Sandbox:Bryan Lee Bondurant

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia


Bryan Lee Bondurant, known on Bullshido as ar549, is a controversial poster with a penchant for confrontation, wild accusations, and self-identification as a retired U.S. Army soldier. However, his past, his knowledge, and his courage do not match up to his pretensions. He ducked a sparring offer after accepting it, he refused to provide the degree of disclosure about his past that he demanded of others, his investigative contributions were mixed at best, and his military background does not qualify him to criticize others.

ar549: As He Sees Himself

Bondurant presented himself as the toughest of the tough guys.

He was attached to his identity as a retired Army soldier to an extraordinary degree. He criticized Phil Elmore for his lack of military background, which is true but hardly relevant. He even once referred to his area of residence as his "AO", an inappropriate use of a military term which did not go unremarked by other members. He even threatened one Bullshido member for speaking badly of the Army's martial arts training program.

This obsession culminated in an attempt to blame Marc Denny for allegedly shielding a fraud. Denny, a founding member of the Dog Brothers, was supportive of teacher Dr. Maung Gyi, a talented martial artist who lied about past military service. Denny grudgingly acknowledged Gyi's past fraud, but pointed to Gyi's public admission of guilt and his demonstrable martial arts skills as reasons to continue working with him. He also cast blame on Gyi's investigators, including Bondurant and the POW Network, which was clearly unjust.

In response, Bondurant made a considerable effort to taint Marc Denny and the Dog Brothers by association with Gyi. Most Bullshido members were unconvinced; the Dog Brothers are reputable, and they did not attempt to shield Gyi from inquiries into his past. Bondurant's motivation was obviously personal. He admitted that his dispute amounted to "a personal feud with Denny". His attempt was ultimately unsuccessful.

Bondurant was fond of other forms of self-aggrandizement as well, and these also invited the criticism of Bullshido members. Whether he was giving out generic muay thai training and travel advice or presenting the results of elementary Google searches as his own knowledge, he met with harsh responses. He claimed to live in "a compound with a 7ft concrete wall around one half acre and steel security bars on all windows and doors".

The facts behind the facade were considerably less impressive.

Master Of All Trades, Jack Of None?

Bondurant got a lot of his facts wrong when criticizing others. He incurred criticism for his imprecise use of gun terminology, his recommendation of a pistol on the basis that it was effective for pistol-whipping, his advice to carry a fire extinguisher full of pepper spray for self-defense, and various other ridiculous statements.

This made Bullshido members wonder about Bondurant's background and credentials.

Put Up Or Shut Up

People had enough of Bondurant within a month and a half of his first appearance. Bullshido member Red Elvis demanded that he give his credentials for making so many claims of expertise. Bondurant remained evasive, while simultaneously continuing to make tough-sounding claims: "I have to obey the UCMJ unlike some other civillians" (implying current military service or obligations), "At the time I had just spent a few years breaking horses..." (irrelevant, but invoking the romance of the cowboy image), an offer to show his military credentials to anyone who would meet him "inside a secured U.S. Military Compound in Bangkok" (implying access to secure facilities and a need for such security).

Bullshido member fatherdog took Bondurant up on that offer, additionally proposing that they spar in order to establish his martial arts abilities. Bondurant initially accepted the offer, but later said that he would only offer a DD-2 as a credential. A DD-2 can establish anything from active to retired status, but does not contain details of a soldier's service, which would be necessary in order to establish subject matter expertise.

fatherdog therefore asked Bondurant to bring his DD-214. This request was met with hostility, panic, and a retraction of the offer to meet fatherdog, extending even to the offer to spar.

Ducking your own challenge is a serious matter on Bullshido, and fatherdog called Bondurant out on his cowardice. Bondurant's responses were unconvincing, and he was ultimately assigned a blinking pink caption announcing him as a liar and a coward.

This left unresolved the matter of Bondurant's actual service. Nobody had seen his detailed records, and for almost three years, nobody would.

Inspector Cloulesse: Bondurant Plays Detective

Bondurant continued his vendetta against Marc Denny, criticizing him for failing to screen the purchasers of his knife-fighting DVDs, continuing to decry his connection to Maung Gyi, and so on.

He broadened his self-granted mandate to include any number of respected people in the martial arts, such as Rick Faye and Carl Cestari. He also attacked Filipino martial arts as a whole. None of these efforts produced any new information or resulted in an interesting investigative finding.

Bondurant made occasional efforts to establish his credentials as an investigation participant. In some cases, he reported the work of other entities without adding any original research. In others, he targeted people who might warrant investigation, but never supplied any useful evidence or leads to do so.

Even when he found legitimate information, as he did in the discussion of Gabriel Suarez, his underlying agendas (in this case, smearing Marc Denny by association) prevented him from performing any useful followup or producing an article.

In minor matters such as looking up records, he could be useful, as he was in the investigations of Robert Redfeather and Moni Azik, but left to his own devices, he exhibited poor judgment and little ability to distinguish promising subjects from unpromising ones.

This tendency was never more apparent than when he targeted Neal "Phrost" Fletcher, the proprietor of Bullshido, for allegedly making false claims about his military service:

This investigation is in the final stages. Here are some of the initial results, this is also a chance for Neal Fletcher to add any documentation that would help set the record straight on his military background.

Subsequent activity on the thread revealed that Bondurant had not established any sort of case against Fletcher. Furthermore, Fletcher himself promptly supplied supporting documentation upon request, and even more when it too was demanded. This made it clear that Bondurant had never requested this evidence before he entered "the final stages" of his investigation.

Bondurant was in turn asked to produce his own documentation. If he demanded it of others, surely it was reasonable for him to supply it. He refused, and on September 3, 2009, Fletcher banned Bondurant from Bullshido.

Chuck Hardin, also known as Bullshido member Cy Q. Faunce, decided to find out the facts about Bondurant's service, with or without his cooperation.

Military Service, Of A Sort

Hardin's FOIA request for Bondurant's military records from the National Personnel Records Center produced the following:



Bondurant told the truth about certain, limited things. He was retired from Army service with a rank of E-2 (Private). His history of duty stations suggests a possible reason for the apparent inconsistency:

Date Duty MOSC Principal Duty Organization and Station or Oversea Country
851127 860210 DEP  
860211 - Enlistment USARECSTA FT DIX NJ
860221 67700 BCT CO E 4th Bn 3d Bde, Ft Dix, NJ
860419 67T00 AIT STUCLS #48-86 Co H 2nd Bn TS Bde Ft Eustis, VA
880119 -- PLACED ON TDRL  

For those unfamiliar with military terminology, a translation follows:

Bondurant went into the Army under the Delayed Entry Program on November 27, 1985. He reported for Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Dix on February 11, 1986.

On April 18, 1986, Bondurant was transferred to Fort Eustis for MOS-specific training. Specifically, he was trained to be a helicopter repairman, and he apparently did well enough, for on August 8, 1986, he was transferred to Germany to serve in that MOS (67T10).

On June 12, 1987, we see a problem: Bondurant was sent to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. This suggests a serious problem; a hospital in Germany could have dealt with most ordinary medical issues. His further transfer to the "MHC" could refer either to a Mental Health Clinic or to the Medical Holding Company.

Eventually he was placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List. This is a measure taken by the Army if they believe a service member's disability might be resolved within five years. Bondurant would have been required to undergo an examination within 18 months of separation, followed by other exams as the Army required them, to determine if he was fit to re-enlist. The Army is not required to re-enlist people on the TDRL even if they recover, and apparently Bondurant didn't tempt them to give it another go. His service ended there.

To sum up: Bondurant spent less than a year in any phase of military service which did not involve delayed entry, training, or hospitalization.


Bondurant is a severe critic of the military service of others, but his own service was of no credit to himself and of little use to his country. His cowardice in ducking an offer to spar after having accepted it is of a piece with his substandard service and character. His minimal usefulness as an investigator does not remedy his catalogue of failures.