The Martial Arts BS to English Guide

The Last Legionary

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The Martial Arts BS to English Guide

There are a gadzillion masters, grandmasters, founders and what around today. Enough to general a billion armies. I say general since they are all "leaders" of course. Some common comments are made by them as they try to push their systems, styles and hack job arts and of course separate you from the contents of your wallet. Here are a few of the phrases these blowhards utter and what they really mean, and how to tell the real deal from the cow dung.

"I trained the military / law enforcement".
A common utterance, and usually full of marketing exaggeration. "I trained" sounds a lot better than "I was in a class with a cop and were were training buddies".


Sure some military and LEO will train on their own with various people and schools, but that is a far cry from being an Official Sanction. Military training is done on bases with contracted instructors, and in house specialists. It's highly unlikely that the DOD is sending 5 guys to a school in a strip mall for "Special High Intensity Training" before deploying them to an urban combat environment such as Iraq.


"I was coined"
Yes, many groups will issue a special coin to those close to them, but this while being something to feel good about, is not an Official Commendation, nor is it like receiving the Medal of Honor, or having a city name a holiday after you.


"I was a World Champion"
You and 10,000 others. There are a zillion little feds, orgs, leagues, and what. Every event is a championship. You can be World Champion in your division, just by showing up and being the only guy in that division. The number of truly big and important championships is few and far between. After all, who is seen as more credible? The UFC champion, or the cage fight champion of east Hoboken?


"I'm a 10th dan"
This is of course a legitimate rank. It is however usually attained after decades of blood, sweat, and tears. The legitimate ones are. Too often we see people padding their resumes with a dozen or so of these, usually in arts that have no history. If all your 10ths begin and end with you, it's probably a good sign they are worthless.


"I'm a soke"
This term is well debated. Real soke's are few and far between. The other 10,000 of them are born on "peer review" boards, usually awarded after the check clears.


"I didn't have to test"
Legitimate systems will test before issuing rank and credit.


"I understand the concepts of the art"
Translation: I was awarded rank, but really can't do the actual curriculum or techniques that make up the art.


"My system is based on X's"
Translation: I learned a bunch of stuff from X, and whatever I couldn't get I decided wasn't important, and since X wouldn't promote me anymore, I started my own thing.


"My system is a modern one"
Translation: I didn't understand what was in the old techniques, and as a result couldn't see how to adapt them to modern use, so I dropped them and just blended together the stuff I did think I got.



How to tell if someone is a BS Master rather than a Martial Arts Master:
- They have more than 5 10th dans, and are under 40.
- They are not Japanese and use the word "Soke" as a title or rank.
-- They always introduce themselves as "Soke so-n-so". Or Master, or Sensei, etc.
- They claim extensive history and credentials, yet Google* turns up less than a dozen hits, mostly to the subjects site and other sites calling them on their BS.
- They appear on web forums with the "next best thing", and when called on it, suddenly several new members sign up to defend them, vanishing afterwards never to be seen again. 1-Post Warriors are a sure sign of BS.
- Their posts are full of contradictions, and when pressed, they fall in to insults, profanity, and sock-puppetry.
- They constantly bash "traditional" arts as outdated, push "modern" arts, yet have little to no actual real experience in using what they teach.



*Google has indexed over 1 Trillion web pages, has archives going back to the early 80's, and continues to grow by the second.
 

Sukerkin

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:lol:

A most helpful, accurate and useful guide for those new to the martial arts, TLL. Many thanks for raising a smile on this haggard face after the awful couple of weeks in the 3-D world we've had (work pressure, financial pressure, familial ill-health et al).
 

jks9199

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Great guide... but I do take exception to the "I didn't need to test" portion. It all depends on context; not all systems or instructors do formal tests, and not all students know when they're being tested. But when it's cited as proof of qualification... that's what we call a clue.

But you missed: "I trained with X" often accompanied by the picture to prove it. In many cases, this really means "I attended a one day class with X, and stood in line for pictures with him at the end of the day."
 

Xue Sheng

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And don't forget if you are talking CMA those that insist on being called

Grandmaster (particullarly the really young ones)

And of course any "Dan" level of a CMA style
 

MBuzzy

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"I trained the military / law enforcement".
A common utterance, and usually full of marketing exaggeration. "I trained" sounds a lot better than "I was in a class with a cop and were were training buddies".

Sure some military and LEO will train on their own with various people and schools, but that is a far cry from being an Official Sanction. Military training is done on bases with contracted instructors, and in house specialists. It's highly unlikely that the DOD is sending 5 guys to a school in a strip mall for "Special High Intensity Training" before deploying them to an urban combat environment such as Iraq.

This is the one that annoys me the most. I'm active duty military and can honestly tell you that 99% of the people who claim to have "trained the military" are using one of these tactics. They may have trained with military members or they may have attended a clinic with military members. They may have even hosted or given a clinic which was focused on or offered to the military, I've definately seen classes and clinics offered in base gyms by off base martial artists.

But to say that you have genuinely "trained the military" is extraordinarily difficult to do. First off all, both the Army and Marine Corps have their own close quarters combat system and their own trainers...within their service. So they have no need for outsiders to come in and train. The systems (MCMAP, Army Combatives) were created with input from many people and areas, but they now are run completely within the services, using our own assets. The Air Force and Navy do not yet HAVE their own system of combatives, although there are talks in progress to create them.

There are definately contractors overseas who conduct Close Quareters Combat training, both empty handed and with weapons....and they conduct those classes overseas. In the middle of the desert in Kuwait. If you can say that you work for Blackwater, MPRI, or one of those companies, and your full time job is training deployed soldiers....I'll believe it and respect you a great deal, but I would be willing to be that you either don't have the location or time to own a martial arts school.
 

Bob Hubbard

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Considering that at least 1 known "person of questionableness" had posted edited pictures of himself and others in the past, photos without what I call 'known-reliable witnesses' are almost always suspect. Plus I can whip up a pretty good looking cert or 2 if I wanted to. *shrug*
 

Cirdan

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I`d say "earn 3rd Dan online" offers also are dead giveavays...

The last few days have shown me it is getting even worse. sigh.
 

arnisador

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I agree that "I trained the LEOs/SF/etc." is all to often a tip-off that the person is blowing smoke, even though it is true of some instructors.

I do take issue with the "I didn't test" thing. Not testing is common for higher-level dan ranks in most systems, I think--including most JMAs. In some systems or schools, there isn't a formal test--the instructor watches you every day and promotes you when he or she thinks you're ready. In Judo and BJJ, winning a competition may be considered your "test". It's simply not true that "Legitimate systems will test before issuing rank and credit." If you go every day to a kick-*** school, you're being tested constantly. The word "test" needs to be construed very broadly, I'd say.
 

Bob Hubbard

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I agree that "I trained the LEOs/SF/etc." is all to often a tip-off that the person is blowing smoke, even though it is true of some instructors.

I do take issue with the "I didn't test" thing. Not testing is common for higher-level dan ranks in most systems, I think--including most JMAs. In some systems or schools, there isn't a formal test--the instructor watches you every day and promotes you when he or she thinks you're ready. In Judo and BJJ, winning a competition may be considered your "test". It's simply not true that "Legitimate systems will test before issuing rank and credit." If you go every day to a kick-*** school, you're being tested constantly. The word "test" needs to be construed very broadly, I'd say.
I think it's how you define test. There is the difference between demonstraited ability, and showing up, cutting a check and strapping on the new still starchy belt.
 
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The Last Legionary

The Last Legionary

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I've seen people get promoted because they made the GM alot of money, because they did a buttload of seminars, because they were someone of some note that an up and coming GM wanted to buddy up with and boost his own credibility, and people who flat out bought it. Signing a check isn't a test, neither is running a big training camp. That is, if the idea of rank is to reflect actual skill and ability. If it's just an award for making money and popularity then can some one please tell me what 2 green pips equal as Karate-do rank? I'm over due for my 4th dan you know.
 

Touch Of Death

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I've seen people get promoted because they made the GM alot of money, because they did a buttload of seminars, because they were someone of some note that an up and coming GM wanted to buddy up with and boost his own credibility, and people who flat out bought it. Signing a check isn't a test, neither is running a big training camp. That is, if the idea of rank is to reflect actual skill and ability. If it's just an award for making money and popularity then can some one please tell me what 2 green pips equal as Karate-do rank? I'm over due for my 4th dan you know.
In some organizations rank is based purly on the number of schools you own. LOL
Sean
 

jks9199

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I agree that "I trained the LEOs/SF/etc." is all to often a tip-off that the person is blowing smoke, even though it is true of some instructors.
Interestingly enough, most that have done it for real don't feel the need to list it in all caps on their websites. See, for example, Maurice Allen. Also HERE
I do take issue with the "I didn't test" thing. Not testing is common for higher-level dan ranks in most systems, I think--including most JMAs. In some systems or schools, there isn't a formal test--the instructor watches you every day and promotes you when he or she thinks you're ready. In Judo and BJJ, winning a competition may be considered your "test". It's simply not true that "Legitimate systems will test before issuing rank and credit." If you go every day to a kick-*** school, you're being tested constantly. The word "test" needs to be construed very broadly, I'd say.

Perhaps "evaluation" would be a better word? I evaluate my students constantly; I may use a tournament as a particularized evaluation, or I may devise some sort of testing in class, or I might just promote 'em when I decide their ready. But that doesn't mean I'm giving out rank without evaluation -- just maybe without a formal testing.
 

tshadowchaser

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After the long hard night I had at work and then waking up with a killer headache it was a relief to be able to sit down and read an opening post that made me smile.
 

Imua Kuntao

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It never ceases to amaze me, all the things people will say to make themselves look good, here in San Antonio there was a guy who changed his name 5 different times and each time he was a higher rank. One name he use was that of a car/automobile from Italy.
 

morph4me

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"I trained the military / law enforcement".
A common utterance, and usually full of marketing exaggeration. "I trained" sounds a lot better than "I was in a class with a cop and were were training buddies".


:jaw-dropping:You mean I can't say I've trained law enforcement just because I've had a few LEO's take classes when I was teaching? That just doesn't seem fair:miffer::p
 

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