Without Writing

The art of writing without writing… about fighting.

Category Archives: Martial Arts Frauds

Empty Force and Empty Promises

Another exposé of no-touch knockout bullcrap has been doing the rounds. In this one, a wonderful group of skeptics attended an “open seminar” by a Finnish pseudo-martial artist named Jukka Lampila.

Those courageous skeptical fool-smokers really did a number on him, specifically by asking a set of very basic questions, by not flinging themselves in the direction of his pats, wafts, prods and pokes and generally not being willing accomplices to his cultish buffoonery.

I could spend the entirety of this post taunting his poor, misguided followers that leap into the air and fling themselves on the floor at the slightest provocation, and metaphorically shaking my head in disbelief that he’s probably still teaching the same nonsense back home, even after this very public experience. But this would not be the best use of anyone’s time, and I’ve already done it so often in the past relating to similar incidents, that it would be redundant.

Instead I’d like to take the opportunity to address two points. Read more of this post

The Perniciousness of Mimicry

This is not a bee.

In an old blog entry on the subject of Steven “Runs Like a Girl” Seagal, the martial teacher and commentator Steve Morris noted that the secret to the success of liars like Seagal is that they are able to convince people of their ability, despite the fact that they lack ability. He stated:

“their greatest talent does not lie in what they get paid for doing, but in their ability to get people to believe that what they do is for real and what they say is true.”

This is the art of the mimic. In nature, a mimic is something which has- through the process of natural selection- evolved over countless generations an uncanny similarity to another thing, be that thing an inanimate object, a part of a plant, or another animal. This similarity offers protection from predators… Or disguises the mimic’s dangerousness, depending on the type of camouflage employed. Read more of this post

Harry Cook Update

Just a quick one.

Henry Wilson Cook, better known as “Harry”, has admitted in court to committing the latest plethora of dire and disgusting crimes he has been charged with.

I blogged recently about the rather depressing obviousness of Cook’s failings as man and as a martial arts instructor, and noted that even if Cook hadn’t been a disgusting sexual predator, he would still have been a predator of sorts: one who preys on the gullibility of the average person, and sells them a crock of useless “martial” skills to make a buck for himself.

There are predators in all walks of life. Not necessarily sexual predators, but mental predators. Predators writing for the mainstream press, predators working as MPs, predators who manage financial institutions… all these predators will take your livelihood- if you let them- and will run off and buy expensive stuff with your hard earned cash, for themselves.

Let us make sure when reading about Cook’s sexual misdeeds that we do not forget that he was one of these predators; that he was also guilty of the lesser- but still insidious- moral crime of lying to people and charging for goods (karate) that were not fit for purpose.

The Without Writing Biggest Disservice to Martial Arts Award, 2011

A belated happy new year, one and all. 2011 was an interesting year in combat. Many great fights were fought, many interesting techniques were demonstrated in front of millions, and many interesting news stories discussed the implications of crime, violence and self defence.

But who pooped in the proverbial pudding, last year? Of all the party guests, which one was the most objectionable?

Ladies and germs, I provide you with: The Without Writing “Biggest Disservice to Martial Arts Award”, 2011. Read more of this post

The Case of Harry Cook, and Abuses by Authority Figures

There have been many scandals associated with martial arts teachers in the past. Most have simply been exposés of teachers’ lack of credentials, but in the odd case there have been more serious issues unearthed. Such is the case with one Mr Henry Wilson “Harry” Cook,  who was for the majority of his lifetime one of the most prominent and most feted Karate teachers in the UK.

Harry Cook: Self confessed paedophile and rapist. Who’d have thought?

Harry Cook has, over the past six months, been remanded in a prison in Durham, and has- bit by bit- admitted committing 14 counts of sexual assault- primarily against minors- over a twenty year period. He has, as of 31 October, been charged with 29 counts in addition to these, including charges such as sexual assault and taking and possessing indecent images and videos of children. In other words, he is a self-confessed paedophile and rapist of children. Read more of this post

Skillfulness and Unskillfulness

Buddhism has long been associated with the Chinese martial arts. There is an old legend (often wheeled out erroneously as a fact) that some of the first organised forms of Chinese martial arts were born when a buddhist bodhisattva (a person who has totally dedicated themselves towards seeking enlightenment and liberation) from India came to China and taught the monks of a temple called Shao Lin (Mountain-forest) the rudiments of buddhist breathing meditation.

This prototype “Chi Gung” or “Energy work” became the basis of the increasingly demanding physical workouts for the monks, which (so the legend says) evolved into martial forms of Shaolin Gung Fu, which then evolved into various southern and northern styles of Gung Fu, and were re-worked and exported to other nations such as Indonesia, the Phillipines and Japan. Read more of this post

The Power and the Story and the Lack of Recognition of Steve Morris

It’s about time I dedicated a whole post to Steve Morris. Not because I’m one of his fanboys, (of which there are few enough, despite his obvious ability and outgoing personality) but because the case of Mr Morris illustrates several points about the martial arts as a whole, and yes, even some points about human nature as a whole.

Some background: Mr Morris is the quintessential martial artist. By all accounts he has studied more martial arts than most people have ever heard of, in places most martial artists have never visited. (Despite the art they’re studying having originated there.) Read more of this post

Sofos News Update Alert Update!!!!11

An update on our favourite fraudster’s media exposure: The recent article by one Tom Foot that was discovered in the Camden New Journal has also appeared in the Islington Tribune (presumably a sister paper of some sort), and a similar though slightly less fawning piece has appeared on the Barnet Today website, under the byline of one Daniel O’Brien. 

This latter article at least demotes Sofos from “Kung Fu Master” to “Kung Fu Teacher”, and likewise downgrades him from having “Taught Lennox Lewis and Steven Seagal” to having “Trained with” those two… but it’s still a pack of Sofos’ own lies, parroted back relatively uncritically by a journalist who simply can’t be bothered to fact-check his stories. Read more of this post

Sofos strikes back… against illness

Sidney’s in the press again. I wondered why he had been so quiet for so long. Apparently it was an enforced absence. 

According to this “human interest” article published in a local London newspaper this very month,  Mr Sofos recently had life-saving surgery to correct a heart problem. Some of the article consists of Sid thanking his cardiologist for saving the aforementioned life of Sid. (all credit for spotting this fantastic literary farce goes to one Mr Peter, who kindly commented on the original Sofos article on this blog) Read more of this post

How To Spot a Fraud

While discussing my blog post on Sid Sofos (and people like him) with some friends, the following question came up: Is there a hard and fast way of spotting those in the field of martial arts who wish to pull the wool over your eyes by giving you ineffective techniques, and taking your money in the process?

It’s true that Sofos is a painfully obvious example of a completely fake, totally meritless excuse for a martial arts instructor. But people still seem to have been taken in by him, especially those without previous martial arts experience. So how can prospective martial artists possibly protect themselves from frauds who are more convincing than Sofos? And let’s face it, any fraud will be more convincing than Sofos. Read more of this post