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Poisonous tree


In the Bible (New International Version), Matthew 7:17-20 states:
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Fruit of the poisonous tree

In the United States, the term “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” is a legal metaphor used to describe evidence gathered with the aid of information that was itself obtained illegally. The reasoning being, if the source of the evidence (the "tree") is tainted, then anything gained from it (the "fruit") would also be tainted. This doctrine stems from the 1920 case of Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. The United States.

Evidence gathered under the doctrine is not generally admissible in court. For example, if a police officer conducted an unconstitutional, warrantless search of a home and obtained a key to a gym locker, in which was found illegal drugs; the drugs would probably be excluded from evidence in accordance with the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine since it would probably not have been found without the finding of the key, which was found illegally.

We could also apply the doctrine to bogus martial artists. If a grandmaster of a martial art is found to be bogus, then every rank awarded by the master is bogus, and every rank awarded by these people is also bogus, etc. Whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, and regardless of whether it is fair or not, any rank that stems from a bogus lineage is tainted and is also bogus.

You may not have been aware of the fraud being perpetrated against you and you may have had the most honorable of intentions when obtaining the rank, but the rank is still bogus. When you buy what you thought was a real Rolex watch, and it turns out to be a fake, the fact that you were scammed does not make the watch real—it is still a fake.

Be careful when dealing with martial art instructors, masters, grandmasters, schools, and organizations. After you have invested all your time and money in them, you may find they are bogus. It is a shame that you were conned, but that does not suddenly make your rank legitimate. If you find you have been a victim of a scam—leave—and start over again at a legitimate school. The basic skills you have learned will still be with you so it will be easier to progress through the ranks of the new school.

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