Note: This article was originally supposed to be posted on Return of Kings, but was rejected due to Roosh and Winston not wanting to risk a legal snafu. I, in contrast, am much more foolhardy.
As most of you have been able to elucidate from my body of work, I am a martial artist. And I also try to encourage others to study worthwhile martial arts, as well as general physical fitness. Many other people have the same idea, but as anyone with a passing familiarity with the field can tell you, there is a lot of bullshit in the world of martial arts. Incompetent instructors teaching overly-ornate, half-baked techniques at best, and outright fanciful delusions at worst. They are also categorized by ignorance of the cultures they are allegedly representing, and general unprofessional behavior.
There are certainly incompetent and unprofessional fitness trainers as well, but for various reasons (namely, the “exoticism” of martial arts that gives them a built in “bluff”), there are more incompetent martial arts instructors than other types of trainers, and for these same reasons they make more spectacular failures…such that a cheeky internet personality can make a mocking review of?
Not wanting any of my readers who are beginners in martial arts (and fitness in general) to fall for these hucksters, this article will be the first in a semi-recurring series of profiles of either faux-martial arts masters, or faux-fitness trainers, which are intended to show you the tricks and scams they run on their clientele, and how to avoid them or similar hucksters. Suggestions for future profiles are more than welcome-the About page has my email, or you can use Twitter.
An infamous, almost quintessential example of the money-grubbing faux-sensei (who we shall be profiling today) is the one and only Ashida Kim, used as the opening image, a”martial artist” and “author” in only the most technical definitions of those words.
Where to begin talking about the colossal display of incompetence and malfeasance that is the life and times of Mr. Kim? A very good place to start is with the fact that he is actually a white man named Radford Davis from California. That alone is not bad enough-he’s certainly not the first white personality to take on a fake Oriental name: observe the famous stage magician Chung Ling Soo, real name William Robinson, most notable for dying on stage after attempting to perform a bullet catching trick (As a side note, yes, I do have a very eclectic set of interests and reading material).
No, what makes Ashida Kim’s stage name a cut above—rather, below—the rest is that it mixes and matches two Asian cultures: Combining a Japanese forename with a Korean surname shows his utter ignorance of either culture, particularly the Japanese culture that his brand of “ninjitsu” is supposed to represent.
As you can see by this video, his martial arts are a bunch of crap that requires a compliant partner to perform properly. But in my last martial arts article on Return of Kings, I promised a rabbit hole of insanity, and here is that first step into the Realms of the Unintelligent (or perhaps the second, if you watched the video review above that constitutes my side project): a video in which Ashida Kim claims that he is capable of levitation.
I very well could stop there, but there’s a lot more inanity to discuss:
Going to one of his websites, one is capable of purchasing a black belt, a certificate declaring mastery, and a card doing the same, for his fictional martial art. In fact, the website Bullshido.org caught Kim in a sting operation for doing so.
Beyond this, his eponymous website posits a legalese-filled “$10,000 fighting challenge” which is in fact worded in a way that gives him every possible opportunity to weasel out of a prospective challenge:
Namely, due to him being so above any prospective challenger, you have to pay him $10,000 dollars—“the standard fee for a professional fighter of my caliber”, of course—as well as a $25,000 dollar appearance fee. In addition to these, the bout must be done in a public arena with a paying audience, and the challenged (ie: him) must receive half of the gate. Even if he were to lose, he’d end up winning.
He has also gone on record with the state of Florida as filing frivolous lawsuits, and with the state of Massachussetts as lying about his financial status to get a court-appointed attorney.
Not financially related, but worth pointing out: His Wikipedia page was removed due to its Edit and Talk pages being a dumpster fire of trolling, flaming, and cross-editing, all of which Kim himself actively participated in.
All in all, his resume is not an admirable one.
Ashida Kim represents, in my opinion, everything wrong with martial arts and martial arts instruction: Ignorance of Asian cultures, propagation of useless and fantastical techniques, cowardice, fraud, and seeking nothing more than fame and a quick buck. I am aware that I am not the first man to have a bone to pick with Ashida Kim, but I decided to profile him first for the above stated reasons.
Oh, and he once wrote a book titled “The Amorous Adventures of Ashida Kim” which I have not read, but considering the rest of his writings, I’d imagine that this isn’t exactly worth reading.
If anybody would be willing to donate $35,000 dollars to be to take him up on his challenge, I’ve set up a Patreon-mainly because Kickstarter wanted my social security number. In all seriousness, take heed of what this article says, and observe the common traits of frauds, and learn to avoid them.