Apr 26, 2008

Interview with the Founder of Bullshido.net - Neal "Phrost" Fletcher!

Phrost with one of MMA's greats, Pat Miletich

My Interview with Neal "Phrost" Fletcher
-http://Punchkickchoke.blogspot.com

So, Mr. Fletcher- your name strikes fear into the hearts of ninjas everywhere and makes grown LARPers cry in shame. Tell us a little about the man they call "Phrost."

Well for starters “Phrost” just a username I’ve had for about 10+ years now and at this point I’m kind of stuck with it. I tried to change a while back but the people on Bullshido vetoed the idea.

Honestly, I’m not really that interesting. I’m a judge with the Kansas Athletic Commission and the ISCF, and I have a humorous 0-2 MMA record. The last guy I fought posted the footage on YouTube and the comments are overrun by people who have sand in their nether-region because of what we’ve done on Bullshido. They’re good for a laugh at least. One of them read: “Is that Bill Duff?”

I was a Sergeant in the US Army and ran the Signal/Communications section for a Military Intelligence battalion. I smoke cigars, generally eat like crap and hate doing cardio;, so I’m no physical specimen in any sense. I play too many video games in the little free time I have. Basically I’m just a geek who likes fighting; both as a fan and a participant. I use semi-colons way too much; like this. I believe that we’re all compelled to violence in one form or another, and it’s much more healthy for us to express this by kicking someone’s ass (or at least trying to) in the relatively safe and controlled environment of a Combat Sport, than it is to deny the impulse only to have it emerge in an anti-social or even criminal form.

Besides, kicking someone in the head is just good family fun.

I’m also a Skeptic, and I capitalize this for a reason as a “Skeptic” is someone who uses critical thinking, logic, and science to arrive at their own personal knowledge of things. This is different than the more common use of “skeptic”, meaning essentially “someone who doubts everything, regardless of credible evidence. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people simply don’t know how to think; not what to think, how. And I believe this is the root cause of why so many get victimize by frauds and scams.

So in a nutshell I guess I’m a sanctimonious, condescending prick with a love of fast food, guns, America, and violence; or in other words, a true product of the Reagan years, minus the religion. (I’m an Atheist.)

Before we go on, give my readers your definitions of the terms "bullshido," "McDojo," and "LARP"- I use those words a lot, and I get the feeling some people still don't understand.

“Bullshido” is simply the antithesis of “Bushido” or the code of the warrior. It’s an all-encompassing term that covers McDojos (commercial schools that put profit above their student’s fighting ability), Frauds (people selling rank, or running other scams), and BS mysticism such as “chi healing powers”, no-touch-KO’s, or other irrational garbage, all within the Martial Arts. I still take credit for coining the term despite some internet shut-in digging up a use of the word in 1993.

“LARP” or “LARPing” is Live Action Roleplaying. It’s where people get together and act out being wizards or ogres or even Civil War soldiers. Here’s a video of LARPing in its common form:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=j_ekugPKqFw

What this has to do with the Martial Arts is simple. Martial Arts LARPers:

  1. Dress up in costumes from other historical periods.

  2. Re-enact fighting as they believe (often mistakenly) it used to be done.

  3. Don’t apply any real force to their actions in order to avoid actually hurting anyone in the course of their “play”.

  4. Participate in a shared delusion about their combat abilities for the purposes of entertainment or self-gratification.

But the key difference between a Martial Arts LARPer and a Civil War re-enactor, for example, is that the Civil War re-enactor isn’t trying to convince himself that his Calvary saber or musket are applicable to the modern battlefield. They don’t go around espousing about their “centuries-old” style of fighting as if antiquity somehow lends it credibility. And they certainly don’t believe the training practices of that time lend themselves to creating superior soldiers or fighters. They just do it for fun and go back to their regular lives during the rest of the week.

Not all of my readers are Bullshido members (though they should be, right?)- tell us a little about the humble beginnings of the site.

Sometime in 2001 I stumbled on the Abu Dhabi Combat Club forums. They were one of the few MMA/MA sites at the time and so I lurked for a while before joining in and posting, mostly on off-topic stuff.

Then in May of 2002 someone dug up a website run by this pervert detailing stories of his encounters with muscular women he paid to physically dominate him. One of these women was a professional fighter, and in the discussion thread there was a link to a story about how this fighter had been paid to “wrestle” the man in a hotel room and the gratification he got from it. To be clear though, it wasn’t a case of prostitution or anything, the guy just liked being handled roughly by burly chicks.

However, it was still a minor scandal and there was a good bit of scorn directed at her in that thread for it. More details were coming to light about it when an administrator from Sherdog (Tanner, I believe) posted on the thread requesting everyone just drop the subject. It seems he was a friend of hers and was trying to cover things up. Well since the ADCC forum was fairly unmoderated, they essentially blew him off. So he resorted to going up the chain and getting the thread deleted by the absentee moderators.

This pissed many of us off. It was a blatant cover-up of something that people wanted to discuss and shine some light on. We were indignant that someone would remove the discussion posts we’d created on the subject simply out of a fear of someone having to face criticism for their actions. Personally, I didn’t care so much about the activities she engaged in; what consenting adults do behind closed doors is their business, even if the guy in question did seem to be a creep and the whole thing a bit trashy. What outraged me, and a handful of other people, was the censorship.

So in response, I put together a website, McDojo.com, and a set of forums where those of us who wanted to discuss the BS in the martial arts could do so without interference, on our own terms. The site first featured humorous articles, mostly by “I Choke You” (a Canadian catch wrestler/MMA fighter), poking fun at various dubious persons of the time including Matt Furey and Robert Ferguson. Things were going well and we started to take on more members, reaching a few thousand by the end of that summer. Then the Intellectual Property department of the McDonald’s corporation got wind of our little site and long story short, we needed a new name.

I ran a few ideas by the staff and chose “Bullshido”. I’d used the word years ago back when I was in the Army, among my circle of friends to make fun of someone who was full of shit. A lot of us played the game Bushido Blade, so I’d tell them I was going to “break out my Bullshido Blade and…” yeah, I’m a geek. Anyway, the term just seemed to perfectly describe what we were doing, even better than McDojo did, as it’s a more general term for Martial Arts BS.

And that’s how babies are made.


List your Top 5 moments of Bullshido history-

I honestly feel bad about limiting this to 5. There are so many things we’ve accomplished, and so many people who deserve credit for their work in helping fight BS. But in no particular order:

  1. Anthony and Jordan exposing Ashida Kim’s $10,000 Challenge as BS by putting up the money and trying to make it actually happen. He’s since modified the challenge. This was way back in 2002-2003.

  2. The first Throwdowns where a handful of Forum Bullies got together and beat the crap out of each other. They established a tradition going forward of people meeting up to put faces behind their names and then punch those faces.

  3. Gong Sau 2007: A Trocity driving 16 hours to go fight a Kung Fu guy who’d mouthed off to her about her fighting ability. Jordan beating up one of our main detractors for assaulting her. Anthony’s challenge fight against Rudy Abel, winning by verbal submission after a brutal ground and pound.

  4. Sam Browning’s investigations: all of them.

  5. The 2006 Mega Throwdown/Shootout. That was a rough weekend, but getting up early on Saturday after a long night of drinking, to go spar, and then go shoot a bunch of guns, before going to watch the Hughes/Gracie fight was an experience.

  6. Yeah, I put in a 6th thing just to defy your rules because I’m like that. This one’s for everyone else I haven’t included because it’s early in the morning and I haven’t had coffee. Guys like Olorin for doing exhaustive research, or Kickcatcher for convincing Phil Elmore to publish a fake article on an improvised stab-proof vest made out of books and duct-tape, in his RBSD newsletter. Our Legal Team’s god-hand smacking down threats from those who want to shut us up so they can continue exploiting the Martial Arts world for profit. Having a Throwdown in Bratislava, and getting it covered by the local news.. Not to mention all the Forum Bullies who fight, compete, and represent Bullshido. The site is its members; I’m just the guy who provides the venue and keeps the doors open for them.


Personally, I think you're awesome, but there are definitely people out there who think otherwise. How many death threats and angry letters have you received over the years from all the frauds, pre-teens, and LARPers out there?

Not so many lately, we must not be trying hard enough. The most colorful one was from Ashida Kim himself who believes I am part of a secret conspiracy with the founder of Wikipedia and a rival ninja clan. You can’t make shit like that up, and it’s definitely going in my biography.

I’m not too worried about all of them though because I own a lot of guns, a nice home security system, and a trained attack Chihuahua. Plus, all my neighbors are nosy as hell and they’d hone in on anyone suspicious faster than if I had a paid security staff.

Lately the threats and angry letters are limited to people drive-by-posting garbage comments on YouTube, being too afraid to even come on the forums to talk trash. It’s disappointing, and I have no idea why someone would be afraid of posting on an Internet forum considering we don’t yet have the technology to punch people through their monitors (although we’d definitely like to fund such research).


Quick Answer Round...

Favorite technique?

Omoplata.

Favorite fighter?

Kat Johnson.

Favorite food?

Pizza.

Least favorite martial art?

Aikido.

Hot girl with chlamydia or ugly clean girl?

Umm… I’m married.


Nice. Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Fletcher, and thank you for doing your part in making the MA world a little less stupid- hope Bullshido continues to be the no-bullshit place that shines in the dark sea of martial arts crap on the internet.

www.bullshido.net

www.phrost.com

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, I suddenly have a much better opinion on bullshido after reading this.

-x.x

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wonder how much Neal paid for this free advertisement. Neal fletcher is a no knowing buffoon that has made himself the head of a MA community without himself being anybody in particular. Although the site's mission is just, the actual goings on are anything but altruistic.

Punch Kick Choke said...

Are you telling me I could have gotten paid for this? Motherf%*ker. What a wasted opportunity. -_-

Haha- but seriously...
Although he may be a nobody in your and many other's eyes, it's darn impressive that this particular nobody has created such a large and passionate community of Martial Artists, as ornery and unlovable as they may be.

On top of that, I wasn't aware that you had to be a somebody to create a forum. :/

OmegaSucks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Punch Kick Choke said...

No plugging shameless troll sites, KC/ACA Troll/Whoever.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

God, you are godless.

Master Po said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for posting this!
Watch Kung Fu!

Anonymous said...

Phrost is a twit that fights like a sponge. Why do people give the pos a podium. He's a troll that runs a troll site filled with trolls, gimnme a break, this guy deserves props like my morning dump deserves props.

Punch Kick Choke said...

I take it you're either a MAP or Sherdog member.

Neal may not be what I would call the best fighter in the world, but he deserves credit for bringing together a mass of people who don't mind calling people out on their bullshit.

The angry words and trolling aside, bullshido is a great source of information once you get past the "fuck you"s and "you suck"s.

And who knows? Maybe your poop deserves some accolade every once in a while. ALL IT WANTED WAS SOME ATTENTION, SOME RECOGNITION, MAN! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Anonymous said...

Fletcher reminds me of a class clown. What are his credentials anyway?

Well the right to free speech is important, even if the guy has nothing intelligent to say.

stirner said...

These guys have no interest in exposing martial arts fraud, I know this for a fact because I just brought info about a massive fraud and they acted like they were a bunch of 14 year old playing in a Call of Duty groupchat. It's a cult of personality consisting of a handful of people with weak egos who bought 'gold memberships' to the forum so that they could push other people around. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire operation had been purchased hook like and sinker by the martial arts fraud community in the same way Scientology took over the Cult Awareness Network and turned it into a soapbox for Scientology.

Somebody really should start up a real site for taking martial arts fraudsters (especially ones that sell magical powers) to task, but Bullshido is definitely not it. I don't know if it started out altruistic, but it's definitely not anymore.

Anonymous said...

http://bingbodow.wix.com/bullshidoshitnfake

fuck off bullshido