Article edited by Dave Humm - Contributed too by members of the Bullshido Community
A comprehensive list of statements/arguments and diversionary tactics given in various situations where an individual may refuse to answer a particular question, validate a particular opinion or provide evidence of a particular claim of grade, experience or lineage.
- 1 Argument # 1
- 2 Argument # 2
- 3 Argument # 3
- 4 Argument # 4
- 5 Argument # 5
- 6 Argument # 6
- 7 Argument # 7
- 8 Argument # 8
- 9 Argument # 9
- 10 Argument # 10
- 11 Argument # 11
- 12 Argument # 12
- 13 Argument # 13
- 14 Argument # 14
- 15 Argument # 15
- 16 Argument # 16
- 17 Argument # 17
- 18 Argument # 18
- 19 Argument # 19
- 20 Argument # 20
- 21 Argument # 21
- 22 Argument # 22
- 23 Argument # 24
- 24 Argument # 24
- 25 Argument # 25
- 26 Argument # 26
- 27 Argument # 27
- 28 Argument # 28
- 29 Argument # 29
- 30 Argument # 30
- 31 Argument # 31
Argument # 1
- Demanding that we train with or under the subject of the investigation before we make any conclusions about his claims.
Counter - An experienced martial artist can make reasonable judgments about someone else's level of skill or expertise. Although first hand experience is effective, informed judgments can be drawn from video clips and other media. This may not stand alone as conclusive proof of anything, but it can be a factor that raises the red flag of bullshido.
Argument # 2
- Questioning the ability of posters here to make informed judgements.
Counter - Similar to the counter for argument #1. The presence of skilled practioners of a variety of styles is one of Bullshido.net's greatest assests. That said, you don't have to be able to sing to identify someone who can't (American Idol, anyone?).
Argument # 3
- Refusal to provide information because people were not polite.
This argument also sets the stage for a future refusal to provide information even to a polite request - the Bullshidoka need merely say, "I am not providing information to any of you because you were mean to me."
Counter - Subtance over form. If the person is willing and able to provide information that would help prove their point, it is reasonable to assume that they would do so in most situations.
Argument # 4
- Claims that the investigation has gone beyond its original purpose.
For example, a man who claims an impressive but unverified tournament record is also found to have claimed military or law enforcement experience, but the subject or his supporters get upset because that wasn't the original point of the investigation.
Counter - The investigative process involves gathering as much relevant information as possible, forming a preliminary hypothesis, and then finding evidence that will substantiate or unsubstantiate that hypothesis. Throughout the entire process, the hypothesis is reviewed, updated, and modified, based on new information. Supplemental information may be relevant to the hypothesis that the person has lied about or misrepresented parts of his history to bolster his own authority (usually as it relates to MA).
Argument # 5
- Makes a number of suggestions about additional questions which are not relevant to the issues at hand.
Takes the position that a lack of interest in following up irrelevant information reveals an intentional double-standard in the investigative process. The "suggestions" can also be accusatory -"Why didn't you ask Jane if Jack's karate made him a better family man?"
Counter - Simple explanation about why that line of questions isn't relevant.
Argument # 6
- Argument by Repitition (also an informal fallacy).
Operating under the assumption that saying something over and over again will make it true.
Counter - Point it out, and refer them back to your previous responses.
Argument # 7
- Strawman. I think we all know what this looks like.
Counter - Point it out, and make fun of them for it.
Argument # 8
- Needling. Making annoying remarks designed to cause others to become angry.
Counter - Point it out, and don't play their game.
Argument # 9
- Argument by Distraction.
This category includes claims to have made people angry/upset, claims of a conpiracy against the subject, or anything else that tries to distract posters from the issue at hand.
Counter - Ignore it. If you react to it, you only clutter the thread. I suppose we could repeat the motivation for the investigation as often as necessary, or at least reference it. Example, "No, we're not trying to bring down the man out of jealousy. If you read post #1 and the rest of this thread, you can see that he has made exceptional claims without providing any envidence to support them."
Argument # 10
- Requesting that those who are investigating, provide the same information that is being asked for them.
This tactic is used to "throw the dogs off your scent" so to speak. It makes everyone look at the accuser and not the accused. Nothing wrong with making sure that the person acting as the accuser is not doing so in a malicious way but in an honest attempt to gather important facts but it shouldn't allow the accused a free ride just because the accuser was dishonest in his/her investigative intent.
Counter - If the accused does bring up important information about the accuser then start a new thread about the accuser but keep the original thread on track with regards to the accused. This one may seem similar to one mentioned above about the ability of other posters to judge the one being investigated but it is not. This one is pointed more towards the investigated individual accusing the originator of the investigation of wrongdoing as a means of removing pressure from him/herself.
Argument # 11
- Multiple Personalities.
This argument tactic can vary along the continuum from the literal, in the form of the shared account, to the tag-team approach (typically teacher/student), to a shotgun approach, with multiple posters from the same school/dojo posting different messages with widely divergent styles (crude and threatening, pleading, conciliatory, wordy) hoping that one succeeds. A good cop/bad cop variation of this is to have the crazy, unhinged student poster says "u guyz r gonna die" and the apologetic "let's just forget all of this" teacher. Also includes multiple accounts, although this tactic is crude and obvious.
Counter - Demand to know who is who as precisely as possible, and clarify the situation. Are you Sifu X? Are you a student of Sifu X? If it is the sifu/sensei/subject of the investigation, ask them what their precise stance or relationship is to the other posts or statements of their friends and students.
Argument # 12
- He used to be a great fighter but is now injured/fat usually due to one of the unverifiable deadly martial arts bouts in his past.
This goes along with he used to be a violent and dangerous person but now sees that martial arts are meant for peace. I'm using the third person because this argument is most often supplied by a student.
Counter - Then he should be able to produce a student that can fight or else he has no business teaching at all.
Argument # 13
- Forcibly narrowing the scope of an investigation.
In other words they say certain things are off topic. Yet, if we are looking into a persons MA claims and stumble across a possible false or diploma mill education, it ties back into the fake credentials.
Counter - Point out the connection between honesty and integrity.
Argument # 14
- Drag an argument on for days/pages without answering any questions, and then at some later point start claiming "I already answered those questions. Go back and find them yourself."
Counter - First and most obvious, check to make sure those questions haven't actually been answered. If they have, acknowledge it. If not, tell the bullshidoka that you have checked but you were unable to find anything that answers your particular questions. Than restate the questions - if they're already answered those questions, they shouldn't be too torn up by having to answer them again. If this is a consistent pattern, the poster who makes this argument is not a credible source of information and should be dismissed (ignored, posts removed, etc).
Argument # 15
- "I'm not going to do your research for you"
Counter - This is where I view the 'put up or shut up' coming into play. If you're not going to assist with an investigation, don't post on the thread. If you have information you could contribute but choose not to, fine - we can't force people to give information. If you don't have the answer, that's fine too - part of an investigation is identifying credible sources of information. Either way, don't clutter up a thread.
Argument # 16
- My credentials can't be backed up because the training was super secret/the government won't allow it.
This argument is similar to a large number of others, including: My credentials can't be backed up because (insert reason here) ...they were destroyed in a house fire, lost in a move, currently at someone else's house, my sensei won't allow me to share his name, et cetera.
Counter - If you can't validate your credentials, you should at the very least be able to validate your skills. Also remember that genuine recipients of training which is classified do not generally advertise that fact. Credentials which are secret wouldn't be shared at all, not shared with the caveat that no verification is available.
Whenever possible, ask for verification of the excuse (a house fire, you say? A check with the fire department can verify that - what was the address and date). If verification is impossible (super secret) or not forthcoming, make a note that the person was unwilling or unable to provide evidence about a particular claim.
Argument # 17
- Argumentum ad Populum: Many other styles do X, so we shall also do X.
Counter - The actions of others do not make yours acceptable or correct. Many people thought the sun was in orbit around the earth for a long time - that doesn't make it valid.
Argument # 18
- Vague answers.
Counter - Press for specifics by being specific, when all else fails, ask for a simple Yes/No
Argument # 19
- Unreasonable conditions for information.
This is similar to Argument #10, but instead of requesting information of the investigator this argument involves an attempt to set up a situation that discourages someone from investigating.
This can include offering information under conditions that unrealistic or are reasonably deemed absurd (such as Ashida Kim demanding $10,000 before he would accept a challenge match) to conditions that are dangerous or illegal. For example, the subject of an investigation agrees to meet for an interview, but only if you come to his dojo by yourself in the wee hours of the morning.
Counter - If the subject isn't willing to compromise enough to provide information in a safe manner (such as an interview in a neutral location or in the presence of a witness), then make a note and explanation - "The subject made Bullshidoka Argument #19; he was unwilling to provide this information unless we first fought with swords to first blood, an obviously unsafe practice."
Argument # 20
- The Unresponsive Subject.
This argument/strategy relies on the subject avoiding direct invitiations to participate in the investigation. Such a strategy can be used under several pretenses.
1) The subject can claim not to have been aware of the investigation.
Counter - The best counter to this is an invitation or series of invitations issued via email or message that can be traced with a return receipt to show that messages were properly delivered to the subject's email address.
2) The subject can acknowledge the investigation (either through email or on another website) but refuse to take part.
Counter - I would suggest repeated (but not incessant, harassing) invitations, such as politely posting the questions that have been raised on a forum where the subject frequents.
Whether or not the subject ultimately refuses to take part, it is important to show that they were, in fact, aware of and invited to the investigation.
Argument # 21
- The Persecuted Subject
The subject or supportor uses this argument to foster the appearance of being under "attack" while trying to help the investigation and provide information. This can include requests to not be banned until he has provided information, or comments indicating that he knows he will be banned for something he has done. Other related accusations could include saying that posters on Bullshido are a single person operating under multiple screen names or that multiple posters are just conspirators, friends, or supportors of the person doing most of the questioning.
Taken to an extreme, the Bullshidoka will intentionally break the rules of the forum in an attempt force a mod to ban them. That will serve to get them out from under the weight of the questions at Bullshido and allow them to whine about being banned before they could provide answers to those questions.
Counter - Point out the argument when they make it. If necessary, point out forum rules about what it takes to earn a ban.
Argument # 22
- Caveat emptor, "Let the buyer beware."
This argument hinges on the idea that false claims and other bullshido are ultimately the consumer's responsibility. The seller is just providing a service that the consumer pays for; issues of quality and verifying background claims at up to the buyer. This argument doesn't attempt to provide information about the claims that are being investigated - instead, it seeks to shift the responsibility for those claims from the one who made them to the people who believe them.
Here is a example of this argument as it appeared on this site:
If he is altering the truth for other folks, let the buyer beware.
Counter - Caveat venditor, "Let the seller beware." The seller (in this case, MA instructor) is responsible for his product and for the advertising that he uses to promote it. People should make themselves informed consumers, but advertising with claims that are embellished or completely false is unethical and could be illegal (depending on the details).
Argument # 24
- The Stonewall
The subject of an investigation simply ignores any and all requests for information with the hopes that the investigation will become stalled.
A stonewall can cause the parties involved and others following the effort to lose interest and eventually drop the investigation.
Alternatively, the parties involved and others following the effort can also become frustrated and eventually succumb to hostile behavior which can lead to an unintended derailing of the investigation. If this occurs, the interested parties' motives appear to become suspect, causing the entire investigation to appear as a vendetta/smear campaign.
- Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Investigations can take years.
- Keep your cool. Don't let your frustrations over a stalled investigation get the better of you.
- Be persistent. Continue to follow up periodically.
- Distance yourself. Be clear about your independence and admonish others following the effort who might be threatening to derail an investigation similarly with their hostile manner.
- Do "sanity checks". Ask a disinterested third party to review your efforts/writings to get an objective perspective as to whether you are advancing the investigation as opposed to sidetracking it.
It should be noted any perceived stonewalling may be entirely innocent. Some people are just hard to reach. Additionally, because human nature being what it is, a party may just want to avoid an issue and not deal with a perceived distraction from what they want to do. Nevertheless, the result of this may have the same effect on investigation. It is, however, important to make a distinction between the possible reasons behind why an investigation could become stalled so as to avoid creating an unnecessary distraction to an investigation by prematurely raising the topic of whether the subject is, indeed, stonewalling.
Argument # 24
- Questioner has not "earned the right" to obtain answers to investigative questions.
Refusal to answer is framed within an environment where only those who have dedicated time in study under the person being questioned have the right to answers.
Counter - By obtaining a business license to teach publically, the teacher by virtue of the decision to teach in a public facility is subject to BBB (Better Business Bureau) types of questions and answers. Consumers have the right to question background, credentials, quality of experience, records, and anything else that pertains to the quality of the instruction offered. If the teaching includes children the right to a background check is also advisable - they do that for public schools and still have problems.
Argument # 25
- Questionee has immunity from accusations by virtue of membership in a national body of some form of conglomerate martial artists.
Counter - Martial arts governing bodies are as common as denominational religions and hold no authority as it pertains to quality. Many are "pay to play" organizations that give glowing recommendations in exchange for annual fees. Repeat same line of questioning all the way up the chain to the head of the organization, and disclose any fees paid that could cloud quality judgements.
Argument # 26
- One of the questionee's students, sock puppet, or a fellow questionable instructor turns up out of the blue to vouch for them "I train with Grand Master Dai O-Soke X, and he is a good man and an excellent martial artist. Please email me about any questions you have about him."
Counter - Personal opinion isn't validation of actual skill or qualification.
Argument # 27
- Irrelevant Appeal to Authority.
The bullshidoka in question makes an appeal to his/her authority that is not relevant to the investigation or his/her claims. For example, the bullshidoka might say something like "I was a DII All American wrestler in college, how dare you question my jiu jitsu rank!". Likewise, references military/police service may also be made.
This is also common from supporters of the bullshidoka. For an example, see the Ju-Te Ryu thread. The thread dealt with the founder of Ju-Te Ryu claiming that his system was a form of judo, while he had no formal judo training. Also, his technique was extremely sloppy. After a while, a person joined the discussion and said (paraphrasing, of course), "His takedowns are not sloppy, I am a Hapkido black belt and I was impressed by them". Likewise, a student might say "I earned my blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do before I joined his Pankration club, do you not think I know a good martial artist when I see one?"
Counter - Point out and explain why X does not equal Y.
Argument # 28
- The opinion defense.
Usually floated when someone is backed into a corner. They attack the website and the posters in the thread. When called to provide proof they say "it is my opinion" or "my .02 cents." They then try to derail the thread saying, they are entitled to an opinion and that you have no right to question their assertions or, my business is my business
Counter -Best way to handle this is to agree. "Yes, you have a right to your opinion just as I have a right to disagree." Then ignore the protestations and stick to the topic
Argument # 29
- "I won't join the thread to shed light on my claims but will threaten to drag you through the courts for defamation of character."
This tactic scares off many who might otherwise post. Shuts up many who do post when threatened.
Counter - Know your facts. Present factual evidence, i.e., documentation from bullshidoka's own website(s), available public records and timeline/history of events. Be prepared to go the distance.
Argument # 30
- My art is too deadly to spar. Take my word for it that it works.
An argument which attempts to reason or justify why it is too dangerous to perform full force/in resistant sparring.
Counter. I shouldn't have to take your word for something you're charging people money for or when lives could be at stake.
Counter. Just because a technique is lethal doesn't mean it can't be trained with aliveness. Kali is a knife fighting art- a killing art. Yet it is based on live drilling and many modern schools spar with padding. Neck cranks and chokes are potentially lethal but are regularly used safely in controlled sparring conditions. There is no reason, or excuse, not to train with aliveness.
Argument # 31
- street vs sport
What we do is illegal in sport fighting but it's very effective in street fights where there are no rules.
counter. Foul tactics are simply tactics and do not comprise a martial art. Anything that an eye gouging, groin grabbing biter can do, so can Anderson Silva. But he also has the necessary base of striking and grappling knowledge to better utilize such foul tactics. IE- A sport fighter will be better on the street than a person who only trains foul tactics, because foul tactics are available to everyone.