Documentary about martial arts fraudsters and fakes

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I watched this recently. Classic example of, “A lie will circle the world twice while the truth is still putting on its shoes”.

I have long heard the old saw about Tai Chi masters being excellent combatants. But I have not heard word 1 until this video that anyone had tested it.


I wonder if Steven Seagal is mentioned.


He isn’t.

I watched this a while ago, and actually recommended it in the BBS then.

The video is interesting and at parts depressing. But especially the last part really stuck with me, a single underdog taking on one of the most powerful states. Steven Seagal has go nothing on that guy.


and then there’s skeptics ranting about end-of-the-pier fortune tellers. Or enjoying watching old men get punched in the face for their sins (previously).

This seems to be a version of the “what’s the harm?” argument? Like, storefront psychics are just entertainment and everyone knows they’re fake and it’s just for fun? If that is what you’re saying, I can try to explain why that psychic on the pier matters. If that’s not what you’re saying, forgive me while I go beat up this nice straw man I found here.

First, It is a dilution of truth and peoples’ ability to measure reality. The majority of humanity believes in some form of psychic ability, or whatnot. Every storefront psychic contributes to the legitimacy of that idea. Because people aren’t taught about cold reading, they don’t understand a lot about how their own minds work. It’s also just straight up fraud, which we should care about. This stuff is like climate change- any particular car isn’t hurting much, but all together the world is burning down. Pseudoscience is burning down reality and our ability to understand it. We need our grasp of reality and science more than ever if we are to solve the big problems and navigate the political landscape we find ourselves in.

Some people say, “oh, it’s like therapy for some people”. Okay, in that case it’s unlicensed, unregulated, unqualified, overpriced therapy and we should care about that. Psychics are known for giving terrible life advice, and advising against seeking proper medical treatment.

These are just a couple of off-the-cuff arguments for caring about “harmless” psychics. Much stronger arguments exist for caring about adjacent pseudosciences like alternative medicine, flat eartherism, etc, but this comment is already too long.

But seriously- don’t laugh at old men getting punched, no matter how much of a douchnozzle they are. Skeptics can be asses too.


But… I want to believe.


I came to watch people fall down, I was not disappointed.


Reminds me of church in general, not even specific to cults and charismatic churches. There’s a seemingly benign pressure for group think and camaraderie where people want to believe and so they force themselves to believe, to feel something. They don’t seem to recognize the same collective effervescence when they go to a sports event or a concert as the same phenomenon.


These dudes are the faith healers of the religion that is martial arts. (And oh yes, it’s a [overlapping constellation of] religion[s].)

Yeah, it’s sort of an extension of martial arts in general that way. Martial arts being art forms masquerading as combat techniques, ritualized sets of actions replacing realities. E.g. learning how to be thrown “properly,” ostensibly to avoid hurting oneself, but also masking the fact that the throwing techniques, when applied to someone who is resisting and doesn’t know the “appropriate” response, won’t actually do shit to shift them.

Oh, it’s been tested plenty. It’s completely true. So long as they don’t ever actually fight anyone.

The connection to Evangelical faith healing hadn’t struck me before seeing this video, which has a series of scenes that could be straight out of tent revivals, but it strikes me that the harms are exactly the same (and as significant) as those in faith healing. Which ranges from the society-level obfuscation of reality you mention, to leaving individuals open to all sorts of scams and manipulations. It’s not just replacing science with pseudoscience, reality with pseudoreality, but the pseudoreality is one in which there are special individuals with magic powers, which has its own unpleasant ramifications to how people behave.


Respectfully disagree. Scam artists being directly and irrefutably exposed as frauds is funny. I’d agree that watching a three card monte scammer getting beat up wouldn’t be enjoyable, but this guy’s scam was posing as a mystical master of martial arts who could make a bunch of semi-skilled actors throw themselves on the ground in the face of his…breath? He’s the one who set the terms of the fight, and he’s the one who bore the cost of his bullshit being exposed.

That’s crazy talk! Everyone knows that most effective hand to hand combat techniques involve extreme slow, smooth, circular ritualized movement with no emphasis on explosive contact or ground techniques. It’s why yoga and pilates are agreed to be some of deadliest forms of martial arts out there, after napping.


I hear what you’re saying, but in my humble opinion physical violence is not the right corrective measure for a delusional old man. He’s a fraud and has cost other people time and money, no doubt. As a society, I would see us arrest and fine people like that. Punching should be reserved for Nazis, in my view.


How exactly do you practice the “death touch”?

Keep trying until someone dies?


I was gonna post something similar. This is far from a martial arts “thing”. The vast majority of shit that goes down in the US is fraudulent at the core. Forget the cheeto in charge for the moment. I’m talking about every day shit, especially the corporate/private sector. Then you have education. Then you have religion. The bullshit never ends. Back on the martial arts side of things, the heaping pile is super-ripe. People, generally, are not fighters, so they know nothing of it. They can’t even imagine the brutality. Hell, outside of sex, an occasional massage, and (unfortunately for some) physical abuse, the vast majority of people aren’t even familiar with extended, deep physical contact! The entire population is primed for stupidity in this “field”.


Then how do you explain the ancient martial art of Fu Tbal Dyv where victims drop to the ground screaming in pain and clutching their injuries while their assailant stays ten feet away?


It is derived from an older form of martial arts where the assailant tries to make sure that the victim is incapable of walking off the pitch.


Which population in the world do you believe to be better suited to embrace “real” fighting?

The majority of traditional fighting forms (like Kung Fu or Karate or Jiu Jitsu or boxing are extremely limited by their own internal rules to avoid certain kinds of combat, and more about tradition than actual utility in an actual fight against someone who knows what they’re doing. Whatever one thinks of the audience, MMA is probably the most popular fighting style with folks under 50ish I would wager, and it’s as close to “real” fighting as one could probably get (except for Krav Maga, which is mostly about gouging eyes and smashing genitals (not the good way, either)).

I’d pay someone real money (upwards of $10 USD) to write a history of BJJ developing into MMA through Japan and Brazil, then getting fairly set in its ways as it stagnates, and then developing the melting pot of the US and the constant evolution of the fights and other forms are incorporated with no allegiance to any one style.

All to say, I don’t this has anything to do with the superiority or inferiority of any country, but more about human nature.


This was the best part of UFC back when it started. I remember before UFC, any kid (and adult) that practiced any martial art was absolutely certain theirs was the absolute shit and all others where just delusional. I took Taekwondo for many many years and believed it to be superior. I remember verbal bouts in the playground between the karate kids, the taekwondo kids, and the kung fu kids. UFC comes out 20 years later and POOF all the BS that had been slung in the past came home to roost. Not only was Taekwondo not the best, it turned out to be completely useless in real world defense along with 90% of all the other “arts”. Damn Gracies.


I couldn’t agree more. And then the Gracies became hidebound to their own proprietary form and refused to evolve any further, and no Gracie has been a decent fighter since the defenses for rear chokes developed and were well understood.

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Really? I have not paid attention enough. My kids are taught by Rillion, I will have to dig a bit deeper.

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