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gold_ax666
3/11/2015 8:34am,
Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you try to avoid it....

SO I know someone who did a combat course with a self defence place near where I live. I looked up their website and it said they were members (fellows if you will) of the UK Self Defence and Martial Arts Guild. Piquing my interest I engage a basic level of Google Fu and find their website:

www.uksdmag.org

Their membership levels are all free. I check out their list of member clubs- 17 pages of them! Looks like a big organisation. Not sure why I haven't heard about them before.. Still there are lots of associations nowadays.

Scrolling through the pages I see a listing for Little Winners Taekwon-Do Club. This club is a certified member of UKSDMAG. Apparently.

Although for the life of me I cannot remember joining them!

This is my damn club!

http://www.uksdmag.org/members/little-winners-taekwon-do-club/
(screen shot taken of course)

And to make matters worse they have a crappy old youtube video that I did a while ago when I was experimenting with pictures that is for my ADULT self protection class! Nothing to do with my kids ITF TKD club at all!

So now that I have gotten over my shock, I will be imminently sending them an email to ask why I am listed as a certified member and why my website/ video etc is linked to their website.

And I wonder how many of the other clubs on the 17 pages of 'certified members' are actually aware of their association with this guild!

gold_ax666
3/11/2015 8:42am,
email contact sent to UKSDMAG. I feel pretty annoyed about this. Has this happened to anyone else out there and what was the result?

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p230/Gold_ax666/letter%20to%20uksdmag.png

scipio
3/11/2015 10:00am,
Little bit worrying, no I haven't heard of them.

Not sure quite what you can do if they don't take you off. Trading Standards would deal with this kind of thing if you paid them money (which it sounds like you didn't).

Hopefully they will take you off otherwise it might be some legal redress

scipio
3/11/2015 10:06am,
Hmmmmm, just quickly scanned their site.

It does seem to to offer licensing etc for people to train other people in self defence etc including a franchising scheme.

It does smack of another UK investigation we carried out into Richard Spencer:
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=120865

He appeared to be offering slightly similar licensed self defence courses.

When I have more time I'll look into this further.

gold_ax666
3/11/2015 10:10am,
Little bit worrying, no I haven't heard of them.

Not sure quite what you can do if they don't take you off. Trading Standards would deal with this kind of thing if you paid them money (which it sounds like you didn't).

Hopefully they will take you off otherwise it might be some legal redress

I didn't pay money. Their website states that all of their memberships are completely free of charge. I'm a member of IMASA (Independant Sports and Martial Arts Association) who provide my insurances and licensing as well as my DBS/ CRB and I am also a member of Peter Consterdine's and Geoff Thompson's British Combat Association. But I have no need to collect memberships to other organisations just to try and gain credibility and I don't need any internet linking for marketing purposes either.

I'm currently waiting for a reply to my email which was only sent this afternoon.

I'm going to wait for that reply before I decide whether I am over reacting (because quite frankly I'm fucked off about someone else thinking they can feed off of my clubs and credibility as I've spent years studying and work hard to properly maintain my documentation and credibility only for someone to use it as THEY see fit).

I didn't expect to be starting my first MABS thread relating to something that involved my own damn club!

gold_ax666
3/11/2015 10:14am,
Hmmmmm, just quickly scanned their site.

It does seem to to offer licensing etc for people to train other people in self defence etc including a franchising scheme.

It does smack of another UK investigation we carried out into Richard Spencer:
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=120865

He appeared to be offering slightly similar licensed self defence courses.

When I have more time I'll look into this further.

And this is where lurking helps and why Bullshido recommends it before posting. I've read that whole thread on Richard Spencer (I remember it quite well- I was having lunch at Nando's in my hometown that day....).

Going to reread to refresh my memory but still waiting for reply to my email.

gold_ax666
3/11/2015 11:40am,
So far I have contacted three schools listed on their members page:

Fung Yang Sau Kung Fu association- Listed as a 'standard membership'-had no knowledge of being listed and never heard of UKSDMAG

British Military Martial Arts- Listed as 'Full Membership'- Although a franchise itself and couldn't confirm head office details, the local instructor (whose personal mobile number I called from the listing) had no knowledge of listing, had never heard of UKSDMAG and was not too pleased about his phone number being present.

I have messaged the BMMA head office through their facebook site (their website contact form isn't working) accordingly to ask their opinion on this group. Why on earth a military martial arts franchise would be a member of a guild that has a franchise opportunity of it's own is beyond me so I will be surprised if there is actually a proper link here.

Edit: The BMMA replied to my facebook postand had no idea that they were listed on the site at all.

Immortal MMA- this is a place I know- an MMA gym in Milton Keynes which rebranded as Guardians Academy. I cannot see them needing an association such as UKSDMAG as it is not what they do and they have known people there (champions, Bellator fighter etc). I am awaiting a reply to a my contact mail about this.

Little Winners Taekwon-Do Club- Myself of course.Listed as 'certified membership'. No knowledge of listing or who UKSDMAG were before today! And thoroughly pissed about the whole affair.

So three confirmed independent clubs on that list with no knowledge of UKSDMAG.

How many do I need to contact to prove my suspicion that my club is part of a list that is designed for credibility? And why? To sell franchises and courses? Why give these clubs standard/ full/ certified membership statuses if they have never heard of UKSDMAG?

The game's afoot.....

gold_ax666
3/11/2015 12:12pm,
From the website of Combat Academy who seem to work very closely with UKSDMAG (the two organisations promote each other closely on their respective websites):

http://ukmagb.org.uk/licensing/

To become a Licenced Self Defence Instructor, you need to have obtained a minimum of the Instructor Award Qualification with one of the UK SDMAG approved training centres. Once you have this qualification, the Licensing fee is just 100 per annum. This fee includes a once per year refresher training seminar, all admin fees and an actual physical credit card style licence.

Really?!?!

And then:

Licenced instructors holding the Diploma at Level 4 can apply to become a recognised and approved training centre (ATC) and actually teach the Instructor training qualification and other professional practitioner qualifications themselves, either internally to their own instructors or externally.

So after becoming a licensed self defence instructor and paying several hundred pounds for it as well as the yearly 100 license, you then become part of this system to help train more self defence instructors within this group.

Am I reading this wrong? Is this a pyramid scheme?

A

ermghoti
3/11/2015 4:27pm,
Sounds like a rank and/or certification selling org. I'd assume they can add anybody they want, then sell memberships to anybody that wants useless prestige/fake credibility. Not sure what anybody could do about it.

I'd guess anybody could assemble a list of notable (or at least verifiability actual) people from any field, call it a HoF or registry, then troll around for paid memberships. Caveat emptor and all.

gold_ax666
3/11/2015 4:34pm,
Sounds like a rank and/or certification selling org. I'd assume they can add anybody they want, then sell memberships to anybody that wants useless prestige/fake credibility. Not sure what anybody could do about it.

I'd guess anybody could assemble a list of notable (or at least verifiability actual) people from any field, call it a HoF or registry, then troll around for paid memberships. Caveat emptor and all.

Their 'memberships' are all free according to their website but their courses cost money. I don't like the way it looks and I certainly don't like the way that the members list contains random clubs especially mine!

I'm carrying on investigating this. Still waiting on their reply to my email to explain themselves...

Cake of Doom
3/11/2015 5:33pm,
A quick whois check linked the UK SDMAG back to THIS (http://www.combat-academy.co.uk/) lot.

Combat Academy is such a generic name that it'll take a bit more time than my droopy eyelids will allow to dig any deeper for now, though.

Feels familiar somehow...

ermghoti
3/11/2015 9:07pm,
Their 'memberships' are all free according to their website but their courses cost money. I don't like the way it looks and I certainly don't like the way that the members list contains random clubs especially mine!

I'm carrying on investigating this. Still waiting on their reply to my email to explain themselves...

Gotcha. Same general concept applies though.

gold_ax666
3/12/2015 12:36am,
A quick whois check linked the UK SDMAG back to THIS (http://www.combat-academy.co.uk/) lot.

Combat Academy is such a generic name that it'll take a bit more time than my droopy eyelids will allow to dig any deeper for now, though.

Feels familiar somehow...

Yes that is the website of a local group with whom a colleague of mine trained. The staff are all from a military background. Once of the videos shows a typical training session and the movements looked familiar to keysi fighting method. The website is pretty slick and a lot of avenues point towards paid for seminars and courses.

As yet I am still waiting for a reply to my email that I sent to them.

gold_ax666
3/13/2015 7:35am,
So after a couple of days, one sent email and a facebook message I received no reply from UKSDMAG. I wasn't too happy about this so today I called them on their number on the website (08432897285). The chap I spoke with said he was just replying to my email.

We spoke for a while. He was personable and friendly in nature. Completely non aggressive or confrontational.

Apparently I should have received a letter in the post just like all of the other clubs on the list. The letter would have introduced the UKSDMAG which is a very new set up and explain what they do and what they want to achieve. I pointed out that no letter had been received as they don't have my home address. Should a letter have gone to my place of training then it would have turned up at a school or town hall. I will add that, in the past, any post sent to those addresses has always found it's way to me.

I would have agreed with the guy as he stated that maybe that was why I had not received the letter to which I pointed out that I have been contacting other 'member' clubs on this list and none of them had heard of the UKSDMAG either. He had no conclusive answer for this apart from an apology and that he will look into it.

He stated that the clubs were supposed to be listed as having been contacted but not 'live' until we had officially joined for free. I stated that all clubs that I have contacted were listed as members (previous post in this thread). No conclusive answer again apart from that there appears to have been an administrative error and that he would be looking into the 'quality control' issue.

He started to explain about what they are hoping to achieve (self defence courses, charity work, work with schools etc) and I mentioned that their website indicates that in order to become a self defence instructor one had to gain a qualification through UKSDMAG. HE said that was true if they wanted to be teach self defence although no one had to take their training that far. I restated about needing to be qualified through THEIR company and that there were other companies out there who also offer this option. I felt the answer wasn't conclusive and he said there isn't one set standard for being a SD instructor although one day there may well be.

I told him I have been involved in MA for over half my life and that I research a lot about various clubs and associations as there are a lot of cowboys out there and that I feel that their website is misleading and attempting to gain credibility through other clubs without seeking permission and that he certainly needed to address quality control on his website. I also said he may get a call form a few other clubs whom I contacted accordingly.

I did ask for my listing to be removed from the website. He said he would send me some information and thanked me for my call and apologised for the error as the last thing they are looking to do is annoy people. HE also said that I may end up being a supporter of the UKSDMAG as I see what they achieve over the coming months as they are looking to do good. I said that I would most certainly be keeping up to date with their website. I give respect for him imtimating that he would seek to gain my approval and trust through future actions although I am a 'believe it when I see it' kind of person.

My opinion:
Some may think I've been a bit harsh in this matter. I couldn't care less. Fraud and deception can wear a convincing mask sometimes and I have my standards and have tried to be unbiased and logical. I've been up front and honest with this company. They know my name and where I teach and have my contact details so I have not hidden behind a keyboard or been anything apart from honest and true to my word and opinion.

I will wait to see what happens with my listing and the other clubs on the website accordingly (and I will certainly do this). I feel that they have been dishonest and misleading on their website. The reason of having an issue with quality control does not sit right with me as they should be checking their website pages regularly and proof reading (I stated elsewhere I have been working in advertising/ marketing and currently in web design, promotion and SEO so I know my ****). It just doesn't sit right. I feel it was a conscious action to gain credibility (and I said this on the phone too).

I welcome the opinion of other bullies of course and if you think I should/ could do anything else here or not.

Thanks.

scipio
3/13/2015 8:29am,
Good work.

I think that the first thing is to make sure that your school is taken off their website listing (I'm sure it will).

I does seem that perhaps their "quality control" could perhaps be a little better and they do sound a bit disorganised.

To be far to them it seems like they have some half decent ex-military instructors on their books teaching CQC. If you compare this to the Richard Spencer thread when the guy lied about his military background and probably inflated his MA background there doesn't appear to much comparison.

gold_ax666
3/13/2015 8:44am,
Good work.

I think that the first thing is to make sure that your school is taken off their website listing (I'm sure it will).

I does seem that perhaps their "quality control" could perhaps be a little better and they do sound a bit disorganised.

To be far to them it seems like they have some half decent ex-military instructors on their books teaching CQC. If you compare this to the Richard Spencer thread when the guy lied about his military background and probably inflated his MA background there doesn't appear to much comparison.

My gut instinct felt the guy was genuine but then again I've dealt with some very deceptive people, especially from being in the police in the past.

As to their military guys- don't know. Could be brilliant. It's their approach and marketing which I have issue with right now. I couldn't give an opinion on their methods (apart from the video on their website) unless I go to one of their sessions.

Which I may very well do!

Edit- website is now currently under maintenance...