View Full Version : Question of legitimacy

9th April 2001, 20:03
The Budokai forum closed up, and the mudslinging, name calling, and nay saing seems to be back on e-budo. Specifically, I noticed the return of legitimacy and history as topics for discussion. You know, people bashing Fred Lovret and company.

I am not a student of Lovret or his styles of martial arts, but I have had the opportunity on three separate occasions to take classes at one of his student's dojo, including a seminar taught by Lovret. I found their technique to be less effective than some, but more effective than most. I have also found them to be among the nicest, most sincere praticioners of martial arts I've met.

What strikes me, though, that claims made by Lovert's two schools seem very believable in comparision to those made by the founders and headmasters of many "legitimate" koryu. For example, many ryuha claim divine transmission of principles and techniques from well known warrior kami. Many claim being taught their techniques by tengu. Others claim direct decendency from pre Heian period royalty.

But, you say, we don't actual believe such things today, and have reasonable hypotheses about the truth of such things. Yeah, sure. Ask your average aikidoka about the history of Daito Ryu. What about people living 400 years ago? Many probably took such stories at face value. So even if Lovret and his students are lying about the history of their ryu, they are being at least as honest as the founders and headmasters of many legitimate ryuha.

But, you say, Lovret's technique is bad, and it's not koryu. Have you seen Lovret's technique? Have you studied it? And not just at a one day seminar, but for a few year. How many other koryu have you studied to which to compare it? My guess is that Lovret's ryuha are more effective than some systems, and less effective than others. They are probably share similarities with some styles, but are different in other ways. In other words, Lovret's ryuha are unique, just as with all other ryuha.

But, you say, his concepts on strategy, bushi philosophy and warrior lifestyle are completely wrong. Oh yeah, unlike the myriad of modern and Tokugawa martial artists who are published. Hagakure is venerated by the countless unwashed masses. Have you read it? What a poorely written, internally inconsistant, non-sensical piece of crapola. Even Draeger, whose word has been viewed as law for decades, is considered less than completely correct by many, including those who knew him and studied with him. And he was in the thick of it.

Have you read most modern publications on martial arts? I've read Lovret's "Way and the Power" and to be honest, I think it stacks up very well. I can't vouch for its accuracy, my PH.D. is in engineering and not Asian studies or cultural anthropology, but it is internally consistant and logical.

For those of you who wish to start blasting another's martial art tradition, think about your own. What questionable claims does your own martial art push forward? Even the well known martial arts of Judo, Aikido, and Karatedo have their questionable claims. And that doesn't even include the numerous times many of us have streached a story just a little bit, over dinner, to make it tell better. In 20 years, these stories will be gospel as told by your own students, but embellished two fold with every retelling. So next time you want to blast another style, spare the rest of us, and don't.

My purpose of writting this is not to make disparaging comments about anyone (except maybe the auther of Hagakure, but that was a side effect, not the purpose). I personally have a lot of respect for Draeger, the Skosses and others who have provided us in the west with such a wealth of information. My purpose is to ask those who make disparaging comments about others, to take stock of their own traditions first, and spare the rest of the world from their enlightened and superior wisdom.

Michael D. Heiler

Roger Conant
10th April 2001, 14:07
Okay, all you out there who wail and rend your garments in frustration at yet one more re-hashing of Lovret; how do we respond to this?

Every argument here has been refuted or countered successfully on e-budo and elsewhere, several times. My favorite, incidentally, is the “there are origination myths from 400 years ago about koryu; therefore Lovret is justified in lying about a teacher he supposedly had less than 30 years ago.” I suppose we can thank the Clintons for this brilliant line of reasoning. Never defend yourself (especially not with simple facts, since those favorable to you are going to be in mighty short supply), just attack those critical of you and try to smear the reputations of others to make yourself look, if not good, at least no worse. Pretty soon they’ll be teaching this one in law school. “Yes, your Honor, my client did rape that woman. But didn’t the Visigoths get a little out of control on their spring breaks? I don’t see where any of them were put on trial.”

So, should we ignore this? Refute it? Should we establish a permanent site here to which we can direct contributors like this one, so they can see where tread-worn arguments similar to theirs have already been punctured, deflated, and tossed on the scrap heap?

10th April 2001, 15:43
I do not know if Lovret is lying or not about his history, as I do not have the connections, experience, or time to try to confirm or refute such claims. It is no skin off of my back either way. Nor am I trying to justify any lie that he may or may not be propagating. I am just not sure that anyone on this board is in such a secure position as to justify any attacks they may wage on Lovret. Ask question of his claims, yes. Make statements of fact to refute his claims, yes. But, and this is a big but, they should be statements of facts. Other than the Skosses and company, there are very few who have the actual resourses to determine actual statements of fact to refute the claims of Lovret and others.

Michael D. Heiler

Ron Tisdale
10th April 2001, 15:59
What makes you think we *haven't* "taken stock" of our own traditions?

Look, we aren't the ones who keep bringing this back up. People come in and ask questions, people try to give them honest answers (and opinions). I personally, and most of the others I see, try to refer them to authoritative sources, rather than rehash old news.

But if you don't want to hear this stuff, either stop posting about it, or just don't read it. This constant rehashing is getting old. And its usually instigated by the followers of the man himself. Do you really think we sit around salivating as we wait for the next poor chump to step up to the block? Sheesh.

Ron Tisdale

10th April 2001, 18:00
I've been reading martial arts bboards and forums since 1991 or 1992, I believe, at a time when we used emacs instead of browers. As you say Mr. Tisdale, people come in and ask questions. Also, new people come in and make statements. However, I am not bringing up the topic. Rather I am following up the mudslinging that just occurred, and asking those involved not to engage in such activities in the future. And though you may have taken stock in your own martial tradition, Mr. Tisdale, are you sure all of the newbies have?

As for people salivating waiting "for the next poor chump to step up to the block," yes I believe it is true of some people. It seems the Budokai forum was created for just that purpose. I just hope that we can keep such witch hunts off of e-budo. Hence the reason behind my initial post.

Michael D. Heiler

Paul Steadman
18th April 2001, 15:33
Hi Michael,

If I started a kiln shop, using modern western style clay, a modern western style wheel and I turned pots in the general shape and style of Jomon or Yayoi pots with cord pattern markings to boot, and sold them to customers for a tidy profit, would I be a contemporary Jomon or Yayoi period potter?

My pots would hold water. You could cook in them. They'd have a shape and patterns embossed on them in the style and manner of ancient Japanese pottery, but would they be authentic?

How would my customers feel if they found out I was a fake? Would only other traditional Japanese potters have the right to complain and take action against me?


Paul Steadman

PS: I know there are no Jomon/Yayoi potters around, but for the life of me I can't remember the famous style of Japanese ceramics from Japans feudal era!

johan smits
19th April 2001, 13:51
I started the post "westernized jujutsu" in another section of this board in the hope to learn from other people and maybe even come a little bit closer to a solution for a problem from which, I think, jujutsu in Europe is suffering. I can see some things in common with this discussion.

The main problem, I guess, is honesty.
Take jujutsu for example as it is usually taught in Europe. Is it authentic? The art has been practised for almost a century and has during these hundred years been changed and developed by those teaching it.
Should we call this authentic jujutsu, or even more strict do we have the right to name this art jujutsu?
I think so, the original teachers called it jujutsu and it has been called jujutsu ever since. Nothing wrong with that. Can we start our own organisations (with silly names but who cares almost nobody reads or speaks Japanese overhere)?
Yes we can and frankly a lot of us do. Please don't get me wrong I am not in favor of this, just stating a fact.

But I do think that is where we should draw the line.
We should be honest to our students, the general public and most of all to ourselves.
When we call ourselves "a master" in a martial art (modern art or koryu) or a craft and publicly claim this before all we better be prepared to give proof of this when asked, no matter who is asking.
Conclusive proof that is.

Johan Smits

Kit LeBlanc
19th April 2001, 16:41

So what if you call yourself "master" of a combat art yet have never been in a real fight? Are you AUTHENTICALLY a master of a combat art? It could be argued that no, you're not....

In my opinion, the whole argument is not about "can we call Brazilian or European jujutsu jujutsu." As long as these folks acknowledge where their jujutsu is from, no problem. No one seems to have a problem with Judoka in all manner of countries using Japanese terminology and calling their stuff Judo even though no one in the dojo has been to Japan in several generations even.

It is when Japanese names/terminology are used, "costumes" worn, masters cited, and a slap dash history of Japanese "koryu" jujutsu is fabricated to lend the art MORE credibility for being Japanese than it would have if it were simply a non-Japanese self defense art that there is a problem of authenticity.

And how good they are on the mat means nothing. Some totally bogus schools have good technique. Some totally "authentic" schools no longer do.


johan smits
19th April 2001, 19:09
Hi Kit,

Maybe I got it wrong. But so what if you call yourself a soldier yet have never been in a war. Are you authentically a soldier? It could be argued that no,you're not...

I admit that there is a big difference between a combat proven soldier and one that has not been combat proven, but they are both soldiers.

Most civilians never see the kind of action soldiers or policemen or security personel have to deal with. No they have to deal with the kind of action in their civilian lives. This does not mean that they can't become masters in a "combat"art, real masters in a real combat art. They will not develop their art beyond a certain point, like others will or they will develop it in a different way. But I guess that is another discussion. What I meant to say was that there is already enough confusion as it is.
Given all the different influences jujutsu in Europe has been through I think it is a reasonable thing to question its authenticity.
But then that is my opinion and that is all it is.

Best Regards,

Johan Smits

Kit LeBlanc
19th April 2001, 21:51

I don't really see the soldier analogy as the same thing. A soldier is not necessarily skilled in warcraft. By definition a "combat arts expert" is supposed to be skilled at fighting, not just TRAINING for fighting.

I don't want to get the thread off track, but I disagree that one can be an expert of a "combat art" without fairly extensive "combat" experience. Just as one cannot refer to ones self as an expert at "medical arts" without every having treated anybody.

Certainly a body of knowledge can be LEARNED, but having learned something and having mastered it are two different things. Mastery in my opinion requires proven ability in the real world.


20th April 2001, 02:36
I think the soldier analogy is a good one for separating what I consider to be a problem. This is only MY opinion, but here goes:
I have no problem if you say you are a soldier. As was stated, that can be seen many ways. It is a generic term and doesn't mean any type of specific training or combat action.
But if you state I was on SEAL Team 6, then you've taken an entirely different stance. Firtst, to be a SEAL you have to go through one (and only one) school, pass, and then be placed on a team. If you didn't do this; if you didn't make it through the training, didn't meet the requirements or quit on your own, then you are not a SEAL. Do the SEAL people get ticked off when somebody claims to be a SEAL and they're not. Of course they do, they consider it fraud and run around trying to insure everyone knows the person is not actually a SEAL and never was one. If you said you were on SEAL Team 142 have you done the same thing. There isn't and never was (at least to my knowlege) a SEAL Team 142, so you could say that you weren't claiming to be something you're not because you just invented SEAL Team 142. But, by using the name SEAL to mislead others you should expect a back-lash.
Now let's look at the Koryu. It's one thing for someone so say they teach Japanese Sword Arts---but the minute they claim to teach a specific Ryu ---then they should be able to prove that affiliation. And, they should expect people who actually trained in that Ryu to be upset and try to expose them if their claims turn out to be false. To me (again this is me only) each ryu really is a trademark, they should be used only by those authorized to use them. You can't say you're selling Ford Cars if they aren't Ford cars, and if you do, you should expect trouble.
I don't think anyone should get upset with someone who acknowleges they are teaching something they made up. It's their creation good or bad, so be it. But, when someone claims to teach a specific style, they should be able to prove it, and I'm sorry to say after reading and re-reading these arguments over and over, they should expect others to call them on it.

Richard Brown

johan smits
20th April 2001, 06:37
Hi guys,

Thanks for your posts, good points! Maybe I tend to theorize this thing a bit too much.
I used the term master because I compare a fighting art mostly with crafts. As soon as you get the paper, same with an academic degree, you can call yourself a master.
Everybody does.

"Mastery in my opinion requires proven ability in the real world".

I like this and think Kit has a point and (forgetting theorizing for a minute) I guess I share this point of view. It is an honest one.

Best Regards,

Johan Smits

Roger Conant
20th April 2001, 15:32
Excellent analogy with the Jomon pottery. I'm not surprised you haven't recieved a direct response to the question you asked.
This goes to the heart of the chicanery. It would be uncomfortable to many to confront it and answer honestly. The best I expected was for them to suggest putting your fake Jomon out with the real stuff and letting people make up their own minds about which they want. Which conveniently overlooks the fact that you would be trying to obscure the fakery of your product. If, as has been said before, they would be honest about the history of what they're presenting and then let people make up their minds, that would be fine. But they're deliberately deceptive about it. Your question made that obvious.
As usual, looks as though they will keep an embarrassed silence, hoping that the thread will wander as it appears to be.

johan smits
20th April 2001, 20:32
Hi Paul,

I guess it all depends on what you tell when you sell.

Best Regards,

Johan Smits

Paul Steadman
22nd April 2001, 11:03
Hi Johan, Roger, everyone,

On the one hand, I could tell prospective customers that I have studied the history (+ archaeology) of the Jomon and Yayoi cultures via books, videos and seminars and I have modelled my pottery peices on historical samples. I could inform my potential customers that I'm not from a long line of Japanese potters, that most of my work is based on experimentation and copying of museum pieces. My pots are functional, robust and can be used or just displayed.

Or I could tell prospective customers that I learned classical/traditional ceramic skills from an old Japanese Grandmaster that was stranded on a beach in Queensland (Australia) while he was fishing. In thanking me for assisting him he taught me 50+ years of Japanese pottery in 12 months and initiated me into the hiden and okuden of his ceramic tradition, foresaking his closest students and assistants that have studied under him for 30+ years, and confirmed upon me the soke-ship of his tradition. All of my skill and knowledge extends back through an unbroken line of pottery masters, and that I'm the last and only Grandmaster of Yamato-den ceramics as the last Grandmaster didn't have anyone to pass the soke-ship onto (or I cold humbly explain that I out performed all of the other senior Japanese potters who've been studying under the Grandmaster for 30+ years...ain't I the greatest). I only use traditional materials in my work (ie: Japanese clay, Japanese wheels, Japanese tools and other rare and hard to find Japanese products and materials and medium etc) even though I live and operate out of Bourke, NSW in the Australian outback, a million miles form Japan (Oh, but I did go to Japan for a weekend to study the rare and traditional arts in the aka-chochin district of Kyoto).

Which story would make me the most money or bring me the most followers?


Paul Steadman

22nd April 2001, 17:02
Never one to muddy the waters (or clay as it were)

but.... may I present a hypothetical story about pottery.

Say I am Japanese and from a long line of Otsu pottery makers. My great grandfather sort of took pottery serious, my grandfather less serious, my father hardly at all. Lets say I became interested in my families past and found examples of my families past pottery & scrolls. I did my best to research what scant family methods of making Otsu pottery actually survived. I consulted with some other Otsu pottery makers, filled in the blanks myself and ..viola! I reformulated my families Otsu pottery tradition from other schools input, from our own scrolls and from my own wits, claiming an unbroken lineage going back 15 generations. Heck, why not? I've got the scrolls to prove it!

A mediocre European pottery maker and magazine publisher interested in learning a rare tradition of pottery approaches me wanting to be a student. After he developes a modicum of skills in this unbroken "15 generation old" Otsu pottery ryu, he goes public and proclaims his expertise and subsequently mine to the world. He sites his studies and training under my mastery as his source of authority on what is genuine and what is not.

Now, years later and back in Europe he aggressively attacks and marginalizes via his magazine another pottery maker and her ryu as less "legitament" than his - although they make some damn good pottery. In truth many of the secrets of this other ryu were passed directly to the daughter of a European businessman who became fascinated with pottery while living in Japan in the middle of the century. Although only interested in pottery as a serious hobby instead of a profession she is initially unwilling to present private personal letters from her teacher to justuify her claims. She is eventually branded as a phoney by the"expert" in his magazine. The fact that her examples of pottery are in fact superior examples of Otsu pottery compared to his and that this is agreed upon by other experts doesn't convince the skeptical expert/publisher. After intense scrutiny subtle evidence of modern materials within her pottery finally"prove" to his mind that she is a phoney. This self appointed expert is now positive that he is the "The Real Deal" and that she is not.

After endless harrassment she finally presents incontrovertible evidence of her claim with passports, photos and the letters from her teacher. She openly admits to changing certain elements of the traditional formula which in her opinion have improved on the one passed to her. Now her legitamacy is not attacked by the self appointed expert but her audacity to change the classsical formula in the ryu is condemned. In disgust she quietly fades into a reclusive environment but continues to teach a small group of dedicated students who are undistracted by the controversy and who produce some damn excellent Otsu pottery.

So who is the more legitament? Who does the public think is more legitament? hummm...


In a personal discussion with Ellis Amdur at his home a couple of weeks ago we lightly touched upon this phenomonon because we have both been accused of being "koryu kops" ( I don't claim Shindo Yoshin ryu to be koryu, BTW ). I understand the ire raised by those who trained under a traditionally authorized sensei only to see a phoney open up shop down the street, fraudulently parading their wares to an ignorant public. But I also know for a fact that variations on the above hypothetical story above have genuinely occurred in the west on a couple of "rare" ocassions.

The question of legitamacy is a complicated one both for the layman and the "expert" . I suggest we all tread lightly.


johan smits
22nd April 2001, 17:37
Hi Paul,

The first story would make you an honest man, so the choice is easy.
When I started training I thought the world of my teacher, later I trained under whomever was willing to teach me.
After that I thought good teachers were very hard to find. Later when teaching I thouhgt serious students were very hard to find.
All I care for now is that my teachers are honest and decent people and I will not teach people I do not like.

O Yes, no money, about nine students, seven train regularly, five of them pay.
Call me stupid, but I am happy.

Best Regards,

Johan Smits

johan smits
22nd April 2001, 17:46
Hi all,

just one little thing. How about the responsability of the prospective student. As I said before, honesty is (I think) most important in a teacher.
I guess it is the students job to find a good, true teacher. When you ask me that is more easy than let's say 25 yearrs ago because there is more and better information availabel.

Best Regards,

Johan Smits

22nd April 2001, 17:52
Sorry - double post

Dave Lowry
23rd April 2001, 01:01
Mr. Threadgill,
Your theoretical example is interesting and certainly worth a separate discussion. There are several examples of Westerners revivifying Japanese arts, or reanimating those that have become quiescent or attenuated. There are examples of Westerners who have arguably surpassed the Japanese in these arts. Clifton Karhu, for instance, the extraordinary woodblock artist in Kyoto, produces works that rival any modern or even historical Japanese woodblock artist. His works sell for enormous sums to Japanese and all over the world. A couple of qualifications, however, should be kept in mind.
a) in these cases, the Westerners have not made unsubstantiated claims linking themselves in a formal lineage to a ryu with an historically verifiable past.
b) these Westerners have been content to have their works judged entirely on the works themselves and not on claims of formal connexions with past artistic traditions that cannot be authenticated. On the contrary, they are entirely forthcoming about their own history in the art, their teachers, and their roots.

The theoretical Mr. Steadman has placed before us, though, is different substantially from yours and please let’s return to it. If his potter is indeed producing better Jomon style pots than the originals, he should be acclaimed—and probably would be. If, whether the pots are better than the originals or not, he is selling them as such, selling them as originals, then he is a crook and a humbug. Some buyers will be content to have modern versions; others will want only historical examples. They have the right to make this decision, one that should not be rendered more difficult by dishonest or deceptive advertising by the potter.

Despite raucous protests of the threat of “budo cops” who demand all must conform to their views of the world, I doubt there are any examples of critics who would disparage the “self-made master” so long as the master was honest about who did the construction. If you wanted to say “This is something I made up; here were my inspirations;” that’s fine. It can be judged entirely on its own merits. Say, on the other hand, you inherited this art from some lineage, that it has a history in Japan, and that it should be afforded the same respect as legitimate arts because of that, and it seems hardly unreasonable to expect a protest when you can’t or don’t come forward with the proof.

I’m not indicting you, Mr. Threadgill; I’m sure you understand this. What’s so perplexing is that so many others apparently do not. Sure, as you observe, there are some grey areas in the passing down of traditions. Those providing fascinating debates and studies and inquiries and this is a perfect forum to pursue those. There are also clear and beaming frauds, mountebanks, and mendacious thimbleriggers and there’s nothing unreasonable about saying so.


23rd April 2001, 03:56
Hi Dave,

I understand and agree with you absolutely. I am just as mystified as you are at those who pretend to have learned some unknown koryu from some unnamed "master"..... and this in every bagel shop from Harlem to Highland Park. It does get comical doesn't it......and I know you weren't indicting me.

I agree that we should not take the word of anyone without proof of their claims but you and I both know of some who were accused of being phonies who have in fact later been found to be legit. Sometimes doubts about these individuals legitimacy persist even years after proof of the accurate nature of their claim is presented. That is why I suggest that those in positions to comment on the veracity of others initially do so with caution. If specific claims are found wanting after thorough investigation then this forum is as good a place as any to present these findings.

I appreciate your presence here on e-budo and always find your posts valuable and enlightening. Thanks for your engaging commentary. I look forward to meeting you in the future.

Toby Threadgill

Ellis Amdur
24th April 2001, 01:15
I'm going to make a tangential leap here, back to the original subject. Given a number of people whom I respect posting on this thread, I've been thinking about it awhile.

I have seen many demonstrations in Japan where eminent teachers knowingly participated with people they regarded as frauds. I've sat in the wings waiting our turn, and had my instructor(s) or seniors say, "look at that nonsense." On one occasion, a teacher pointed out a group (rather well known, and recently better accepted, due to inertia rather than newly discovered information, I believe) and said, "They had X -san (a well known non-Japanese practitioner) for a number of years. He seemed so dedicated, and I used to feel sorry for him. He'd come all this way to train with a fraud. Then, I figured, he has seen everybody else at demonstrations like this, he's visited other schools, and he stays with Chankonabe-ryu. I guess he found what he needs. Not any of my business anyway, is it?"

In recollection, I believe that most of the teachers I was acquainted with rejected venues, not people they would be alongside. They'd demonstrate if they liked, or felt an obligation of some kind to the place or organization. I certainly do not recall any time that a teacher said, "I'm not demonstrating because Toronigiri-Ryu is going to be there." Or, to the venue organization, "do you know that they are fakes? They shouldn't be on the same venue." I'm not saying it didn't happen. I was simply not aware of it.

I recall Otsubo Sensei of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu stopping in the middle of a demo at a shrine, i and walking his group off because there were people eating. I also recall Tanemura Sensei of the Genbukan demonstrating for the Japan Martial Arts Society (an organization for non-Japanese studying martial arts). There were two people sitting leaning up against a wall with legs outstretched. He verbally blasted them and said that if people's deportment wasn't better, he was leaving. In the former example, Otsubo was outraged that the setting, a jinga and the demonstration (a honno embu-offering to the god) wasn't being treated respectfully. In the latter, Tanemura, who was offering the best he had as a gift, was outraged he wasn't being treated respectfully.

I don't demonstrate very often. But my main consideration is that I want to be presenting something I value to the organization and the people watching. Therefore, (just a personal reaction here), I would find myself, in imagination at least, hesitant to demo at a sword show/selling exhibition. In my mind, that is not an environment that I would want to be presenting - and that would, for me, far outweigh my stagemates.

As for the ongoing question of legitimacy, I care, but not nearly so much as many. I deeply love my ryu, and am very happy that there are other ryu surviving. But I don't love Koryu, per se, as some of my friends do.

I have demonstated alongside people/organizations of whom members of this board have frothed at the mouth. And my perspective is this. Some of what I see "them" do is silly, laughable, irritating, boring, and sometimes, some is intriguing or even pretty good. Sometimes I can't even bear to look (sort of like watching an early Woody Allen movie). But what they do is their business, and my opinion is mine. At some point, I will eventually demonstrate with my group. And I figure that anyone I'd like to meet will see immediately the qualitative difference. My attitude is that those who don't see aren't interesting to me. {BTW, I made be absolutely wrongheaded in this - no one has to accept my definition of things. One might look at what we do and say, "that's nonsense. If that's authentic, please send me vanilla." Or, "That's fake. What we do is real." My response is "great - we've both succeeded in sorting out our social calendar."}


Ellis Amdur

carl mcclafferty
24th April 2001, 11:03

Nice reply. I don't care what art someone else cares to demo. But I do reserve the right to discuss history/lineage of an art I'm studying, Koryu or Gendai. I try to do it, one on one, in private.

Unlike Japan the only places to demonstrate in the States where people are interested in swordsmanship is at a sword show or taikai. The Taikai scene in the States just improved this year thanks to Bob Elder and one other (which I believe is by invitation only). So we do the best we can, which for me probably means the San Antonio Sword Show and Bob Elder's Taikai each year.

I also do demos at two or so charity karate tournaments each year to help raise money for sick kids, silly American that I am.

Carl McClafferty

Jerry Johnson
24th April 2001, 14:27
I shouldn't be posting here, but I have been really caught up with this thread and seeing everyone's point until Mr. Ellis's point. It deeply disturbed me because he is on the money. His post is the best I read. If you really think about it. You koryu guys love your swords, but if you really love your art people with gray area backgrounds won't matter soo much. I think our "Americian problem" is we ar obsesed with being on the top, the only #1 around, and our ego's are huge, and intolerant. We are excessivly competetive, and often live in glass houses ( no insult our directed to anyone) which is risky if you throw stones. WWe also have grandure and power issues. America is big and powerful, and one of the best country in the world with so much resourses, hence we think the same and don't take critizim well.

Now before anyone blows a button off their shirt. What I am saying is this applies to both sides of this issues, to those who are questionable and those not. It's part and parcle. The more you have people announcing who and what they are as legit experts or in the "know" the more you have people making questionble claims. Why, because people think being on top in the limelight is desirable and rewards abound for being #1 to do that we squash the competetion and enjoy the monopoly of fame. That is our culture. Now, Ellis, tells us how to avoid and reduce questionable people. Now it is up to us to listen. I think it may be a much more effective way then what has been happening lately. But then again debate is engrained into our culture. It may be very difficult for some to hear that the best way to avoid people not legit is just let them exist and allow the audience to determine what is quality and what isn't.

Eric Baluja
24th April 2001, 16:25
Dear Sirs,

What about those victimized by these frauds, the folks who waste (e.g.) 5 or more years of their lives learning something that is of questionable historical and combat legitimacy? What if they don't know any better and haven't the means to find out? It's not like there's an enbu every season over here in the U.S. and, if the fiction has been crafted with enough care, videos will be of little help.

Do "the bad students go to the bad teachers," as some people I know believe?

Just asking, I have no answers!

Eric Baluja

Jerry Johnson
24th April 2001, 20:18
OOPS Double Post

Jerry Johnson
24th April 2001, 20:25
Originally posted by Eric Baluja
Dear Sirs,

What about those victimized by these frauds, the folks who waste (e.g.) 5 or more years of their lives learning something that is of questionable historical and combat legitimacy? What if they don't know any better and haven't the means to find out? It's not like there's an enbu every season over here in the U.S. and, if the fiction has been crafted with enough care, videos will be of little help.

Do "the bad students go to the bad teachers," as some people I know believe?

Just asking, I have no answers!

Eric Baluja

If I am qualified in anything this is it, and it is something I am not popular for. Allot of people have written me off because I am not koryu or some kind of a budo star. Why because I started out with "fraud" as you defined it. I am qualified because I started out with a so called fraud. Unlike those who aren't qualified and started with so called legit and koryu instructors. I spent over 5 years learning junk as it has been told to me. I started my own strip mall dojo for a short time. Without knowing that what I learned and taught was "fraudulent." Now did this hurt me. No. My ego, yes. Did I learn to defend myself, yes. I proved it on the street. It doesn't take fancy moves to do the average criminal in. Did I learn all the proper moves, fancy lingo, etc that comes with a legit or koryu, NO. did it make any difference in my skill, NO. What did make a difference me. My attitude. I worked hard at it and gained skill. Was I pointing my finger and lighting bolts shoot out of my finger. No. But, I was confident in what I could do. Was I taught incorrectly and dangerous moves possibly, but we are not talking about shooting a gun. I have seen so call legit arts and instructors do one thing and teach another because they don't want anyone one better then them. I have seen people seriously believe what they do is real and make it work and teach it exactly that way and have successful results. I have seen students of popular instructors that are thousands of years off base, because they naturally aren't martial artists. Yet they are teaching others. I have seen High rank poopa's be more concerned with politics and teaching that skill wise they are useless, and on the other hand I have seen low ranking nobodies with amazing skill. Sure there are people half-baked out in the martial arts, but they run along the whole spectrum. Must people over the age of 25 know a serious bull-$%^&er, it's the kids 25 and under that get wooed by the Mr. Hollywoods. But it is the sudtle and more sophisicated BSer that can be in legit Koryu or not that cultivate thier students ego in believing without about there is no one better. So when people ask me "what about the novice student" I say it doesn't really matter because only a few are talented, or endure long enough for it to matter. And that is why I really like Ellis comments.

I learn this a long time ago, I was mad I spent over 5 years with someone less then honest. That was up until the time I realized everyone was that way. And real martial arts i.e. Koryu and good teachers are as rare as a $5.00 bill. And the only way to change things is put 100% in your training and in time something is bound to take place. Either your practice and skill will out the bugs, and bad habits and you will have something you will enjoy or it won't. An if it doesn't you have no one to blame but yourself. There is no law in the universe that says incorrect can't be corrected over time with diligence and commitment. And its that true for all martial art's training.

Then the real question then boils down to personality, personal character and behavior is what makes the difference. To make the right choice on how to conduct yourself, when you find the truth. May it be in Koryu, or legit or not. Like a friend says to often, the weakness in martial arts isn't who is legit or not, but rather the inablity to keep the a**holes and politicians out. This is real issue for me, and not worrying out the novices learning a questionable art from an questionable instructor. But I will end with this, it is wrong to stay you studied judo or a branch of Aikido, or an instructor and then teach it to people which you never learned it at all. I am pointing toward a copyrights infringment type of thing.