Mostly, I just sit here. Mostly.
Posted On:8/05/2006 7:44pm
This article is the second in a series about Coda Scott, Master Instructor of True Power Martial Arts Academy. You can read the original article here and the resulting 860+ post thread here.
On Monday, July 31 of 2006, Olorin, Tetsu, and I met with the staff of True Power Martial Arts Academy, a sizeable chunk of their students and parents, a few interested 3rd parties, and my MMA instructor Doug. Originally, the plan was for the Bullshido crew- 3 or 4 people tops- to meet with Mr. Scott and his staff with one interested 3rd party on hand, Jared and Adam of Unified Martial Arts who until very recently shared a building with Coda Scott. Naturally, things got out of hand; a gathering which should not have seen more than 12 rather saw something along the lines of 40.
While it seems evident that this last minute change in the seating arrangements- yes, there were seating arrangements- was intended to make things worse on those of us openly questioning Coda Scott, it ultimately worked out well and if nothing else exposed a great deal of Coda’s students and their parents to the idea that he is not what he claims to be. It is my most fervent hope that those present for the meeting are reading this now, take in what we have learned, and seriously think about their association with the man who signs his letters “Master Scott”.
When we arrived, the four of us, the Bullshido squad and Doug, were assigned to one side of the rather spacious True Power Martial Arts Academy studio. Across from us sat Coda’s students and their parents, a healthy crowd some thirty or more in number. Coda’s staff sat at the head of the room facing out the windowed wall, flanked by the Stars & Stripes and the Christian Flag. Those deemed to be third parties to the matter at hand sat against the windowed entrance and waited for the show to begin.
Thankfully Mr. Fox had talked to Coda before we’d arrived and convinced him that he had no right to be the only party taping the event for posterity. Coda came over and conferred in a whisper with Olorin and myself, and it was agreed that the video would not be posted unless it became necessary to settle a dispute over what was said that night.
Now, to be clear, I will cover each of our questions, Coda’s responses, and our findings based upon those responses. Please bare in mind that this investigation is ongoing; rather than wait for what may take some time, we figured it was best to get to you the not so insignificant kernels of information we’ve gleaned thus far. Rather than go at this in the order it occurred I think it may be of some benefit to cover each point as it was resolved over these last few days; so, no this is not the sequence of events for Monday night’s discussion.
The first matter for discussion; is it true you’ve been telling people that you broke the nose of one of the OSU TKD class black belts during your first visit there? To which Coda replied, roughly and with some contradiction that he could not remember. He claims to have received a concussion from that night, but he distinctly saw cotton in the man’s nose and didn’t know who else could’ve possibly done it- but again, he insisted he would never tell such a story.
Jared pointed out that Coda did indeed tell such a story, Carson (tetsu) has also heard this version of events, and numerous 3rd parties have reported it as well. Coda again insisted he would do no such thing. In his version of the story he sat out shortly after sparring the BB in question, and went home nauseous and dizzy only to discover two days later he had a concussion.
I told him that I clearly remembered sparring with him, that he did not sit out, and that in spite of my clear warning that I had no cup he deliberately kneed me in the groin as I held him in a loose guillotine choke (he had mentioned earlier in the night that he liked grappling). He immediately countered by stating that he does not throw knee strikes- funny that such a well rounded master would never throw such a basic technique- and that he had no recollection of sparring me; in fact, he chose this point to tell me he had at least the first names of everyone who has ever attended his classes written down and that I am no where on that list. He seemed rather at a loss when reminded that this match occurred in the OSU TKD class, not his own; perhaps we can chalk this up to the concussion.
This lie was exposed within a few hours. After the meeting let out at 11, I walked home and decided that in light of my empty stomach I should mosey on down to Whataburger for some late night lard. Low and behold I ran into Jared and a few of his friends. In the course of conversation, Jared informed me that after we’d left Coda had told him he desperately wanted to win his respect and that he was sorry for making up the story about breaking Kelin’s nose. Apparently, Coda felt the need to impress Jared as he found him “intimidating”.
So, Coda dissembled with ease before his students and their parents. He then had the sheer nerve to ask what it took to win a man’s respect while admitting he’d been lying for some time and that just a few hours prior he had lied to people who looked up to him.
The next hole in Coda’s story arose not even 24 hours after he’d told it. When confronted about the USMAA certification he is credited with in the Cleveland American article he has scanned and posted on his own web site, Coda responded “do you see USMAA certified instructor on my biography or anywhere else on my web site?”
I responded, “No, Coda, but it is in the article about you that you chose to put up on your own web site.” Coda explained that at the time of the article he’d been under the impression that he was USMAA certified through his instructor, John Stanford. Coda only learned later, while searching for the certificates, that the USMAA had no record of John Stanford; according to Coda they launched a full inquiry into the matter.
Coda says that when he realized he did not in fact have USMAA certification he contacted the Cleveland American to have a correction printed. Apparently, the staff at the Cleveland American told Coda they could do no such thing seeing as he’d dared to put the clipping up on his web site, a correction would somehow violate copy right and Coda would be sued.
We pointed out that papers run retractions and corrections every day and that it is no big deal. Coda’s response, “you see my point!”
Olorin, that is to say Jon found the offices for the Cleveland American and paid them a visit. He asked a few questions, explained the situation, and in short order was speaking to those responsible for Coda’s clipping. It was made abundantly clear that had Coda requested a correction or retraction it would have been handled immediately. Furthermore, the Cleveland American would certainly not have responded to a request for retraction with threats of a lawsuit. While the reporter did recall Coda calling her with a problem, she is certain it was not to ask for a correction or retraction as, again, the Cleveland American would have run one immediately.
Skipping ahead a bit in the night, near the end, circa 11 PM, we got around to asking Coda about his alleged fight against a knife wielding attacker. Coda had the good sense in this instance to effectively state “no comment” as soon as he was informed that Samuel Browning (a lawyer) would be checking into the matter. He had at least gathered from our posts that even the most trivial bit of information would allow us to check this story.
Again, speaking with Jared at Whataburger later that night, I got the story as Coda told it. In 2003 (remember this date) he had been attacked in school, broken both his opponent’s arms and jaw, been stabbed in the neck and arm (the neck wound left no scarring and the scar on the arm was at the inside crease of the elbow- bend our arm and you too can have jus such a scar!), and it took 3 police- two of whom Coda dropped in the struggle- to take Coda down.
I called Cleveland High School, Coda graduated there in ‘04, and spoke to one of the school’s counselors, Anne Brown. She remembered Coda, or at least had his file on hand, and no, nothing remotely like that ever took place. Furthermore, if it had taken place off school grounds the school would certainly have found out as Cleveland is a very small community and a student’s involvement such a violent crime would be made known to the school’s faculty and administration.
A particularly entertaining line of questioning revolved around the question of Coda’s exodus from the OSU Colvin Center. Numerous stories abound as to just why and to what degree Coda was banned from the Colvin Center. Coda vehemently denied ever being asked or told to leave; he stated forcefully that had something of the sort occurred he would’ve fought it all the way to the alumni association.
Here, Doug became immensely helpful. As a Colvin Center employee, head of the MMA class, and personal friend of those responsible for the martial arts classes Doug articulated in no uncertain terms that if he saw Coda teaching a class anywhere in the building he was to report it to the staff and Coda would be immediately ejected. Coda again denied that he’d been forced out, and then decided that he would take this matter up with OSU.
Coda chose to leave the Colvin Center when a student of his was attacked without warning by a student of one of the other martial arts class. Coda cannot recall which class the attacker was from, simply that he decided then and there that OSU was not the sort of environment he wanted to teach martial arts in. This story instantly got my hair on end as the student in question left Coda’s class to join the OSU TKD team, regularly worked out with the karate club, and had no problem attending the MMA class; he never once seemed to have a problem with anyone and was quite comfortable in all the MA classes available. As a friend, I asked Coda’s former student months ago why he left True Power, “I wanted to do something serious”. Dio is currently attempting to get a hold of this student, a graduate of OSU with a master’s in mathematics now pursuing his doctorate at Purdue, to determine whether there is any truth to this version of events.
But wait, there’s more!
Carson, tetsu_anaguma as some may now know him, is the head of the OSU tai chi class and as such has a working relationship with the Colvin Center staff. While specifics cannot be given due to issues of student confidentiality (Coda is still a student), Coda was not permitted by the staff to teach a class and were he to be found doing so he is to be stopped.
Now onto those things a little less clear cut or currently under investigation.
Regarding the ABKA 3rd place title and his world championship title, Coda explained in a haze of dates and vague locations that Mr. Stanford, his master, organized a vast collection of schools across the world called the Amateur Full Contact Karate Association that held tournaments from 1996 to 2000, and that in 2002 Coda became the world champion. The details of how this championship works aren’t particularly worth mentioning; Coda would just have you know that he’s fought people from China, India, Russia, everywhere really and it all happened at their world championship held in Texas. The national tournament took place in Dell City Oklahoma. Unfortunately Coda cannot find any information on the venues that hosted these gathering of champions, and the only records of these tournaments are Mr. Stanford’s scrolls now in the possession of his son who lives in Germany. Coda insists that he is doing everything in his power to get copies of those scrolls from Mr. Stanford Jr. and that if we are patient all will be made clear.
Bullshido, being a vast and diverse group, has offered its assistance in getting to these scrolls; a member of Bullshido residing in Germany has volunteered to meet with Mr. Stanford, view the scrolls, and take pictures or scan them. I am still awaiting that contact information from Coda.
When asked why he went from being the world champion in 2002 to 3rd in an ABKA tournament in 2003, Coda explained that he hurt his hip in a full contact kickboxing match (I wonder if the rules allowed for knees). Coda explained his injury which he called a hatched joint, stated that he had seen many doctors, been told he’d never kick or run again, and that to this day if he kicks above his hip with his right leg there’s almost no force. He then informed us that he had competed at the intermediate level despite already being a black belt in kenpo under Mr. Stanford and that his division had 5 people in it. Coda cites this hip injury as one of the reasons he does not spar to this day and one of the prime reasons he performs poorly when he does spar.
It is interesting to note that in spite of his hip injury sustained in 2002- the hip injury he blames for his poor performance at tournaments and when sparring-, he was able to defend himself against a knife wielding attacker by breaking both the man’s arms and jaw and then knock out two of the three cops who came to end the fight. Also, I fail to see how an injured hip forces Coda to turn his back to his opponent’s while sparring as though it were a legitimate defense: that’s just pitiful technique.
Towards the end of the evening, after Coda had dismissed most of the visitors and so began to offer up information about his old instructor John Stanford. Here I hope to impart what we’ve gathered from Coda’s own lips. John Stanford died in a car crash in 2001. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17 and joined the Marine Corps. Stanford became involved in something called Operation Fist Rim. (I shudder to think what Google will turn up if I type that in). Operation Fist Rim’s objective was to travel the Orient and learn fighting methods to help improve the military and government’s training. Stanford traveled to Japan, Okinawa, Korea, China, and Vietnam. According to Coda, John Stanfrod retired from the marines in 1988- well before the Cold War had ended- and in the course of his service had the honor of training with British SAS, Iraqi Republican Guard, and Soviet Spetsnaz. Mr. Stanford retired as a major and as a reservist was promoted to LTC. Coda even went so far as to suggest that one possible reason that we could not find anything on this man, this man who had connections to many MA schools, ran many schools, and organized a multi-country tournament and organization, might be because he could have been in the Central Intelligence Agency- yes, you read that right. Coda stated that Stanford was once visited in class by two men in suits who presented him with a small black box, and when Stanford showed Coda the contents it was a silver star for recognition of distinguished service to the CIA. In addition, as though it would add weight to the story of Stanford’s CIA service, Coda is not completely sure that Stanford is really dead- yes, you read that part right too.
Bullshido agents are at this moment looking into the matter of John Stanford.
Other points of interest include the fact that Coda’s “traditional” Judo Brown Belt came from Stanford. As you might expect by this point in the article Coda is not listed with the USJA or any other Judo association. Apparently Stanford would train his students in one style for a while and then award them a belt. Coda’s second degree BB in Kenpo is actually an honorary title and was conferred over the phone by Stanford’s son whose contact information we are still waiting for to confirm even the existence of the tournament scrolls. It should also be noted that while we were shown Coda’s certificates from American Freestyle Karate and Tae Kwon Do of the Korean Origin (that’s seriously what his certificates called it), we were shown no certificates from John Stanford.
Speaking of certificates, here are pictures of Coda’s 4th blue, 2nd brown, and 1st black certificates from Cimarron Karate to mark his rank in TKD (simply click the ranks to see the photos). It is interesting to note that he did not test for 3rd blue or 1st brown- most schools do, and you get a certificate to boot. Even more fascinating, observe the dates, Coda was awarded his 2nd brown in December of 2005 and hardly seven months later, July of this year, he tested for his first degree black belt. It is things like this that severely damage the reputation of traditional martial arts; I have done TKD for about seven years now and been wearing a brown belt for the last two, I find Coda’s black belt an affront to myself and everyone else who genuinely trains.
The fact is, Coda Scott lied to our faces on Monday night. He lied badly and boldly before his students and their parents. At the end of the night he asked us what he could do to gain some measure of respect from us and offered up the idea of editing his web site to clarify some of these problems (disclaimer under Cleveland American article, remove references to world champion as he is not willing to provide explanation on line). Not to chum the waters more than needs be, but it’s been 3 days as of writing this article, and while he has gone through the rather difficult process of putting up a True Power Martial Arts Academy Forum- don’t all go sign up at once now- he has yet to make any of the edits he claimed he would. He asked us to come visit his class on Monday and we foolishly agreed- it had been 3 hours, we were tired and had just heard such touching testimonials. In light of what we have found, we have no intention of attending a class and bowing to a man who could lie that much to us, his own impressionable students, and their trusting parents.
In my lay opinion, Coda is not delusional. A truly delusional person would believe his own stories and would not have known better than to deny us details regarding his alleged knife fight, and would not have constructed such a plausibly deniable set of tall tales. But what do I know? I got my degree in history.
I feel quite justified in calling him a compulsive liar, a young man stuck in that phase most of us grow out of by middle school- you know, the one that has you telling your friends how your uncle totally killed a man with a Twinkie one time.
Bullshido is by no means finished with Coda Scott. Watch this thread for updates and of course contribute as you will. To visitors, be aware that this site is not intended for children, and that no one’s feelings or sacred cows are safe here; we don’t call it the Thunderdome of the Internet for nothing. While Bullshido is a harsh environment and this article is by no means a bundle of rainbows and bunny rabbits, this thread may be the best thing for Coda Scott and the people he calls his students.
My photos of DC area MMA events.
Posted On:8/05/2006 7:53pm
Style: yang taichi
*Starts a slow clap*
Sumus extra manum tuam.
Didn't so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:06pm
Style: Ex-TKD, BJJ, Muay Thai
If you need someone to punk him out on his website's claim of teaching "downfighting," I will be more than happy to drive from TU to Stillwater sometime.
sudo make me a sandwich!
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:07pm
Knife Welding Attacker-check
So we can prove at least four lies right now. I think the under review stuff speaks for itself.
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:08pm
You're at TU this fall? Let me know when you're in, you should come on down and have a drink or two.
As for bringing you over to punk people, don't worry about it, everything can be handled in house.
Last edited by Stick; 8/05/2006 8:10pm at .
Fear and bullets.
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:09pm
Well done. Please update with the reactions of his students and their families if possible.
In want to know how people respond to this.
And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".
--Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:18pm
Oh, and while I'm at it.
He had this hanging above his office window
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:20pm
Style: -- Isshinryu --
I have been following this from the beginning. Thanks for the update. its good to see that Bullshido is out there making a difference....one mcdojo at a time!!
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:28pm
Style: tae kwon do
John Stanford died in a car crash in 2001. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17 and joined the Marine Corps. Stanford became involved in something called Operation Fist Rim. (I shudder to think what Google will turn up if I type that in). Operation Fist Rim’s objective was to travel the Orient and learn fighting methods to help improve the military and government’s training. Stanford traveled to Japan, Okinawa, Korea, China, and Vietnam.
he could have been in the Central Intelligence Agency
I think that somebody watched SideKicks too many times as a kid. I really cannot believe he got so many people to believe his fantasy.
Anyway this was a great article and you should maybe think about going into journalism. Maybe get paid for busting people and having fun doing it.
Posted On:8/05/2006 8:37pm
Originally Posted by Dai Tenshi ^_^
Oh, and while I'm at it.
He had this hanging above his office window
Wow. Just wow.
Articles and Reviews
Tools and Info