50 shades of foolshido

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by greg1075, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    Not all bad MA schools are obviously bad so it’s not always easy for a newbie to recognize a bad MA teacher/curriculum/school. Sometime it is more nuanced than “grand master knocks people out with chi but never spars with you and claims extraordinary rank and hard to-believe lineage”, ridiculous uniforms and high fees, a black belt guarantee after 18 months or any such signs that should immediately flash a big red warning sign in the newcomer's head.

    Sometimes, a bad program is harder to spot for the untrained eye. Sometime both the techniques and training method are terrible, sometimes it’s only one of the two. Sometime the school is an obvious scam but sometime they are well meaning people who truly think they are teaching valuable stuff and were themselves fooled when they started martial arts. In short, it’s not always black or white.

    I have come to the realization that my time in JJJ (which is actually not JJJ, but more on that later) was - not worthless as I DID learn some valuable things along the way - but riddled with unrealistic techniques and bad training methods. Without mentioning names (though some might remember the names from previous threads), I realized that the lineage and general claims made by the mother school’s founder were both chronologically suspicious, self-aggrandizing and sounded patently ridiculous. Though my instructor is a great friend and a very smart guy, he’s still inexplicably trapped in the matrix. To go full on Morpheus, I sometime try to show him the door (videos, articles), but he's the one who has to go through it. We're good friends outside of MA and I honestly don't have the heart to frankly tell him how I feel on the subject.

    Some techniques were pure foolshido and extraordinarily bad for self-defense purposes (to give the program credit, this is pointed out and students are taught to only use simple effective techniques if they’re ever caught in a SD situation) but even most of the “good” ones, well, weren't so good… And those "fringe" techniques might be harder to spot for someone with little to no experience. Sure, some of the techniques are sound and some might work depending on context but a lot are not adapted to the reality of fighting and by and large most of the curriculum would have very little efficacy (and includes knife defense, which is probably one the worst things for someone to think they “know” how to defend against) if push came to shove.

    The program/school is marketed as jujutsu but it’s not. It is, as often the case with foolshido, a random collection of techniques borrowed from various arts (judo throws and newaza, aikido, grappling, arnis, knife and gun defense...) and taught with a questionable degree of technical expertise.

    Re: training method: There’s katas. At the beginner level, there’s canned uke/nage routines (you throw a high punch, then I do A, B, C). I never liked that silliness and would always push for more realism. More sparring, more full protective suit chaos. Knife, no knife, stick, randori... How on earth do you know your stuff “works” if you never train it under pressure?? Answer: you don’t. This sort of became self-evident to me and I always pushed for realism. We did some but not nearly enough to my liking. I think this is when I slowly started losing interest.

    Now like I said it's not always black or white - which is really the point of this thread – so even though on the whole the technical content and training method were bad, it was not all wasted time and I did learn some valuable stuff from awareness, avoidance, de-escalation to more technical SD considerations. That said, I wish I’d seen the flaws of it earlier, but if my experience can help someone in a similar situation, then great. If you have any suspicion about your school, post on here and don't hesitate to ask the knowledgeable contributors of the forum like Hannibal, Fusen, David Harrison, Philosoraptor, JWT, PASmith among others. Don't let ego get in the way. Better to cut out your losses today and start good training tomorrow rather than persist learning stuff that might get you or someone you love hurt because you thought you knew how to handle yourself. Yeah, it sucks to hear and realize that what you've been training in and thought was great sucks, but it's for the best. Remember that your personal safety and well-being may depend on it. It's no trivial matter.

    I once heard that there’s 3 types of people: those who learn from other people’s mistakes, those who learn from their own and those who never learn. Let this be my contribution to the people who strive to belong to the first group :)
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  2. zombiekicker

    zombiekicker bagpuss

    I felt a lack of realism in 90% of ninjutsu I trained, black belts telling me not to kick him in the calf so hard, that was my start to find more realistic stuff
  3. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter


    Great post, btw.

    Problem is, many of those red flags are not evident right up front. All too often the student is trapped in a contract before he realises something is wrong. I dont think stubbornness is the reason why many stay in sham MA schools, rather they are stuck.
  4. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    i always laugh when i see peoples' philosophies crystallized by a bad sci-fi movie from the 90's. foolshido, indeed. more like: full-of-shido.
  5. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Ahem...I take exception to that, kind sir :)

    The Matrix was an excellent film that offered interesting analogous insights into many areas of life :hat:
  6. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Its been like this with me for over 4 decades in the martial arts. Imagine how much foolshido went on before the internet? That was my dilemma back then. After the internet, along with meeting others who have learned from their mistakes, I am more cautious and skeptic than ever before

    "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
    Albert Einstein

    "Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
    George Bernard Shaw

    “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
    Sophocles, Antigone

    "I didn't say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth. "

    Looks like You taken the red pill -
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  7. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award


    Dont take anything i say as truth, without confirming it was your own eyes/intellect etc - Fusen and also (maybe) the Buddha- (sic)

    It's actually a really old debate, I recently came across the above link, and find it a fascinating subject.

    We are all standing on the shoulders of giants, but how we learn their lessons the best, is always a matter of debate.
  8. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Reminds me of the Kalama Sutta
  9. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I kind of feel uncomfortable being listed as an authority or font of reason - my experience in martial arts is limited and although I have some modicum of skill I think that it's eclipsed by everyone else on the list.

    Still a white belt after like… 7 years of BJJ? I can reliably tap out blues and a few purples, but yeah, I mean, when you look at people who trained an equivalent amount of time I ain't nothing.
  10. qazaqwe

    qazaqwe Valued Member

    You are one of the more rational and scientifically minded people when it comes to calling people out who act like their training allows them to break the laws of physics, so it ain't exactly false.
  11. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank


    Where did you study "ninjutsu"?
  12. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I just don't want to misrepresent myself :3
  13. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    I always think putting why you train into perspective is a good idea.

    youre usually always better learning self defence separately from learning martial arts.

    learn martial arts all you want but you have to remember that most martial arts train is very abstracted from the real world. train for enjoyment, the experience of learning new skills or just to relieve stress but dont expect more.
  14. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I don't feel qualified to make any intelligent comments about a debate between Hannibal and JWT on self defense though, for example. Like, man, my expertise is really, really, really, really narrow and mostly is just saying "Hey you're full of it" to bad martial arts.
  15. qazaqwe

    qazaqwe Valued Member

    True, but when you are faced with someone making claims to the ridiculous, you are often the informed voice of calculated, rational and well researched reason, which, and no disrespect to a dude like Hannibal, guy knows his stuff forward and backward, has it's place here among the power hitters on the forum, as most of them don't suffer fools lightly, and will often begin and end such interactions by telling people "you are full of crap", you're an informative dude, don't doubt that.
  16. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Made today's crud factor pale in comparison

    Consider our educational resources we had then.

    Some that I recall as a kid...

    Funny thing; the last one - Fighters - I don't think the cover would be any different today.

    Some things never change.


    Nearly forgot Mrs. Peel - early television "MA" practitioner :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  17. qazaqwe

    qazaqwe Valued Member

    'Goldfinger said, "Have you ever heard of Karate? No? Well that man is one of the three in the world who have achieved the Black Belt in Karate. Karate is a branch of judo, but it is to judo what a Spandau is to a catapult'
  18. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    I'll have to re-watch Goldfinger, lol.

    Well that was back when a BB meant something, ya know. Kinda like a ... BJJ purple belt today, you see. [​IMG]
  19. qazaqwe

    qazaqwe Valued Member

    I just love the bit "karate is a branch of judo", sort of like saying wing chun is a branch of boxing, except even more ignorant.
  20. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    We laugh because its so obvious to us today but - when did Goldfinger come out - 1964? - the terms Karate and Judo were truly mysterious and exotic. Bruce Lee was still an Ed Parker student, IIRC. MA were barely on the fringes of the public consciousness.

    The film's screen writers probably only knew about the existence karate and judo and probably were told that they had some sort of common origin, which was more than most knew at the time, I'm certain (the terms Karate, Judo, etc) - remember we didn't have knowledge at our finger tips then as we do today.

    But ja, its hilarious to hear that now.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015

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