One thing we have been clear about is that we are not the only ones with a claim to the "American Jidokwan" name. To date, I know of at least 6 different schools or organizations that use the name, some of which have no connection to the rest. These groups are:
- Ernest Lieb, American Jidokwan 1965 (Switched the name to American Karate Systems 1973)
- Robert Moore/Curtis Herrington, American Jidokwan 1968 (Used interchangeably with Ohio Jidokwan)
- Ernest Al Fuzy, American Jidokwan Karate 1995
- William Sirbaugh, American Jidokwan Taekwondo 1995
- Thomas Henzey, American Jidokwan Federation (date unknown)
- Herb McGuire, American Jidokwan Martial Arts (date unknown)
Now recently, some of Fuzy's students have come forward saying that we have no claim to the American Jidokwan name. They've said various things about our history, such as having never heard of William Sirbaugh and that he was never part of the development of American Jidokwan. One of which even claims to be the successor of Fuzy's lineage.
I'll start by saying that a handful of people "never hearing about" someone is hardly indicative of historical fact. There are many people training in various arts that I am involved in that I've never met or heard of, but that doesn't mean they don't exist or are not legitimate in their positions. Depending on the timeframe they studied with Fuzy, it's entirely possible they never would've run across Sirbaugh. From late 1970-1973 he was serving in the Army, during the mid-to-late 1980s he was in the Marines, and around 1992 he moved to California. Sirbaugh was also never a student at Fuzy's school, so why would any student remember him training alongside them under Fuzy? Basically they're saying that because Sirbaugh chose to enlist not once but twice to serve his country, and wasn't conveniently around when they were, that he never existed. The simple truth is that William Sirbaugh was Jidokwan long before they ever stepped foot in a dojo and we are the bearers of his legacy.
Of course, there are people who did know him. In a previous article, I referenced an interview I did with Charles "Buddy" Brown who began his training under Tom Benich, Jidokwan student of Curtis Herrington, and later earned his 7th Dan from Fuzy. Benich made it a point to introduce William Sirbaugh among the various Jidokwan students at an event in the early '70s, so much so that Brown remembers the occasion over 40 years later.
Let me be clear. I am not suggesting Fuzy's students are liars, just that they have incomplete information (as we all do). While they may have started with Fuzy in the 1970s and 1980s, by the time they were high enough rank to be involved in organizational matters Sirbaugh was either overseas with the military or living in California. Fuzy did leave a detailed essay on the history of his American Jidokwan, but in it he even admits it is incomplete and that he left out some of his other instructors due to his loyalty to Herrington (reference page 31 where he says "Yes I trained and learned other arts with other people..."). Therefore, him leaving out Sirbaugh as a fellow Jidokwan peer in favor of emphasizing his instructor is not an uncommon thing in the martial arts, even if those peers influenced your development greatly.
Why Fuzy's people haven't also attacked the other American Jidokwan lineages that have absolutely zero connection to Fuzy, Herrington or Moore is beyond me, and I would argue that this in fact legitimizes our claim. The truth is that they are most likely well-meaning practitioners dedicated to their teacher, being riled up and manipulated by the trolls of BSMA who already spend countless hours obsessing about us to further their agenda of smearing our reputation. You would think after nearly a dozen articles and 29 videos (and counting), they would grow tired of their failure to hurt us... Or maybe they've finally realized that articles and posts written by fake profiles really do mean nothing, because nothing is more ironic than calling someone fake while using a pseudonym, and they've finally found a few poster children to lead the charge. Then again, if we were truly insignificant or irrelevant in the martial arts community as they make us out to be, why are they focusing so much attention on us?
In all fairness, I really have no interest in going to war with the Fuzy clan. It is interesting to note that of all the American Jidokwan lineages listed above, they are the only ones with no connection to Korea and the real Jidokwan. Ernest Lieb, Robert Moore, Thomas Henzey and Herb McGuire all have/had official Jidokwan rank from Korea, as do I and Hatfield sensei... Not to mention that our American Jidokwan Association is the only lineage to have been designated an official branch by the Korean Headquarters. Say what you will, but that designation speaks volumes.
No matter what credentials we hold, they will always find a way to attempt to discredit them and so the best response from us is the continued success and growth we are enjoying. I welcome any and all students of Fuzy's American Ji Do Kwan Karate to contact me to discuss our shared history and love for Jidokwan. To everyone else, I suggest you pull up a chair. The American Jidokwan Association is here to stay.
In the interview, they go on to ask if Mr. Brown corroborated some of our claims about American Jidokwan history, which he says that he didn't corroborate anything. That is true, considering the version of the history they asked him if he corroborated is incorrect and not something I ever asked Mr. Brown to support. Why would I state that he corroborated incorrect or incomplete history? The most accurate information available on the history of our American Jidokwan Association can be found here.
In fact, I never asked Mr. Brown to corroborate anything. I asked him some very simple questions about William Sirbaugh and Jidokwan, shown on the screenshot below.