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Old 12-31-2004, 07:09 AM   #201
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

I would think Name, location, rank and date awarded would be sufficient. Dojo might be optional.
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Old 12-31-2004, 01:54 PM   #202
mriehle
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds (define it, please)

I've been following this thread for a while now without comment. In point of fact I found myself starting to skim rather than read whole messages because the points started to get, well, redundant. I think that's typical of a thread like this, so no criticism is meant.

There are a couple of comments I'd like to make, though. They are, in fact, echoes of things already said, but I feel like it's worth putting my two cents in.

First of all, it's not always about whether the school is teaching fraudulent MA, sometimes it's simply whether the school is right for you. People who have no MA experience are easily lead into schools which are completely wrong for them. They frequently have no guidance and no frame of reference. The instructors credentials will not help these people.

When fraud is a problem, inexperience remains a problem for these same people. They have no way of knowing if what they are learning has any validity. No guidance and no frame of reference. FWIW, this problem is not unique to MA. When I started in the aquarium hobby years ago I quickly discovered that not all aquarium stores are created equal and, in fact, two different people at the same store would give me different advice and one of them was always wrong.

Now, for those of us with experience the problem still exists, but credentials (like actual dan ranking) can help with this. Still, it doesn't tell you everything. It's a place to start (a good place, actually), but more is needed.

I actually think that something like a product review would be the way to go. But there is a catch. Look at most magazines that do product reviews. Notice that for the most part they only publish positive reviews. I was once involved in a discussion about this on another forum. A prominent reviewer was part of the discussion. When pressed about why he was always positive about products he reviewed his reply was basically that he simply wouldn't submit a negative review. He might send such a review to the product manufacturer, but he wouldn't submit it for publication.

Well, why?

Because negative reviews lead to lawsuits, right or wrong. Nobody sues over an overall positive review, even if a few problems are pointed out.

But, more than "is it good, is it bad" such reviews would provide a place to describe the overall atmosphere of a place. Because, fraudulent or not, if you are training in a place that isn't right for you, your learning experience will suffer.

A summation of what I'm saying might be: rather than try to ferret out the frauds, how about recognizing the good places?

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Old 12-31-2004, 04:51 PM   #203
Qatana
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds (define it, please)

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
.

A summation of what I'm saying might be: rather than try to ferret out the frauds, how about recognizing the good places?
Um, because usually the frauds advertise Much Louder, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't Know to look , or Where to look for accurate reviews, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't think or know to research lineage and authenticity?

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:50 AM   #204
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote:
I couldn't disagree with you more, Ryan. Rating teachers online is not only appallingly disrespectful, but reduces the entire community to an infantile popularity contest. What there should be are sites like Aikiweb where we can communicate in a civilized manner, and dojos where we can do battle with the flaws in our own character. There is no need for a venue to expose the flaws of others.
I just happened upon the site (ratemyteachers.com) a couple of weeks ago and looked up my old high school. Looking at the teachers I thought the ratings were fairly accurate IMO. One of my old teachers had a low rating, he's a really nice guy and the classes were fun but you would leave the class feeling like you really hadn't learned anything useful and that reflected in his rating.

Secondly I don't think it has anything to do with respect. If a student doesn't like you, no matter what the reason, you failed that student as a teacher. That being said if I'm going to go pay someone money to teach me a martial art that's going to take years to learn your damn right I want to know what other people think of that person. I don't think that finding out 5 years too late and $2400 poorer ($40 per month) that what they taught you was a whole lot of nonsense is a good way to spend my money/time.

If you go and buy a car are you going to just go to the lot and pick whatever looks the best or are you going to do a little research first and see what other previous buyers had to say about the product they bought, what problems they have had ect. If your smart your going to do some research otherwise you will get a nice looking lemon.

Education is the same way. You can get a good one or a bad one and it depends on the teacher, which is why I think students opinions, good and bad should be heard by anyone looking to purchase an education.
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Old 01-01-2005, 05:13 PM   #205
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Ran across this on Furyu.

http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue9/realor.html
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:29 PM   #206
mriehle
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds (define it, please)

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
Um, because usually the frauds advertise Much Louder, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't Know to look , or Where to look for accurate reviews, and the "average" MA beginner doesn't think or know to research lineage and authenticity?
Yes, I see your point and it's a good one. My main counter to it would be that small action is better than no action. This is especially true if such "reviews" are in a public place where a certain amount of advertising can be provided.

Be loud with a positive spin.

Moreover, it seems to me that such a repository should be set up such that a dojo with a positive review can link to it. "Here, look what someone else said about us."

I don't know, maybe it's as much a pipe dream as tracking down and exposing active frauds. But it seems a place to start.

Last edited by mriehle : 01-01-2005 at 10:32 PM.

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Old 01-02-2005, 07:03 PM   #207
ironcoque
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Re: Aikido Frauds (define it, please)

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
... small action is better than no action...
I agree.

About the reviews...

If we do not compite in our training, why should the dojos compite for students? I think that competence would be oppossite to Aikido spirit.

In fact, I think everyone of us take Aikido in a different way, so what is extremely good for you maybe is not so for me. Even in a dojo, teachers may be quite different at teaching.

Don't get me wrong, I think reviews are good, but I think they should be managed carefully.

About the beginner...

I think, my own opinion, the best way is to visit a number of dojos, be an onlooker during training for a couple of days and talk to the instructor and students. Then you can chose which one fits you best.

I don't think reviews would help the beginner to chose. Because the reviews are inmerse in the "martial arts world" and the most inocent beginner does not. So he/she would not have access to them.
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:51 AM   #208
David Yap
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Hi all,

I had some free time today while waiting for a report from a staff. I went on the Net and did a search on Google for "International Sokeship". I found at least 3 organizations. Some of the names look familiar and legitimate enough in the sense that the Sokes have proved themselves in competitional circuits since the 70's. Some professorships and doctorates were something else. The names they have given to their organizations/arts were exotic - Japanese and Chinese sound-alike but not sure about the meanings (wonder whether they know the meanings themselves).

Can't help wondering too that almost 100% of these Sokes and 10th Dans are Americans. It reminded me of the time when I was based in Yaounde, Cameroon on work assignment, I went to train at the Olympic Club and ended up leading class for 2 months; I stopped teaching after an incident involving myself and a colleague and 6 armed policemen who tried to extort us for a traffic offense that didn't take place. Anyway, at subsequent classes after the first, I was introduced to not less than 3 10th dan sokes in various MA disciplines. I was impressed that they have heard of my karate teacher - Hirokazu Kanazawa (sorry, there wasn't any aikido in Cameroun). So I asked whether they have had trained in Japan before. Surprisingly none of them have set foot on foreign soil and except for Tanbo of the framed Tanbodo, no Japanese instructors or high ranking non-Japanese MA instructors had set foot in Cameroon. So, my question - who taught them MA? They unashamedly told me that they learned from books and magazines, not even videos. When they addressed me as sensei, I just told them, "Ne pa la sensei (no sensei), monsieur okay".

Regards

David Y
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Old 01-03-2005, 12:04 PM   #209
SeiserL
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

IMHO, I am not sure what if anything can be done about people who do not belong to certain organizations or conduct business in a way you might not agree with, thus considering them frauds.

I do think that the more we educate the general public, the better choices they can make. Books, articles, and places like the Aiki Web are excellent for that.

IMHO, worry less about others being fruadulant and take care that we are not.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:53 PM   #210
Dan Rubin
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Every once in a while an article is published in martial arts magazines or in a newspaper that addresses how to find a good martial arts school, written for a general audience. Such articles talk about watching a class, asking questions, checking with the Better Business Bureau, etc.

If we are concerned that there is a fraudulent teacher in the neighborhood, then whenever prospective students ask for information they should receive our class schedule, our fee schedule, and a copy of one of those articles. If the inquiry is by telephone, prospective students should be told that the article is available at our dojo. Perhaps permission could be obtained to post the article on our dojo's website, or a link to the article.

Since there is no connection between the dojo and the author, the student can assume that it contains information and warnings that are unbiased.

Or, we could write our own article, to include warnings that specifically address fraud. Of course, such warnings would have to be written very carefully if they are to be (a) useful but (b) not libelous. Prospective students might interpret even well-written warnings as biased, which would not make us look very professional, even to other legitimate teachers.

Having provided the article, any further conversation would be about how wonderful our own dojo is, with no mention about any suspect teachers. If the student should ask, the response could be that we don't know enough about that other instructor to comment pro or con.

It seems to me that this is the best we could do. If a student still signs up with the fraud, it could very well be that the fraud offers that student something the student wants, something that a legitimate dojo does not offer.

Dan

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 01-03-2005 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:36 AM   #211
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Here's some of the simplist solutions I can come up with for this problem. I received some offline comments which suggest this problem is becomming more pervasive that we'd like to think.

1. Make it known that aikido is a specific art with some styles but is not a generic term like kung fu or karate. If we see frauds in our specific area, encourage them to change their name and drop the aikido term. Teaching a few aikido like moves as part of your curriculum does not make it aikido.
2. Put pressure on the frauds with no lineage and fake credentials that the art will not tolerate the use of aikido when they have no legitimate right to do so.
3. Go public in a general sense without naming names and do interviews or ads or public service announcements outlining some of the insights to detect frauds in this post (soke organizations, extremely lofty titles at young ages which are rare in most legitimate aikido organizations, weird claims, outlandish claims about military service, etc.).
4. Give the public some brochures or tools that show them how to check lineage, etc. Document your lineage on your website. Be proud of your heritage and make it known. The frauds generally make theirs up or try to obscure theirs by very general statements. Legitimate schools can document a lineage and rank paper trail.
5. Refuse to recognize any kyu rank issued by the frauds. If a student comes to your school and has some reasonable skills then it would be appropriate to advance them more quickly. However, recognizing rank given by frauds only legitimizes the fraud.
6. On e-budo, one person actually sent a fraudulent school a letter letting them know he knew they were fraudulent.

To me, demeaning the art by tolerating these people is unacceptable. I know there are a lot of legal issues and one has to be careful but I think most of the steps above if kept non-specific and focused on the seemingly common practices of such people will hopefully at least get them to drop the aikido term.

Last edited by aikidoc : 01-04-2005 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:36 AM   #212
John Boswell
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

One thought I just had, and I'm just tossing this out there for general consideration, is the Newspapers.

Our local paper does a weekly article on a professional in the city, tells their story, what they do, why they do it, how they got started, etc. Perhaps hooking up with local papers for such a write up would be a good thing.

The owner of our dojo, Sensei Les Kelso, was the subject of such a write up. The paper told the story of his kids class and how children learn discipline, confidence, get exercise and have fun. Great pictures and write up. His was a TKD class and write up, but perhaps the same can be done for Aikido in the future... as well as others around the country?

There are also paid articles that can be done which act as both informative articles and adverts at the same time, but of course these cost money. Could be a good way to get the word out.

Those chosing to do this should stress lineage, perhaps? Where the instructors were trained, who they are affiliated with, how long they have done this and what their goals in the future are.

Just a thought.

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Old 01-04-2005, 10:59 AM   #213
jimbaker
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Re: Aikido Frauds

About newspapers: Unfortunately, most reporters doing a piece of this kind rely on the information provided by ther person they're interviewing. I've seen an Aikido Fraud profiled and the article simply took everything he said on good faith. The result was that the guy now had a newspaper article showing that he was for real, because, as we all know, if it's in the newspaper, it must be true.

As for harm, once I wanted to get t-shirts made up for my new dojo. The second the guy heard "Aikido", he wanted the money in full up-front. He had been burned by the Aikido Fraud in town. The same thing happened at the local martial arts store. The word had gone out to watch out for the "Aikido" people. It took about three years of reputation building to get past that.

Jim Baker
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:56 PM   #214
aikidoc
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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.

AIKIDO FRAUD RED FLAGS
(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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Old 01-04-2005, 08:43 PM   #215
Qatana
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Thanks, Riggs Sensei!
I think it would be extremely helpful if this statement was given its own web url, so that we can post it around other to groups and lists where people are always asking how to find a good dojo. It helps to let them know what to avoid and I think you've stated it well.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:53 PM   #216
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Perhaps this article by Wayne Muromoto regarding 'real or fake' martial arts schools might be of interest.....

go to http://www.aikido-database.co.uk/calendar/

and look for '2. Exposing the frauds in aikido' (bottom left hand corner under 'Past 4 Announcements')

I'm not sure if this has been posted before, and I might get round to reading it one day
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:51 PM   #217
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Re: Aikido Frauds

If the fraudsters are reading this, they will no doubt alter their sites, claims, grades ... then how will you find them?

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Old 01-04-2005, 11:41 PM   #218
Rocky Izumi
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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.

Rock
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:28 AM   #219
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Dojo Reviews

Quote:
Roque Bevilacqua wrote:
If we do not compite in our training, why should the dojos compite for students? I think that competence would be oppossite to Aikido spirit.
Yes. I see your point. Competition is inevitable any time there are two or more providers of similar services in a given area. But I wouldn't like to be an instrument used in cutthroat tactics.

Quote:
Roque Bevilacqua wrote:
In fact, I think everyone of us take Aikido in a different way, so what is extremely good for you maybe is not so for me. Even in a dojo, teachers may be quite different at teaching.
Hmmm...

Another good point. I'd hazard, though, that the one who really matters from the standpoint of a review is the head instructor. It would be nice to mention the others in the sense of "well, they're pretty good too" or "not quite up to the standard the head instructor sets", but you'd want to avoid saying too much about them, I think.

Quote:
Roque Bevilacqua wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I think reviews are good, but I think they should be managed carefully.
Absolutely. I tried to imply that in my original comments on the subject. Mainly, I think, standards need to be observed.

Okay, now it sounds like I'm making work for somebody. I hate doing that when I know I can't be that somebody. And I can't for two reasons:

1) I'm plain not qualified. Simple as that. And if that weren't enough...

2) I run a school. Granted, I do so under the approval of my teacher*, but it still seems like a conflict of interest.

Quote:
Roque Bevilacqua wrote:
I don't think reviews would help the beginner to chose. Because the reviews are inmerse in the "martial arts world" and the most inocent beginner does not. So he/she would not have access to them.
Another good point. But this is one of the reasons I think it's important for such reviews to be readily available on the web and for schools to be encouraged to link to them. People do a lot of research on the web these days before committing to stuff. Not always as much as they should. But that brings us back to the "small action" argument again.



* He'd be within his moral rights, if not necessarily legal ones to yank my right to run the school anytime he felt it was appropriate. Strictly speaking I don't have the rank to be a dojo cho. But I'm told I'm a good teacher and I maintain close ties with the home dojo in order to make sure we keep standards up. And I'm working on that rank thing...

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Old 01-05-2005, 01:48 AM   #220
mriehle
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Okay, in general I agree with your points. But there are some pitfalls in a couple of them. It's not that they're wrong, but they could be misleading in some cases.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
AIKIDO FRAUD RED FLAGS
(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:
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.
This one is not necessarily a problem. I think the issue here, really, is to be sure that they have the lineage to back it up. Moreover, it's important to recognize that after a certain point, rank is as much about politics, experience and seniority as anything. You can argue where that point is (but I'd put it at 3rd dan, minimum) but at some point the teacher is a good teacher, period.

I'm not advocating discarding this from consideration, but a little caution when considering it is worthwhile.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
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.
Another one where more information may be required. Is it a new style, or simply a new organization? If it's a new organization, make sure they respect their lineage and find out why they made the split.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
2. CLAIMS: Here is where it gets real interesting. Fraudulent instructors generally make many non-verifiable claims. Here are some examples:
This one is, IMO, the most critical point. But...

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
d. HUMILITY: Or the lack of humility. Bragging about things that are not verifiable or seem outlandish or odd. Most martial artists are humble.
Be careful here. Remember that any time there is competition between schools - and there will be - some marketing will happen. Separate the marketing from the ego. It's actually not that hard, really. Look at the other points under "CLAIMS", they pretty much say it all.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
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.
I really like this statement, though.

When it comes right down to it, I think my feeling is this is all good, but you can go wrong by being too skeptical just as easily as you can by being too gullible and that needs to be addressed in any comments to potential beginners.

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Old 01-05-2005, 08:19 AM   #221
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

"Another one where more information may be required. Is it a new style, or simply a new organization? If it's a new organization, make sure they respect their lineage and find out why they made the split".

IMHO someone setting up a new "style" at 3rd or 4th dan is questionable. However, 6th dan and above with involvement in other martial arts and a clear definition of what makes their art different and why they wanted to set up something, new other than for political reasons, would seem more reasonable to me. I'm talking about someone with legitimate rank in an art at a mast level which is usually considered to be about 6th dan minimum in Aikido.

Setting up a new "style" with a new name to me should require something new and innovative not just a different interpretation of what you have been taught or more emphasis on a particular aspect of aikido.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:16 PM   #222
Dan Rubin
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Re: Aikido Frauds

If I were thinking of taking up aikido and were to receive a handout like the one proposed by Riggs Sensei, I'm afraid that I might reconsider my quest. I would find the length and tone of the handout to be too negative and, in fact, intimidating, especially from an art that purports to encourage (and even require) a positive mental attitude.

I would prefer something a lot simpler, like this (I found it by Googling "How to choose a martial arts school"): http://www.ccmagazine.org/edit/staff/vito13.htm

If one feels strongly about it, at a couple of places in the article a note could be placed that refers the prospective student to a website with additional information, should the student be interested. Where the author refers to the existence of fraudulent instructors, the reference could be to the Furyu article that has already been mentioned, at http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue9/realor.html

Dan

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 01-05-2005 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 01-05-2005, 05:01 PM   #223
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Dan: your points are well taken. I could have been a lot more positive in the wording. Here's a different shot at it. See if this is more palatable.

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.

CREDIBLE SCHOOLS WILL GENERALLY HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
1. RANKS/TITLES. Ranks: Generally, Aikido instructor ranks can range from 1st degree black belt (shodan) in smaller schools up to 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts in larger schools or as heads of organizations. Most 6th, 7th and 8th degree black belts are Japanse master instructors and head up large organizations. Titles: Master instructors are generally referred to as shihan and are normally 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts. Intermediate level instructors generally range from 4 to 6th degree black belt and are normally ranked as instructors as shidoin or sensei. Lower dan rank instructors are normally 1st to 3rd degree black belts and may be identified as fuku-shidoin. Such titles as grandmaster, soke, professor, or doctor are not traditionally used in legitimate aikido organizations. Very high ranks like 9th and 10th dan are very rare in legitimate aikido organizations. They are also not awarded high ranks at young ages (30s-40s).
2. LINEAGE/RANK SOURCES: Legitimate aikido schools will be able to trace their lineage generally back to the founding organization. There are many different splinter groups but all have one common source: O'Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). The most common organization groups are: aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, and Yoshinkan, to name a few. There more groups and sometimes sub groups and splinter groups from the above. There are also independent organizations that have separated from the various major groups. All these groups generally have a past connection with a major or splinter group and have attained high rank within that group before separating. Legitimate aikido ranks are not awarded from soke councils or karate groups run by non Aikido masters.
3. BACKGROUND: Legitimate aikido schools will generally be able to identify their martial arts background and provide information on previous training. The sources should be verifiable through major organizations.
4. WEBSITES/CLAIMS: Responsible Aikido schools provide factual and verifiable information about their history, lineage and ranks. Outlandish claims about secret military backgrounds and arts handed down from family to family are generally not part of the Aikido mindset. Aikido styles are no ryu arts (family or clan arts) handed down from secretive societies or instructors. Aikido is practiced world wide.
5. SPECIAL POWERS. Aikido as an art places special emphasis on harmony with energy or Ki. This is a foreign concept for non-oriental students and may seem somewhat esoteric. However, responsible instructors do not make claims about impossible powers that cannot be verified-such as cutting pain with Ki or moving people without touching them by using Ki.
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:49 PM   #224
Bronson
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Hey John,

Just a few proofreading corrections for your post. I'll put the corrections in bold.

Bronson

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Dan: your points are well taken. I could have been a lot more positive in the wording. Here's a different shot at it. See if this is more palatable.

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.

CREDIBLE SCHOOLS WILL GENERALLY HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
1. RANKS/TITLES. Ranks: Generally, Aikido instructor ranks can range from 1st degree black belt (shodan) in smaller schools up to 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts in larger schools or as heads of organizations. Most 6th, 7th and 8th degree black belts are Japanse master instructors and head up large organizations. Titles: Master instructors are generally referred to as shihan and are normally 6th, 7th or 8th degree black belts. Intermediate level instructors generally range from 4th to 6th degree black belt and are normally ranked as instructors, shidoin or sensei. Lower dan rank instructors are normally 1st to 3rd degree black belts and may be identified as fuku-shidoin. Such titles as grandmaster, soke, professor, or doctor are not traditionally used in legitimate aikido organizations. Very high ranks like 9th and 10th dan are very rare in legitimate aikido organizations. High ranks are usually not awarded to people of young age (30s-40s).
2. LINEAGE/RANK SOURCES: Legitimate aikido schools will be able to trace their lineage generally back to the founding organization. There are many different splinter groups but all have one common source: O-Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba). The most common organization groups are: Aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, and Yoshinkan, to name a few. There more groups and sometimes sub groups and splinter groups from the above. There are also independent organizations that have separated from the various major groups. All these groups generally have a past connection with a major or splinter group and have attained high rank within that group before separating. Legitimate aikido ranks are not awarded from soke councils or karate groups run by non Aikido masters.
3. BACKGROUND: Legitimate aikido schools will generally be able to identify their martial arts background and provide information on previous training. The sources should be verifiable through major organizations.
4. WEBSITES/CLAIMS: Responsible Aikido schools provide factual and verifiable information about their history, lineage and ranks. Outlandish claims about secret military backgrounds and arts handed down from family to family are generally not part of the Aikido mindset. Aikido styles are not ryu arts (family or clan arts) handed down from secretive societies or instructors. Aikido is practiced world wide.
5. SPECIAL POWERS. Aikido as an art places special emphasis on harmony with energy or Ki. This is a foreign concept for many students and may seem somewhat esoteric. However, responsible instructors do not make claims about impossible powers that cannot be verified-such as cutting paper with Ki or moving people without touching them by using Ki.

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:41 PM   #225
aikidoc
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Talking Re: Aikido Frauds

Bronson:

Thanks for the catches. I was rushing out the door and did not have time to proof read what I wrote.
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