Ten Ways to Spot a Fraud in the Martial Arts

I knew this one fraud in the martial arts who happens to be a highly intelligent martial artist. No, he doesn't practice Traditional Taekwondo. And no, he doesn't live in Perth, Western Australia.

Let the word 'intelligent' sink in a little.

Yes, you heard me right - he is an intelligent martial artist. In fact, at some time in his career he must have been an amazing instructor. He speaks well, explains his concepts clearly, has a good working knowledge of technical moves, but as he stands there and waffles on, you have this nagging suspicion he's become jaded with that fundamental knowledge.

So while able to converse in depth on subjects which may convey practical and effective combat methods, everything now issuing from him has to include some esoteric concept drawn from acupuncture, aikido, kyusho, dim mak, no touch knockout, or other vague oriental gobbledegook.

That's a warning bell - as soon as he opens his mouth, you are struggling to understand how to use what the fraud is telling you. How would this new knowledge be used to defend you in a life and death struggle? The information seems so important - the man is an experienced martial artist, is convincing, and is backing his reasoning with a heap of arcane-sounding knowledge.

Compare this to my instructor - when I went up against him in 2006, he was a 9th degree, and had become an old man with bad knees. I was in my mid 30s, knew my stuff, and I wasn't about to go light on him. Yet he beat me thoroughly - with better timing, good technique, and excellent control.

Ten Ways to Spot a Fraud in the Martial Arts

  1. A fraud requires extensive elaborate and esoteric commentary about technique (almost always including the words chi or ki) to make it work. 
  2. Frauds need you to think of themselves as an infallible repository of martial knowledge.
  3. The fraud thinks that the more you train, the more your hard style system needs to look like Steaven Seagal's Aikido in Under Seige.
  4. Frauds love surrounding themselves with legit high-ranking practitioners.
  5. Frauds often point out what they have done for other expert-level martial art instructors and fighters. Helping beginners struggling with basic moves is too pedestrian for them.
  6. Frauds disappear when either a true expert or loud disbeliever appears.
  7. Look at their uniform - it's spotless, almost shiny. Frauds will never test themselves.
  8. Frauds will fail to try, will avoid mistakes, or will talk their way out of a mistake. Martial artists are real - mistakes are real - and we address mistakes. Not ignore them.
  9. Frauds love their certificates and ranks. Either they're yammering on about their achievements or they've returned to a 'menkyo' system where they're just beyond it, and all other ranking is child's play to them.  
  10. To frauds, a well placed kick in the you-know-where is beneath them.
Last, I'll leave you with some entertainment from YouTube - and perhaps you can see the related humour.

Keep well my friends.

And train hard.

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