It was with the success of Bruce Lee’s 60’s and 70’s high-flying action films that martial arts became immensely popular in the West as a form a combat sport and self-defense. It’s hardly surprising too, considering that learning to fight effectively appeals to the atavistic side of our nature: our need to be physically strong, dexterous and able to withstand attack from an opponent.
In response to the growing demand, numerous martial arts schools and academies started popping up all over the United States. Universities and secondary schools alike began offering martial arts classes as an after-school engagement or sport and more and more gyms struck up martial art-inspired workout classes. This surge of popularity began in the 1970’s but has continued to this day and it has seen the massive spread and proliferation of martial arts schools and classes across the country.
The martial arts - from Judo, Karate and Ninjutsu to Muay Thai, Jiu-jitsu or any other form of martial art – are not easy to master. It can take decades of dedicated practice and being pitted against extremely capable opponents to reach the advanced skill levels. The ranking system used by many different forms of martial arts is typically a colored belt with the most advanced skill level being designated by the black belt.
It became tempting, too tempting, for martial art “dojos” – practice or training studios – to make it easier for students to progress through the ranks. It provided students with great reward to know that they had moved up a degree or a belt and this prevented them from losing heart. With this reward came the determination to continue with lessons, and to continue being a patron of the dojo. This is where martial arts fraud became and still is such a major problem.
Martial Arts Fraud: Are You Really Learning Anything?
With the great number of fraudulent dojos around the United States – colloquially known as “McDojos” – more and more people are signing up for training in a form of martial art and yet they are no more useful in a real life combat situation than they were before they started. Sure, they may become fitter, their bodies might become harder and more toned, but at the core of any martial art form is learning how to unify body and mind: how to develop keen senses and instincts and how to apply these to a genuine fight situation.
Most dangerous of all are the number of children earning so-called “black belts” at these McDojos. In reality, these kids are no more equipped than their uneducated peers in a real life context involving danger. In fact, they may be more at risk since they have been imbued with a false sense of confidence. These kids may launch themselves into dangerous situations believing themselves to be skilled enough to handle an opponent who is twice their age, height and weight; perhaps even an adult. The reality is, however, their skills are perfunctory to say the least.
Learning martial arts at a school or from an instructor who does not have the necessary qualifications and accreditation is a real waste of money because you are probably not learning any valuable real life skills. And that belt you’re wearing may as well be a dyed scarf for all it says about your true level of achievement. Sure, you can pull off some moves and you’ve learned a number of choreographed fights, but these moves won’t service you in real life contexts, which are dangerous and completely unpredictable.
Detecting Martial Arts Fraud: Bullshido.net
If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the latest list of martial arts fraud or read about the biggest martial arts frauds to have gone down in recent history, check out the website http://www.bullshido.net/. They provide reviews of martial arts schools, academies and classes around the United States, helping inexperienced and naïve students choose training classes that will actually train them. You can also help to weed out martial arts fraud if you’ve ever had any bad experiences by contact them and telling them your story.
Links of Interest
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