Please Help - Grand Master Scam

Discussion in 'The Instructors Room' started by 1st Dan, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. 1st Dan

    1st Dan New Member

    Hello all

    I have been in Tae Kwon Do for over 10 years. I believed I was a 2nd degree black belt testing for my 3rd Dan. I normally assisted with classes and even taught under our grand master. I say this "I believed" because this is a disgrace and I don't know what to do. I am literally devestated beyond words.

    I AM registered as a 1st Dan with the Kukkikwon. That much I verified. But I thought it was strange that after my 2nd Dan test, it was taking so long to get the certificate and cards. I was given a belt but each time I asked my grand master about it, I was told there either were some personal problems or problems with the Kukkiwon itself taking over a year to get certificates. I didn't know any better. And I believed him. This was a man who I had supported as I watched him get promoted to grand master with his 7th Dan. He was such an influencing figure in my older years as a teenager and young adult.

    But now I have found out a terrible truth. It happened to me and it has happened to several other Black Belts that tested with me with different ranks varying from 2nd to 4th.

    Our grand master told us that he used all the money for personal use because he was getting so behind on bills. He never submitted any paperwork to the Kukkikwon and never intended to. He didn't apologize but just explained what happened.

    I wanted to live up to what I had been taught and not hold this against him. But it was my mistake.

    I also learned testing fees for color belts were not something that should have been charged. At least at the rate he was charging them. Here I was... part of this organization that I felt was such a good cause and some thing that was positive in the minds of young children. Only to find out at the end that it was just a con for this guy to get rich and fool us.

    I tried to work this out but now he has closed where he was teaching and I cannot contact him. A friend of his who is also a grand master spoke to him on my behalf and I was told he was going to refund my money. A cost of $450. I don't know what a 2nd Dan test costs for all the certification but I felt that was very high considering my 1st Dan was only $100. But there were several years in-between. Regardless, I didn't question it or doubt it. This was my grand master so why would he ever lie to decieve me?

    Furter, this friend of my grand master is just that. A friend. I wonder who's side he's going to take in this? He told me I would have to re-take the test to get the 2nd Dan and none of the credit tests or extra work would be counted. I already had passed it with intense training, sweat, and tears! This was from a man who runs a "christian" Tae Kwon Do organization. My grand master did to an extent as well since he would start each session with prayer.

    But this is just a deception. Its about money and telling people what they want to hear. There's nothing christian about this and there certainly isn't anything representing what TKD is supposed to be here.

    I never got my money back. Truth be told, I never wanted it. I wanted what I had worked so hard for. If the $450 was legit then I wanted my 2nd Dan and all the credit tests that I had done afterwards so I could move on and test for my 3rd. Such a time never came.

    I even tried contacting my grand master's grand master. I was told by the person there (not him) that they don't handle inner disputes and I would have to handle it between the two of us. Everywhere I go, I get turned away and nobody or nothing is there to help. Both of them just get away with it under this color of fakery and hurts so many people and actual good schools that have to be out there.

    I'm lost. Speechless. Angry beyond words and just feel scammed. Here was someone who had taught me about honor and integrity. About honesty and how the real journey of learning martial arts was after your black belt was earned. Or so I thought. But now I feel it was all just a lie. How can I believe anything he said? He decieved many of us and I don't know what to do. I was hoping on opening a sub-school under him after my 3rd Dan to practice until I could open my own school years later as a Master. But now that will never happen.

    Never. Reason a few paragraphs below.

    I tried calling the Kukkikwon. I can never get someone to talk to me that I can understand. I've also been told they don't deal in these types of matters anyway. Sounds familiar.

    There is legal action. But the statute of limitations has passed. Remember, this was a role model to me. It just never ever occurred that something like this would happen. I was blinded and should have paid more attention but it was my fault I guess.

    Regarding why I said I would never have my own school? In part because of this event, which was very traumatizing to me, I also lost my job. I needed to get a job and the only thing I could find was family that lived far away. But it was a way to survive. Sadly, not long afterwards, I lost my wife and daughter in a car crash. I lived but my back is crippled pretty bad. They want to do surgery now but there is no promise it wll fix it and there is a risk it could be worse.

    I'm lost. I'm in pain. I'm ready to give up. I don't know what to do. Does anyone have some good advice? Is there ANY recourse I have? At the very least, I don't want other people going to these two schools and getting scammed like I did. I heard they have re-opened under new names now.

    I want to get their names out there. But I thought I should bounce my frustration off some others. Maybe there have been people who have had other or minor situations happen. I don't know. I am so devestated by this that I am just... all those words and things... I feel so upset I can't find the words. I don't know what to do.

    Can someone please help me?
    Narcsarge likes this.
  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    If the statute of limitations has passed there is not much you can do. Put it down to experience and move on. Let it go - losing the money and the grade will do you less harm than hanging onto the bitterness. Find a new master and make a new start.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
  3. Narcsarge

    Narcsarge New Member

    Try Grand Master Ibrahim Ahmed. My instructor had issues similar to yours. Master Ahmed is affiliated with Kukkiwon and has his own schools.

    If the link doesn't work; World Martial Arts College on the internet.

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  4. Mario Ray Mahardhika

    Mario Ray Mahardhika Active Member

    You're not the first person to experience, I had one as well. He took my students' money instead of mine, though, but that doesn't make him any better. As @Gnarlie said, just move on and find a new (grand) master. My suggestion: find one whose main source of money is not Taekwondo, they tend to live for Taekwondo instead of live from Taekwondo.
  5. 1st Dan

    1st Dan New Member

    Thank you for your opinions on this. I want to write a warning letter to the church he's renting from as well as other students to let them know about this. I'd even put both GM names here. Its not out of spite but to warn other people so they don't have to be hurt and stolen from like I was.

    Its NOT to get even. I've found balance with that and accepted it despite the pain. But as mentor to younger children, teens, and even adults... they should know. A letter to the church.. maybe to the newspaper.. other ideas? Or none at all?

    Regardless, I don't think I can leave this alone. No one should have to go through what I did and my fellow black belts that were scammed as well. This is factual information and not just slander or getting back at someone. I'm asking people to do their research. Maybe they will ask him about it point blank. I don't know... but I feel others SHOULD know. Its only fair and its only right. Then they can decide on their own and check into themselves if they want. It would be a professionally worded letter and not one out of spite or negative words. Just facts.

    Also, even though its past statute of limitations. I feel I should still report it to the local police department as an FYI so there is at least a paper trail for those who want to investigate or if things happen again.

    Thoughts? And can/should I put their names here?
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  6. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Let it go. Everybody who begins martial arts has the right (and some would say duty) to investigate the qualifications and integrity of who they are learning with.

    There are plenty of corrupt people out there, you've only got to look at high level olympic sport politics to see that.

    Moving on is the only thing that will help you. At some point in the future, if you find an instructor who is honest, you may be able to make up for lost time.

    Put it down to experience and move on.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
  7. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Naming and shaming will only bring you heartache and drag you down to their level.

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  8. 1st Dan

    1st Dan New Member

    That's one opinion. But it sure seems like the people who are at "their level" are doing much better than me financially and otherwise. If nothing else - they taught me not to practice Integrity with their] injust actions and apparently just keep getting away with it. So I would just be doing what I was taught to handle this at their level. I'm not saying I willl do that but it helps perspective.

    If they continue this - they will get their ranks and medals and money all taken through deception. The rest of us who worked even harder will get nothing. Its not right. I don't personally need tons of plaques and certificates on my wall bu I do expect to have the ones I rightfully earned. That is not arrogance. Its markers of achivement as I make my way through this journey in life and martial arts.

    There's some things I don't think you understand.

    My rank and status along with all the heart-ache that went along with years of extreme work is lost. I don't have much to be proud of but this was one of the few things I did. When your just a child, you don't think about checking qualifications. That person becomes a key mentor in your life and was there when my dad could not be. They were more than teachers and mentor figures for me. I'm not going to get into more drama but there is more to it.

    The point is I was young and grew up learning this style and way of life. Now I find out its all a scam and it was just lies. These two GM's weren't just instructors to me. And now I feel I've been betrayed horribly. Try to imagine it from my side of things. I will give just one example; when my wife and daughter were killed in that horrible crash, these were the people I turned to for help because my parents were gone. I flat out asked them if what they told me and did for me during that time was real or not. They actually had the f***ing mind to laugh and say yeah because I trained for a certain merit badge to try and handle the loss and put it into something. They just said it got them more money. That's not just a fake teacher, that's a horrible human being.

    Yes I can try my best to have it as a strong lesson in the school of hard knocks. Yes I know that bitterness in the heart is not true balance and it hurts my growth as a martial artist. I understand all of that, but...

    I also took an oath long ago to finsh what I started and to be loyal to my friends. This is not finished. I know a lot of people who aren't even friends but I recommended this place for a start. They deserve to know. Its just the right thing to do. And I need some closure on this so I can walk away knowing I did all I could.
  9. 1st Dan

    1st Dan New Member

    Also a quick side note - is there ANY organization that helps handle matters like this. Doesn't the Kukkikwon want to promote the best examples of the art? How about groups in the United States? There has to be some sort of regulations and place where people can go for serious greviences. Does anyone know or have an idea to try? Please!
  10. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    There is no ombudsman. I understand that that's not what you want to hear.

    The best thing you can do is recognise the following:

    You haven't lost any skills as a result of these people's actions. You have lost only money.

    You haven't lost time either, because you can catch up.

    The best advocate for you is a properly certified KKW GM you know and trust. You will have to build that relationship over time.
    With time you will be able to get back to where you should be certificate wise, perhaps even taking a KKW Special Dan Testing outside of the normal testing timescales.

    Any registered KKW instructor above 4th Dan will be able to communicate with Kukkiwon on your behalf. Some swing more influence than others, depending on the relationship they have with people there. You won't get anywhere trying alone based on what I know.

    Find an instructor you can trust, tell your story, build a positive relationship and get back on the path you want to be on. You don't have to waste your time on anything else.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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