Oftentimes in life, we come across people who call themselves specialists in certain areas of work, i.e. professionals, scientists or, simply, owners of certain knowledge and skills. But, after a certain amount of time, we gradually come to see that they are so-called self-proclaimed experts with very poor general knowledge and, usually, with not enough experience and sometimes even with a fake diploma or a diploma that was falsely obtained.
Such situations can, unfortunately, be witnessed with martial arts masters. Such experts often praise themselves with their alleged knowledge, but when they are faced with a real professional master, their true lack of knowledge and incompetence comes to show. The problem lies mostly in their elementary ignorance, insufficient awareness about topics concerning martial arts, their poor and distorted way of performing certain martial arts techniques, insufficient acquaintance with scientific and expert literature, etc.
The worst among them are those masters who are arrogant and young, having acquired some knowledge or even a diploma, but do not have the real amount of experience. The only ones who are worse than them are those who fake or buy their diplomas, i.e. they cannot back up their existence with any real effort, years of work, a book they have read, etc. Those who have never actually passed a professional exam and no one has ever made a real evaluation of their work and skills. Fake diplomas are a simptom of a serious illness in today’s society, they are a reflection of a crisis in education as well as of all efforts to acquire it thanks to your own efforts and hard work. Those who have been given such fake diplomas and have obtained fake knowledge are, in reality, dilettantes, opposed to respectable martial arts teachers, masters, instructors or experts.
We need to ask ourselves: Who gave a diploma to such a person? How is it possible that someone allowed such a person to teach martial arts and didn’t notice his/her lack of knowledge and competence? Fake diplomas are a huge threat. Self-proclaimed and fake martial arts masters are an even bigger threat. Such persons are making big damage to martial arts and, thanks to their appearance, are destroying the reputation of other legitimate masters and professionals.
Parole,parole, parole – Parole, soltanto parole
Everyone knows that, if you wish to seek employment, you need to show your CV and credentials to your future employer. They will ask you about your education, professional diploma, i.e. if you have completed the necessary education for that position. If you meet their criteria, they will ask you about your former work experience. Then they will put you on probation in order to check if you have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge for the job.
This is the same process that should be applied when questioning the competencies of a martial arts master. Unfortunately, it isn’t so in most cases. When you ask some of them where and with which martial arts master have they learnt the necessary skills, you will always get similar answers. They will say that they learnt the techniques with one or two masters- instructors. They will usually mention some lesser known or entirely unknown martial arts instructors. This is where you start questioning their expertise.
Moreover, if you ask them if they have published any books- they haven’t. Have they perhaps published any scientific papers in journals? They haven’t. Have they ever competed at a martial arts tournament? They haven’t. Have they held any seminars, conferences, lectures, etc. They haven’t. This is when your doubts about their competence and martial arts knowledge are justified. Still, these so-called masters continue to assure you that they are knowledgeable and competent. They continue to talk about their titles, skills, expertise. All in all, they talk a lot, but they don’t have anything to cover the truthfulness of their words and stories.
If you wish to invite them to a sparing duel in order to check their skills (which is entirely normal among martial arts masters), you will always get the same answer. If you invite them to a sparing, they will complain that they are too old for that (although they are 40, 45, 50 or 55 years old). Also, they will tell you that they have injured themselves in training yesterday and they are not able to accept it. And that’s not all. They will oftentimes tell you that they need to have control over some very dangerous skills and techniques so it’s not a good idea to accept the sparing invitation for your own safety. They could easily injure you or even kill you if they are not careful. In other words, they are refusing the sparing “allegedly” for of your own safety because you are not on their level. So what can you say to that?
Such self-proclaimed masters often call themselves warriors, samurais, ninjas, shaolin monks, some ancient karate, kung fu, tae kwon do masters, etc. They give themselves all kinds of titles. They try to look dangerous and they constantly talk about being dressed in special clothes or about knowing special martial arts techniques. Still, if you ask them if and where they have gone through special or military training they won’t have an answer. If you ask them whether they have been in any wars, they will say that they haven’t. And still, they call themselves warriors or heroes. They call themselves “dangerous warriors”, but they won’t (because they can’t) go to sparing with young men that are 15, 16 or 17 years old because they would beat them up. So what can you say to such stories?
Words, words, words. Words, just words. This is all these so-called masters can and know. They can talk a lot, invent stories, fantasize, lie. Words are cheap, so anyone can talk. Don’t we live in a country where there is freedom of speech? Why are we surprised that such self-proclaimed master all that do is talk? Talking is easy and anyone can do it, but doing that what we are talking about is something else entirely. Words are just words, not actions. Real and truthful martial arts masters won’t talk much- they will show their actions right away. This is the basic difference between a real and knowledgeable martial arts master in comparison to a fake and self-proclaimed “alleged” master. What is he a master of, exactly?
You will sometimes read in certain martial arts magazines, on social media, on a seminar or in a conversation in one of the martial arts centers that such a self-proclaimed master is called a “fake” master. Telling or giving such names for this type of persons, saying that they are fake masters, impostors, liars or that they are unprofessional, cowards, etc. is not something that you will hear from real martial arts masters- experts. Why is that so? Every real master knows about the basic martial arts postulate and it is- respect. Because of this respect they do not want to make fun of, laugh at or insult anyone. And get this- these so-called masters know about that and use it to their own advantage. Respect! Respect needs to be earned.
In Europe, if you wish to say that someone is a fake master, unprofessional, coward or that he talks too much, boasts and doesn’t show any real actions, you would start to sing a well-known Italian ballad. It is a melody and lyrics that all European masters (as well as many other worldwide masters) know and understand- “Parole, parole, parole. Parole, soltanto parole.” Anyone can talk, but doing that what you are talking about is something that these persons can’t do. This is the basic difference between a real and self-proclaimed martial arts master.
World Champions and Fame
Today when you talk to athletes who compete is some of the many martial arts disciplines, you can’t but notice the fact that there is an extremely large number of world champions. There almost isn’t a slightly better athlete that wasn’t or isn’t a world champion is a martial arts discipline. As it is widely known, there is a huge number of martial arts disciplines across the world. Athletes are divided according to the martial arts discipline, weight categories, sex and age. So, they are competing in many different disciplines and, as we all know, there are numerous world federations that exist. There are several world organizations (federations) in some martial arts sports such as boxing, kick boxing, karate, tae kwon do, jiu jitsu, wrestling, etc.
This enormous number of different martial arts sports (according to their skills and different styles), as well as a large number of different disciplines consequently have produced a large number of world champions and winners. So, if an athlete cannot become a world champion in a certain federation, he just needs to change his weight category or discipline which he is competing in. If he still doesn’t become a world champion after that, he simply needs to go to another bigger or smaller world federation of a certain martial arts sport. If this doesn’t give him the wanted result, he just needs to gather a couple of like-minded individuals and form his own world federation, create a new discipline or category and he will become a world champion.
And this is exactly what is happening. A world championship between certain federation is not a rarity anymore. In certain disciplines or weight categories there are only 2 or 3 athletes-competitors. Athletes from those federations only need to wait to become world champions in a certain discipline or weight category. As much as it may sound funny, a world championship where only 2 or 3 athletes are competing is a reality. The winner is proclaimed as the world champion, he gets a diploma, lifts the trophy, his picture is being taken and he becomes the new world champion with all the honors the title gives. We can find this odd, we can laugh or complain, but we still can’t change the fact that this “athlete” has become one of many world champions.
Such “champions” teach other athletes that same martial art later on. Yes, that happens, too. Why? Because they are “world champions”. They have the title and certain honors just like some other athletes who earned those same results with hard work and dedication. Many athletes who competed in the most popular world federations fought against the most famous fighters or appeared in a discipline where they truly had to show their skills and knowledge and who earned that title fairly. They are astonished by such practices, but they cannot change them. Why? The majority of such avid persons who call themselves “athletes” and world champions can make themselves believe that they earned such titles. This is far easier that actually deserving those honors in a larger and better-known federation by fighting and competing with the best athletes in the world.
Such persons are, later on, hungry for attention, self-promotion and fame. So why wouldn’t they want that? After all, they are winners, world champions. All of their family members, friends and neighbors are proud of them. They have the support of other similar “athletes” of that certain sport as well as certain members of their sports center. They become famous and children from sports centers are in awe of them. Maybe you won’t believe it, but these fake champions even become future athletes’ role models. They are recommended and accepted into that sport’s Hall of Fame. You ask yourselves why. Well, just like famous athletes that are responsible for their martial arts’ development and promotion which they gained by becoming world champions. You can wonder about it, you can laugh or disapprove, but they will be accepted into the Hall of Fame.
Such persons want to become its members although they don’t belong there. Today, every martial arts sport has its own Hall of Fame. Every country, city, magazine, organization, even every larger town has its own Hall of Fame. If they don’t, they will try to form something similar to that. Human vanity is extremely big and many people wish to become famous just so they can boast themselves in from of others and show that they are somebody in the world of martial arts and sports. Sadly for them, they chose the wrong sport. In martial arts sports and disciplines hard work, order, discipline, bravery, boldness, skill and humbleness is appreciated. We all know what the term “bloody sport” means. And we certainly know who is the real martial arts winner. Who is the true world champion, and who isn’t.
Self-proclaimed martial arts masters are those who constantly talk about themselves, boast and make up all sorts of stories like they are trying to convince themselves. They wave at you with their recognitions, show diplomas that are beautifully designed, but that are not worth anything, they are just a piece of paper. They are simple fake diplomas (bought diplomas) or diplomas that aren’t earned truthfully. Their words, diplomas and titles are not worth anything- there is no real knowledge, skill, experience, advanced technique, dangerous knowledge or techniques. Nothing. Just a lot of talk, made up stories and mostly cowardice.
Winners that aren’t really that, world champions that gained their titles in an entirely inappropriate way at some weird and laughable world championships. Such world champions, realistically speaking, wouldn’t be able to make it to the top 10 best fighters in that sport. World champions that are waving with a weapon and performing some nonsensical katas, katas without the bunkai technique. World champions that are waving with a weapon and do not really know how to use it in self-defense. World champions that were the best at some ridiculous and oddly-organized world championship where a total of 2 or 3 athletes were planned to compete in a given category or discipline. Martial arts world champions that could easily be beaten up by a beginner, i.e. a person that never really practiced that martial art. And that is their reality, the truth. Their knowledge, skill and ability to defend themselves is at the lowest level.
We can marvel at that, laugh or complain, but we can’t change the fact that these self-proclaimed fake masters as well as fake “champions” exist among us in a community where people seriously practice martial arts. And as much as we wonder about that, you cannot change the fact that their number is increasing. Such persons are making a huge damage to martial arts and their appearance is destroying the reputation of other true masters and experts. And all of this would be really comical if it wasn’t tragic. So, when you come across such persons, the only thing you can do is sing “Words, words, words. Words, only words.”
Parole, parole, parole. Parole, soltanto parole.
Karate, Traditional martial arts, Master, Traditional arts
Black Belt Magazine
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