Roundtable Discussion 017: What is a “Fake”


There always seems to be controversy, not just on the campaign trail, but in the dojo. On the internet, it’s an epidemic. And although this is a subject that may get pushed under the rug by most, none-the-less, it is an important subject to tackle. So, consider this tackled.

[related article: Wretched Hive…]

What makes someone a “Fake” and another person “Legit?”

JOYCE:  Alright “McLovin”, organ donor from Hawaii.

So you’ve sold yourself as another.  Whatever it takes to get ahead right? We all need to make a living or it’s all for the greater good, right?

Well, we know in our heart-of-hearts that this isn’t so.

In our lives we have choices.  We choose who we are, we are not just “what we are.” I honestly think that many people have a problem with this.  Perhaps they made a choice to be a person that they aren’t, perhaps they padded their resumé, they misled someone or allowed another person to get the wrong idea.  Whatever it was, deep inside yourself they know it’s wrong.  Now maybe they’ve left that in the past and decided not to dwell on the poor, immature or wrong choice.  We are imperfect.  Many of us are improving.  Let’s cut some people some slack.

In the world of Martial Arts, the term “Fake” gets thrown around a lot.  Some people go right into fact-checking (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), however the quality of a martial artist can never be (and should never be) attributed to his or her bloodline, martial art lineage, or popularity – but rather by their dedication to the art and practice and the content of their character.

Recently, there have been many comments that (as website founder & moderator) I had to delete due to meanness and vulgarity.  Other comments, although very negatively directed to certain individuals, I’ve allowed to be posted.  People have the right to make up their own minds about people, and although here in West it is customary to have a certification, I don’t hold any of this mandatory.  I’ve seen plenty of martial artists who have learned from books and tapes.  I’ve seen others who have learned from someone else of no particular lineage and who has not garnished the least amount of fame.

Not all of the forum and YouTube “Haters” are bad.  I DO believe they could be doing something much more constructive with their time, however, I believe that some -not all- all genuinely trying to warn others.  But learning is a process and if the falseness of the teacher is not blatantly apparent, someone may make the mistake of learning “wrongly”.   On the other hand, blame and ridicule is a process also and as Morihei Ueshiba 植芝 盛平 said,

“As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weakens and defeats you.”

My opinion may seem to be too lenient or forgiving for some.  But this is just the truth of who I am.  Take it in and accept it, or leave it and move on.

KENNEDY:  To me a fake in this context is someone who claims to be someone.or something they are not.

If they make objective claims that can be objectively measured, then “fake” or “legitimate” can be determined.

If their claims are subjective, even if outlandish, they cannot be measured and are a matter of perception.

For me, the issue is integrity. Just tell the truth about who you are and where you came from – and let your skill do the real talking.

VAUGHN:  To me a “Fake” would be someone that passes himself off as being well knowledgeable in a certain discipline or field but doesn’t have the credentials to back it up (e.g., certificates of rank, instructor certification, military experience, etc.) Having said that though, I would like to add the stipulation that what ever training or certifications held must be current.

If you know for a fact that a particular martial artists or so called self defense expert is holding seminars promising to turn people into unstoppable forces of nature with the ability to protect themselves and their families, all while not having a shred or documentation or real world experience to back up his claims, then yes by all means call that person a fake. However, if you simply don’t like his style of self defense, method of application or particular way of teaching, then that seems to be more of an issue with yourself then with the person you are calling a fake.

Are we allowed to do disagree on which style or technique we think is the most effective? Yes, and I think we should, that’s part of what makes the martial arts/self defense fascinating for me, but do so in an open discussion and with an open mind. If you do feel the need to label someone a fake at least be willing to back it up with some “proof” before you just throw it out there for everyone to see. Even better, take your complaints directly to the person in question and give them a chance to defend themselves if they are “legit” or stammer and stutter if they are indeed a “fake”.

LEE:  When you speak about the Martial Arts, it is an Art, in order to understand what is fake & what is not fake in the realm of Art, you must have an understanding of what Art is. Art is creative self-expression. 2pac was an Artist, Bob Marley was an Artist, they create something original. If you copy them, you are a fake. If you are not original, you are a fake. If you follow any system in the Martial Art & you are not self-expressive, you are a fake. If you plagiarize, you are a fake.

If you develop your own from your inner heart, you are real. Being fake is any expression that is not your expression. There are very few that are real, that is why the real stand out from all the rest. In Art, being real has nothing to do with certifications. Vincent Van Gogh may have painted something original, somebody that creates a carbon copy of his painting, is a fake. There is fake jewelry & there is real jewelry, an experienced jeweler will know the difference.

In order to determine the difference between fake Martial Arts & real Martial Arts, you must know what real Martial Arts is, if you do not know what real Martial Arts is, you will not know what is real & what is fake, what you deem as real may actually be fake. The stunts and “Martial Art” actors in the movie “Matrix” are fake, they do not live the Martial Way, they are practicing it for the time being for entertainment purposes. Bruce Lee & Jet Li are two individuals who lived & breathed the Martial Arts, it is their way of life.

All “Martial Arts” that do not involve the integration of the “Spirit” is fake. A certified Police Officer who is corrupted, is fake. He may have the badge, the gun, the vest, the car, & his police buddies backing him up, but he is still fake. All corruption of the pure is fake.

A real human being is hard to come by, most of what we deem as real, is actually fake. Most human beings are carbon copies, they are machines, they are not real, they are fake. If you are a fake human being, you cannot practice real Martial Arts. You can only practice real Martial Arts if you are a real human being. Being a real human being is not easy in modern society. The school will turn you into a fake. Your friends will turn you into a fake. Your girlfriend will turn you into a fake. Your employer will turn you into a fake.

You are afraid to express yourself, you are afraid to be yourself because you seek the approval of others, anytime you seek the approval of others, you are being fake. Being real, is just expressing yourself truthfully from within as is. Few people in this world will ever have the courage to express themselves truthfully. For the most part, when they do, they will be attacked by the society, because the society in itself is fake, all the fakes will greatly despise those who are real, they will seek to kill the real.

That is why Jesus, Socrates, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, 2pac, Bruce Lee, Gandhi, John Lennon, JFK, etc. were killed. The society hates the real, they want to kill the real, they want to turn everybody into fakes, & that is why you will rarely ever encounter a real Martial Artist, most of all of them will be fake.

LARA:  Making false statements. Having no traceable lineage. Claiming it is secret and such actions show a “Fake.”

I have respect for all arts.  I do not have any respect for “Fakes” as they do nothing but spread misinformation and run a cult of ego to fool others into some kind of hero worship.

For me this is simple. No real rank. No lineage. No good.

KUO:  Fakes are people who represent themselves as being more of an authority than they really are. They do not have the training or experience to back up what they are teaching. The worst type of fakes are those who knowingly disguise their lack of credentials and still pass themselves off as an authority. The less nefarious (but still problematic) fakes are the unwitting fakes: these are the people who don’t know that they can’t back up what they are presenting. The unwitting fakes are at least forgivable if they attempt to rectify their errors when they are called out.

The word “fake” gets thrown around a lot in the internet age. This has been both a good and bad thing. On one hand, the truly erroneous stuff gets shot down quickly. But on the other hand, the veil of internet anonymity draws out some people’s inner jackass. Without full perspective and substantive evidence, they make accusations against other people’s legitimacy and then interleave their accusations with personal attacks and insults. The keyboard converts people who might otherwise be civil and more reflective in a face-to-face interaction into quick-draw internet mud-flingers; in this manner, the attackers are themselves acting as fakes.

That we are even having a discussion about fakes is a reflection of a basic human failing: an inflated ego. For people to want to teach something that exceeds their competence levels means that they feel a need to stroke their egos and sense of self-importance. Likewise for the vitriolic keyboard warrior, accusing someone of being a fake without evidence or civility is akin to strutting around and beating one’s chest in the safety and comfort of one’s home; it’s a useless activity that only reinforces the attacker’s ego, but contributes nothing useful for anyone else.

Ultimately, the question of whether or not someone is a fake is not the most important consideration. Information is being freely shared. To borrow a Bruce Lee quote, we can “adapt what is useful [and] reject what is useless.” We can draw upon shared material to find resources to build ourselves up. Or we could make a choice to use the material as a source to tear others down. Personally, I prefer the constructive approach.

– Combative Crew

4 Responses to “Roundtable Discussion 017: What is a “Fake””

  1. Isn’t spending everyday, all day, training to fight in case your attacked, when your a man in your thirties, kinda fake? Are you guys really preparing to fight bar drunks, or practicing Interpretive dance moves? True martial arts is an old lady at a bus stop in the middle of the night with a hand gun in her purse, every thing else is fake.

  2. Keith, I can’t argue that a lady with a gun is well armed but your “gun” scenario is always tossed up by detractors. It can equally be met with other made up miss the point retorts like, “But what if her gun is used against her, or never deployed in time?” Recent news events of various public shootings could also disprove your point to a degree but not entirely of course. A gun is useful if used competently and certainly a big part of the realistic “modern” martial arts.

    I might add that my years of martial training have served me well in real life, I’ve been in the military where my “interpretive dance” kept me safe (mostly from other service members,) then later as a door man I regularly subdued people, mostly without ever hurting them, well not much anyway since an understanding of marital arts and combative movement has many advantages beyond plain pugilism.

    Encountering a fake now and again is also a great meter for knowing a master when you see one.

    • I can fight blind folded. One day someone’s gonna try to rob me at a Mexican piñata party and I ain’t gonna have the stick, but I’ll be ready.
      ?you understand my point right?
      Real or fake is a relative disposition. Every one has motives for their actions. No one is fake in their own head. Every one is fake to somebody.
      You guys all kinda took a shallow vision of your perception of other people’s self worth.

      “before you talk shit about a man, you gotta walk a mile in his shoes, cause then your a mile away, and he ain’t catching up, cause he ain’t got no shoes!”
      There’s also one with Jesus and a log in your eye.

  3. What can be fake to one individual can be deemed as legit to another. Stating that you’re ex-whatever read mil, leo ,sensei may be true but may not tell the entire story. Mils can be regular or reservists.London bobbies are a dime a dozen with woefully short careers. How many sokes are out there creating their own style & belting themselves? The real question is whether I personally can learn something I didn’t know from this individual. And will this thing that I learn be useful to me. The lineage to me is irrelevant as sometimes the student excels the teacher & the imposter is greater skilled than the genuine. Take what you need, then move on.

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