Spotting Martial Art Frauds

Is the school you are attending or considering a fraud? In order to determine if a martial arts school is a fraud, you first have to be able to recognize what a good school looks like. There are a few different aspects of a martial arts school that may indicate a fraud. How the school handles money matters, their credibility, and the techniques they teach are among the most pressing factors to consider when choosing a school. Let this article help you in Spotting Martial Art Frauds.

Money Matters

Consider all of the different areas that the school is asking you to invest your money in. Tuition, testing fees, merchandise, and seminars are all fairly typical of most martial arts schools; however, it is certainly possible to abuse any one of these. For example: tuition is a necessary part of any school, but if you notice that the school is regularly raising tuition (with a nod to the economy) or refusing to grandfather in older students, that may indicate a problem.

Almost anyone that goes into the martial arts does so to be able to improve themselves in some way, but that way does not for everyone include testing. It will likewise raise suspicions if testing is mandatory, outrageously priced, and or more frequent than every few months. There is no inherent need for a school to evaluate your progress more often than that. If the instructor feels like it is truly necessary to assess your skill for one reason or another, they can do it without charging you a testing fee.


Is the school credible? Certificates can be fabricated and people have been known to lie. So how do you know if a school or instructor has the credentials they claim? If you are serious about finding out, the best answer lies in a quick phone call or email. Contacting the association that your school is claiming accreditation from can quickly verify that claim. Where it gets tricky is trying to determine which associations are credible and whether they actually have any authority to be giving credibility in the first place. Some schools will lack accreditation of any kind and claim to be independent schools in their own right. Though this may denote a scam, it is not necessarily cause to abandon ship; these schools may in humility not seek awards or accreditation. In this case you would have to look to other factors to determine credibility.

Technique and Instruction

If all of the above checks out, the school deals with money fairly and has credibility on their side. The next order of business is are their techniques realistic and are they taught in an effective way? ¬¬If the school is teaching a jump-spin-round kick as an effective means to take out your opponents head, the school may be a fraud with delusional instructors. On the other hand, if they are teaching this same kick while explicitly telling students it is only for showmanship and fun, that is another story.

There is nothing wrong with practicing showy moves, so long as the student is not deluded to its practicality. And with every move, the student needs time to drill in order for those techniques. The goal is so that they become a part of them (so why not focus on the more practical ones?). Many fraudulent schools forgo drilling to excess in an effort to keep students from becoming bored and disengaged. A good school will find ways to make drilling less of a drag, but will nonetheless drill like crazy.

Spotting Martial Art Frauds

There are many different factors that may indicate a fraudulent martial arts school. Just because a school possesses one of these traits doesn’t make them a fraud. But when a school starts to have two or three of the warning signs, it may be time to look somewhere else. Each school will have its own opinions and practices, just make sure that whatever school you choose you are proud to call it your own.


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