Posted On:2/24/2008 12:23am
Style: None currently
I haven't practiced martial arts in years, but I was surfing the web, and ran into a closed thread about Steve Bennest and Bennest Karate School in Washington State.
I know Steve Bennest, and I know him to be a fraud.
It's a long story, but to warn others about this fraud, I'd be happy to share my experiences with Steve Bennest.
My very first run-in with Steve Bennest was a block away from my old house when I was 16 years old back in 1989 - 19 years ago. His school used to be located at 43rd and M Street in Tacoma, WA. I lived one block up on 43rd and L Street. My friends Tiant and Jamie and I were walking in front of his karate school throwing a football around. All of a sudden a guy comes out of the school and flashes a police badge at us and tells us to come inside the school. I was nervous, and my friends were too, but we listened to the guy since he was a police officer.
Once we got inside the school he made us all sit down on the floor, and he accused us of cracking his school window with the football. He pointed to what appeared to be a BB hole or a rock chip in the front window to the school.
My friends and I argued that we didn't break his window, that there was no way the football could have caused that tiny hole. Not only that, we never did even hit the window or even come close.
The guy called the Tacoma Police and told them we were trespassing and broke his window. Once the the two officers showed up, they said there was no way we broke the window, and they let us go. Once outside, the police told us that this guy, Steve Bennest, was once a Tacoma Police Officer, but was fired because he was a crooked cop, and that now he was a police officer for the small town of Algona, hence the badge he flashed at us.
About 3 months later, my friend, Jake Linder, who lived on 45th and M Street, a block north of the school, joined Bennest's school. I told him the guy was crazy, but Jake swore up and down the guy was a great teacher, and told me I should come check out the school.
I did go one night with Jake as a guest, and got a free class. There was something wrong with this guy, but a handful of my friends were attending his class. Bennest did not seem to remember me, and was very polite, but I wasn't fooled, this guy was very charismatic. I decided to join his school, because I was new to martial arts, but always wanted to learn.
I attended his school from 1990 - 1991.
He claimed to teach Shotokan, jujitsu, Koga-ryu ninjutsu, hapkido, aikido, judo, and a few other styles, like iaido, kenjutso, and many other weapons.
He founded the Martial Arts Alumni and the Washington Karate Federation, and he awarded himself his own black belts in the dozens of martial arts he claims to know.
While I was, I was surprised to see how fast people 'earned' their belts. The richer kids seemed to gain belts really fast, since their parents had money, and could to afford to pay for the tests to advance. The poorer kids seemed to stay white and yellow belts, no matter how good they were.
A lot of claims were made by Bennest that could not be confirmed. Among those, here are some:
1) He as a Viet Nam vet, a Green Beret, who served 2 tours of duty. - He was actually in the National Guard and was kicked out for wearing patches on his uniform he did not not earn.
2) He claimed he was a police officer in San Luis Obispo, CA, and a search and rescue operator with a group called the "Eiger Sanction Task Force". - The Eiger Sanction is from a Clint Eastwood movie. - How much of the above claims by Steve is true I'm not sure, but I doubt much of it is true, except I know he really was a cop in San Luis Obispo.
3) He claimed to have learned shotakan and ninjutsu from some Japanese master, and he had a picture of this guy on his wall. I don't recall the guys name. However, I doubt this true, since now Steve Bennest claims to have been trained under Stephen Hayes, which is COMPLETELY FALSE!!! When I was attending his school, he never claimed this what so ever.
He is also a racist. Even though he has black people in his school, he has made many racial comments, among those, that most black people are trouble making *******. I have heard him say other racist things of this sort also, once when I was helping him in the basement of the school, getting equipment for one of our 'Ninja Camp-outs'.
Many of my other friends from the neighborhood at the time also joined his school, such as Corey Tisdale, James Woods, Saul, Emile Kandi, Eric, etc., and some of them came to the same conclusion I did, that Steve Bennest is a liar and a fraud.
During his time, a lot of the students began to leave the school. Membership fell drastically, and he close this school, which was in a pretty poor part of Tacoma, WA, and he re-opened in the Milton / Edgewood area of Washington, which is a much richer and upper-class town. I have visited this school only once, and it was before he opened it, while he was still moving in. James Toney was the assistant instructor at the time. James was a really cool guy, and he survived a horrible accident where his VW van hit a semi truck head on. He was the only survivor in the van, all his friends died. He has a metal plate in his face, and one of his leg bones is a steel rod. He made a miraculous recovery, the doctors said he would never walk again, and then he proved them wrong, and became a karate teacher.
I also know Ms. Martinez, who is a 'black belt'. She's a very sweet lady, but she can barely be called a black belt. She had the money, so she became a black belt. I believe she is still with school, but not sure.
I know many of the students from the late 80s and early and mid 90s. I can answer questions on various students from this time period if anyone knows any of them.
Also, coincidentally, my brother's dad, (we have different fathers), was friends (my brother's dad is now dead), with a guy named James McDonald. He worked at Boeings with James when I was growing up. When I was attending Bennest Karate School, McDonald was running a Tae Kwon Do school, and was good friends with Bennest, and our schools did a lot of tourneys and training together. McDonald is a fraud also. Stay away from his school too, if he is even still around. Last time I seen or heard from McDonald was over 17 years ago. For all I know, the guy could be dead.
The bottom line - The only thing that was real at Bennest Karate School was his Samurai Poker events. Good nights of poker, and where I learned to really play a mean of game of poker. We played many different styles of poker. My last year at his school, I was actually the champion that year.
I don't practice any martial arts anymore, and haven't for many years. Just thought since I ran into a closed thread about the Bennest Karate Schools, I would post my experience with the guy and his school. Stay away, he is a fraud.
Posted On:2/24/2008 1:31am
Interesting story, but not sure how relevant it is. You said the thread you found is closed, so how old was it? Is this guy still teaching, and does he have a website or anything that the rest of us could look at?
Posted On:2/24/2008 3:12am
This the dude?
Posted On:2/24/2008 3:15am
Originally Posted by Berserk
does he have a website or anything that the rest of us could look at?
Posted On:2/24/2008 8:27am
He is still teaching, which led me to make my post.
I forgot to post his website when I made the thread. Thanks to DuckofDeath for posting the link.
As you can see, his website is one huge web of deceit. It looks like a 5 year old made his website. The first website I ever created I did with my Sega Dreamcast, using the Sega web browser and Ex-Page web builder, and it looked more professional.
All of the organizations you see on his page, he created. They have no real meaning to the legitimate martial arts world.
This guy has told so many lies, that I think even he is confused.
He is a pathological liar, like in he's totally mentally ill, and lives in his own fantasy world.
Even if don't think my thread is relevant, like the first guy replied, at least get a kick out of Bennest's website.
I haven't spoke to Bennest in almost 20 years, but my time I spent with him is enough to tell you this guy is a kook.
Posted On:2/24/2008 11:02am
Here is the actual home page of Bennest Karate Schools. The link that DuckofDeath posted was a link inside the website.
I know many of the people he mentions on his website, as they attended when I did.
I saw this comment on Bennest's website:
"ONLY One (1) person in 10,000, will make it to Black Belt
in the Japanese Martial Arts. "
LOL! That's funny. In his school, if you have the money and just attend on a regular basis and kiss his ass, whether you have the skill or not, you'll earn black belt.
He also has this:
"CERTIFIED NINJA'S in Washington State:
Soke Steve A. Bennest
Sensei Arlander Bell"
I know Arlander Bell, a very nice guy. Back in about 1989 or so, he suffered a stroke, and couldn't kick his way out of a paper bag. He was a teacher before I joined the school. One year, when the Buffalo Bill vs NY Giants were in the Super Bowl, Arlander put on a Super Bowl party I attended.
Nice guy, but a ninja? ROTFLMFAO!
Mike Pecher, who later joined the Army, was also a 'certified ninja'. LOL!
Last edited by VGA Disciple; 2/24/2008 11:16am at .
Posted On:2/24/2008 11:06am
Welcome to bullshido. A couple things before you continue.
You need to provide proof. No, stories that you remember or you heard but solid proof.
You've called him a fraud with zero proof.
You've called him a crooked cop with no proof.
You've called him pathological liar.
Unfortunately, this is not how MABS works. If you are going to make assertions you need to provide proof.
Originally Posted by doofaloofa
Posted On:2/24/2008 11:20am
Here is a disclaimer on his son's, Tony Bennests, website. This disclaimer throws up red flags automatically. If you are really legit, why would you even post this?
Remember, there is no proper policing of the Internet. It is a highway for conartist, hate groups, revenge with rumors and false information to make others look bad. The Internet is well known for it's misleading of information. Anyone can post anything on the Internet and most fools do.
Remember, all great leaders who are active, will have someone trying to put them down or give out false information. Making good people look bad is just like what the courts do with witnesses. Make the good people look bad. One of the oldest tricks in the book.
EDIT: Here is the link: http://tonystigers.homestead.com/fun.html
Last edited by VGA Disciple; 2/24/2008 11:37am at .
Posted On:2/24/2008 11:21am
OK, sounds fair. I'm sure I can find something proving he is a fraud, other than his bogus website.
Posted On:2/24/2008 11:25am
Here is some proof, I'll continue to look for some more....
I copy and pasted this, but you can visit the actual website I got it from below my copy and paste.
Bennest, Steve A. He claimed to be an Army Special Forces Green Beret and to have a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and various other awards. He also claims to be a Washington Karate Federation (federation consists of only 3 schools) master instructor, a 9th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a black belt in nine other Japanese, Korean, Chinese martial arts. He also claims 3 associate degrees, a bachelor degree, and a masters degree plus a paralegal degree and graduation from 8 correspondence schools. He also claims to be a scuba diver, rock climber, parachutist, private pilot (no current certification on file), amateur radio operator (no license on file), firearms instructor, country western dance instructor, Red Cross/CPR instructor, police officer, narcotics detective (he is actually a reserve patrolman), and a private investigator. He was removed from the Washington Air National Guard for wearing unauthorized decorations and having fraudulent records. During same time frame, he was charged with perjury for misstating his rank and experience to a judge to secure a search warrant.
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