Article by Chuck Hardin.
Rob Redmond is the administrator of 24 Fighting Chickens, a Shotokan karate website with an extensive collection of useful articles. Bullshido's investigation concludes that Redmond has not made any false claims, and is a legitimate and knowledgeable karateka.
Call For Investigation
Bullshido member KirkSpockMcCoy started a thread on Bullshido on February 21, 2007, about Redmond and his website. His tone was harsh:
I would say 24 Fighting Chickens (www.24fightingchickens.com), popular karate website, is a lot of crap. Rob Redmond heavily edits all the replies to his articles, so that it appears as if he always wins the argument. I have posted very good points contrary to his views and he deletes them without warning, in order to avoid his embarrassment.
Also, it is clear to me now that Rob engages in Shotokan bashing just to gain attention for himself, maybe even to earn extra income. Recently he has been heavily promoting his 'Kata' book, a pictureless e-book expensive at 25 dollars! Pretty expensive consdidering he incurs no publishing and papaer costs! This guy is full of shit.
I also wonder about whether he really knows what he is talking about, because oftentimes his thoughts seem to come from someone who isn't even proficient enough to deserve a blackbelt. One example is his lack of understanding of the use of hikite, he thinks it has no value and only represents pulling the opponent towards you, forgetting that it plays a strong role in the overall rotation of the torso. Also, Rob has NEVER posted anything on his site to demonstrate that he has good karate skills. He has never posted himself in action, whether in photos or video doing some basic technique or kata. All he does is talk karate but there is no demonstration that he can do as well as talk. If ever you meet this guy in person, I bet if you have the chance to see it, he probably can't even do his basics properly. Feel free to kick his diabetic ass.
This was a provocative post, and drew a strong response from members of Bullshido. However, the response was probably not what KirkSpockMcCoy had hoped for.
Reaction to the Call for Investigation
Many Bullshido members were already familiar with Redmond and his website, and thought well of it. Samuel Browning spoke in favor of the content of the site and rejected the idea that Redmond misrepresented himself. Member Gezere, a black belt in Kyokushin karate, agreed that Redmond was not guilty of self-aggrandizement, and said he enjoyed the discussions on 24 Fighting Chickens.
Member DerAuslander108 was even harsher, calling KirkSpockMcCoy's credentials into question and criticizing his poor logic and lack of proof of any real wrongdoing by Redmond. Member G8 pointed out that Redmond's essays were well-regarded, and that his criticisms of common Shotokan practices were "probably the reason he draws attackers such as [KirkSpockMcCoy]".
Rob Redmond himself showed up in the thread:
I don't know that I can contribute anything to this discussion, really. Everything anyone here would be interested to know about me is on my site. My body of writing is fairly direct in style and should tell anyone what they would want to know about my martial arts training.
I am certainly no full-contact fighter and never claimed that ever. I'm 39 years old, 185 pounds, 6 feet tall, and I train almost exclusively alone these days due to time and distance constraints. I have two children (boys) - one 5, the other 1, who are too young imo to join me in a Karate class, so I don't really have time to get away from the job and house to hit it at a dojo these days. I train in my basement five days a week for 30-45 minute stretches. Mostly I do Shotokan basics and kata - the purpose of that training is to elevate my heart rate and dispense of blood sugar as I have type 1 diabetes and heart attack/stroke/circulation problems are my most dangerous opponent these days.
Even when I was in my top form, however, I was a mediocre Shotokan point fighter. I just don't believe I have the genetics to be a really successful tournament competitor.
That being said, I don't really view a Shotokan point fighter as a "fighter." More like an athletic competitor. It's not really fighting when no one has teeth knocked out, is it?
I don't recommend kata as performance art only. I say that the Japanese do them that way. I don't recommend kata as anything in particular. I recommend an individualist approach and that each person take from their Karate training (or any other experience) what they want and what suits their own individual purposes - not what some book, organization, or instructor says you should.
If you like having teeth knocked out - more power to you. If you like training with kids and barely breaking a sweat, good for you. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me how people do martial arts.
The anonymous poster above is correct that I deleted a couple of his comments, and now he is restricted from posting further. I generally take a disliking to anyone that posts repeated demands that I do what they say on my web site. This guy has logged in as multiple people on my site over the last six months, and during our recent email exchange said some unkind things that led me to no longer want to waste my time on him. I don't remove comments to make myself "look good."
If I cared about looking good, I probably wouldn't have a cartoon chicken for a symbol.
Imagine that - a guy with a "You guys doing Shotokan act like dorks sometimes" web site being a lightning rod for karate psychopaths. WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT? …
Bullshido is a great web site. We all have some important principles in common, some things not in common, but I have a lot more respect for rudely standing up in the face of thoughtless doctrine and BS claims than I do for swallowing the Karate Kool-Aid and becoming a zombie.
You guys rock! Keep up the good work.
Redmond also provided photographic proof of his Shotokan credentials:
This was a complete and reasonable response to the initial call for investigation, and although KirkSpockMcCoy made many more argumentative posts in the thread, he never produced any proof of his allegations of exaggerated claims. In the end, he apologized grudgingly for his accusations, and the thread was locked.
KirkSpockMcCoy sought to discredit Robert Redmond, but only succeeded in discrediting himself. Bullshido has no outstanding investigative issues with Redmond.