Bullshido is a nickname given to any style of martial art considered to be largely b*llsh*t. The name is derived from the Japanese warrior culture of Bushido – a name by which many a dodgy quasi-Karate club promotes itself these days.
Any clubs teaching what’s considered to be Bullshido may be referred to as a McDojo – the popular euphemism among the better-informed martial arts communities for referring to an over-commercialised martial arts club where the skills are flagging just as much as the technicolour rainbow belts.
But not every McDojo looks like a McDojo, and not all Bullshido stinks of Bullshido from the outset. Furthermore, not everything that looks like Bullshido is really Bullshido – sometimes it’s legit, just hard to appreciate at first glance.
Sometimes the teacher is simply misunderstood by the critic. Only the very best teacher successfully avoids all conflict with critics. He does this by not claiming a thing – then there’s nothing to criticise. He teaches by example, not by words.
Still, just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, perhaps one man’s Bullshido is another man’s genuinely valuable inspiration. And most teachers have a combination of both good and bad teachings to share. I guess we have to take what’s useful and disregard the rest, as Bruce Lee said.
In fact, most of my own martial arts teachers to date have been somewhat deluded (or they’re simply lying) about the level of their skill and the practicality of what they’re teaching, but I rarely stopped training with them immediately upon realising that they teach substantial quantities of Bullshido. For me, as a master of Kung Fu in recent years, avoiding the technical bad habits of martial arts clubs in which I’ve trained has been easier than avoiding the Stockholm syndrome associated with club membership and teacher-student relationships.
At Manchester Martial Arts Centre, beginners don’t have to worry about Bullshido because our teachers are some of the most sceptical in the business.
Nevertheless, many a traditional martial arts master still manages to refine their skills within their own system with the help of our experienced, open-minded team.