The Bullshido Master
In this series, I’ve taught you how to identify a bad school, identify a bad teacher, identify a bad environment, and how to handle and dissect misinformation on a general scale. But what about the people whom perpetuate misinformation/woo and aren’t an instructor? What if it’s your classmate, or a friend, or someone popular who speaks on the subject a lot? Add on the definite chance that this person could also be a huge liar/faker and you have a lot to deal with, especially if you’re an outsider.
Well, I’m here to help with that. Unfortunately, there are people everywhere, even users on this very site (I will not name names, that is not for me to do nor will I encourage or condone any attacking of any users over this), either popular or not, whom make my job that much more difficult by throwing this trash everywhere and expecting me to clean up after them. Lucky for me I used to be a really damn good janitor and can sort this shit out like nobody else.
Below is a post I’ve done up with an explanation as to what this is, how to use it, and how it was created and from what materials. It contains things I think are pertinent if you are going to be speaking on an academic level about things like martial arts, which is different than just doing it physically. If you’re going to be a genuine expert, you need a solid foundation, and under the cut is the blueprints for just that.
And remember, without a plan like this, their little house of lies falls apart pretty quickly.
This is a list containing what I believe to be the absolute minimal basis of knowledge required per a person’s skill level in the martial arts to know what they’re talking about. Martial arts and weapons are some of the biggest areas of knowledge to attract bullshitters and misinformation, especially in a modern and/or westernized context (should it originate from non-western locations). It is very hard to differentiate truth from fiction, doubly so if you don’t study it yourself. I have covered how to spot a bad school, I have covered how to spot a bad teacher, but I have yet to cover how to spot someone in a non-teaching position with bad information.
Some of them are merely poorly taught and passed on from those who were also poorly taught (inasmuch this makes it not their fault) and a lot of them are fakers looking to impress and/or scam you (therefore it is entirely their fault). Unfortunately, they also tend to be popular people, with people like me who correct such misinformation or expose them for the frauds they are being deemed buzzkills or a bad school, etc. If you need help spotting the difference between bushido and bullshido, this should give you a general gist of things they should at least be aware of, if not in detail, and a list of behaviors associated with these types.
I would not consider anyone who does not have at least a cursory level of knowledge of any question that isn’t direct history/lineage related for their skill level as someone who has been educated properly. Not all questions apply to all styles and/or weapons, especially if it’s one of western origin or western modification. It will vary between styles/weapons and even schools within the same styles/weapons as to what level you are and when you will reach it.
This list was formulated using the following:
- My own curriculum from several different styles, including weapons-only ones, unarmed-only ones, and those that mix both
- My teacher’s and my own lesson plans
- Knowledge tests given at each rank for each style of anything our school teaches
- General academic awareness as if one were studying something from a historical standpoint
- What’s required of general historical preservationist methods
- The behavior of scam-artists, woo peddlers, snake oil salesmen, and other bullshitters
- Personal experiences as both a student and assistant instructor
Most of these should be self-explanatory as to why this would be important knowledge, but I can expound on any at request.
BEGINNER LEVEL KNOWLEDGE
❀ Do you have a lineage? (Not always applicable, especially in western arts)
❀ What’s your teacher’s name? What class/school do you go to?
❀ Does your school have a motto/saying/creed/dojo-kun? What is it?
❀ Does your style have a name? If it’s not in English, what does it translate to? If in English and it comes from a non-English point of origin, what is its original name?
❀ Where does your style originate from? Is there any specific culture or language associated with it?
❀ Are you familiar with basic terminology for combat/technique/equipment?
❀ Are you familiar with how to dress/equip yourself?
❀ Can you name other styles with similar origin points as yours? You do not have to be familiar with them beyond a name.
❀ Is there any major and/or modern sport associated with your style? Is it in the Olympics in any form? Are you familiar with anything about them?
❀ Are there any reliably written books written on your style/weapon/history/philosophy? Name 3 with author name, if any/that many exist
INTERMEDIATE LEVEL KNOWLEDGE
❀ When was your style founded, or codified as it is now, and by whom?
❀ Are there any weapons associated with your style? How many can you name? Do these names mean anything?
❀ Is there anywhere famous currently associated with your art? Do they do anything else of note?
❀ Who is/are the most famous person(s) associated with your style/weapon? Why are they famous?
❀ Are there any branches of your style/weapon or auxillary arts to it or sister styles/weapons? What are they?
❀ Can you assist others in getting dressed/equipped properly?
❀ If you have a lineage, and it is at least a 3-5 person gap between you and the founder/codifier, name everyone between the founder/codifier and you.
❀ Are there any reliably written books written on your style/weapon/history/philosophy? Name 5 with author name, if any/that many exist
ADVANCED LEVEL KNOWLEDGE
❀ Are you familiar with other styles’ names and what they mean?
❀ Are you familiar with any founders/codifiers of other styles?
❀ Are you familair with any famous people associated with other styles/weapons? Why are they famous?
❀ Is your style based on/founded form/codified from another style? Is your style just another one re-organized and renamed? If so, what was it originally?
❀ If you have a lineage, and it has more than a 3-5 person gap between you and the founder/codifier, name everyone between the founder/codifier and you.
❀ Do any of your techniques have any interesting historical significance or background? Knowledge of all is not necessary, but if you know any, tell me about it.
❀ Are there any reliably written books written on your style/weapon/history/philosophy? Name 10 with author name, if any/that many exist
BEHAVIORS TO WATCH OUT FOR
❀ Passing off opinions as facts, especially historical fact
❀ Refusal to give up sources of information for cross-referencing (books, videos, people, etc)
❀ Skill level/rank seems abnormally high for their age and/or how long they’ve been doing it and cannot or will not verify it by any means
❀ Supreme appraisal of any one style and/or weapon above all others as if it had no flaws
❀ Suggests that there is a magical/mystical/other-worldly/supernatural element to the style/weapon (esp. common in those discussing/practicing arts originating in Asia esp. East Asia)
❀ Aversion to sparring, esp. if it’s more than point/sport/gentleman’s sparring (even worse, aversion to any kind of physical contact)
❀ Acting as if they’re the sole expert or contributor to this topic/subject/style and dismissing the assistance of others
❀ Ego easily wounded/doesn’t take criticism well. Friendly critique seems unwelcomed as well.
❀ Only likes you if you agree with them