Ray Ellingsen

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Article by Olorin.

Executive Summary

Olorin finds out that TRS and/or Ellingsen is lying about this talent's credentials. Ray Ellingsen was never a bounty hunter or bail recovery fugitive person in Los Angles in the manner in which he has claimed. He is also not, and has never worked for, the U.S. Marshals in any capacity in the LA Area. TRS and/or Ellingsen lies like a rug

The Video And The Advertising

"Ray Ellingsen's Lethal Tactics The Cops Want It Kept A Secret... But Here's How To Get Your Copy Of That Impossible-To-Find Video On "Lethal Defense For Deadly Attacks"... Absolutely Free!"

Olorin slaps forehead.

Why, oh why, do I spend my time searching through the videos on TRS Direct? For those of you unaware of TRS Direct, it is a prolific distributor of "too deadly#super secret...techniques the government DOES NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW" style videos.1

For the most part they are careful to not make claims that can be easily checked. But they slipped up on this one…

According to TRS Direct's advertising Ray Ellingsen is a Bail Bondsmen/Bounty Hunter in Los Angles California.2 Ray Ellingsen's advertisements state that he "is one of the most respected `bounty hunters' in the business." He spends his days "hunting down the nastiest criminals who skip bail in Los Angeles, the most dangerous `market' in the U.S.'"

Ray also claims to have trained police officers in California and Federal Agents. Ray has honed his deadly skills fighting through numerous violent encounters with criminals. "More than half of his take-downs involve serious violence."3

TRS Direct states that Ellingsen videos will teach you#

  • how to instantly "take out permanently" any attacker with a few simple moves. That's "take out permanently" as in "kill."4
  • The skills you're about to learn are so simple... so easy... and yet so viciously-effective, that they match the more "pretty" killing skills of the most elite Special Forces in the world.5
  • The single best defensive move ever created - it's all you need to know to eliminate 99% of the force of any attacker's punch or charge! (and so simple you will master it immediately, even without practice!)6
  • How to keep from being taken to the ground when attacked by multiple opponents.7

You get the idea.

Ray Ellingsen claims that he has worked both with and for the US Marshals. The TRS website states that "When Ray gets a call from the U.S. Marshals office to bring in a "skip" he is almost guaranteed an adventure that would scare the piss out of you or me."8

In 2004, Ray Ellingsen and Billy Burk gave a martial arts seminar entitled "Street Smarts to The Adventurers' Club (a private men's club located at 2433 N. Broadway, Los Angeles).

Ray's listed credentials include…

"Tactical training instructor for Los Angeles County Sheriff and U.S. Marshals. Bail enforcement officer for 1 1/2 years with the Marshals office during which he made 72 arrests of which 39 were with violent resistance. He has been in 3 knife fights and was stabbed twice in the line of duty. He is a certified knife and cane fighting instructor and only the 16th foreigner awarded 4th degree black belt by the Kyoto Academy."9

Analyzing And Investigating The Claims

First off being in three knife fights and having been stabbed twice is not a very good record, but that is neither here nor there.

Let's look at the claims. Ray is stating that the US Marshal's office calls him to bring in fugitives and that he has worked for the US Marshals for more than a year. I contacted the US Marshal Office to ask if they hire out work to bounty hunters and/or have they ever employed Ray (or Raymond) Ellingsen in any capacity. They sent me this reply.

Dear Requester:

This is in response to your above-captioned request.

Pursuant to your request, the USMS conducted a search of the records and files in the U. S. Marshals Office for the Central District of California but located no records responsive to your specific request. The USMS does not hire bail bondsmen or bounty hunters.

…the USMS conducted a search of records and files in the USMS Human Resources Division located no records showing Mr. Ellingsen was a USMS employee.


William E. Bordley

Associate General
Counsel/FOIPA Officer
Office of General Counsel

So this knocks down two important claims. First the Marshal's do not contract out work to bounty hunters and they have no records pertaining to Ray Ellingsen having worked for them.

To further nail this coffin shut I wrote the California Bail Agents Association to see if they have any records pertaining to Ray Ellingsen.


I checked the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services to see if Mr Ellingsen has a Security Guard Card or is a Licensed Private Investigator. He is neither.

Sometimes, bail fugitive recovery persons are LPI's or complete the security guard training that is required for CA certification. It appears he does not have a security guard card.

However, that does not mean he has not completed the required certifications under CA penal Code 1299.

There is no easy way to determine if someone is PC 1299 certified as the 3 required courses are taught by many different entities and they are not required to provide that information to the State.

Because the law does not have any one state agency over seeing it, many bail fugitive recovery persons in CA are not PC 1299 compliant.

I have also checked the CBAA membership roster. Unless he has joined our association recently, he is not and has not been a member the last 2 years.

I can check with other bounty hunters in the LA area to see if anyone knows of him.

Tony S.
California Bail Agents Association
Public and Media Relations Committee Chair

I wrote Tony S. a few more times. After some snooping into Ray Ellingsen, Tony stated "I put a few feelers out and those that did respond have not heard or know of him. Have you seen any of his videos? Do they look legit? I'm surprised that no one has verified his experienced yet. I have a large network of bail and recovery agents and no one knows of him. I will keep looking and will be in touch."

According to Ray's adds on TRS Direct he is both a "well known and well respected" bounty hunter but Tony S, the California bail Agents Association, and the people Tony contacted had never heard of a bounty hunter named Ray Ellingsen that operated out of Los Angles.

Tony S. states that a bounty hunter can be licensed in several ways but that does not get Ray Ellingsen off the hook. After some digging I discovered that to be a Bail Bondsmen in the state of California you have to be licensed by the California Department of Insurance.10 According to California Insurance Code Div. 1, Part 2, Ch. 7 Section 1801, you must file for one of three licenses.

  1. Bail agents' license [Section 1802]
  2. Bail permitees' license [Section 1802.5]
  3. Bail solicitors' license [Section 1803]

You must also file with the commissioner a surety bond of $1000 for proper handling of money collected [Section 1802], place a notice of appointment on file with commissioner by a surety insurer [Section 1802.1], file an application in the form prescribed by the commissioner [Section 1804], and pay applicable license fees [Section 1811]11

I contacted the California Department of Insurance to ask if they had a record for Ray (or Raymond) Ellingsen (as either a Bail Bondsmen or licensed bounty hunter) and received this reply:

We have had no one license in California by that name as a bail bondman or any other license insurance agent.

Sue H.
Producer Licensing

According to the information I received Ray Ellingsen is not now, nor has he ever been, a bail agent of bounty hunter in the state of California.

So what does Ray spend his day doing? Well, he is a commercial and film director associated with a company called Ugly Old Bird Production.12 Ray has made such memorable films as The Rain Makers (2005) starring Jake Busey (Gary Busey's son) as "Shaw." Ray Ellingsen wrote, directed, and also appeared in the movie as "Cole".13

Here is a link to Ray's IMDB listing.14

Now I sat down and watched this movie to see if the man pictured on the TRS Website matched the character of Cole.

Here is a screen capture from the movie#

Ellingsen 300 Rain Makers.jpg

And here are a couple pictures of Ray Ellingsen from TRS Direct#

Ray Ellingsen 300 Knife.jpg

Ellingsen 300.jpg

It seems clear to me that we are dealing with the same person.

So what have we found out so far? Well it seems clear that Ray Ellingsen is not and has never been a bounty hunter or bail recovery fugitive person in Los Angles, he is also not and has never worked for the U.S. Marshals in any capacity in the Los Angeles Area. Ray uses these false claims to give credibility and weight to his videos. But according to my research it is unlikely that any of it is true.

I feel certain that we can call Bullshido on the fake bounty hunter Ray Ellingsen.

Appendix: Ray Ellingsen Responds To The Investigation

Ray Ellingsen appeared on Bullshido as the user outpost in this post:

My name is Ray Ellingsen,

As per Olorin's request, I am responding to the allegations against me for a video series I was involved with through TRS (a video distribution company) over a decade ago. I was just informed yesterday that there was quite a stir regarding these videos. Obviously I was a little dismayed at being attacked without being questioned directly first, but after surfing this site I was fairly impressed at the intent of these forums, and while it is not pleasant being a sacrifical target, this is a site that is long overdue.

First off, I'm sure that anyone who has done a video for TRS will agree that TRS's advertizing style is "overly sensationalistic". I know, this is a gross understatement.

At the time the videos were done I was not terribly pleased with their ad style. I signed a waiver that assured me that " while the advertizing may seem senstionalistic, it does not outright lie". In retrospect, I suppose that it might be technically true, but it does stretch the truth beyond credibility. In the beginning I protested TRS's ads repeatedly, but after speaking with numerous other guys who experienced the same thing with their videos at TRS, I shrugged my shoulders and forgot about it.

I should however, at least set the record straight here. The TRS ad states that I am (was) a "respected bounty hunter". The only people I know of that call themselves bounty hunters are "Dog" and "Boba Fett". In 1990- 91 I directed a documentary on Bail Enforcement and in the course of that process I interviewed Ray Hawkins and Gary Stafford (fugitive recovery agents) and worked cases with them. Over the course of this we made several arrests and endured way too many dry runs. I have made arrests with them and retained the arrest records and dockets for my research. How I became a "respected bounty hunter" only TRS knows.

As for the U.S. Marshalls, while I know several individuals who work for various federal agencies (they are both students and friends), for the record, I have never personally claimed to be, nor have I ever been employed by a federal agency or been employed as a sworn peace officer. I have read several interviews that I supposedly conducted (that I did not) that have quoted me as "working with law enforcement". They were forced to print a retraction which I noticed did not get mentioned in this thread.

I have guest instructed numerous seminars and instructed 2 law enforcement departments in arrest and control tactics. If the owners of this site would like verification from the departments themselves please contact me and I will forward that information, but would ask that you be discreet and only post their names if they approve it.

There are numerous other allegations that have been posted here and I am not sure exactly what I am being accused of, but I have not attempted to misrepresent myself in any way. I cannot speak for TRS. I know Bob Pierce (TRS's owner) personally and actually like him. I know he does not hesitate to sensationalize any of his materials. He is in the business of sales and makes no appologies for that.

I do appreciate this site and hope that both the moderators and members will actually look for the truth and not abuse our freedom of speech. I have not taken offense to this as I am a martial artist who has worked very hard to learn the skills I have. I also get a little bent by posers who boast and try to elevate their reputation beyond their actual skills.

In closing, I am not responsible for the sales pitch that distributors put on the box. I sent TRS my bio (which is essentially what is written in this thread) and expected them to adhere to the facts to some extent. I have noticed that nobody has commented on the contents of the videos themselves. I expect some criticism there, after all its easy to criticize other peoples work. I'm pretty used to that. The content and techniques inside are mine.

I have done several videos over the years and the content gets a little better as time goes on. Don't we all get better if we stick with it? The last video I did (about 2 years ago) showed me two things: 1) I have gotten more proficient and 2) I should have gone on a diet before I taped it. It was originally entitled "Biomechanics", but TRS slaughtered the title (and editing) and it now bears the silly name "13 crowbars". I have no idea what that means...but rest assured the description of it on the box will be dynamic and sensational.

I look forward to Olorin's response and, while I do not keep up on these threads, I will make myself available by email.

Ray Ellingsen

Upon further questioning, Ray expanded upon his response:


There's a lot to respond to here, but I'll attempt to be thorough. No, TRS did not present my credentials in a direct manner. That, as I was told by them, would not be very exciting nor would it sell tapes. Over a decade ago (when these programs were done...on VHS) I did not think much about how TRS was selling their products and assumed they knew more about marketing their products than I did. I did not agree with them but was not confident enough put my foot down to stop it. Having a video on the market was (to me) more about documenting my skills at the time and using that to develop better techniques for the future. I know you want me to tell you directly that TRS lied, but in all fairness to them, I should have taken stronger actions to stop them. I just didn't know any better then (of course, ten years later, it is painfully obvious to me now).

With regard to fugative recovery. I learned from Ray Hawkins that only an idiot calls himself a bounty hunter, so no, I did not ever use those words. I have never referred to myself as a bounty hunter. When the tapes came out, TRS requested copies of the arrest reports and dockets (bail forfeitures from the bail bondsmen, etc...). Those were provided to TRS. Fairly mundane stuff that outlined the cases we worked for the documentary as well as Gary Staffford's case files (at the time).

While I did "ride along" a lot, Ray also turned over several cases to me and I, along with a partner, made several arrests and bookings. In 1990, picking someone up only required the bond paperwork as your warrant. The cases I handled consisted mostly of being a glorified taxi driver. We picked the skips up early in the morning at their homes and in one case, at the guy's work (at a Circle K). And yes, we were paid for this (although I cannot recall the bail amounts, of which we were paid a percentage of).

You are correct that I need to be more responsible for things that are advertized about me. Unfortunately, as I have said, I did not assert myself due to my lack of experience in the video market at the time. I would like to think that in the last decade I have become a little more astute in how I am represented. The last video I worked on for TRS was two years ago, and while I have not seen their advertizing for it (or the project itself on the market) I have been assured by TRS that it portrays my experience accurately. It does not have anything to do with fugative recovery as I have not been involved in that world for well over 15 years.

I have no current interest in the video market for martial arts instructional content and have not for some time. The last video I participated in two years ago was a final culmination of what I have learned and I was happy to be able to document it. I do not agree with TRS's sensationalistic ad style and never have. I have no intentions of ever working with them again for numerous reasons. I have nothing against Bob Pierce personally and while I do not endorse TRS's advertizing methods, I do not judge them either. I was trying to make a living at the time of those videos and presented the techniques (content) responsibly. I cannot dispute that the box description was horribly inaccurate.

Mr. Browning seems to have already judged and sentanced me. I do not blame him based on the information on the surface, however, if he must judge me, then judge me on the content inside the programs. For that I will hapily abide by his criticism. The intention for those instructional tapes, as well as the program I directed entitled "the magnificent seven", starring seven very talented martial artists, was to present numerous self-defense concepts and to document them. If you watch the content you will see that I do not advocate any irresponsible actions nor do I sensationalize any techniques. I am truly regretful that those intentions have been tainted by lurid advertizing.

I hope that my candid responses have conveyed my intentions. I appreciate Olorin's straight forward questions and hope I have been as direct in kind. I am not interested in a protracted interrogation, hence the reason for me responding both timely and honestly to you. As I have stated before, I do not follow the martial arts world very actively anymore but I did want to avail myself to respond to this subject. The best of luck with your website.

Oh yeah, about the rubber bullet thing...it's a long story, but Olorin, if you want to email me sometime you are more than welcome to come hang out on the set with me during the film I'm working on this summer and I'll tell you all about it.

Ray Ellingsen