Monday, November 17, 2008

"Grandmaster," My Fat, Pale Tuckus

Every so often I make the mistake of following the link back to the Google search that lead to a hit on one of my old posts. This morning, I found a couple of search results that reminded me of something--something that many readers will no doubt find trivial--that has burned me up for a long time: people that will just make something up and sell it to the public as something it's not.

I'm speaking of martial arts here. In the Northeastern part of Oklahoma alone, I can think of at least three different instructors who either claim grossly inflated credentials to which they have no legitimate claim, or who have created their own "martial art" out of the techniques they've accumulated from various other instructors and what they've learned out of books and videotapes--but give the public the erroneous impression that those "martial arts" have a background extending beyond five years ago.

You would not believe the number of "jeet kune do grandmasters" whom neither Dan Inosanto nor Bruce Lee would recognize. You would not believe the number of "kenpo" systems created solely so the creator can declare himself a "grandmaster." You would not believe the number of "traditional" Japanese martial arts whose lineage can't be traced back past the current "grandmaster."

And yet all of these people will take money for instructing you.

Just beware when you're looking for martial arts instruction, willya? A surprising number of people will either mislead you or flat-out lie to you.

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