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.
In Point 1, it is claimed that I am "foolish enough to compare my fraudulent 'accomplishments' to some highly-regarded martial artists." It even breaks down four examples of the numerous examples I gave of martial artists who if judged by the "commonly accepted norms" of the martial arts community would all be considered frauds instead of the pioneers and legends they truly are. It is claimed that either my research about these individuals is faulty, or that I am simply lying. At some point, these people will learn that I don't lie... But here we go (picture of Kano omitted from the screenshot for spacing purposes):
Still in "Point 1" they move on to Miyagi Chojun who I claimed had "twenty years of prior training before opening his dojo, teaching what would later be known as Goju Ryu, at age 29." They don't dispute this, but rather snipe at me with the following:
In "Point 2," it is asked what makes my art unique from other legitimate martial arts. While the best answer to such a question would be "work out with us and see for yourself," the article "What is San Budo Sogo Bugei?," will have to suffice. Moving on to "Point 3."
And my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training was more than "just a couple of weekend seminars." Gregg Thompson of Gracie Barra Orlando began teaching a full-time program at Chad Love's school a year before I left, and as an employee of the school and dedicated student I was at every single class taught by Gregg. So while Chad decided to minimize the amount of instruction I received on the 2008 Bullshido thread people like to throw around at me, it was certainly more than "just a couple of weekend seminars." Why did Chad try to discredit me? I'm sure it had nothing to do with me opening a school around the corner from him... But that is ancient history.
Did I claim things in 2008 that I had no business to? Yes. That is not something I have denied, though I will assert that if we could all be crucified for our actions as a teenager then none of us would be clean. San Budo was created in 2007, though I will fully concede that back then, I was not truly the creator of anything although I claimed to be. In 2012, I traveled to Ohio to meet Hatfield sensei for the first time and take a physical exam in front of a board for the right to call myself a founder. After what can only be described as the most grueling experience of my life, I walked away with a temporary certificate and the instruction to continue my education to actually develop something. Over the next several years, the art I taught evolved alongside my personal experiences and began to take on an identity of itself. San Budo Sogo Bugei is not a mix of other arts, but rather an expression of my personal philosophies, beliefs and training methods. After all, that's what any style is at its core. There's only so many ways to cause physical damage to another human being, so what separates styles from each other are the principles behind them.
Now, not present in the article referenced above but nonetheless have become commonplace are a few pieces of misinformation, though I will admit it's not entirely their fault. In addition to the resume I claim here, a fake profile by the name of Budo Bob Davidson states the following:
As for the International Association of Martial Arts Founders, it appears they were one of countless fly-by-night online martial arts organizations. While I did claim them in 2008, they were discarded in mid-2010 along with my WBBB placemats. Both should be stricken from the record immediately as I haven't associated with them in over a decade!
My 4th Dan in the US Taekwondo Grandmasters Society, as well as my 7th Dan in Aiki Budo from the Kokusai Nihon Bugei Rengokai, are organizational recognitions, not earned ranks. That is why I do not claim them on my resume.
It is not uncommon for martial arts organizations to issue recognitions of their member's ranks. Some large, multi-style organizations issue these certifications in generic divisions, such as Karatedo, Jujutsu, Aiki Budo, etc., instead of in the specific style/ryuha. The most prominent organization to do so is the Kokusai Budoin, founded in Japan in 1952 with the mission of carrying on the purpose of the old Dai Nippon Butokukai, which was the standardization and regulation of martial arts in Japan. This practice of adopting generic divisions is currently used by numerous organizations, including the up and coming All Japan Budo Association (which is really based in Serbia, though they do have a Japanese "honorary chairman") and of course, the Kokusai Nihon Bugei Rengokai.
More on this situation in Part 2...