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.
First, let me say that simply having a criminal record is not a reflection of your character but more importantly in this context, it doesn't take away from your skills and knowledge as a martial artist. Everyone makes mistakes and bad decisions in their life, some of which have serious consequences, but I am not so deluded and self-righteous that I can't bother to be seen with someone just because they have a record. If they have something of value to offer, I am eager to listen and train with them. There are too many variables surrounding the circumstances of one's situation and without having the fully story, I refuse to rush to judgement. Even though we at the US Association of Martial Arts require background checks for our members, the mere existence of a record does not preclude one from membership and instead we strive to find out the circumstances of the conviction to determine one's eligibility. One could even argue that the best teacher for understanding how to survive real-world violence is in fact a reformed criminal, and after all, that is what martial arts are truly for - survival.
Now, the claim is that because of the timeframe of Sirbaugh's incarceration, it is impossible that he was able to develop American Jidokwan when and how we have publicized. He was in an Oklahoma state prison from 1988 to 1991, and an Arizona prison from 1992-95, and again from 1997-1999. Therefore, they believe this contradicts him living in California and subsequently meeting Hatfield sensei's mother and Hasaka Yutashi as we have claimed because he would've been on parole and therefore unable to legally leave the state. The keyword there is "legally." Just because something is a violation of parole does not mean it was not done.
What's important to note is that the article focuses on this period of his incarceration and not the actual timeframes of when I stated he was involved with Jidokwan and later connected to Hatfield sensei and his family. Sirbaugh began his training sometime around 1968 while living in Ohio with his parents (they even confirm his father died in Ohio in 1971) prior to his enlistment in the Army, and they make the assumption that upon his discharge he moved to Pennsylvania when there is nothing to support that. Having spoken to Hatfield sensei, other members of the Ohio Jidokwan community and Sirbaugh's widow (Hatfield sensei's mother), I have no reason to doubt that he in fact returned to Ohio in 1973 where he would continue his training for at least a few years (though he did have family in Pennsylvania so travel would be frequent).
Lastly, the article states that during the time of his incarceration, martial arts training wouldn't have been allowed and therefore he couldn't have developed anything during his time there. I probably should point out that Tomiki Kenji developed the basis of his Shodokan Aikido while in prison, and that unless you were there it's impossible to say Sirbaugh wasn't training or working on future endeavors. If anything, time in prison would certainly hone one's fighting abilities and combative efficiency.
Was William Sirbaugh a perfect human being? No. He made a lot of mistakes in his lifetime and served his time for doing so. None of that takes away from his experiences as a martial artist or his ability to pass on information to Hatfield sensei. One does not need to teach commercially or have a large student base to create an art. Many of the classical styles we revere began as family or clan based systems handed down from father to son, and Sirbaugh's American Jidokwan Taekwondo (and Combat Hanki, later renamed Mi Guk Yusinkwan Hanki Yusul, click here) is no different. The question did come up about him even being qualified to create his own system, with such a sporadic training history. My only response to that is there have been countless individuals with even minimal training who branch off and do their own thing, which through the test of time come to establish themselves as legitimate arts. For a partial list of young founders/masters or those with what we would consider absurdly short training histories, click here.
Both he and I have received master level ranking from Korea, and we continually register our students with the World Taekwondo Jidokwan Federation (click here) as official representatives. We are 100% legitimate Jidokwan, and this is indisputable.
The next downward step on the decency ladder was when BSMA shared personal information regarding one of my students, including contact information for her husband and the fact that she has 2 small children, because when Dale Dugas popped in unannounced he saw that we were not in class and I was in fact casually talking with her and my sister (who was in the next room at the exact moment Dale walked in). Members of BSMA have since continually harassed her and her family, causing unnecessary tension in her personal life and putting her on blast.
In my last article, I stated that because my dojo. Trio Martial Arts Academy, is exclusive to teens and adults (with no current students under the age of 21), we do things differently than a commercial school that caters to children. This includes sitting around having the occasional drink, and as grown adults there is no need to justify ourselves for doing so. Whether or not someone agrees with it does not give them the right to harass my students and their families over it or publicize their personal information. Aside from just being a scumbag move to do so, it flies directly in contradiction of their own rules:
I'd also point out that there is just as much information publicly available about the identity of Hasaka sensei as there is about any of these fake trolls, so if they'd like to publicize who they really are I might consider doing the same. There have been a couple of pictures of them wearing masks or covering their faces with emojis, so as a measure of good faith I will oblige in the same manner. I'll even go a step farther and say that he's in this group picture outside of Horikawa Kodo's dojo from the late 1970s.
That being said, I have yet to ever have a potential student ask me about my rank or lineage. I can even count on one hand the amount of times I've been asked about the style we teach. The only questions I really get asked are about the cost and schedule of classes. The average student looking to begin martial arts has only one thing in mind, "What can you do for me?"
At the end of the day, I know who I am, what I have and where I come from. Those who respect me will not be swayed by the slanderous allegations and sloppily thrown together "depositions" by people that have never met or been affiliated with me, and those who would rush to judgement without seeking me out for more information and to experience what I do firsthand are people I don't need in my life anyway.