One of my students came across you page in which you slander our organization. Since you and I have never spoken nor had official correspondence I can only wonder how you came to your conclusion.
Our attorney will be notified tomorrow to begin action against you. I have forwarded a copy of this email to the FCC as evidence of internet fraud. I have also copied your page into my hard drive so that you cannot change it now and later deny your slander. I also intend to notify all others on your website you have written slanderous and liable remarks about so that they may also pursue legal action against you.
(the quote from the site was included as follows)
Some organizations exist only to issue rank certificates to those stupid enough to send them money. Most require no verification of claims of ranks, you just send them money and they send you an "official" looking certificate. Some of these mills require you to send a resume of your claims of rank or an application, however, they do not verify the truth of the claims, so the requirement is just part of the scam. Check out this mill: (link to the organization), it not only issues rank for the earth, it apparently issues rank for the universe.
1) We do require proof of rank to "certify" existing rank or promote anyone. We do know how to recognize fraudulent certificates and do not honor them.
2) We do require video of person's requesting testing for promotion as well as copies of current rank certificates for our records.
Your claims are fraudulent and absurd. You have publicly slandered a respected organization, it's Board Members, and all its' members without knowledge of the truth. You have 24 hours in which to remove your false claims or face civil and criminal prosecution. In the martial arts we teach honor, respect, and integrity. The way to make an organization grow is not through slander and liable comments but by working hard to help others learn and "earn" respect in their chosen arts (as expressed by this email I presume). The path you have chosen will only hurt you and your organization in the end and is not in keeping with the martial spirit.
Since this email is from a certificate mill, the converstion is lenthy.
First a few legal definitions:
- Defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person or entity, which causes that person or entity to suffer harm.
- Slander is the making of non-fixed defamatory statements, such as spoken words.
- Libel is the making of fixed defamatory statements, such as words published in a magazine or newspaper, or on the Internet.
An absolute defense to an action for defamation is the “truth;” if the statements are true, there is no defamation. Another defense is "opinion,” everyone has the right to state an opinion. As stated on the Read First page of the TKDTutor.com web site, the site expresses the opinion of TKDTutor, other opinions may differ.
Some organizations are rank “recognizing” organizations. Their claim is that they do not issue rank, they only recognize existing rank. However, a person receiving “recognition” from the organization receives a certificate with the claimed rank on it. Then the person adds this certificate to his or her resume as further proof of rank legitimacy.
Some organizations are rank “issuing” organizations. They issue certificates that certify a person’s rank within that organization. Since there are no laws governing rank certifications, the legitimacy of the rank depends upon the legitimacy of the organization within the martial arts community.
Rank issuing organizations have various requirements for the issuance of rank certificates. In my opinion, legitimate organizations are ones that, before they issue rank, require the person:
- be trained in person by a certified instructor of the organization,
- be tested in person by certified instructor, or group of instructors, of the organization,
- and be recommended for rank by a certified instructor of the organization after such testing.
Rank recognizing organizations have various methods to send proof of rank before they recognize rank, but all methods of proof are subject to fraud and there is no economical way to verify all claims of rank. All it takes is one fraudulent rank certificate to start the process. That one fraudulent rank certificate is used to obtain rank or recognition from one organization, and then that organization’s certificate is used to apply for a certificate from another organization, etc. Using modern technology, such as scanners, crooked web sites, and Photoshop, realistic certificates may be made or obtained for practically any thing. People print cash on color copiers that fools banks. Fake paintings fool art experts. If experts in fraud can be fooled by documents, then martial art organizations can certainly be fooled by phony rank certificates—if they even care.
In my opinion, most rank recognizing organizations do not care if the rank proof is legitimate, they only exist to make money, and you make money by issuing 25 cent certificates and charging tens or hundreds of dollars. They offer nothing beneficial to the applicant other than the initial recognition and sometimes further recognition by having recognition banquets, halls of fame listings, etc. Recognizing organizations also tend to recognize and promote each other. This allows each to use the other as a reference in an attempt to show their legitimacy.
Legitimate rank issuing organizations, have member schools, instructors, and students and only issue rank to their members. They have written requirements that are strictly adhered to so as to maintain the integrity and legitimacy of the organization. Without strictly enforced, high standards of professional conduct, management, and rank certification that is generally recognized by everyone in the martial arts community, an organization may easily only exist on a computer hard drive in someone’s farm house.
In my opinion a certificate mill is an entity that exists to issue rank certificates. If you send the money and some sort of proof of rank, you get the certificate. I think it is interesting that while you think I do not have the right to think your organization is fraudulant, you think that you have the right to judge a person's proof of rank is fraudlant just by looking at it.
An individual school or instructor, or group of school and instructors, may issue rank certificates. If they make no claims otherwise, such as claims of international status based upon a few students in another country, the legitimacy of that rank is determined by the students and their status in their martial arts community. If students are satisfied with the situation, then all is good. However, once the student leaves that school or group of schools, the legitimacy of the rank is determined by the standing of the school and instructor in the martial arts community in general. They may find their rank is practically worthless
I was a black belt for 25 years with one organization and, when I joined Taekwondo America, I had to start over again as a white belt and work my way up the ranks just as everyone else. To be respected by my fellow students and other students in the organization, that is the way it should have been.
Legitimacy is not all inclusive. One may operate a legitimate martial art school but operate a certificate mill on the side. One may have a legitimate martial art organization with strict rank control, but still be a rip-off because of excessive fees and charges.
From what I observed on your web site, your organization appears to issue rank based only on “proof” sent by applicants , a video of the person (doing what, I don’t know), and the claim that the organization has the ability to verify that proof before taking the money and issuing the rank certificate. As stated above, fake professional appearing certificates abound and a video can be of anyone, not necessarily the applicant. An organization concerned with its integrity in the martial arts community would not issue certificates based upon hearsay, it would only issue certificates based upon the completion of its own rank progression curriculum and the recommendation of its own certified instructors based on their personal observation of the person’s behavior and martial art skills. I wouldn’t want my organization to be issuing a rank certificate based on the proof sent by a convicted child molester or a convict.
All navy personnel recognize and salute a marine general but that does mean the navy will make the general an admiral, or even an honorary admiral, even if he or she can show proof of his or her marine rank. An initiated navy chief (E-7) will recognize and show respect to a marine gunnery sergeant (E-7) but the chief will never consider the sergeant an equal within the chief’s mess or call the sergeant a chief. In fact, chiefs do not consider an uninitiated navy E-7 to be a real chief. I recognize and respect a Judo black belt, but in Taekwondo class, the person is just another Taekwondo student, the Judo rank is meaningless.
Neither I, nor any one else for that matter, can meet everyone. We all make opinions on people, or organizations, without ever meeting the actual people. After all, we have an opinion of presidential candidates and elect one as President based upon those opinions without ever meeting the candidates. We can only base our opinions upon input from our five senses, mainly seeing and hearing. In my opinion, based on what I read on your web site and my above stated reasons, your organization would seem to qualify as a certificate mill. If your organization is not a certificate mill, then I apologize.
I did not mention your site as a specific attack upon you or your organization; I merely mentioned it as one example of what, in my opinion. was a certificate mill. If is not a mill, then when people visited your site they saw that my opinion was wrong.
II have changed the fraud section of the TKDTutor.com web site to let readers form their own opinions as to the legitimacy of instructors and organizations rather than expressing my own opinion on specific ones. As in elections, we will let the people decide.
Counter reply from organizaion
Thank you for your email. I forwarded it to the Board member that had brought your page to my attention and below is his response.
The Board member in (deleted some identifying words) does not like seeing our organization listed with a bunch of others for "the people" to decide whether he is a legitimate martial artist or not. He is one of the best (martial art) teachers I have even seen or known and I know all our Board Members personally.
The fact that you are trying to educate people is wonderful. The fact that you do it in a manner that "leads" people to think or assume that organizations other than your own may be less legitimate is not so wonderful.
As a leader I always try to look out for my students and members of (the organization). Please remove "ALL" references and links to ;my organization and its web pages from your website. This includes the link on the "you decide" page. I thought this issue had already been resolved and had accepted your (the organization) from the reference listed there.
If you are ever in my area please feel free to stop by, meet me in person, and watch me teach my students. Please talk to them and ask them about our organization. Talk to the parents and look at my certifications. There are no frauds, forgeries, or exaggerated claims of rank or experience. I am sure you were also taught to never judge a book by its cover. (Deleted some identifying sentences)
I am always open to suggestions, constructive criticism, or use feedback in case you have any suggestions as to how I could change my web pages in order to avid any future misunderstandings. (Deleted some identifying sentences)
Attached email from the board member
This guy still has your organization on his site and he eludes to it being a fraud. Check out the "You Decide" section, he has the (the organization) listed with phonies like Ashida Kim. (seems they can have opinions about others but no one can have opinions about them) (Deleted some identifying sentences)
Don't mean to stir the pot (anytime someone says they don't mean to do something and then they do it anyway, it really means that they meant to do it), but this guy has a hard-on for the (the organization), or you, or both. He did change the initial area of concern from what I could tell. Maybe you should drive down here and kick his ass that may convince him that the(the organization) is a legitimate organization. Good luck, he seems to have a lot of time on his hands. (Deleted some identifying sentences)
TKDTutor final reply
It is always nice to get email from a "master" who believes in the martial art philosophy that violence is not the way to handle everything.
I crafted a detailed answer to your email, but after I finished, I decided not to send it. It would probably just illicit more threats from you, your organization, or its members.
The ‘You Decide’ page had your organization’s link listed along with links to the American Taekwondo Association, the Taekwondo America organization (the one to which I am a member), and other organizations. You can’t get any more “fair and balanced” than that. Some readers may have decided they liked your organization better than they liked one of the other organizations. However, it appears your organization wants to avoid all public scrutiny.
As per your request, I have removed all links to your organization, and any mention thereof, from the site.
TKDTutor.com receives nearly one million visitors (individual visitors, not page hits) a year (about 2500 a day); visitors affiliated with all martial art styles or just interested in choosing a martial art. After reading the information on the site, many visitors ask for my opinion of a particular art, school, or organization.
Thanks for the invitation to visit your school, but I think I will avoid any further contact with your organization and, when asked, will advise others to do the same.
My opinion can be proven wrong. When this happens, I change my opinion, apologize if necessary, and correct my written opinion. My opinion is influenced by facts, logic, and reason, not by threats and innuendos. In this case, my sarcasm in the questioned entry was not necessary, so I apologized and changed the section in question. The one word that so offended the organization and drew the threats was the word "mill" being used in context with their organization. My opinion of the organization being a mill (one that "recognizes" claimed rank for a fee) was not changed by the claimed legal threats, since they were baseless; however, there are some unstable people in the world and when they even hint at violence it is best to not deal with them. In the martial arts, we learn about escalation of force; to start with trying to reason with a person and, if that does not work, then we move to the next level, etc. Since this organization prefers to start with threats rather than facts, logic, and reason to defend their organization, I removed the link to the organization and severed communications with the organization. In this case, the bullies won.
NOTE: This organization was since disappeared.