Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace
retired as the undefeated Professional Karate Association (PKA) Middleweight Champion after defeating Bill Biggs in a 12-round bout in June 1980. In 2008 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award
In a career that spanned 17 years, he won more titles in his era, set more records and instituted more innovations than anyone in the history of Sport Karate.
The available window space in front of a Karate, Kung Fu or Taekwondo school is an important palette to paint a picture that invites prospective students to come though your door. On the front of many schools, it’s not uncommon to see advertisements touting their students as “#1 Karate School in Scottsdale” or “World Champions” or the owner is a “6th Degree Grandmaster in the XYZ Style of Karate.” Or that your one of the country's most innovative and successful Martial Arts Academies.
The question on my mind is…. “Where is the line and how close will some school owners get before they cross over”
The law is vague as to what constitutes false advertising and what is merely “puffery.”
Permitted puffery is any exaggerated claim or bluster that no reasonable consumer would rely upon. In other words, stating that Goshin Karate & Judo Academy is the “World’s Best” may or may not be true, but such subjective claims are not false advertising under the law.
Using the previous example, if the owner cannot verify empirically that he is a 6th degree XYZ Grandmaster, he is guilty of false advertising. However, what would be the case where the same claim is made, but did not identify a particular and therefore verifiable style of the martial arts?
While unethical, I could represent to the world that I am the “founder” and “grandmaster” of “Roger Boggs Karate.” And since the martial arts world does not operate under a universal set of understood and agreed standards, I would not be engaging in false advertising.
Once I create a logo for Roger Boggs Karate, a martial arts style is born. Making myself a grandmaster of my own style, while offensive to the rest of the martial arts world, isn’t illegal.
Similarly, a boast of having “world champion” students training under your roof carries great appeal to the uninitiated prospective student. However, we all know most of the various federation and tournament circuits all crown “world champion.” Inherent in the term “world champion” is the specific implication that such designation was earned against other highly-trained martial artists.
In realty, Roger Boggs Karate, could start the North Phoenix Karate Alliance and hold its world tournament in a garage and crown its “world champions” from whatever group that came and paid an entry fee. Are these martial artists’ world champions, as would be understood by a layperson? Not really, but these representations don’t constitute false advertising under the law, as unpalatable as it seems.
Find a school that teaches Honesty, Integrity and Responsibility instead of touting that they are the Best Martial Arts School in Arizona.
Mr. Boggs - Sensei
Goshin Karate & Judo Academy
6245 E. Bell Road #120
Scottsdale, AZ. 85254
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