And some of those frauds are damned good teachers and/or teaching something pretty valuable.
I really wish stuff could be all bad or all good.
Often, these frauds are protected by a group (self-appointed in one type of cult, designated in another) who try to quell any dissent or discredit any other point of view.
Here's one of the things- if you can point at a leader and a group it is fairly easy to say, 'they drank the koolaid. That's a cult.' So I was all set to rant about the teachers that feed on this, the teachers that let this happen. Justifiable. The instructors like that are pukes and it does piss me off... but sometimes the instructor has nothing to do with it. Rabid fanboys on the internet display the exact same behavior and you know damn well that they have never rolled with their MMA hero or been in a gunfight alongside their designated infallible handgun guru.
Maybe I'll still rant about those instructors someday, but that would entail going very deep into what teaching means to me. Not yet.
Sometimes the students make their own koolaid.
When you enter into a student relationship, you expect the instructor to have knowledge, at least, and maybe even answers. So you enter predisposed to believe. If the instructor is good, and the definition of good is heavily reliant on the students previous knowledge (or ignorance) and experience, you get impressed. It is a very small step from there to dropping your critical reasoning. It becomes a point of epistemology, the instructor becomes one of the sources that you accept without fact checking, just like some people believe CNN or their priests or their horoscopes or Scientific American.
That, too, can be okay. It crosses the koolaid line when the student decides that the instructor's words are more real than reality. When what you train contradicts the world but the students agree that the training is right. Some students make their own koolaid, even if the instructor had no intention and would happily correct himself.
There's another dynamic that happens, too. Sometimes a good instructor, a damn good instructor can make almost anyone drop their critical faculties. In the book I talked about one "charismatic young instructor" who had gotten a veteran jail fighter to completely forget what he already knew. That instructor was Kevin Jackson, for what it's worth. Kevin didn't teach anything wrong and I give him the highest accolade in martial arts that I know- he once taught a knife defense class that wasn't stupid. But one of the fighters (not sparrers, not martial artists but fighters) that I respect most in all the world (That's you, Bill K.) was willing to go with Kevin's instruction without even considering his own experience.
I've rolled with some guy named Renner. I don't know if he is as good as his dad, but that young man was good. He was so good that he got an entire room of cops to absolutely believe that techniques they would never be able to pull off in body armor and a belt full of weapons (and some of which were pretty clear violations of force level common sense) were the best things ever. He absolutely believed that his stuff was the best, but Renner never discouraged questions, never did an appeal to authority, never made any claims that in any way could be interpreted as cultish behavior... but he inspired some very creepy cult-like behavior. He was that skilled. It was like he sweats koolaid.
How far does that go? Is everything koolaid to someone? The better one teaches, does that just give higher quality students a chance to drink a more rarified flavor of koolaid?
Is there any caveat or warning strong enough that what I say won't become kooliad to someone? When I say "Never, ever delegate responsibility for your own safety. Never, ever, ever take the word of some self-appointed 'expert' over your own experience and common sense." Will that, my talisman against koolaid drinkers, become koolaid; just words that people chant without understanding?