the truth about my instructors. Not some fancy qualifications that they WISHED they had." What is it you want to know about them that you won't find out on the mat?

I'm going to be travelling on business and I'll be visiting at least one Aikido dojo while I'm gone. I have no idea what the lineage or rank of the instructor is and it wouldn't matter one way or the other. After the first night I'll know if I will ever go back again.

Maybe if we cared less about lineage and rank, people wouldn't try to take advantage of us.

Chris
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Old 07-08-2004, 05:03 PM   #11
aikidoc
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Re: Fake Credentials

Christopher: "Hmm, IIRC both Shioda and Mochizuki took Aikido ranks from the Kokusai Budoin (IMAF), which is not an Aikido organization..." good point but they at least were qualified by training and experience to achieve such levels. I just have a problem with a Karate Soke giving an aikido rank. Just doesn't fit.

Chris S: You mean you visit a dojo without checking credentials while traveling? I for one get on the Aiki-Web and check. You are right about the first night being the clincher though. I don't care what their affiliation, if it is not a good school I would not go back a second time.

Experienced aikidoka will see through the scammers. However, new students simply don't have the skills to filter out the b.s. Often times (I have experienced this), they will set up in an area devoid of aikido and pass themselves off as having high rank-no one there has enough knowledge to question them-unless of course someone with credentials comes into town.
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Old 07-09-2004, 08:55 AM   #12
John Boswell
 
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Re: Fake Credentials

Quote:
Experienced aikidoka will see through the scammers. However, new students simply don't have the skills to filter out the b.s. Often times (I have experienced this), they will set up in an area devoid of aikido and pass themselves off as having high rank-no one there has enough knowledge to question them-unless of course someone with credentials comes into town.
Exactlly.

One poster said (in essence) 'what does their rank matter so long as they can demonstrate skill?' Well, when you have total newbies coming into a "dojo", what the hell do they know about skill? They don't.

With the right attitude, work-out location, black belt, hakama and photo shop... I could have my own 'dojo' and sucker in a good number of students into thinking I'm some rockin' black belt... when in fact I'm 4th kyu with a long way to go. I know enough to fake it... IF I wanted to dupe people, which I don't.

Point is, anyone can... many do... and those NOT in the know get suckered everyday. You all know it happens everyday, or else we wouldn't be having this conversation. Creditials are there for a reason and should be held with regard when obtained through hard work, bone fide organizations and proper time / effort, not blown off and disregarded because 'rank isn't that important.'

Rank has a purpose.
Certification has a purpose.
Neither should be revered nor disregarded... it's a fine line that should be respected by all martial artists.

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Old 07-09-2004, 02:01 PM   #13
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Re: Fake Credentials

John R, for the most part, yes I visit a dojo without checking into credentials. If I were going to Midland TX I'd use the dojo finder on this site (which I did for my trip next week). I'd send you an email and ask if I could stop by and workout, if you said yes I'd be over. From a distance there is no way I could judge what you have to offer based on claimed rank and affiliations. The worst that can happen is I waste a night working out with folks and I get absolutely nothing from it, and that has happened. On the other hand, maybe I learn something great and I make a new friend, this has also happened to me.

Maybe this is because I cross train with other arts or maybe this is because I'm from an unaffiliated dojo. I have no rank with any recognized aikido affiliation. When I'm visiting I'll bring my black belt and hakama but I'll also have a white belt and pants. I don't care which the sensei wants me to wear because they'll know soon enough if I have any ability.

John B, I have some experience and can judge for myself fairly quickly if someone has something to offer me (note: I'm not saying whether they are good or not, just whether they have what I'm looking for). It's true that the newbie to Aikido probably can't do that, but then again they also can't get much from a claimed rank and affiliation. The unfortunate reality is that the new student in any art runs the risk of walking into the type of outfit you hypothetically described. The best thing a new student can do is be honest with themselves about why they want to train and visit as many places as they can before leaping in.

Chris

PS: if anyone gets to the San Diego area, please feel free to visit even though we are unaffiliated.
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Old 07-12-2004, 06:05 AM   #14
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Fake Credentials

There is a school, not aikido, where I live that thrives with questionable credentials, though now they appear more legitamate. I had always wanted to study this particular art and thought; "Wow, what an opportunity." I was not new to the martial arts but 99% of the students this person attracted were at that time. The technique taught, though modified, wasn't ineffective but the person's attitude was to say the least very poor. I studied for about 6 months and decided to leave. I feel very badly for the students though that do not know better that his "way" of thinking is flawed.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 07-12-2004, 09:27 AM   #15
MaryKaye
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Re: Fake Credentials

Everyone says "beginners have no way to tell" but is this really true? I mean, you can't tell the day you walk into a dojo, but within a few months it seems to me that a reasonably alert student should begin to get a clue.

As a beginner I was taught by a mix of people from first kyu to fourth dan, and it didn't take all that long to recognize that the fourth dan *really* knew her stuff. She could look at my fumbling beginner attempts to do something and reliably give a single bit of advice that would lead to immediate and visible improvement. (She could also do wicked impersonations of what I was doing, almost like showing it to me on video--oh gosh, was I really waving my feet in the air like that?) The first kyus did a lot more "That's not right, um, maybe try it like this? Does that help?" They're good teachers, don't get me wrong, but the rank difference does show.

The fourth dan could also throw me in such a way that the fall didn't hurt--as if she picked out exactly what part of my body I should land on, and put me there. (To this day I don't know how she does it.)

I think that if beginners don't allow themselves to be intimidated, they can be reasonable judges of whether they are being taught well. I'm more worried about schools where the instructors put forward the attitude "You know nothing, you can't judge me, don't you dare try."

I was probably the worst forward roller my dojo has ever seen--it took me five months to learn how--and I was blessed with patient and humble teachers who kept working out new teaching tricks to try on me. Most of the problem dojo I've read about sound like they would have told me I was hopeless and gotten rid of me, to save face. I figure this experience really showed me the quality of my teachers. No, they couldn't magically teach me to roll (though it *was* like magic when I finally got it) but they worked hard at it, didn't give up, didn't let *me* give up, and were unfailingly encouraging.

So maybe the most important thing to share with beginners is not how to tell legitimate rank from inflated rank, but how to tell good teaching from bad teaching.

Mary Kaye
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Old 07-14-2004, 06:02 AM   #16
Peter Seth
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Re: Fake Credentials

If you watch senior black belts performing, in my experience (many years) if you see prominent technical technique - think? If you see little technique, just flow and the impression of ease, and uke is disposed of nicely without pain or a lot of fussy movement then this may indicate an understanding of true AiKi. Remember harmony and energy are the key words.
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Old 07-14-2004, 08:19 AM   #17
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Re: Fake Credentials

Quote:
Nathan Gidney wrote:
Recently the topic of fake credentials came up in the thread "These Styles"

This isn't the first time that i've seen this topic come up. I guess there are organizations out there that are willing to hand out titles like "8th dan" and "shihan" like they're candy.

What exactly do these organizations gain other than a few hundred bucks and their name in some guys resume?

If the info I googled yesterday is true

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5912

then they can get quite a bit.,

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 07-16-2004, 07:08 AM   #18
philipsmith
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Re: Fake Credentials

Fake credentials are a real problem in not only Aikido but in all walks of life. Would you consult a doctor who had made up his own form of medicine or who had only comleted one year of med. school?
I use this analogy as I have ex students now claiming to be (extremely) high Yudansha and as a Chartered Physiotherapist I have also come across "Physiotherapists" who frankly have little or no knowledge of treating injuries and are dangerous!
Proper accreditation is important because it protects the consumer (in this case the Aikido student) who can expect a reasonable core knowledge from their instructor.
The issue is who will accredit who?
As a beginner I would be very dubious if my prospective instructor could not show affiliation to a recognised body such as the Aikikai, Yoshinkan etc.
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Old 07-16-2004, 08:49 AM   #19
darin
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Cool Re: Fake Credentials

I know a few martial arts schools out there that have become good businesses but were started by instructors with questionable credentials. I also know a few instructors who have credentials but are poor at teaching and running a school. All you need is a well organized teaching system, good presentation skills and an understanding of the basics. The rest is up to you.
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Old 07-16-2004, 09:56 AM   #20
aikidoc
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Re: Fake Credentials

That is always depressing when your students become "much higher" ranked than you via circuitous and questionable means. It makes one feel you did not get through to them.
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Old 07-16-2004, 01:44 PM   #21
alpo
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Re: Fake Credentials

I believe the following link shows a good example of "Fake Credentials", which eventually involved the British Governments "Sport England" (The Head of all Governning Bodies in the UK) and the embarrassingly pathetic attempt of one student trying to outrank his teachers.

www.geocities.com/britishaikido
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Old 07-19-2004, 06:29 AM   #22
Peter Seth
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Re: Fake Credentials

Hi Alexander
I am a member of the BAB (affiliated via my organisation) and may I say this is the first I have heard of this 'dispute'. Seems a shame really but 'politics and the like' tend to arise when people get together in such organisations. Let me assure you that in my experience British Aikidoka in general, as I am sure most others around the world see Aikido as a 'Way', a path to follow through life, to live well and find some harmony and balance in the chaos of life. Maybe this ethic gets a little lost as you rise through the ranks and maybe ego starts to make itself felt?
I am sure there is much more in the 'dispute than meets the eye, but -
The spirit of aikido goes beyond the physical, and to be true, must be practiced with respect and integrity throughout all aspects of life. I know that sincere people are sometimes caught up in what I would term petty squabbles, but come on everyone, lets show an example here. We can be seen to 'represent' British Aikido to the world (Though there are many other organisations who do not have such a high profile). Get a grip! (and that does not mean ai hanmi).
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Old 07-20-2004, 11:00 AM   #23
alpo
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Re: Fake Credentials

Hello Peter,
After doing some reading and some net research on the link I submitted on my first post, I wouldn't call this a petty squable. Someone trumping up their credentials to supersede their instructors and trying to rewrite the Aikido History in the UK, now that's a petty thing, especially when there's evidence of your falsehood.

I do agree with you that an example needs to be shown here and the person who's fluffed up their credentials needs to get a grip, as well as the organisation that supported that person in the first place.
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Old 07-20-2004, 01:57 PM   #24
David Humm
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Re: Fake Credentials

Hey guys.

I'm someone directly involved in the investigation into the individual linked a couple of posts above. Some four years of investigation to be exact, I'd like to offer my opinion if I may.

It would be inappropriate at this time to discuss here, the out come of a mediated meeting that was brought to conclude that issue and other matters pertaining to the British Aikido Board. Suffice to say an official statement will be presented on the BAB website specifically detailing this matter very soon.

www.bab.org.net

In direct response to Mr. Seth, Sir, this matter wasn't isn't petty by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it politically orientated. I say with due respect, most if not all of the "this is a petty dispute" comments in the past have been made by those who do not care to absorbe the entire factual nature of the things said in writing through a biography issued about one such individual. I can say this with absolute conviction because I have the documented evidence in a 160 page report that presents proof and testimony to the contrary.

However, fake credentials.. During my time involved in the investigations, I've been exposed to all manor of opinion from a very large cross section of the international Aikido community, some in support and some quite threatening but, that aside, there is a real need to ensure (especially in such a small isle like Great Britain) control is exercised to prevent the situation described in this thread.

The foundation of our martial art (lets not talk of technicality) is basic human trust, and a respect that is gained from honest and transparent behavior in those whom we look to for our training.

The problem with Aikido in general (talking grades) is that a small (here in the UK) group of individuals (about 40ish) decided for their own reasons to create their own organisations and have nothing to do with the respective Hombu dojo's. There are however a small number of organisations who do affiliate to their respective Hombu and none of these organisations have issues with credibility or grades (obviously)

The issues here in the UK are those of regulation. Who issues the senior Yudansha to the principal instructors who have no accountability to anyone else? The reality is that their grades are either granted internally by the "students" or gained from other organisations of 'independent' sources that can and do consist of other martial arts.

Is that right or wrong ? Jeez that's a difficult debate however, I personally share exactly the same opinion as Philip Smith, not surprising really considering I spent nearly ten years in the United Kingdom Aikikai - an Aikikai affiliated organisation.

Does an organisation really have to have affiliation to a respective Hombu to be credible ? No however, if the principal instructor wishes to advance there needs to be some structured source where legitimate Aikido grades can be offered. Even so, there will always be the people who want the easy option and either fabricate their history/grades/experience or, obtain Yudansha grades from sources that are far less credible than we might expect.

There is also a greatly misused term to describe Aikido.. "Traditional" which is often associated with groups and organisations who realistically don't teach aikido that resembles anything "traditional" I base this observation on first hand experience and not on speculation. I'm not at all surprised that each of the individuals I have experienced this with are 7th / 8th dan / Shihan Aikido and or 7th / 8th dan BUDO (??) as well.

Within the UK we have a law known as Pecuniary Advantage; the law in this regard is broad covering things such as financial gain from fraudulent qualification. Although I doubt a Police Force within the UK would bring a charge against an Aikido instructor making money under the pretences of fake grades or experience, the principle is there.

Anyone within the UK who makes a claim (mainly in writing) of a qualification/experience/skill and results in obtaining financial reward based upon this information can, in theory be prosecuted.

Regards.

Last edited by David Humm : 07-20-2004 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 07-20-2004, 02:37 PM   #25
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Fake Credentials

Quote:
The foundation of our martial art (lets not talk of technicality) is basic human trust, and a respect that is gained from honest and transparent behavior in those whom we look to for our training.
That's what i was trying to get at when i started this thread. It's not about whether or not they're a good teacher. It's about how truthful they are to the students and the rest of the community.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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