Need advice...

MAist25

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Hey guys,

I know you all dont know me other than from an introductory thread a while ago. Im more of a lurker here, but I think I'm about to begin getting involved and more active in posting as you all seem like a really cool and knowledgable bunch. Anyway, I recently have come across some very disappointing and disheartening news from my dojang, which I have been training at since its opening about 6 years ago.

I, with the help of one of my instructors ex-friends I guess you could call him, and an old training partner have discovered an untruthful history about my instructor and his martial arts and personal background. I love and respect my teacher to death and all of my training partners. He is one of the few who does not teach for the money, he teaches because he loves the martial arts. He has given me many months of free lessons, including private lessons. He has given me uniforms, gloves, and all kinds of equipment for free when mine were falling apart. He has taken me out for sushi to just talk about our training. He has taken me to local open mats to broaden my knowledge of martial arts and to have the opportunity to train with people from other styles. He was there for me when my mother passed away and has always provided me with a second home. He has even trusted me to train on my own time at the school without his supervision. Anyway, My instructor is a certified 3rd Dan in Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo under Richard Chun's group the USTA, as well as a 2nd Dan (just submitted paperwork for 3rd) from Kukkiwon. This is all legitimate and is not what is being argued.

What is being argued is his rank in Hapkido, which he claims masters rank in. It has been determined beyond a reasonable doubt that my teacher is not ranked in Hapkido, but we are currently under a reputable organization which we have attended numerous seminars and showed our technique to. Anyway, my teacher claims his teacher is Master X, for arguments sake, who used to teach here in the US, recently had a stroke and moved back to Korea, leaving my teacher in charge of our "Hapkido" federation, which includes but one school: ours. Anyway, the name of the instructor my teacher uses happens to in-coincidentally be a real Hapkido master who lives in Korea, and that is how he slipped through the system with the organization we have been training with and involved with lately. This organization is very good and is open to all Korean martial artists and Hapkidoists of all kwans. My instructor as well as myself and several of our students, after training at several of these seminars, were welcomed into their family and recieved legitimate rank in Hapkido through their organization.

So, as it is now, I am a 1st Dan in Taekwondo under the USTA and Kukkiwon, as well as a 1st Dan in Hapkido under my instructors fake federation with a fake Korean grandmasters signature, and a 1st Dan under a real Hapkido org. I am also training at another TKD school while I am away at college which is a Kukkiwon school, and I am certainly at a 1st Dan level. The master at this school even said I should be a 2nd Dan, which I am actually testing for in a couple weeks at my home school with my "sketchy" instructor. I have opted to only test for TKD, with my excuse being that I have not trained enough in Hapkido since I have been away at college.

Anyway, I have told 2 others at my school about our teacher. The guys I told are my closest training partners who have been at the school since the start. We are my instructors top 3 students. Basically, we all feel very hurt that my instructor has lied to us about his background, which also includes service in the Greek Special Forces, which seems to also be a lie. Its just a shame how he feels for some reason that a 3rd Dan in taekwondo is not good enough or something like that. Why does he need to lie? He is a big fish in a little pond. We are a good school and we train hard and produce quality martial artists. Like I said, I train at a second TKD school and am one of the better students at the school. Its just that we are not learning what he says we are learning.

My dilemma is that I want to stay with my teacher and so do the other guys. We are going to confront him and ask him why he did all of this. Why would he lie to us? We are going to ask him to come clean and just be who he really is. If not, we are all leaving. It's just a shame that this all has to happen because either way things wont be the same. If he does come clean, he will lose many students. If he doesnt, his top 3 students will be leaving, which will cause much suspicion. I just cant be a part of a lie anymore. If my instructor is a fraud, then that also makes me a fraud. But its only in one style, we still practice legitimate Taekwondo which is why I want to stay there. We practice traditional Moo Duk Kwan TKD and still train in the old school way with a lot of hardcore training in a style utilizing punches, kicks, sweeps, takedowns, etc. all full contact at the higher ranks. I love the intensity of the training and have not found this type of training at any other Taekwondo school I have ever been to.

Anyway, what do you guys think I should do? Do you think I am handleing this correctly? Do you think I should try and save my school or hit the road? I really appreciate any advice you give me.
 

oftheherd1

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Tough situation. My first thought is if you aren't happy, just quitetly walk away.

I am curious about some things though. You mention being belted in Hapkido. Are you referring to having a black belt? What did your training consist of? You also mentioned being belted through some seminars from another organization. Again, are you referring to black belt? You make it sound like you went to a few seminars and got a black belt.

How sure are you that your teacher is not a legitimate black belt in Hapkido? You say it is determined beyond a reasonable doubt, but don't say how you know. Have you contacted the master in Korea? Is there possibly something you don't know? Especially since you imply that your teacher has spent time out of the USA.

I'm not questioning your integrity, just trying to completely understand in case that might effect what I would suggest.
 

tshadowchaser

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Finding out your instructor is not what he claims to be is always a disappointment.
I will not offer advice on the subject because I have strong feelings about those the tell false tails about their back and credential.
I will suggest that you make sure your facts about him are correct before making any rash moves.
Confronting him with your information when you have absolute proof may be a good idea just to find out what he has to say.
IF you find out he is not all he says do you intend to share this knowledge with the rest of the class?
Are his other credentials valid?
I wish you the best on this matter and I know that any decision you make will be a hard one to make.
 

Twin Fist

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you are a customer that has been defrauded.

leave

at the very least, leave

continuing to give money and loyalty to a liar is friggin stupid.
 

igillman

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My question is, what else has this instructor lied about that you have not found out? I would not trust them for much anymore and I would find a new instructor.
 

StudentCarl

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You should be certain before you act, and be able to document what you say. As you're dealing with someone's business and professional reputation, if you are wrong you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit should the issue go public. If you are convinced, yourself, but can't prove it, then you need to just walk away and not say a word. I am not an attorney, but your choices in this matter affect more than your martial arts future, so act wisely.

Carl
 

Manny

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You should be certain before you act, and be able to document what you say. As you're dealing with someone's business and professional reputation, if you are wrong you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit should the issue go public. If you are convinced, yourself, but can't prove it, then you need to just walk away and not say a word. I am not an attorney, but your choices in this matter affect more than your martial arts future, so act wisely.

Carl

Follow Carl's advice, it's the best you can do. If you can deal with it then walk away, in fact you wrote yopu train with another certified TKD sambunim.

Manny
 

msmitht

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If he lied to his students once he wil do it again. More frauds in the martial arts than any other business.
Just leave. If he calls to ask why you are not training, tell him and see how he reacts.
 

granfire

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an Ex friend pointed that out to you?

(trying to see if I got the facts straight)

But since it seems that he knows his stuff, TKD and Hapkido...could it be that he has been duped as well by grandmaster X (if he had a rare name like Kim, can you be for certain it is this person and not another? Asking because whenever I read a historic thing about TKD after the 2nd or 3rd Kim my eye glaze over)

But Carl had probably the best advice.
 
OP
MAist25

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Thanks for the replies guys.

Yes, I am sure he holds no rank in Hapkido. Myself, as well as one of his ex-friends and old training partners, who also happens to be a retired police detective, have been looking into his background and piecing things together. We contacted a high ranking student of Master X, an 8th Dan in Hapkido who lives in Korea. He is completely legitimate and a well-respected Hapkido teacher. My teacher claims that his teacher is a guy who happens to have the same name as the Master X in Korea. The only thing is, the Master X my teacher claims taught him Hapkido taught in Queens, NY and is a 9th Dan in Hapkido. Nobody has ever heard of the Master X my teacher claims taught him. We showed our certificates with the fake Master X's signature, as well as the one and only photo of him, which is obviously photoshopped, superimposed, and printed on computer paper to the student of the real Master X and he stated that the signature nor the person in the photo is the real Master X nor is he affiliated in any way with their Hapkido group. Also, the certification # on my certificate is 25,872. Does that mean that there are over 25,000 black belts in the metropolitan are that simply disappeared? How has nobody heard of this guy, who happens to be a 9th Dan and who my teacher stated is a direct student of GM Ji Han Jae. It is completely ridiculous.

@oftheherd1, In reference to my rank in Hapkido, here is the story... In our school in the early days, we were told we were learning Hapkido and Taekwondo. However, we only belonged to TKD organizations, no Hapkido orgs... Now this isnt really a problem as there are plenty of independent HKD schools out there. However, myself and a few of the higher ranking students suggested we become a part of an organization. As soon as we stated our interest in this, this is when the fake federation that my instructor is "president" of, with the founder being the fake Master X came about. I would like to also add that this "federation" includes only one school: ours. Anyways, one of the other black belts sought out a reputable Hapkido org with a very well-respected Master who we decided to contact. Myself and the other black belt student attended a seminar down south and enjoyed the training, all of the instructors, and all of the other members affiliated with the group immensely. So, we told our instructor about how awesome of a group they were and we suggested he talk to the head Master and attend the next seminar. So, we did. After attending numerous seminars and my instructor explaining that he trained under Master X, where, like I said earlier, there is a real Master X of the same name in Korea, the head Master of the new org we had been training under issued us rank under his organization in Hapkido. So, my Hapkido rank is a 1st Dan under a false Master and a false org, with training in a collaboration of joint locks, throws, and pins my instructor calls Hapkido. And now, I also hold a 1st Dan in Hapkido under a completely legitimate Master and organization, based on a few seminars I attended. Also, when I stated that my instructor has been out of the US, that is correct, but he has never been to Asia. He grew up in Greece before coming to the United States.

@tshadowchaser, No, I do not intend on announcing to the entire school what I have found out. I have told 2 other black belts. Us three make up his most senior and highest ranking students. They are my closest training partners and I felt they needed to know. As for his other credentials, yes they are valid. He is a legitimate 3rd Dan under Richard Chun's group as well as a 2nd Dan (just submitted his paperwork for 3rd) under Kukkiwon.

@Carl, I definitely understand what you are saying. However, I am almost 100% sure this will not be an issue that will go to court. My instructor is a hard-headed European and is very old-fashioned. Also, you have understand that myself, him, and the 2 aforementioned black belt students are like family to one another. He is a a good instructor and has taught me well. I also train while I am away at college with another instructor who is a 6th Dan Kukkiwon certified. He has honored my rank and even stated that he thinks I am ready for 2nd Dan. I came into his school and am already known as one of his better students. My instructor back home has not taught me total garbage. I have been well-trained in Taekwondo and like I said, within one class with my new instructor, he stated I was ready for 2nd Dan. However, with summer approaching I had to return home and am testing under my original instructor. My paperwork has already been submitted to Richard Chun and to Kukkiwon.

@Manny, Yes, I do have another TKD Sabumnim who is a Kukkiwon certified 6th Dan and and incredible martial artist and teacher who grew up in and trained in Korea and at the Kukkiwon. However, I enjoy my school back home where we train in traditional Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo. We still train very old school with many hand techniques, kicks, full contact sparring with sweeps and takedowns, etc. I love the intensity of the training and have not seen another Taekwondo train the way we do. That is why I do not want to leave, but I certainly will if I have to, and the other 2 black belts said they would too if our instructor does not come clean.

@mssmitht, I know what you are saying. However I do not wish to simply leave. Myself as well as the 2 other black belts are going to sit down and discuss everything with our teacher and try to make this right. I believe that this whole thing kind of snowballed into where we are now. The whole reason I believe this all happened is because my instructor decided to open up his own school with the support of his TKD teacher. My teacher and his teacher agreed to stay affiliated and my teachers teacher would send him over some students. However, he wanted a huge cut of the profit my teacher made and so my instructor politely decided that he would rather go independent from his teacher. This outraged his teacher, who actually stole certificates from my instructor which took him forever to get back as well as uniforms and other merchandise. My instructor ever since then has not spoken to his teacher and wants to disassociate himself from him as much as possible. This is why I think he started the whole Hapkido thing. He doesnt want to recognize this guy as his teacher, and he also wants to outdo him; be a higher rank than him. So, the whole Hapkido thing because where he can claim another teacher (fake Master X) as well as promote himself to a higher rank as a sort of "in your face" to his teacher. This is not proven, but it is something I have pieced together. It is only a speculation as to why I believe the whole Hapkido thing started. I do not know for sure. I do know my teacher did learn some Ju Jutsu from various seminars and such and this became our "Hapkido".

Anyways, yea thanks so far for the advice guys. I really hate that this is all happening as I really enjoy my training and the guys I train with. But I refuse to be part of a lie. If my instructor is known as a fraud, then that also means I will be known as a fraud and I have worked way too hard to let that happen.
 

jks9199

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Question:
What does it benefit this guy, with legit credentials in at least two separate TKD groups to fabricate hapkido credentials? Apparently the hapkido you've been taught is solid enough that an outside organization accepted your ranking, right?

It's absolutely possible he's been dishonest about this for whatever reason -- but it seems rather at odds with the person you've described. You may wish to tread lightly.
 
OP
MAist25

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Exactly. Thats what I dont understand. I have no idea why he felt he needed to start this lie. Like I said, it may be because his instructor screwed him over and its is way of dealing with it by pretending to be somebody he isnt. I really have no idea. And yes, another outside group accepted us and issued us rank in their organization with the head Master of their orgs signature. The truth is though, I know for a fact that I am not a black belt and I do not deserve to hold rank in this art. Just because I know some joint locks and such does not mean I know Hapkido.
 

StudentCarl

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OK, with legal cautions already stated, I suggest:

a) arrange an appointment with him when and where you will not be interrupted by others.
b) either have someone with you or have someone monitoring, because sometimes these kinds of things get very ugly and you don't want to be on your own.
c) your attitude and approach needs to be that this is a concern you need him to clear up BECAUSE YOU VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM SO MUCH. Your search is for the truth, not a win/lose.
d) present the information you have
1) present it as information, not in an accusatory manner and not as though you've already judged him and made up your mind. Give him space to choose his path. You'll know pretty quick whether you're gonna get truth or BS.
2) beware of presenting so much information at once that it looks like you've been investigating him. You don't need to share all your info up front.
3) since the credentials themselves appear to be false, hold out for verification that is convincing to you.
e) If/as soon as it becomes clear that you're not going to get the truth or real proof, it's time for you to leave. Make whatever excuse you need to, and better if you have thought it through in advance, but disengage once the issue is clear. Things can only get uglier if you don't.

Best wishes. I don't know whether you want to air the results here, but I'd be interested to know how it goes for you.

Carl
 

girlbug2

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OP I am sorry you have to go through this.

As to why somebody would lie, there are a lot of possibilities there. What first came to my mind was perhaps he felt he would lose you as a student and so made up a fake Hapkido credential so he could keep you training with him.

My best wishes for your discussion should you decide to go through with it.
 
OP
MAist25

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Yea Carl, I definitely appreciate the post and I think I'm going to take some of your advice. I was thinking about just dropping the bomb on him, throwing it all out there, but I think I will do as you say and present him with some information and some questions and let him do most of the talking. Hopefully I start hearing some of the truth. And yea, I will see how it goes and post the results of what ends up happening. It may be a few weeks before I speak to him about it but I will let you all know how this whole debacle turns out.
 

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