Joseph F. Connolly II

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Article by Chuck Hardin.


Joseph F. Connolly II is an Orlando-based instructor of judo and jujutsu. He claims multiple college degrees (including both undergraduate and graduate law degrees), professorships at two universities, and ninth-degree black belt rankings in judo and yudo. These claims are false; only two of his degrees are valid. The universities at which he teaches are diploma mills, and he has never been granted a legitimate ninth-degree black belt in any of his claimed arts. He also claims a glamorous and extensive record of military service which is being investigated by multiple Federal agencies at this writing.


Martial Arts Claims

Connolly's USJJF biography claims he has a ninth-degree black belt from the Korea Judo Association. According to the KJA, this is false.

The USJA lists Connolly as a third-degree black belt. They record this rank as having been affirmed by William Andreas. However, Andreas claimed that Connolly was awarded his black belt by Phil Porter, and that this rank was purchased from Porter at a time when the USJA needed money. In any case, a third-degree black belt is a far cry from ninth degree.

All ranks Connolly has been granted by the United States Ju-Jitsu Federation, the International Yudo Federation, or other such organizations are not to be trusted, since he is a founder of each of these organizations.

Bullshido therefore concludes that at least two of Connolly's most important claims of martial arts rank are exaggerated, and possibly purchased or self-granted altogether.

Military Claims

Connolly's official military records describe a creditable military career spanning several decades and three branches of service, including several medals and Army Ranger training. However, as the POW Network has found, there are several indications that these records may be falsified. Especially troubling is the absence of Connolly's name from the enrollment records of any Army Ranger class. At this time, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense are looking into this apparent inconsistency.

Academic Claims

According to Connolly's personal webpage, his academic credentials are as follows:

  • B.A. Magna Cum Laude, 1971.
  • Bachelor of Laws, 1972.
  • Juris Doctor, 1977.
  • Master of Education, 2001.
  • Mastership of Martial Arts, 2001.
  • Master of Science (by research), 2002
  • Doctor of Philosophy, 2005

This differs somewhat from his biography as a founder of the Martial Arts International Federation, in which he claims he got his Juris Doctor in 1972. This is impossible; the Juris Doctor degree is a three-year program in the United States and an undergraduate degree such as a Bachelor of Arts is a strict prerequisite for it. Connolly could not have earned both a Bachelor of Laws in 1971 and a legitimate Juris Doctor degree a year later in 1972. The 1977 claim is theoretically possible, and the 1972 date may be a typo.

The MAIF biography specified Connolly's claimed almae matres: Park College for his B.A., Blackstone School of Law in Chicago for his law degrees, the National College of Education for his education degrees, and the International Institute for Specialized Education and Research for his Ph.D1. He is also a professor at IISER.

Connolly is also on the faculty of Knightsbridge University. This, too, is a red flag. Knightsbridge University is an unaccredited institution which has been involved in several credentials scandals in recent years. It does not help matters that his M.S. in 2002 was also granted by Knightsbridge, according to his Who's Who in America biography.

A careful perusal of IISER's website shows no mention of accreditation. In fact, its only listed affiliation at this writing is with the Ching Mo Centre, a wing chun academy which also teaches traditional Chinese medicine. IISER is not listed as a degree-granting institution in the UK at all in the official database of such institutions, and is under investigation in the UK at this writing for misrepresenting itself as an accredited institution.

Connolly's law degrees are also dubious, as inquiries by Samuel Browning revealed. According to Beverly Holmes of the American Bar Association, they had never accredited Blackstone School of Law in Chicago. Direct Learning Systems, the current owners of Blackstone Career Institute, referred Browning to the Illinois Department of Education, which stated that Blackstone was never authorized to grant any kind of degree in Illinois, where the institution was based.

In fact, the only legitimate degrees Connolly has claimed are his B.A. in Sociology from Park College, where he did in fact graduate Magna Cum Laude according to the institution, and his Master's in Education, which was confirmed by the National College of Education. Both are accredited institutions.

Despite telling the truth about two of his degrees, Connolly has misrepresented five others which come from unaccredited institutions and diploma mills. Bullshido therefore concludes that Connolly's academic background is grossly exaggerated.


Joseph F. Connolly has an impressive martial arts and academic resume, but significant parts of it are not backed up with real credentials. His one verifiable martial arts credential is a third-degree black belt in judo, acquired from Phil Porter under dubious circumstances. His degrees are mostly from unaccredited institutions, including most of his graduate degrees and both of his law degrees. His military record is unverified and under investigation.


1 - Not to be confused with the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, which are both accredited and well-respected.