Bullshido.net

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Bullshido.net
Image:Bullshido.png
URL http://www.bullshido.net
Type of site Martial Arts / Investigation
Owner Neal "Phrost" Fletcher
Created by Phrost
Launched 2002 (originally as McDojo.com)

Bullshido.net is a martial arts-oriented website devoted to rooting out fraudulent practices in the field.

In existence since 2002 Bullshido.net has earned mainstream media attention for at least one of its investigations.[1] It somewhat styles itself after scientific skepticism organizations such as CSICOP, employing various means of investigation to test the claims of martial arts practitioners or their schools. Those artists and schools found to be fraudulent or lacking in substance by the site receive the appellation Bullshido. Bullshido.net's discoveries, methods, and forum environment have earned it criticism from some parties,[2] particularly those that have been the target of investigation.[3][4] More recently, 3 additional sites have been spun off from the .net site: Bullshido.com, Bullshido.org, and Sociocide.com.

Contents

[edit] Origin and name

The term "Bullshido" is a portmanteau of "bullshit" and "bushidō" and is used as a pejorative term referring to a school's inaccurate or fraudulent claims. Bullshido.net began in 2002 when several members of an Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) forum, disgruntled at the management and attitude of moderators of that site, decided to form their own in response. The site was then called "McDojo.com", from "McDonalds" and "dojo". The term McDojo was used to classify schools that had overly commercial features that could negatively impact the study of martial arts. However, due to a legal challenge by the McDonald's Corporation over the use of this McWord, the website was renamed Bullshido.net.

[edit] Overview

Founder 'Phrost' wearing a Bullshido t-shirt featuring the site's 'Bully' logo

Bullshido.net, as the name suggests, was created to expose "bullshit" in claims made by martial arts schools and instructors. The site is characterized by its no-holds-barred attitude in forum discussions, where the use of profanity is openly tolerated. Because of the "loose" moderation style, other martial art sites have used Bullshido.net's forums to have discussions that would be censored or forbidden on more regulated boards, particularly if the topic of discussion involves a figure close to the leadership of those other boards. Bullshido.net members who espouse opinions or perspectives in strong opposition to another member's views may result in heated, uncensored discussion that can lead to flaming. It is amongst the more popular martial arts sites, ranking in top 10 of Alexa Internets 'Martial Arts' category.[5]

Bullshido.net is divided into several forums to separate threads into particular topics such as grappling ("Department of Homeland Security"), martial arts history ("Martial Arts History Project"), and the forum specifically devoted to discussing fraud in the martial arts ("Martial Arts BS"). In addition to the forums, the site also hosts martial arts-related content as a member benefit, including picture galleries, video clips, and news articles from mainstream media. Most notably, the website also conducts and publishes its own inquiries into individuals or schools involved in the martial arts (see "Notable investigations").

One of the core values of the website is a rejection of the idea that "all martial arts have something to offer" or that all martial arts are equally capable at imparting martial ability to students. The site's rejection of these values is founded on several basis, such as the existence of fraudulent martial arts instructors who teach poor methods of fighting or the lack of participation from some fighting methods in professional martial arts competition. While the members and staff Bullshido.net tend to favor martial competition, cross-training, and the MMA format, several members and staff are strictly practitioners of traditional martial arts.

[edit] Investigations

With varying degrees of rigor, Bullshido.net and its members have completed investigations of numerous individuals and figures in the martial arts world. A majority of these investigations are less formal and involve the effort of a handful of regular members. Some investigations end up spanning months or years, and involve a collaboration of many staff and general members; these investigations are ones that are considered as "official site investigations" and receive front page attention. The site's authority and credibility for its investigations is partially derived from the involvement of members with professional qualifications. This includes members who are lawyers with investigative experience and other members who are/were professional martial artists as fighters, instructors, and so on, one investigation played a role in a felony case.

[edit] David "Race" Bannon

David "Race" Bannon was an author and purported expert on issues such as human trafficking, who also claimed that he was a former covert Interpol agent who assassinated child pornographers and other criminals. Bannon was arrested in January 2006 on 3 felony charges, including criminal impersonation.[1] In April 2006, Bannon pled guilty to criminal impersonation in exchange for the prosecutors not pursuing the other two felony charges.

Samuel Browning, a staff member of Bullshido.net, spent close to 2 years investigating the claims made in Bannon's book "Race Against Evil". For instance, Browning debunked Bannon's claim of having tortured a man to death on the 10th story of the Byron Hotel in London by calling up that hotel and finding that it did not have that many floors. Browning himself was contacted by the Rocky Mountain News concerning the story, and the information he provided to reporter Charlie Brennen contributed to the writing of two newspaper articles on this subject.[6][1] Both Browning and the Bullshido.net website were mentioned in an article by the Charlotte Observer (though Neal "Phrost" Fletcher is the one who "runs" Bullshido.net, not Browning).

Interpol posted a page dismissing the claims on their website.[7]

[edit] Ashida Kim

Purported ninjutsu master Ashida Kim, was investigated in relation to his $10,000 challenge,[8][9][10][11] and identity[12][11] along side and investigation into providing black belt certificates for a cash payments.[13][11] Kim reacted badly to these investigation including adding site owner Fletcher to his "Shit list" on ashidakim.com.[4]

[edit] "Throwdowns"

Bullshido.net organizes regional "Throwdowns" both to test martial arts claims and to host friendly gatherings for sparring between people of different styles and abilities. Participants are required to abide by minimum standards of safety in equipment and techniques, and are expected to "go home as friends" at the end of the day.

Throwdowns promote the mixed martial arts (MMA) style of sparring, wherein participants are allowed to use the martial skill sets of striking and grappling to best or submit an opponent. In contrast, sparring in many martial arts tends to emphasize only one of these. the guide lines for organising throwdowns state that participants should never required to spar in a manner that is disagreeable to them, this can include restricting allowed techniques or emphasizing a desired level of intensity (light/medium/full contact).

On a less frequent basis, Bullshido members experienced in armed combat systems such as Escrima have added this fourth martial skill set to the throwdown experience, which also allows for members to experience the extreme difficulty of unarmed defense against an armed assailant.

A final purpose of throwdowns is to give members the opportunity to "put their money where their mouth is" by providing a venue for them to back up their claims through actual application against resisting opponents. When visitors to the site make claims of great martial prowess or denigrate the martial abilities of forum members, a frequent rejoinder is something like "Show up to a throwdown and prove it." A claimed inability or unwillingness by a member to back up their claims/abilities through throwdowns are often interpreted by site members as a weakness in their argument or actual ability, in line with the site's heavy emphasis on empirical evidence.

To be recognised, Throwdowns must be organized in the appropriate forum on the site and recognized by the site admins.

[edit] Verification process

Emphasizing an empirical approach to the martial arts, the site carefully scrutinizes claims of effectiveness, teaching quality, history, and lineage. Pseudo-scientific claims (e.g. on the use of ki in combat), being inherently unfalsifiable, are immediately considered fraudulent. Scorn is heaped upon claims which lack verifiable documentation and upon claimants who refuse to substantiate their statements or abilities.

While empiricism is the goal of Bullshido.net, a degree of subjectivity is applied to claims that fall outside the usual verification process. As mentioned above, excessive emphasis on commercialism (McDojo), while not objectively fraud, is generally regarded as undesirable, where the line is drawn on "excessive," however, varies widely among participants. A minority take the view that one ought not make a living off of teaching martial arts, while others accept that making money from martial arts is acceptable as long as it does not rely on bullshido.

Practical limitations may hamper the testing of claims under various circumstances. For example, testing some claims might be beyond what is allowable in legal competition or general society. Claims of lineage or history by parties often require substantial amount of investigation and research to disprove absence of facts. Nevertheless, a number of dedicated members have spent considerable time and money conducting investigations of some of the more outrageous claims, which have contributed to at least one criminal conviction.[1][6]

[edit] Criticism and opposition

The website has drawn criticism among elements of the online martial arts community, questioning the validity and objectivity of the site.[3][2]

[edit] Spinoff sites

Due to both the growing popularity of Bullshido and the growing demand for accurate information on martial art topics, 3 additional sites have been created to meet the needs of members and consumers: Bullshido.com, Bullshido.org, and Sociocide.com.

[edit] Bullshido.com

In October 2006, Phrost launched Bullshido.com, a sister site to Bullshido.net. Previously, Bullshido.com redirected web-surfers to the .net site, but now functions in conjunction with it. Unlike the .net site, Bullshido.com does not have any forums. Instead, it serves as an informational site with articles on various styles of martial arts and the main portal for the most involved investigations that Bullshido conducts.

[edit] Bullshido.org

In March 2007, Bullshido.org was launched to host "The Martial Arts Encyclopedia," a repository for accurate information on all topics in the martial arts. At present time, .org is in a wiki format and only editable by Bullshido Members.

[edit] Sociocide.com

Sociocide.com was created to provide members with a community site unrelated to pursuing fraudulent figures in the martial arts. Threads concerning politics, scientific discoveries, current events, and the like were moved from .net to this site. All members from Bullshido.net can use their logins for Sociocide, but the site's focus is very distinct from Bullshido.net.

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d Attorney dismisses accounts as fiction Rocky Mountain News article
  2. ^ a b The Real Bull Den an Anti-Bullshido Blog that is openly opposed to the site
  3. ^ a b Criticism of Bullshido.net website by "The Martialist" In response to a Bullshido article on the site: [1]
  4. ^ a b Record of the 'Official Shit list' dated May 04 2006 from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina mirror of the Internet Archive , retrieved April 28, 2008
  5. ^ Seventh in Alexia category on last view "[[Alexa Internet]] 'Martial Arts' category top 10". http://www.alexa.com/browse?&CategoryID=396. Retrieved on 12 2 7 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Interpol imposter? Rocky Mountain News article
  7. ^ Refutation of claims Made by Brandon on the Interpol Website
  8. ^ $10,000 Challenge - at ashidakim.com
  9. ^ Horowitz, Eli. Ashida Kim The Believer, May 2003.
  10. ^ Kim, the Punking of article on Bullshido.com
  11. ^ a b c Bullshido.org article
  12. ^ Ashida Kim's Identity and Black Belt Mill Exposed article on Bullshido.com
  13. ^ Dojo press advert That lead to the investigation

[edit] External links

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