Author: Bret Gordon
Since this charade began, I have been the one primarily addressing the trolls. Of course, everything shared in response to the slanderous allegations has been a collaboration between Hatfield sensei and myself, but he really hasn't said much publicly. As I stated in my last article, it is my responsibility as his inheritor and representative to be the one on the forefront dealing with the nonsense and protecting the family. After some recent developments, Hatfield sensei decided to make this public statement that includes a brief history of our experience with the trolls of BSMA as well as the announcement that we have officially filed a defamation suit that I am excited to move forward with. Check it out!
Author: Bret Gordon
Watching the trolls of BSMA slither down their scum-filled slide of decency has become somewhat of a sport for me, and every day they cross new lines that leave me wondering what depths they will really go to. This article is in response to yet another (I think we're up to 35 total) written about us under one of their many fake names, as well as the latest video by Dale Dugas and the subsequent comments.
In their efforts to find any dirt on me, it appears they've contacted nearly every martial arts school in Clermont where I taught from 2007 to 2018 (I am now in a different county entirely). From referencing a 13-year-old feud with a former instructor of mine, who was upset that I opened up right around the corner from him although we've since shaken hands and moved on, to even throwing out that at one point after moving to a new location it took a few weeks to get the utilities sorted and we borrowed electricity from our neighbors, they really are grasping at straws as if any of that relates to my credentials or abilities.
One school owner's response, which they posted, was the apparent coup de grace of this article, although they apparently missed the part where it backs up things I've claimed in the past. Let's start there...
Author: Bret Gordon
I'm not sure whether to be amused or astounded at the lengths our favorite trolls will go to when they continually realize that their efforts to shut down myself and my teacher, Steven Hatfield, are largely futile. Recently, people from BSMA (using fake profiles of course) have begun contacting my students and sending them links to the slanderous articles written about me and my teacher. What's amusing is that they believe I haven't kept my students in the loop about what's happening, as well as provided them with the necessary information to disprove the accusations made by these trolls. They've seen the pictures of Hasaka Yutashi (the founder of American Yoshinkan, click here). They've seen my certificates and scrolls. They've visited other schools with me and have seen firsthand the quality of what we do. They even know the truth about Patrick Justice. To think that some faceless profile sending them a link to an article full of assumptions, half-truths and outright lies would sway them away from my school really is just ignorant. I've stated before that my dojo is not a business but a family built upon bonds stronger than my own blood relatives. The same is true for Hatfield sensei's school. Both of our groups are fully informed and loyal to the core.
As I have always maintained, just because something is not publicly available doesn't mean it doesn't exist... Just because you run your mouth doesn't mean you're entitled to see it. And frankly, the recent actions of these trolls do not make me more inclined to share anything else.
Author: Bret Gordon
In Part 1 (click here to read), I detailed and disproved more of the lies spread by BSMA about my background. I also publicly confirmed that I invited Dale Dugas to my school on Thursday, November 12th, at 7:30pm to settle our differences. It's this event I'll be focusing on for this article. The original invitation can be seen below:
For those unfamiliar with the original dispute between us, it is all documented here. This invitation is my last attempt to clear the air, and should he wish to engage in a friendly match, my mat is open to him. We are all martial artists and the only thing that truly matters is your ability to be martial, so if this is his intention I don't think anyone would refuse to get some rounds in. However, given BSMA's track record of manipulating facts and spinning situations to cast themselves in a positive light despite the truth, there are certain parameters I set in place. It is, after all, my school we are meeting at.
Author: Bret Gordon
It is truly amazing the lengths people will go to when they are consistently proven wrong. Despite revealing my entire resume and the verification necessary for every document that I claim in the article "What Is A Martial Arts Fraud?," my detractors continue to flood the internet with blog after blog of half-truths and outright lies for no reason other than their own enjoyment. It's not like any of them run schools, in my area or anywhere else, or are they affiliated with us in any way. Therefore, I have yet to figure out how anything I do is any of their business or affects them at all.
Some of these lies I will admit are rather amusing, like the assertion that I am now claiming a "black belt" in Muay Thai, even though I have no Muay Thai experience. When it comes to sparring, I've always preferred point fighting, but I do have some full contact kickboxing experience and was on a team led by Arnaldo Lugo that was supposed to go to Okinawa in 2011 to compete in kyokushin-style kumite though we never did raise the funds to actually go. Before anyone jumps the gun, I am not saying that I have trained or have rank in Kyokushinkai Karate, just that on this team we fought by kyokushin-style rules (bare knuckle, full contact) and were going to compete by them.
In addition to outright lies, the trolls at BSMA like to use half-truths and pseudo evidence to bolster their position, such as boasting about an email from the Yoshinkan Aikido Hombu that says they've never heard of Hasaka Yutashi, the founder of the American Yoshinkan Aiki Jujutsu. Of course, I never claimed he studied there or had official ranking in the art so why would they have any record of him? I bet the Aikikai, the Takumakai, the Wadokai and every other organization he never belonged to hasn't heard of him either. I did say that Yoshinkan Aikido is one of the influences of the art, but in actuality I would say it is more in spirit and inspiration than any long-term training. American Yoshinkan is definitely Daito Ryu derived, as my Daito Ryu friends continuously point out.
What prompted this article, actually, is a tall tale by a new comer to the BSMA echo chamber. You know, with as much as they talk about me and my instructor, I'm starting to think that BSMA really stands for "Bret and Steven's Martial Arts fan page." This article, claiming that I am posing as a victim, is so ridiculous I thought about not responding at all. But this is the internet, and no matter how blatantly obvious it is that something is fake, someone is bound to believe it.
Author: Bret Gordon
The cancel culture we see permeating the country right now, with corporations rushing to tell the world how "woke" they are while demanding the removal of anything deemed offensive, has infiltrated the martial arts. In the midst of COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the real pandemic that has been plaguing our community since the dawn of the internet: the Martial Arts Police. We are all too familiar with the self-righteous individuals who spend their days behind the keyboard telling others what they believe is right and wrong. While the garden variety troll can be found commenting on various videos with such intellectual analyses as "tHaT wOuLd NeVeR wOrK iN tHe StR33Tz," select individuals appoint themselves to a higher level of authority, imposing their will across the entirety of their echo chamber and violently harassing those who do not submit to their demands. Ironic, since most of their targets are those who promote themselves to a position they feel is unwarranted or unjustified...
The simple truth is that while there are some generally accepted norms, there is not a single universal standard regarding anything in the martial arts. The standards, rules and regulations are established by the founder/headmaster and/or governing body of the individual style that is being taught. Their word is law, and they are the only ones with the authority to impose any sort of regulation on the members of that system/organization. Many popular styles are no longer centralized, with numerous organizations imposing their own rules and regulations upon their members that may or may not align with other branches of the same art. This is why rank, title and license are absolutely meaningless outside of the context they were awarded in... And why it's so confusing to me that there are people who actually spend their time trying to regulate and condemn others that do not fit into the confines of their understanding that they otherwise have no affiliation to.
Author: Bret Gordon
I am unsure why I am continually surprised and appalled at the fact that BSMA and its echo chamber continues to manipulate information, twist words to fit their narrative and outright lie. This group of martial arts outcasts and self-righteous social justice warriors spend their days degrading others to compensate for their own shortcomings, but what else could be expected from people who claim to be 15th Dan and their supporters?
One troll that goes by the name "James Wimberley" even makes it seem like he has visited our school "undercover" a few weeks ago and regales the group with tall stories that anyone who has even remotely been to my school would know is false. No one that I am unfamiliar or already affiliated with has visited my school in over a year, period. But this just adds a cool twist to their story, right? Someone with "inside knowledge." He makes such wild assertions that I changed my belt three times throughout the duration of a single class to show off my colorful pieces of cloth, and that when questioned about Hasaka Yutashi (the founder of American Yoshinkan Aiki Jujutsu) I made excuses that I couldn't show the documents I claimed to have because I "don't keep them at the school." Of course, for anyone who has actually been in my school, they would clearly see the pictures of Hasaka sensei on the wall and the scrolls displayed in a shadow box, easily accessible for review (as seen in the image below).
Don Roley, Dale Dugas and the slew of trolls of BSMA have relentlessly tried to prove my instructor and I are martial arts frauds, and when that didn't work (because of articles like this), are now clinging to a situation surrounding a gentleman named Patrick Justice who was the former President of the American Jidokwan Association until 2017 when we found out he was a convicted sex offender and demanded he resign (more about this situation can be read here and here). They claim that because we simply severed ties and didn't drag him through the mud 13 years after his conviction, we somehow support heinous and vile acts such as child rape and pedophilia. One of my students joined BSMA, since both Steven Hatfield sensei and I are banned from the group and can't directly respond to these allegations, called them out on this fact saying that on the contrary, it shows we are merciful. Of course, the echo chamber of BSMA couldn't handle being challenged and started grilling my student, first trying to discredit his support by suggesting he is a fake profile (an assertion made by a user posting under a pseudonym ironically). But it gets better...
Author: Bret Gordon
The power of trolls comes from their anonymity. The moment their true identities are exposed is when they lose any sense of control they think they have over the situation. There are many reasons for the pseudonyms, all of which are designed to protect the troll. Some justify their fake names and lack of willingness to be seen by saying that their lives have been threatened in the past, to which I respond by saying maybe people would stop wanting to kill them if they minded their own business and stopped trying to ruin other peoples' lives? Some use fake names to avoid having to answer for their slander and libel. Regardless of why they do it, every troll has one thing in common: they are really good at hiding. Whether it's a single troll or an elaborate group of trolls sharing the same pseudonym and social media account to further conceal their identity, they all live in fear of being exposed for the cowards they are.
If anything has come from this past of year of trolling, I have gained a better understanding of just what the procedure is to file a lawsuit on someone running their mouth on the internet and the requirements/limitations for doing so. I have also learned that anyone who forwards you a video saying "you should sue this guy" also has no understanding of the process. For example, most trolls are in another time zone. To file a lawsuit, you must secure an attorney in their state... Something most don't have the time or money to do, and that's if you even know their real identity. It also comes down to what they're saying. No matter how many times they scream you are a fraud and your certificates are fake or invalid, there is nothing you can do about it. That is an opinion, apparently.
But every now and then, a troll makes a mistake. They say something truly defamatory and slanderous/libelous, and they reveal their identity through careless arrogance. This article will expose one such troll...
Author: Bret Gordon
For anyone who has been following the ongoing saga of internet drama stemming from the Facebook hate group BSMA against myself and my instructor, Steven Hatfield, what I'm about to write about will be of no shock to you. Those who aren't familiar with the situation should check out the following articles before continuing:
"Obsession Isn't Healthy, Boys" detailing the timeline of harassment from members of BSMA
"The Hypocrisy Of The Internet" detailing the events surrounding Dale Dugas and his faux challenge
Since the beginning of Dale's challenge, he has asserted that he was going to fight both myself and my instructor. I even offered him the opportunity to visit us both at the same time when Hatfield sensei was here (August 28th to September 4th). Now, after we went back and forth for awhile I then met Dale's demands to simply name a time and place instead of "pushing it back" three weeks until Hatfield sensei was here, because "a real man just fights and doesn't postpone," is what I kept hearing. Of course after naming such, Dale failed to show up not once but twice. I won't go into too much detail, as this has all been documented in the article above, but anyone with any measurable critical thinking ability could figure out that Dale had no intention of showing up and was simply blowing smoke as usual.
Just in case he was crazy enough to actually show up on a random night of the week, I then stated that if Dale (or anyone from BSMA) did not show up at an agreed upon time, he would be trespassing. This is simply because I run youth classes, and I don't think any reasonable adult believes any children should be exposed to this nonsense. This was on August 10th (the dates will become important shortly). Even still, he asserted he would see both me and Hatfield sensei "in three weeks" regardless of that statement about trespassing so it was clear he had no issue with it and would still grace us with his presence.
But then, something miraculous happened. He disappeared! Dale went from making videos nearly every day for over a week talking about how he was going to cripple both of us, right up until August 19th when he just stopped. He went silent without a trace of him on BSMA, and certainly no mention of seeing us soon. Maybe he was busy training, preparing himself for the 1970s no-holds-barred "open combat" kung fu death match we were about to engage in? Only one way to find out, right?
Author: Bret Gordon
Recently some information has been made public about a former member of the American Jidokwan Association, an organization I run alongside my instructor Steven Hatfield. Patrick Justice was a lifelong friend and student of Hatfield's in the art of American Jidokwan Taekwondo. In 2011 he was made President of the organization, a position he held until 2017. During this time, his involvement in the martial arts ranged between teaching adult students privately and being inactive at various periods. His position in the American Jidokwan Association was largely administrative and symbolic, as at the time Hatfield was not teaching Taekwondo and the other schools in the organization operated independently.
Customary for our organizations when accepting new members (especially in an administrative capacity) is to run a background check on them. Due to the friendship between Hatfield and Justice, this was never done on Justice. In late 2016 I became actively involved in the American Jidokwan Association on an organizational level, having been a member for several years, becoming the Florida State Representative as the organization began expanding outside of Ohio. In 2017, as Hatfield and I were sitting around discussing the organization's growth and other prospective members, the topic of Justice's background check came up and we realized one had never been done. What we found was shocking, to say the least.
In 2004, Patrick Justice was convicted of sexual battery and served three years in prison (view source). We immediately confronted him about this, giving him the option to either step down or be removed publicly. He was upfront about his record and chose to step down. He turned in his certifications and was dismissed from the American Jidokwan Association entirely. On October 3, 2017, I replaced him as President of the AJA which I hold to this day.
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